I’m not exactly what you’d call a ‘long-term’ player of MTG. In fact, the cool person I am, I started playing the actual card game when I started at University along with a few friends (making four so we could do two-headed giant).
As a card game, MTG is the longest-running and most successful, originally being created by a mathematician in the early 90s. And it is great fun! I’ll give you the general scenario in which I started (only initials have been used to keep identities safe):
I convinced everyone to get MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers (DotP) (the video-game available on STEAM and the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace), and we each got a page that entitled us to get a free deck of cards in a local shop (there happened to be one in the town I started at Uni).
So, J and I (who were the only two to go to Uni – the same one) went into town to get our cards, which we were disappointed to find was only 30 cards each, but enough to play against each other.
I started with Blue, J had White, T on Black and D on Green. At first, my Blue was fairing pretty well against them, unfortunately I’ve struggled to keep up to par for a long time, until recently when I’ve redone my deck (with a Jace Beleren – my muse) and now they get rather angry when we play, which just makes it all the more fun.
To whatever end: the game is fun. All four of us are still avid players of the actual card game (occasionally MTG: DotP too) and still meet up weekly to play.
Magic: the Gathering Online
The point of this article, also known as MTGO or Magic Online, which is more-or-less a direct representation of the real card game into virtual space, including the economic system:
You pay the $9.99 price and you get a DotP deck, 1x M11 booster (the core set for 2011), 200+ cards to make a standard deck (for standard play) and 2 event tickets (which you can use to enter events).
The marketplace works well, as you can also buy booster packs and structure decks (just like in real life), for a bit cheaper as well.
A pretty good price, for all that.
Unfortunately, it isn’t actually much good when you play online using the Standard edition (which is roughly the current core set – M11 – and the last two or three expansion sets (which I think goes back to ‘Rise of the Eldrazi’). See, everyone online has already spent their hard earned money on building a collection of cards and have actually refined their deck to be able to win, while you have the bare minimum.
It’s still a fun game, but it is impossible for me to actually win a game because everyone I play against has much better cards, even if I Mind Control his 6/6 creature, he’s then got an 11/11 creature, or he has several cards to get his creature back off me (like what happened with the game I played earlier).
I do like to think of myself as a fairly good player (maybe not professional, but I haven’t had that opportunity ..yet) and pretty good at building a deck, but I need the cards to be able to do that.
Overall, Is MTGO worth it?
In short, YES.
If you have the money to buy several booster packs or decks to get your collection good enough to measure up to everyone else’s. When I started, I also bought a pack of common/uncommon cards (a couple hundred) so I could build a deck, which worked, and I have a fairly good deck, but it doesn’t match up when everyone else has a few planeswalkers and creatures twice as big.
Other than that, the game plays really well. It’s not exactly pretty to look at, but some people prefer that as it leaves everything to gameplay, which is good when duelling. And the cards work when they need to, which I had some trouble with when playing DotP.
You are actually getting a bargain for the amount of cards you start with, they’re just not good enough to use competitively. But, if you convince a couple friends to join you over on MTGO, then you can play against them for a short while before they get hooked and start buying out the virtual marketplace.
Also, if you have any questions or need any help with building decks, feel free to contact me (Akardo). I’m not bothering with putting too much money into MTGO as much as I’d like, as I’ve got more of a commitment to my RL playing ..for now, at least.
ONE LAST THING
The plan as it stands of writing this is as follows:
This is the new MTG Center for all stuff MTG! After much deliberation and persuasion, I’ve convinced AJ to allow me to go ahead with this. We are going to create a large Magic: the Gathering community via the internet, which I will start with commentaries using YouTube, like many people have done with other games.
I’m looking for competitive people to build names for themselves outside of Worlds by allowing me to watch and record their matches between all the big players, and every video will be uploaded to YouTube with the commentary. So please get in touch via our Twitter (@AAAPartnership or @akardo00) or comment on the post. Thanks in advance!