Card Games

Magic: The Gathering – Learning the Basics

If you’re into card games, then you must have heard of Magic: The Gathering.

If you want to try your hands on this new game, this guide will cover everything that a beginner like you should know.

So let’s begin and enter the world of Magic.

Card Types


These cards are the main stays of most decks. They have a continuous effect on the game since they do not disappear once their effect resolves. There are five major types of permanents which are as follows:


They are the main source of mana and unlike most cards; they usually don’t have a color and not considered Spells. When you tap a typical land, it produces 1 point of mana of a certain color. Though there are many types of lands each with unique effects, there are 5 basic lands which are:

  • Islands produce blue mana.
  • Forests produce green mana.
  • Plains produce white mana.
  • Mountains produce red mana.
  • Swamps produce black mana.


Once casted, creature cards stay in play until they are removed by some other effect or until they die. Creatures have abilities, attributes and type.

Below are some of the creatures’ attributes that you should take note when it comes to deck building:

  • Power: This is the amount of damage your creature inflicts on an enemy or opponent creature when in combat.
  • Casting Cost: Located at the top of the card, to the right of the name of the creature, this attribute refers to the amount of mana you must pay in order to cast the spell.
  • Toughness: This is the amount of damage, via spell or combat, an opponent must deal to your creature in order to defeat it.


These types of cards can be pretty confusing to newcomers since they are quite varied. The types of enchantment are as follows:

  • Enchantment: the most common type of enchantment, it sits on the battlefield and can provide either an activated effect or a static effect once cast.
  • Enchantment Aura: they must be attached to a permanent of a specific type, and are generally destroyed if the permanent they are enchanting is removed from the battlefield.


They are weapons or machines or anything made of metal. Below are the types of artifacts:

  • Artifact: Similar to enchantments, these artifacts just sit on the battlefield. They can have either activated or static abilities.
  • Artifact – Equipment: They exist to add effects and attributes to your creatures.
  • Artifact Creature: These cards count as both creatures and artifacts. Unlike normal artifacts though, they still suffer from summoning sickness.


Planeswalkers’ own unique resource is their “loyalty counters” which is represented as a number on the lower right corner. Most have 3 abilities; with each of them either reducing or adding the number of loyalty counters they have as a cost to use it.

Non-Permanent Cards

These are the cards that have occurring effect only once and then go to the graveyard.


They can be cast on anyone’s turn, during any phase, as long as you have the mana to cast it. Their most important uses are to alter the state of combat and to interrupt an opponent’s action.


A type of spell which can only be cast on your own turn, during the main phases. Its effect is resolved and placed in the graveyard once casted.

The Realm of Color

There are five colors featured in Magic: The Gathering, with each of them having their own strengths and weaknesses. If you want to start building a deck in a great way, then you must know how to identify yourself with the theme of a specific color or two. You need to figure out first works best for your own style of play.

Red, the Color of Destruction

They are known for causing massive amounts of damage quickly. No wonder they are called the color of destruction, with just a single shot damage spells, players or creatures can be greatly damaged.

Green, the Color of Beasts

Best described by the term “Hulk Smash!” green is known to be the simplest among the colors. They are popular for their ability to search one’s deck for land cards and to produce the most mana.

White, the Color of Judgment

They are widely known for their ability to remove cards from the game entirely and to prevent damage and combat. They are also popular for having the most cards that gain the player life.

Blue, the Color of Shenanigans

Blue is the trickiest of all the colors; they are best known for having the most creatures with flying and for drawing extra cards. They also have the ability to disrupt and have control of the field.

Black, the Color of Sacrifice

Black decks are best known for paying extra costs for powerful effects, creature destruction and bringing creatures back from the graveyard to the battlefield.

Glossary of Terms

Here are some of the useful keywords that you should learn:

Defender: Creatures with Defender can only block and cannot attack.

Flash: Cards with Flash can be played at instant speed, no matter what its normal restrictions are.

Hexproof: Any player or permanent that has Hexproof cannot be targeted by spells or abilities their opponents control.

Intimidate: Creatures with Intimidate can only be blocked by creatures that share a color with it, or artifact creatures.

Lifelink: Permanents with Lifelink gain their controller life equal to the damage that they deal.

Shroud: Similar to Hexproof, except that the permanent cannot be targeted by a spell or ability from any player, including the player who controls the permanent.

Tapping & Untapping: A permanent card that stays in play once you cast it, normally enters the game untapped. An untapped card is placed face up in front of you. “Tapping a card” means to turn it on its side, usually in a clockwise direction. You have the “Untap” phase at the beginning of your turn in which you turn any tapped cards upright again.

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