You know the one, right? The one every parent dreads.
“Dad, I want to try a game like Magic the Gathering, can you teach me how please?”
That happened to me at the back end of 2014; after numerous visits to the local popular chain bookstore, I had hoped my eight year old son hadn’t noticed the display for Yu Gi Oh and Magic The Gathering, along with other CCG’s, but alas he had and so would begin a speedy ride into the pits of hell. Or so my wallet would think.
It started by asking a very helpful lady at the counter where we would be best off starting. I say helpful, as my initial thought was that it would be a lot more helpful if she had warned me off right there. But alas, she said that unless we were planning to enter tournaments and competitions, then we’d be best off with a duel pack, but they didn’t have any in stock, however they did have a discounted Khan’s of Takir Intro pack, thus selling me two of those.
What I liked about this helpful young lady was that she didn’t try and then sell us a load of Boosters, deck holders, folders, or anything else. She was quite clear that if it was just me and my son playing then we didn’t need too much and could even be a little bit relaxed about the rules.
This was great to hear, because when we sat down for the first time, it was a little bit difficult to understand to tell the truth. It is my biggest complaint with the Intro packs, in that they are not geared towards complete beginners, which would be where you want to aim these packs surely? It is the same in the Fate Reforged packs too and from what I can remember, also with past packs.
Luckily, there are resources out there, namely on Youtube where they start to explain the basic concepts of a round of Magic, there are also the digital versions of the game on PC, Mobile and Xbox (sadly not on the Vita), which help you understand things a little better.
What can also help is knowing someone who has experience of MTG and as we found, the community on the whole is more than willing to help new players and will happily answer any questions, be that on forums, Twitter, Facebook or even directly. So if you do decide to start out, do not be afraid of seeking out help.
Anyway, this is meant to be a bit more about the Fate Reforged release (the first in 2015, I believe?) So when we found out about the new set, we were eager to check it out and get into the new cards whilst they were new and not later down the line. We picked up a Clash pack and two Intro packs, which may seem a little excessive to an outsider, but I’ll explain why in a bit.
The two-player Clash Pack is essentially two Intro packs in one and contains pretty much the same stuff. You get two decks instead of one, strategy inserts and a rules card. You don’t get any Booster packs, but you do get a deck box for holding your decks in nicely. These are designed purely to allow you and your partner to open up and play with two decks that are well matched and should allow for some even competition. The other thing you get in these Clash packs are special premium cards that have alternative artwork on them. Whether these are worth any money, or hold any special value, we couldn’t tell you, but they do look lovely.
We got the Power & Profit pack and really enjoyed playing with these and as promised, it allowed us to have some really interesting matches with each other, knowing that neither was overpowered, nor had we had mismatching packs that may give one person an advantage over the other.
In fact, we were enjoying this pack alone so much, that we almost forgot about the Intro packs we also picked up. These were only opened very recently and it seems we got very lucky with the two packs as again, they were able to be used against each other and seemed quite balanced.
We have also opened up the Booster packs we have, but have set those aside for now, knowing they will be used very soon and again we will explain why, right after we mention the cards themselves.
One thing that has always stood out to me about the Magic cards, is the artwork. Unlike other games I have seen where the art on the cards is either uninspired or seemingly by a single artist, the Magic series has been a place for artists to really express themselves and the images that portray each card are actual works of art themselves.
Each card has the name of the artist at the bottom and there have been some very surprising guest artists that I’ve noticed, which is great to see and shows just how far reaching this series actually is.
Magic The Gathering is a game that can expand as much as you want it to. If you want to just have a few friendly home games, then it is set up for that without much outlay, maybe seeing you spend on a new set once your current one starts to feel a bit stale. Just like anything really.
But then there are events, tournaments, competitions and the like. These require you to have a much better understanding of not only your own deck, but also how it may work against various other deck types, which is where the Booster and Intro packs come into play as you then dive into the world of Deck Building…
…which I’ll cover in the next article, as my son and I hope to carry on this series with new entries every couple of weeks. Hopefully coming up, we’ll be going to a local Friday Night Magic to get a sense of what these nights are all about. But for now, we hope you enjoy this new foray into Table Top Gaming on Gamestyle.