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Magic: The Gathering Rules
If you're new to Magic: The Gathering, welcome! This page is just a very quick
primer on the basics of Magic. You can find more in-depth information at the
links listed at the end.
Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game created by
Richard Garfield and produced by Wizards of the Coast.
In Magic, the players represent powerful wizards battling
each other with a wide range of powerful spells.
Players begin with 20 life each. You win if your opponent's
life total drops to 0 or less or if your opponent can no longer draw a card.
To play, each player needs a deck of at least 60 cards, and a large, flat
area like a table for laying out cards. Each player also needs a way to keep score.
Many players like to use dice or simply pen and paper.
To begin the game, both players shuffle their decks.
Now, just because you know your way around Partypoker
or Blackjack does not mean you will be in familiar territory. Magic cards are a whole different
world! Once you all are ready to begin...
Each player then draws an opening hand of seven cards from his or her deck.
The rest of your deck becomes your draw pile, or library. Near
your library is space for a graveyard, or discard pile.
Most of the cards you play go into your territory, or your half
of the playing surface. A few of your cards may go into your opponent's
Determine randomly who gets the choice. If you get the choice, you can choose
whether to play first or draw first. If you play first, you take the first turn
of the game without drawing a card. If you draw first, you take the second turn
of the game but you get to draw a card.
There are two basic types of cards, spells and lands, which
provide the mana, or magical energy, for your spells. You can lay
out one land per turn and use it as soon as it's in play.
To get mana from a land, tap that land by turning it sideways. Cards
untap at the beginning of your next turn.
There are five different types of basic lands, each of which
produces mana of a different colour.
Black Magic: Its power thrives on death and decay, and its
traditional foils are green and
It thrives on mental energy and uses the
elemental forces of air and water. Its traditional foils are
It gets life from the forest and can bring
both peace and destruction. Its traditional foils are
blue and black.
Masters of earth and fire, red magicians
specialize in the violence of chaos and combat. Red's traditional foils
are blue and
It focuses on spells of healing and protection,
and also on the chivalrous arts of war. Its traditional foils are
black and red.
Types of Cards
Instants are one-time effects that go to the graveyard right after casting.
You can cast instants during your turn and your opponent's turn.
Boomerang is an instant card.
Sorceries are also one-time effects that go to the graveyard right
after casting. However, you can only cast them during your turn. For example, if you had a
Creeping Mold, you couldn't play it
during your opponent's turn.
are permanent spells that remain in play when cast, like
Once a permanent is in play, you don't have to pay the casting cost again.
You can play permanents only during your turn.
Artifacts are permanents as well. They are colourless and typically have
an ability you can activate by paying some cost. An example of an artifact is
Rod of Ruin.
- Auras are an enchantment subtype. Auras are enchantments that you attach to permanents.
Rancor is an aura you attach to a creature.
Creatures are permanents. They can attack your opponent and defend.
They always have a power and toughness. Power represents how much damage the
creature can deal. Toughness represents how much damage the creature can take
Azure Drake is a creature
with two power and four toughness.
- Equipment is an artifact subtype. Any artifact that you attach to a creature is an equipment.
Bonesplitter is an equipment that gives the equipped
Planeswalkers are powerful allies that can fight by your side. Their role
is equivalent to the role players take when playing Magic. An example of a planeswalker is
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.
For the details see:
Magic Planeswalker Rules.
Phases and Steps
Your turn starts with your beginning phase. Any of your cards that were tapped
become untapped. After untap is upkeep. Some cards require you to perform a particular
action during this step. If you don't have such a card in play, then you
don't have to do anything during this step. Next, draw one card from the top of your library.
If you don't have any cards left to draw, you lose.
- Beginning of combat
- Declare attackers
- Declare blockers
- Combat damage
- End of combat
- Second Main
During your first and second main phases, which are
separated by the combat phase, you may do any or all of the following, in
You may cast sorceries, enchantments, artifacts, and creatures before
and after the attack, but not during it.
- Put one land per turn into play
- Cast spells
The end phase has two steps: end of turn
and cleanup. The end-of-turn step works just like the upkeep step. When it begins, abilities that
start with "At end of turn" occur. When the cleanup step begins, discard down to seven cards.
Then all damage on creatures is removed and effects that last "until end of turn" end.
Crystal Keep - Magic: The Gathering -
Some of the information includes rulings summaries, tournament rules, banned/restricted lists, and
the comprehensive rules.
Magic Rules Center - Rules for new,
casual, and tournament players.
Derick's Magic: The Gathering, created by Derick Yung, is not sponsored by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
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