MTG for newbies


My sons recently introduced me to Magic The Gathering (MTG) and even though I grew up playing lots of board games and card games I have to admit the experience was overwhelming: a single turn has 60 actions and the comprehensive official rules are 226 pages long!

Fortunately, the game is a lot of fun so it's worth the initial effort.  Here's a list of resources I wish I had known about from the very beginning:

  1. Understand the basics with this excellent wikiHow article (also check out the updated rules on planeswalkers)
  2. Legendary cards (like the one shown above) have special rules -- you can only have one of each name at any given time on the battlefield.  Otherwise, most creatures are limited to four in number.
  3. Dive a little deeper into each phase of a turn (here's another great resource on that topic)
  4. Find cool cards at (excellent filtering and search capabilities in the left-hand column)
  5. Print proxy decks using (proxy decks are practice cards you print out and put in protective sleeves with another playing card for structural backing)
  6. Look up detailed card information at
  7. Another excellent free resource for Android that provides card info, rules, dice roller, scorekeeper, etc. is MTG Familiar
  8. Review other people's decks and get advice from a huge community of enthusiasts at  You can upload your own deck and get advice and stats (like pricing estimate).  Another similar resource is  Another popular forum is
  9. If you just want to get a quick estimate of one or more cards, you can use (some MTG enthusiasts just collect cards rather than play them)
  10. Once you get a handle on the basics, understand the importance of sideboards and other interactions
  11. Once you're ready to go pro, check out some competitive decks
  12. Take a break and geek out with your movie of choice: Enter the Battlefield, Zero Charisma, Queen of Katwe, Searching For Bobby Fischer, Hackers, War Games, Tron, ...
P.S. Storm Crow is an inside joke.