How To Start Playing Magic: The Gathering – A Beginner’s Guide To MTG

How To Start Playing Magic the Gathering
A Beginner’s Guide
The following is a six step guide to
starting Magic the Gathering from
absolute scratch.
This is not a video that teaches you how
to play the game,
but rather guides you in your purchases
and decision-making, so that you can go
from having never played magic
to being able to attend store events and
regularly play games.
Please note: as always this video is
only meant its guidance, not absolute
It is one path, one method of many, but it is only
a suggestion.
It is designed with the goal of being
able to play regularly
at store events. But that may not be your
own personal goal when it comes to Magic.
Still, even if you are looking to achieve
different things from this game,
perhaps by seeing one path people can
you might discover new ideas that will
help you meet your needs.
If you’ll allow me one more preamble…
I’d like to stress the importance of
having a friend or partner to play with.
The most important thing you can do as a
new player is
to play. Practice, practice, practice!
And in order to do this it helps to have
a practice partner.
Going into this game with a friend or
lover is a huge advantage,
as you always have someone to play with
and learn with.
I’m a major advocate of couples getting
into magic together,
as it gives you both the fun and
engaging activity that you can share
with one another.
if you don’t know anyone who is
interested in learning with you
or who already plays, don’t despair! Magic
is a highly social game.
Hanging out at your local game store
isn’t just how you get
in games. It is also how you meet people
and make friends. So where do you begin
from absolute scratch?
Step 1: buy Duels of the Planeswalkers
Duels of the Planeswalkers is one of the
best starting points for brand new
players who have zero experience with
Magic: The Gathering.
Playing it teaches you the basic
concepts at the game,
casting spells, etc. It is an excellent
with the reputation as a gateway drug to
full-scale Magic the Gathering addiction.
Best of all, you can play it as much as you
want, when you want,
without needing a second player. This is
for early practice and training. Please
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 is far,
far superior to Duels of the
Planeswalkers 2015.
While 2015 has its strengths, I would
strongly recommend that you look into
starting with Duels
2014. The fact that Duels 2014 is
available at an extreme discount due to
being the older versions is another
added plus. As of the filming of this video
it’s available on Steam for only $10.00 (USD).
Step 2: Get two Quick-Start Deck (Sample Decks)
Viewers of this channel know that I do
not recommend new players purchasing
Intro Packs,
Booster Boxes, or even a Deck Builder’s
What I do suggest is picking up two
Quick-Start Decks (Sample Decks)
What are Quick-Start Decks (Sample Decks)? These are
distributed to local game stores and
typically free for new players.
They don’t contain any cards of value, but
they are an
excellent basic deck for players to
start practicing with.
I say get two, preferably so you can play
yours against a friend.
The decks are well matched against each
other. They contain
basic cards, and basic mechanics, and best
of all are typically free.
Whenever I hear people suggesting new
players biy two Intro Packs to play
against one another,
I always suggest instead getting two of
At $10.00-15.00 for an Intro
Pack, you’re spending money that could be
put to better use later.
Alright so at this point in your
starting MTG journey,
your goal is to get comfortable with the
basics of the game.
Step 3: Join your store’s League
Once you’ve become relatively
comfortable with the basics of the game,
the next best step and use of your time
and money
would be by joining your store’s League.
obviously, this is only possible if
your store has a league, and B: that League
has a healthy
active population, as well as C: you
have the ability and time to frequent
your shop
and play games. But assuming your store
does have an active
League, can you can go there often enough
for games,
this is the next best step. League games are
typically much more relaxed and casual
than even Friday Night Magic. People are
less likely to be
angry and aggressive towards you if you
stumble, or make an error.
Best of all, once you’ve bought your League
deck, which is typically about
$24.00 (USD),
you can play as often as you want,
without spending additional cash.
This, again, is why I urge players not to
just buy boosters for cracking.
The cost of League is typically the same
as buying those boosters individually,
but you get deck building and gameplay
With a little luck you might even win a
few prizes.
Cards that you don’t put in your League
deck can be played with
in your Quick-Start deck (Sample Deck). At the very
least, you’ve started your Magic
and in building your League deck, you’ve
created your first sealed constructed
Which is the type of deck building you
do at launch or pre-release events.
Your goal at this point is to not only
familiarize yourself with the cards,
but also to get very comfortable with
playing a game of Magic.
You want to no longer be hesitating
about the order of phases, or stumbling
through declaring attackers,
ect. A week or two of frequent League games,
combined with casual games with your
Quick-Start deck (Sample Deck),
and burning through Duels of the
Planeswalkers again should get you there.
And at this point you’ve only spent
about $34.00-35.00 (USD).
Next step? Step 4: Play a Draft
Draft is one of the most popular
Magic formats.
The price can vary from store to store,
but on average it is on par with the cost
of buying your boosters individually.
I’ve seen a range of cost, from $9.00-15.00 drafts,
with the higher end having better prize
support in exchange for the higher
price of play.
But play is the key. Again, as opposed to
just buying the Boosters individually,
you are getting so much more training, practice,
and overall gameplay by actually
in a draft. Whenever a new player is asking
about which Booster Box to buy in order
to put a deck together,
I think of all the drafts that booster
box could have paid for,
all the experience lost, and relatively
the same number of cards obtained.
What’s more, drafting gives you a choice
in what you are walking away with.
If their are specific commons, uncommons,
or if you are very lucky, rares and mythics
that you are looking for
then you can opt to select them as you
draft your deck.
Either way, since drafting requires
nothing more than knowledge of
how to play the game, and the price of entry, I always suggest this as
a starting or early in-store event
for new players. Step 5: If a
Pre-release or Launch is upcoming,
attend. Again, make sure that you are
comfortable enough with the basics of
the game:
tapping, untapping, casting basic spells,
declaring attackers,
and blockers, etc., before you sign up
for a Pre-release,
but once you are, I always recommend
attending. Again,
you’re getting cards and getting
gameplay experience.
If you’ve missed the last Pre-release
or Launch, don’t worry,
there are four per year, so one is always
going to be coming up soon.
Step 6: Put your first Standard deck
The best options for putting your first
Standard deck together
are to possibly start with an event deck
or look for a $20.00-30.00
budget deck.
In either case, take a look at the cards
you’ve already acquired through League,
drafting, and possibly a Pre-release. They
might influence which budget deck you
want to go for.
You can decide to buy into colors you
now like,
and even be able to use some of the
cards you may already have.
Now you are ready to attend a Friday
Night Magic or other Standard in-store
So where are you at the end of this
progression? You are comfortable enough
with the game that you can play in basic
store tournaments.
You have a League deck to play with
anytime you go into the shop.
You have a basic Standard deck that you
can continue to upgrade and improve.
Your Magic card collection has been
started. You can draft
and regularly play in events like
Friday Night Magic or Pre-release.
You are now a beginning Magic player.
I hope this video has been helpful to
you. You can help me out by remembering
to subscribe,
like, share, or just by leaving a
comment. And remember!
You can’t play Magic at Target or
Walmart! So whether buying cards or
accessories, try and spend that money at your local game store
whenever possible. You’re investing in
your Magic community.

100 thoughts on “How To Start Playing Magic: The Gathering – A Beginner’s Guide To MTG

  1. Be sure to watch An Introduction to Sealed Deck Construction:
    Is it Worth It To Attend Prerelease:
    What's it like at an MTG prerelease:
    Prepare For Prerelease:

  2. Is Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 still the best first step? What about Magic Duels?

  3. I went to my local card shop and they had the starter decks… for 5 dollars each, not cool

  4. I love your channel but i found my local card store to be filled with jerks when i asked about these sample decks they accused me of being a ebay scalper just wanting free hand outs also the store made me feel a bit unease i understand being a weeb and liking anime but there was some AO rated stuff just sitting on the counter i guess i will just stick with PTCGO

  5. My boyfriend and I started learning magic a month ago.

    Him: you're going to hate me. *as I'm about to attack.
    Me: what is it?
    Him: please don't break up with me.

  6. I have no store near my town how i can get Starter packs otherwise ? Sorry if i wrote somthing wrong i don't speak english a lot.

  7. I would replace Duels of the Planewalkers 2014, with Magic: Duels, just because the later is free and it has practice tutorials for pretty much every mechanic.

  8. I have been playing MTG for about 3 weeks now and know enough to play it fairly well. Many of my friends play and got me into and one even gave me one of his decks since he doesn't use it anymore. I play with them atleast twice a week and know a fairly good amount about the game now but not everything. What would you suggest I do now?

  9. My, if I had started my mtg career like this, I would have been way better off. When I started, me and my brother bought intro packs and played against each other, after being introduced by a friend who was experienced in magic.

  10. Quick start decks aren't free where i live, but they're 2 or 3 bucks, so it's still rather inexpensive.

  11. How soon after teaching someone the basic game is it a good idea to introduce them to Commander?

  12. -i dont have a girlfriend
    -i dont have Friends
    -i dont have Money
    -i dont have a local store in my Town
    How can i start to play Magic?

  13. step 7: buy a pack of dragons maze. it's a right of passage for begginners (extra points if you do it with a friend and have a pack war).

  14. I just got a fat pack from 2012 and two intro packs in Innestrad. I pulled Akroma's Memorial and Tibalt, still have Akroma's memorial

  15. This video was very helpful to me for suggestions I highly reccomend watching if you are trying to learn about magic

  16. I prefer starting with starter decks with a friend or letting a friend you trust the knows the game make you a readable deck. Second league/draft third start constructing yourself forth go multi format fifth FNM and keep going

  17. I asked my wife if she would like to play magic with me and she looked at me like I was retarded.

  18. So i started mtg 3 months ago following this guide. Nothing more, nothing less. Today i put my first standard deck together from everything i picked up along the way. Had a blast doing this and found it more fun and rewarding than buying individual cards or cracking additional packs. Saved a bunch of cash too. Cheers prof this is by far your best video.

  19. My first time playing magic was a draft and now i have a stater deck and extra cards from the draft then bought 400 land 1000 commons and 25 rares/mythicals

  20. Thank you for teaching me about Magic The Gathering Game Cards. I always see them at stores where they sell Trading Cards and I never knew what these cards were about so I never bought them. All I did was look at them and said I don't know how to play this kind of card game I am not going to buy the cards. So after watching your videos and seeing you talk about these cards I think that the card game might be fun to play and learn how to play. This type of card game almost looks similar to yugioh Card game.

  21. I only just started playing magic 2 weeks ago, and i love it. However watching these videos and hearing over and over about going to your local gaming shop is very depressing to me. There is no such shop where i live, and there are only two that i know of in the whole country.
    Its not the same in every country, so not all these tips are as valid. There are no way for me to get a free welcome deck for example.

  22. I live in a place in where there are no local game stores only big name game store

  23. The first thing I purchase was a commander deck . The feline ferocity . Then I purchased an intro pack Oath of the gatewatch . Then I purchased Ixalan deck builders toolkit . I don’t think I started out too good :/ . I barely got into magic this week .

  24. ive bought a good $300 in packs mats etc and still haven't built a deck lol

  25. I don't have any game stores nearby, I have no experience at all even holding these cards until now, and the ONLY card game I've ever played is Yu-Gi-Oh! from like 10 years ago or something. I'm already pissed that I bought a 50 bucks of cards and there's no booklet to explain the game, meaning I have to go on YouTube to watch videos, but now I'm being told that in order to properly learn to play I have to go to a function that are out of range for me to attend talk to people at shops that don't exist where I live, pay for a video game, play with friends that are scattered around the globe, AND that the card kits I got are probably useless as well? I bought 400 cards because everyone who plays it says it's great to get into, and the community is great, but I've been searching for literally hours on the internet and I haven't found ANYTHING about how to shut up, sit down, and play the damn game.
    Not like I can exactly return these cards either… what a waste of money and time.

  26. If I go to a Friday night magic and use a cheap infect deck will I be shunned?

  27. If you want to learn how to play get the set with the Dragon and lien on the front chicken with two decks two days a card that says do not shuffle and flip over for instructions that will teach you how to play πŸ˜†

  28. wait how is this video published in 2014 when he mentions duels of the planeswalkers 2015 in it????!!!?!?!

  29. It would be great if you could do an updated version of this since the product lines have changed. Thanks for your help professor.

  30. i dont want have friends nor money to buy the cards , so rip Kappa

  31. So I watched this video when I first started and my local game store has a mini league that lasts one month and first prize gets a whole booster box and I just got first and won yay

  32. Too bad there's no store or any sort of event or GATHERING in my city (see what I did there?). And it's too expensive to go to the capital city for play. I hate my country.

  33. Also before I got a chance to see this, I bought a "Starter Set" from the Walmart express line yesterday. It caught my eye because it had 2 decks and 2 Dice. For $10, so I got it. The video makes no mention of "Starter Set" but it seems very similar to the Quick Start decks you describe (except mine was not free and came with die, each deck had 1 rare card and an instruction manual/preshuffled game for you to read/play/walkthrough). Have you heard of the Starter Sets and are they worth buying for a new player?

  34. what is considered a card store? the only thing i can think of around where i live is gamestop do they have cards there?

  35. Sucks to be in a country where there aren't any Card Stores and not many people play TCG… T^T

    They don't even sell real cards… The only way I can get them is buy them online…

  36. i wish where i lived had mtg players no shops nothing here and i know no one that plays it

  37. This is just what I am looking for, I have done a few games of draft with friends so I know HOW to play I just need to know where to get started for my own collection

  38. As someone who just brought Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2014 on PS3, I'd advise against this now – The boss of the tutorial is so hard I can't even start the actual campaign. Apparently this is due to them ramping up the difficulty to get you to buy the DLC card packs.

    Instead theres a free Trial version which runs you through the 5 initial tutorials, I found this vey goo to learn the absolute basics.

  39. Started playing 2 days ago with my roommate, girlfriend asked me to teach her to play just a couple of hours ago.

  40. Very informative and welcoming towards beginners. 5/5 would watch again!

  41. Is this game good for new players??? Is magic 2014 better for new people getting into magic? Also it good pr as active for people who wants to play the modern format?

  42. Literally just THOUGHT of this. Didn't say it out loud, didn't mention to anyone, and I'm at work. Wtf Google.

  43. Also, think you could do a remake of this video? It's be really neat to hear how to begin again 4 years later. Haha

  44. You should re-create / update this video Prof. It's a great concept and with the changes in Arena it's very relevant. -mM

  45. yeah…for people who dont live with gamestores nearby this video is really useless

  46. Hello, I am new to the magic community and your videos have helped me not only learn how the game is played but has fueled my interest! Thank you so much!

  47. Thanks for this. I played when I was really young like 6-9. I'm 32 now, and need informative info like this to get back into the swing of things so, once again thank you!
    Also I bought my GF a pre built deck. She has yet to use it (she says she is getting to learn the mechanics of it first😰). Tho she played longer than I did back when she was young so I don't want to get stomped to badly!

  48. what the hell? all this as an introduction to Magic? Well, it is 2019 now, so probably is different?

  49. Hi, this was your advice four years ago, has your opinion changed? In particular, do you still recommend Duels of the Plainswalkers 2014?

  50. i hate fridaynight magic :/ i’m never able to play there since i work on weekends πŸ™ #feelsbadman

  51. Woah woah woah woah woah

    1:52 I have to make friends. Nevermind magic isn't for me

  52. I'm scared of doing a draft at my local game shop because I would have to read cards and I'd be too slow at picking

  53. What is the best planeswalkers for if you're starting in 2019?

  54. 5 years in the future- would you still recommend Duels 2014 or are some of the newer platforms better? Now we have magic arena as well as my favorite Magic: The Gathering (1997).

  55. Just found this video, and laughed just started playing and got my wife hooked

  56. at my game store you pay $5 every Saturday and for every game you play you get 1 signature = $0.25 to there foil collection

  57. I'm lucky enough to be friends with a competant magic player. Dude even bases his d&d universes off'f magic lore. I've slowly come around to this!

  58. I have been playing on and off since late 90's. I got back into recently due to commander (EDH) with some friends on a camping trip. So watching these video's are helping me get the rust off. I really need to find a MTG shop that could supply me with all the free stuff beginner decks so I could play with some net players and not feel ashamed. Keep up the great work….

  59. My hot Goth FiancΓ©e actually got me into playing Magic: the gathering

  60. I' did not forget how to play! '!?'…….."who" changed the words? Β¬.^

  61. Please answer!
    I have 3 plainswalkers and one booster what are you recommended to buy to build a deck please answer its really important! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love your channel πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“!!!!!!!!

  62. What if i don't have a local game store? What if the nearest shop with magic related producrs is 20 min drive away from me?

  63. I think MTG Arena is better than duels of the Planeswalkers just because it is free.

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