How I got into playing Magic: The Gathering by Josh Bloomfield

How I got into playing Magic: The Gathering by Josh Bloomfield


Ha-ha, I would never do something like that. That is just for geeks with no lives.’ I said this many times before as I look around game stores and spot Magic: The Gathering cards. Now a few months later I find myself engrossed into the mystical world of Magic. I can’t really talk much about how to play or what to do in Magic. But I can tell you my story how I got into it.

It started last month, school had ended and I found myself with too much time with nothing to do… talking on Skype and lurking websites 24/7.  I was chatting with a few friends online and we came to the subject of games on steam, as recently TF2 became free. We browsed the store for possible games we could play, something multiplayer, first-person shooter or tactical. A few games caught our interest but not enough that we’d buy it and play it. Then someone spotted Duels of the Planeswalkers. So we thought lets download the demo and see what it’s like. This was my first step into MTG. We played a few games and soon found out that we had spent approximately 2 hours playing this “stupid” game. A couple of friends thought it was good enough to buy it, so they did; I did not as I did not have any money for it.

A few days passed and as I logged onto Steam I would see so-and-so ‘In-Game’, playing DOTP. Our Skype conversations would gradually change topic to cards they use in the game and what tactics they use, this did not really interest me as I never really liked the idea of card games. I asked if they knew this is a game based on a card game, they did. Apparently 2 of them play Magic regularly and have large collections of cards and decks. I wondered whether to buy some cards and see what it was like but I refused and continued playing many other games.

It was a Monday I got the invitation, to come and play MTG at a friend’s house. I accepted as at the time I was absolutely bored and had nothing planned for the day, or the week or practically the whole month. So I went to visit their house and saw my friends sitting playing this card game. I did not expect to find myself in this situation, playing a card game. I was given a deck to play with and started to look through it, stopping occasionally and asking what that means or would that destroy that etc. This started my interest into Magic, or addiction whatever you want to call it. By the end of the day I felt like I was a well experienced player and could do this for a while.

I researched online to find out how to get cards and where to get them from, how to build decks and how to play. I found a local game store that stocked Magic cards. So my friends and I organised a visit down there. I arrived and found my friends towards the back surrounding the shelf that contained the treasure. They had bags of cards they just bought and boxes from other times.

I spoke with the shop owner who signed me up to MTG and gave me a free red starter deck, Mountains, and a few others cards I don’t remember. At last I owned some! I thought 30 is not enough; following advice from websites and that I had to think of what I want my deck to do. I just wanted to deal damage and win. So I bought a New Phyrexia RB intro deck, goblins, fire and a foil, oh how I wanted foils. We then stood around looking at each other’s cards, some trading and others bragging. We ended up spending around 2-3 hours in the shop looking at cards. We dispersed eventually going home and recording the cards we got onto Excel databases. I spent that evening watching the unboxing of booster boxes, fat packs and more.

After more conversations about Magic over Skype, we decided we needed to play a few games to test our decks. So we organised another visit down to the store to play a few games in the games room. We brought ourselves into the dimness of the basement, yes a basement of all the places. It smelled of spray paint and glue, must have been the Warhammer Scene down there as well. We decided who would be playing who and where we were sitting. I felt pretty confident with my deck I built it from all 105 I owned, some sort of goblin overhaul.

I faced my friend and his Eldrazi deck; this did not faze me as I knew nothing about what that deck was capable of. We started off okay except for me being mana starved. Then he started the real play. I was soon swarmed with 10’s of Eldrazi swarms every time increasing PT. I soon was lowered to 1 health in no time with him gaining health from lifelink. I think the final life was -28 and 27. I lost, I realised how weak my deck was.

I went on to play a sister of one of my friends. Ha-ha an easily defeat able enemy. I had a good hand to start with, with her being mana starved. I brought out my goblins and instants, bringing her life low. Suddenly the tables turned, she brought out several flying 4/4 monsters, and I had no way of killing them, and just took the damage. We soon had equal life, with me clinging onto creatures and instants. I soon brought out the lava axes and slayed the monster in front of me, (no children were harmed). I was happy that I beat someone, even if it was a small child!

We were told by the owner that we had a few minutes left before the stores would close; we were there for over 5 hours. My gosh I had enjoyed my time!

A few more games at people’s homes and more buying and trading, I ended with a fairly good deck that could defeat many creatures that would come before me. We decided to play in a tournament, and see exactly what we can do. So we looked at the events the store held and decided to go to the launch tournament for M12.

I arrived at the pub where we would be playing and found my friends in the back room. There were more people than I expected and people I wouldn’t have expected to have played Magic: The Gathering. I bought a couple of decks and boosters and made last minute edits to my deck. We put down out names onto the system and soon were paired up with others.

I faced a quiet person, with a UW deck. Starting hand 2 mana, I took mulligan hoping for more mana, 2 again. ARGH! I didn’t take more risk and continued, gradually adding land and dealing damage to his life. I was happy, I was winning! He would bring creatures onto play, and then I would destroy them with my instants and enchantments. Then the life gain and flying were brought out. He had me down to zero health in no time. Second round went in my favour with the damage being dealt, but again he brought out many good cards that would cripple me. 0 – 2, a loss.

Second match brought me to face a friend and his newly built RU deck. I had a good hand with lots of land a powerful spells. And again I would deal damage early game, and bringing a 6/6 flying onto the field, which granted me to search my library for a card I wanted. I pulled out another instant that would destroy a creature. Again more life taken from him. He then attacked and sacrificed a creature to kill my 6/6. But I didn’t lose hope; I cast Morbid Plunder and brought the Rune-Scarred Demon back into my hand, another chance to deal more damage to him. But it was too late he was dealing too much damage and I soon ended up with no creatures available to play. I soon ended up dead. The next round went a similar way, I dealt large damage to start but late game I would end up dead. Once more 0 – 2, a loss.

My next match faced another friend she had recently started and still unsure about how to play, aha I could win this and bring my rating up. Her first hand was mana starved, and lacked creatures or damage. I brought out my Goblin Fireslinger knowing it would deal constant damage each turn. Soon she ended up with low health at which I attacked with instants such as Geth’s Verdict. I had won at last! The next game we had equal hands both with creatures and land. I didn’t bring out many creatures as I was expecting a sudden attack where I would counter with instants. I was at around 15 life when I decided to take action. My 6/6 flying was brought out alone with another 6/6 flying lifelink. Soon her health lowered until it was gone. 2 – 0, A WIN!!

Final match an experienced player who held a high rank in the local tables. First game, I could see his opening hand was not going to work for him; he hinted that nothing was able to be cast. I knew I needed to do damage fast. I brought out many 1/1 creatures and instants lowering his health below 10. The one thing I enjoyed about my deck was that it would destroy enemy cards without needing creatures to deal combat damage. Any card he would play, I would counter. Soon I ended up with a 1 – 0 lead. Next round started the same, he didn’t seem to have land and I would bring out my little creatures onto the battlefield. But he had planned this, he would enchant my creatures until they were unable to attack or block. I soon came to low health and he would gain much more. It was inevitable, I would lose. 1 – 1, a draw. The last round determined who would take this games win. His face lit up at the draw as I was mana starved. It went upside down for me; I had powerful cards but no mana to cast them with. I was losing health fast. Any move I made would be no use at all. I had soon lost. 1 – 2.

As all the games finished we could now see who had won the tournament, perhaps the person who won last time. Reverse order of the results. ‘In 21st place… Me’ I came last! I was shocked, how could I lose with 3 rounds won, surely there was someone with less wins than me. But still I was a few weeks into MTG and still learning. We were given our promo cards, Garruk’s Horde. And we left I stayed up until 11 o’clock at night playing a game a few months ago I said I would never play.

So here I am the day after writing this up. Perhaps to feel better and understand that I am a newbie when it comes to MTG but still I can get better.

Oh Magic, you are Magic!


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