Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well I'm going to take a forced break of my blog. Going to algarve on holidays and not sure if I gonna have the internet connection or the time to keep posting so see you all when I come back to Braga.

Stay well

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Basics Part 5

Magic the Gathering is turn-based game. You start your turn, when it ends the opponent's turn starts and so on.
In most card games the turn is simply composed of you playing a card. In magic the turn is a lot more complex.
In this post I gonna explain the different phases of a magic turn and what you must/can do in each of them.

There are 5 phases in a magic turn: Beginning phase, First Main phase, Combat phase, Second Main phase, End phase. 

Beginning Phase

The Beginning Phase has three steps.
The untap step: You untap all your tapped permanents (lands, creatures, etc).
The upkeep step: This step exist only for the cards that have "In the beginning of your upkeep ...." to take their effect.
The draw step: You draw a card from your deck. 

First Main Phase

There are two main phases, the first is before the combat phase and the second is after. What you can do is equal in both.
This is the phase where you play your cards. Creatures, lands, sorceries, artifacts can only be played in your main phase.
your opponent can only play instants because is not their main phase.
This is also the phase where you can play a land card, but only one per turn don't forget. 

Combat Phase

This phase has five steps.
The beginning of combat step: This is like the upkeep step, it only happens something if a card says it. It's also the last chance to do something (like playing a instant to destroy your opponents creature) before the attackers are declared.
The declare attackers step: The attacking player chooses which creatures are going to attack and what is the target of them (it can attack the player or a planeswalker that player controls for example). The player show their decision by tapping the attacking creatures and put them closer to the center of the table, this is mainly for the opponent see what creatures are attacking easily.
The declare blockers step: The defending player decides which of his creatures are going to block which of the attacking creatures. Every attacking creature that is not blocked will do their damage directly to the player (or planeswalker).
The damage step: In this phase every creature deals it's damage. Creatures that are dealt more damage than it's toughness go to the graveyard, and the life points of the players that takes damage are actualized. All damage occurs at the same time in this phase.
The end of combat step: Another step alike the upkeep step, nothing happens unless someone plays a instant or some card says that at the end of combat something happens. 

Second Main Phase

This is equal to the first main phase, except that you can only play a land in this phase if you haven't played one already in the first main phase. 

End Phase

This phase is divided in two steps.
The end step: This is another step like the upkeep step, only if a card says "In the end step..." something happens. It's also the last chance to either player play a instant.
The cleanup step: First thing in this step is to check if the active player (the player this turn belongs) has more than seven cards in hand. If that is true he must discard cards until he has only seven in hand.
After this all damage heals from creatures and all effects that last until the end of turn finish.

And after this it's the opponents turn and all phases start from beginning.

Most of the basics you need to know to play magic are covered now in the Basics series of posts. The following posts of this series will explain better some concepts that are important but more complicated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Basics Part 4

Magic the Gathering is a card game, so let's talk about the cards.

There are seven main types of card. It's very important to know the differences between them because the type of card gives you many informations about that card.

The types are:

Sorcery: You can only cast sorceries in the main phase of your turn. You follow it's instructions and then it goes to the graveyard. A sorceries never gets to the battlefield, it has is effect and goes directly to the graveyard.


Instant: This are the only cards that can be played every time you want, even in the opponents turn. They can also be played in response to other cards (I gonna explain this better when I talk about the stack in another post). Besides this they act like the sorceries, you follow the instructions and then put the card in the graveyard.

Enchantment: An enchantment is a permanent, this means that when you play one of this you put it on the battlefield and it stays there until destroyed. You can only cast this when you could cast a sorcery.

There are a special type of enchantment called Aura. This is a enchantment that enters the battlefield attached to another permanent (most of the times a creature) and affects that permanent. When the permanent the aura is attached leaves the battlefield the aura is put on the graveyard.

Artifact: Artifacts are relics that come to the battlefield and stay there, so they are also permanents. Most artifacts are colorless so you can play them with mana of any color.


Then there are equipments. This are a special type of artifact that can be attached to another permanent. They enter the battlefield unattached and when the permanent they are attached dies they don't go to the graveyard like the auras, they simply stay in the battlefield unattached.


Creatures: Creatures are permanents but are the only ones that can attack and block. Each creature has power and toughness. Its power (the first number in the box on the lower right corner) is the damage that creature does to other creatures. The toughness (the second number in that box) is the damage you need to do, in a single turn, to kill that creature.
Creature are also the only cards that enter the battlefield with summoning sickness, this prevents the creature from attacking and tapping in the turn it enters the battlefield.
There are creatures that are also artifacts, this are artifact creatures and can be affected by anything that can affect creatures or artifacts.

Planeswalker: Some of you are thinking "You said that I was the planeswalker, how can I play planeswalkers??". This cards are like friends you call to help you in your fight. They enter the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on them (the number on the lower right corner) and have abilities that can make then gain or lose counters. You can only use one ability of the same planeswalker per turn and only if they have enough counters (in case the ability removes some of them).
The planeswalker functions like a player in the way that your opponent can choose to attack it instead of you. When your planeswalker takes damage it looses that much loyalty counters, if the counters get to zero the planeswalker goes to the graveyard.
I gonna explain the planeswalker better in a future post.

Land: Lands are the only card that aren't played as spells. This means that when you play a land there is nothing your opponent can do in response to you playing the land. Also, you can only play one land per turn and only in the main phase of your turn.
I already mentioned in the post about mana that lands are used to produce mana. There are five basic lands that only produce mana from their color and do nothing more, but besides those there are lots of non-basic lands that can do other things while still producing mana.

This board resumes the proprieties of the various types of card.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Basics Part 3

You already know somethings about magic the gathering, in this post I gonna explain the zones of the game and also the parts of a magic card.

There are 6 main zones in a magic the gathering game, they are:

-> The Library: In the beginning of the game your deck becomes your library. It stays face down to the side of the battlefield. You can't look at the cards in your library or change their order.

-> The Hand: The hand is the place that you put the cards you draw, each player can only see their own hand. The cards in your hand are the ones you can play in that moment.

-> The Battlefield: This is the zone where the battle happens. Every permanent card goes to the battlefield when it's played and stays there until something makes it go away. You can arrange your cards in the battlefield every way you want but your opponent must be able to see them all and tell when they are tapped.

-> The Graveyard: This is your discard pile. Your instant and sorceries go here after they resolve. Also every card that his discarded, destroyed, sacrificed, countered, or put there by an effect goes to the graveyard. Your creatures go to the graveyard if they take more damage than what they can withstand in a turn. Your graveyard is always face-up and everyone can look at your graveyard at any time.

-> The Stack: This is where your spells and abilities go when you play them. They stay there until they resolve. I gonna explain the stack better in another post.

-> The Exile: This is the out-of-game zone. Every card that is exiled goes to the exile zone and stays there until the end of the game unless the effect that put it there can bring her back. When a card is exiled it functions like if it never was in the game.

This was a brief explication of the various zones of a magic game and their purpose.
Now I gonna show you a magic card and explain the parts of a card.

Remember that not every card has all of this parts. Power and Toughness is only for creature cards for example.

Next post will be about the card types and the differences between them.