Adding to My Nerd Resume with Magic the Gathering

Attempting to bolster my nerd cred past 20 mere years of TV, movies and video games, I sometimes go to some strange places. Like sitting down to learn how to play Magic the Gathering at 24 years old.

How did I miss it growing up, despite legions of friends who were hooked on the game? In my media-restricted household, Magic cards were deemed far too demonic for me, and so I was forever resigned to Pokemon cards instead, which probably cost me a grand in allowance money, and I never actually learned how to really play that game either.

But recently my friends and I were having a nostalgic chat about Magic, and they both said that they had their old cards around and we should play some time. My roommate specifically went a step above and beyond and went out and bought starter decks so he might better teach  me. Adorable.

So I’m happy to report that I’ve survived my first few games of Magic, and I really did enjoy the results. Demonic pictures aside, I think this could have been a really useful exercise for young kids, teaching them strategy and vocabulary words like “pacifism” and “dismemberment.”

What? Just your average hot bloodthirsty demonic witch doctor.

The game largely seemed like luck to me, especially when I was used a pre-made starter deck where I didn’t even have any input. It seemed one game would have one player getting all mana, and no cards to spend the mana on, or conversely a bunch of awesome creatures with no way of getting them out on the battlefield.

But then are there are close the games that I found quite exciting. I found myself staring at my cards for a long while, mapping out my moves to see if I could possible survive the next attack. I had one life, and I could block all of the incoming attacks but one, even if I had a card that allowed me to search through my entire deck to find something to play.

I played with blue, red and black cards, pardon if I don’t know the official names. I liked hunting through my deck with the many different blue cards that allowed that, though I like the destructive powers of black cards. However, I got screwed over by white many a time as they would silence my most powerful creatures with BS peace-loving spells.

It’s a fun game, and definitely something I could see playing more of in the future as a lazy past time with friends. There are only so many bars you can really go to after all, right?

Anyway, any advice you veteran players could give me would be appreciated. Which types of decks are usually the best or most fun color-wise? How do you go about building your own deck and knowing what to put into it? What are general strategy tips you might have?