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Magic - Basic Rules

The idea:

You are a wizard, or as you prefer to be called, a plainswalker. Your reign is the world of Dominia, but you are not alone; other plainswalkers lie in an eternal struggle with you for the complete power over this world full of wonders.
To fight the others you summon creatures to fight mighty battles for you; you invent artifacts to help those creatures, to heal damage or to do some nasty effect on your opponent; you cast spells to inflict direct damage to your opponent or to keep him from doing the same to you; you enchant the match to bend the rules.
This is a complex challenge and only the best plainswalker will finally survive.

Playing principles

Note: I will describe the rules as if you are playing against one opponent. The rules can easily be expanded to work for multiplayer games.

You and your opponent sit down. Each one of you has his own pile of Magic cards; this pile is called the deck. A deck contains at least 60 cards. There is no maximal number of cards, but you'll see later why most players play with 60-65 cards instead of putting all their cards together.
Every player has 20 life points. It doesn't matter how you keep track about them, you may just remember them, write them down, use dices to show them or use a number of stones to memorize them.
When the game starts, every player draws seven cards.
The players must draw one card per turn, starting from the very first turn. Each player can cast spells while it is his or her turn. Some spells can even be cast while it is the other player's turn.
The game has four areas:

At the end of each player's turn one must not have more than seven cards, so if one has more than that, he or she has to discard down to seven which means to put the cards face up onto your graveyard.

End of the game:

A game can be lost in the following ways:
  1. a player has 0 or less lifepoints
  2. a player can not draw (his/her library is empty)
  3. a player has ten or more poison counters (we'll see about that later)

What has a card to say?

A card has several things to say.
Starting in the top left corner we have the name of this card. It is used to uniquely identify that card but has no further meaning.

In the top right corner we find the casting cost of a spell. Lands do not have a casting cost. See extra section for details.

The most decorative element you'll find below: filling almost half the card is the artwork, a picture featuring this cards theme. Usually you should be able to see a connection between a card's title and it's picture, e.g. if the card is a creature the pict should usually show that creature. The picture has no playtechnical relevance.

The line below the picture is very important, it classifies the type of the spell. This is discussed in the nect section.

The text area in the lower half displays some text to explain the cards capabilities. Anyhow, there are some cards that do not need any special explanation. Instead of leaving that area blank it then usually features a flavour text, some text with no playtechnical relevance. It's only purpose is to enrich the games atmosphere by a neat comment to that card. You can identify flavour text as it is printed italicized.

The last line features the artist's name on the left and the creatures power and toughness on the right. If that card is not a creature this space is left blank.

Different card types

As said above the card type can be determined by the line below the picture. The different types are:


You may have noticed that some cards have different bordercolors. Take a Magic card. Turn it around. There you can see the five different colors of Magic: "But wait, not every card has one of these colors!" You are right, there are some exceptions: ... which brings us to:

Casting costs

As mentioned above you can determine a spell's casting cost (a spell is every card except lands and is only considered a spell until it is successfully cast that means unless it is not countered) by looking at the top right corner of a card.
Normal, colored cards have one or more strange symbols and often a number in a circle. The symbol alway represents mana from the card's color, which means a red card needs red mana to be cast.

The correct reading goes something like this: