Fantasy game takes strategy

It must be Magic: The Gathering

Children find Magic: The Gathering exciting to play because they use mana, or power, to cast spells. It’s fun and challenging to build decks. It’s better than other card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh. With simple game play and cheap cards, children and adults can become addicted to the game.

“I got into Magic when my friend and I had a sleepover,” said Jack Hearnen, Quail Run School fifth-grader. “My friend showed me how to play and taught me about the cards. They were awesome. Magic: The Gathering is contagious. Jack Hearnen hooked me; I hooked Harrison Helmick, and then we played at indoor recess at school and basically all the boys in the fifth grade play now. That’s how great the game is.”

Richard Garfield invented Magic: The Gathering in 1993. He met up with Peter Adkison, founder of Wizards of the Coast, and Magic the Gathering was created. It was an instant success and is currently the top-selling card game. They have made 44 expansions since the first set. Alpha was the name of the first set that began MTG.

How to play

There are five kinds of land cards: Mountain, Island, Plains, Forest and Swamp. In the beginning of the game, players draw seven cards from their library (deck) and put them into their hands. Players start off with 20 life units. To win the game, players must drain all their opponents’ life units.

During each player’s turn there are five phases: untap, draw, main, combat and another main phase. Once players complete a phase, they go into the next phase.

Draw Phase: Each turn starts with the upkeep, a fancy name for the beginning of the turn. The player whose turn it is draws a card. The player who goes first gives up drawing a card.

Main Phase: If a player has a land card in hand, the player places it in the playing field because mana is needed to pay for creatures and such. The mana cost is how much you pay to put a card in play. If enough mana is available to pay for creatures, artifacts, instants, sorceries and other kinds of cards, they may be played in this phase. To demonstrate a card’s ability has been used, the player taps it (tapping is when you turn a card sideways to indicate that you have used its mana or ability). If a player plays an instant or sorcery, it goes into their graveyard after they use its ability. Cards that stay in play are called permanents. Instants can be played during your opponents’ turns. Sorceries, creatures and artifacts have to be played during your main phase. If you play a creature card, you cannot attack or use its ability on the turn you played it.

Combat Phase: This is when players can attack an opponent with their creatures. A player can choose not to attack. If players decide to attack, they choose which creatures to attack with. That player then taps them. The player’s opponent probably has creatures on the field that he can block the attacking player with. He chooses which creatures to fend off the attack with. Or he may decide not to block. The defending player puts the defensive creatures on the attackers (if the player blocks). Then players look at the attacking power on offensive creatures and on defensive creatures. Creatures are destroyed if an opposing creature has an attack power greater or equal to a creature’s toughness. An attacking creature can only do combat damage to the defending creature that was paired to it and vise versa. If a creature is destroyed, then it goes to the graveyard.

Main Phase: Similar to the first, the players have one before and one after the Combat Phase.

This cycle continues until a player drains the other player’s life or a player runs out of cards to draw from. If a player runs out of cards, he loses.

Save your allowance

The boosters sell for $3-3.50. In each booster, you get 15 cards, including about nine-10 commons, four-five uncommons and one rare. The rareness is indicated by commons (black), uncommons (silver) and rare (gold) inside the expansion symbol. You can buy Theme Decks that have 60 cards and a strategy guide for the deck for $10. Fat Packs contain six boosters and an MTG novel. Those sell for about $25.

“It’s what we’ve been waiting for. It’s a trading card game and a playing card game where you can get the cards easily. It’s fun looking for the cards for my deck and then playing with them. It’s definitely the best,” said Marshall Rawley, a fifth-grader at Quail Run.

Some card abilities (taken from the card):Haste: The creature can attack the turn it comes into play.Provoke: When your creature attacks, you may have a target creature that defending player controls untap and block if able.Flying: This creature can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying abilities.First Strike: This card deals its damage before the other creatures.Double Strike: This creature deals both first strike and double strike damage.Fear: This creature can’t be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.Threshold: You have threshold as long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard.Morph: You may play this card down as a 2/2 creature for three colorless mana.Landwalk: This creature is unblockable as long as a defending player controls a type of land (It will indicate which type on the card).Amplify: As this card comes into play, a +1/+1 counter on it for each type of creature card you reveal in your hand.Landcycling: Discard this card from your hand; search your library for a mountain card, reveal it and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.Cycling: Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.Fading: This enchantment comes into play with one fade encounter on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can’t, sacrifice it.Flashback: You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.Storm: When you play this spell, copy it for each spell played before it this turn. You may choose new targets for the copies.Entwine: Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.Imprint: When this card comes into play, you may remove target card in the graveyard from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this card.)Equip: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcerer. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.