Getting Started

magic the gathering standard

Magic the Gathering is a fun and creative card game. It’s also a game that requires a fair bit of knowledge and can rely upon combinations of cards that take years to understand. Thus, many people find it a bit frustrating to get started when they play with their friends or try and get involved at their local shop. Adding to this confusion, is the number of different options to choose from. These include: Legacy, Standard, Commander, and more. Each of these options represents a different type of play, different cards, and even different rules.

For people who are just starting out with Magic The Gathering, trying to figure out where to start and learning about the different styles can be more than a little daunting. Thankfully, the game is laid out in such a way that allows new people to join and understand things rather quickly. This starting format is known as Magic The Gathering Standard. This is the format that most people new to the game should play.

Magic The Gathering Standard

getting started

When you start with Magic The Gathering Standard, you can walk into a store, buy one of the pre-made decks of cards, and start to play. Booster drafts, Sealed Decks, and others are all made for play in Standard. This is easy to do because Standard Edition only allows you to play with a few sets and a limited number of Magic The Gathering cards. There are not thousands of cards to choose from. This means you can concentrate on building your knowledge of the cards and the game and not be chasing down the perfect cards.

The more limited format that comprises Magic The Gathering Standard also makes it easy to leave and to return to the game at different times. You don’t need to worry about all the things you have forgotten; you just need to learn the current set and make sure that you understand what you are doing when you are playing. This lack of commitment makes it much easier to play as a casual gamer and return to the game when it interests you. For those who worry about Magic The Gathering being a high time commitment game, this can come as a relief.

magic the gathering is always changing

Every year, Magic The Gathering releases new sets. They generally release a ‘core set’ and then five to seven additional sets. These sets are rotated every fall, with the newest sets making up the Standard rotation. This means that the game changes every year, and that new cards are always being added. Magic The Gathering releases occur every quarter. Some Magic The Gathering decks have more than one release, such as Innistrad, which usually has a vampire release and a werewolf release.

This constant changing makes it impossible for long term players to memorize all the cards, decks, and combinations which would make for an unfair advantage. This constant addition of new cards and sets allows the beginner to jump in and get up to speed without feeling overwhelmed or at a disadvantage.

The constant changes makes it more important to be a good player than it does to memorize cards. When you play in Magic The Gathering Standard, your fate is determined not just by the cards you draw, but how well you know how to work with the new cards. Many tournaments will have their contestants open booster packs and create a deck. This evens the playing field and provides a much more interesting Magic The Gaming Arena.

MTG Theros

knowledge gained will apply to other magic the gaming arenas

Magic The Gathering Standard makes you focus on the game and the rules. You learn how to work with different combinations and colors and how to get out of situations quickly. The other formats are just an expansion on Magic The Gathering Standard teaching you how to apply your skills to different cards, decks, and arenas. Once you know how to fight a vampire in Magic The Gathering Standard, you will understand how to fight a vampire in Magic The Gathering Legacy. That’s because even though different groupings of cards have different mythologies, they will generally behave the same in the different Magic The Gathering formats.

MTG Zendikar

magic the gathering 'skill guides'

The quickly changing nature and limited number of cards in Magic The Gathering Standard, make it easy to produce a ‘Skill Guide’. The Skill Guides can discuss in detail different cards, combinations of cards, playing the cards and other aspects of the game in detail. This allows other players to learn from these guides and use it in their play. Many players who love Magic The Gathering and want to share their knowledge, produce these guides. This makes it easy for new players to not just learn how to play, but how to understand the gameplay. Many of these Skill guides are full walk-through guides; letting players know not just how cards are played, but also why and how they could be played differently.

The large number of guides available also makes it easy to come up with your own strategy. The thought process behind the decisions people make with their own cards can be helpful to understanding how to defeat the vast majority of people who are using the same guides and tutorials.

MTG Core

meet new players and friends

Finally, when you play Magic The Gathering Standard, you are more likely to meet new people. People who play the other versions of Magic tend to have been playing for a long time and will often have rather tight-knit friends and groups. While this is great when you are included, it can be frustrating when you are just trying to learn. Standard on the other hand is quite welcoming to new people and the events are often set up to allow lots of explanation and an overall exchanging of knowledge. If you are looking at Magic The Gathering as a new way to make friends, the Standard format is going to be the one to best to achieve that goal.

Magic The Gathering Sets

Overall, the Magic The Gathering Standard format is the one that most people should start with before branching out. It’s the easiest way to get into the game, has the lowest investment, and makes it easy to make new friends and learn new skills.