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Brad Nicholson avatar 11:14 AM on 08.30.2008  (server time)
Magic: 60 card decks are huge

If you’ve been following me thus far (and you totally should) you know that I’ve learned a few things about Magic: The Gathering. The first thing that I learned is that the game is fun to play. The second thing is that it can be really hard to convince an unwilling partner to play. The third thing I learned is how disastrous your first few games of Magic can be when you’re not familiar with the jargon or the rules.

I want to change the narrative flow of this column to a degree. The last time I spoke Magic, I mentioned that my partner and I were moving up to 60-card Eventide themed decks after learning some rookie pointers at Magic’s official website. I’ll still talk about that experience, but I want to break this apart into individual experiences that will impact me to my eventual goal of understanding the game perfectly and competing well in Wizard’s Xbox Live Arcade offering.

Now, I shall digress. Over the last few nights, my partner and I cracked open two Eventide decks. I grabbed the “Death March” deck, which is a Black/Green hybrid. The point of the deck is to continually regenerate your lesser creatures while waiting for an opportunity to toss out Doomgape, a 10/10 behemoth with Trample equipped. My partner used “Life Drain,” which is a White/Black hybrid. The point of that deck is to control the life points of an opponent while buffering your own. Both decks are wildly different, and we had a few awesome matches.

In the end, I was consistently the victor. Our first match took roughly twenty minutes, because we kept stumbling over blocking and flying rules. I blame videogame role-playing games, but I wanted to attack the creatures as opposed to the player. Also, we were consistently unclear as to how counterspells worked. After a few stumbles and a few searches on the Internet, I believe we worked through the game well. Unfortunately, I was never able to draw Doomgape.

I have a few questions to ask of you guys that know the game better than I:

How long do matches last? Is it typical that a larger card like Doomgate doesn’t get drawn?

Is the cap 60 cards? How many do the professionals use?

Am I becoming a loser?

I wish I can say more about the experience, but it’s hard to describe. We both had fun and found the game to be a better experience on this larger scale. I think we’re both surprised that matches went so quickly and that we weren’t able to see the vast majority of the cards in our decks. I find the sorcery and enchantment cards to be incredibly useful and add that extra “zing” to the game.

Next time I talk Magic: The Gathering I will talk about my first experience at an official Magic card retailer in my hometown. Wish me luck guys, because I’m afraid.

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