Fantasy/Collectible Card Game

Magic: The Gathering - More Than Just a Game

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Reviewed by Jon Minners


     Two old-timers sit in the park, staring intently at one another, thinking of their next move knowing that it could be their last.  Sweat forms on one old man’s head as he moves his rook across the board, holding the chess piece tightly, before looking around at each possible move his opponent could make in response.  Satisfied that there is no such counterattack, the old man lets go of the piece, sits back in his chair triumphantly and proudly proclaims, “Checkmate.”  

     Across the street, at the local library, two kids stare at one another just as intently as their elderly counterparts.  They play a similar game, but one that is also quite different.  Using cards, their pieces are angels, demons, goblins, elves and a number of mythological creatures found in books and movies.  Similar to chess, these two youths must strategize, thinking several moves ahead, guessing their opponent’s strategy in hopes of pulling off the victory.  Unlike chess, the winner is not the one who captures his opponent’s king.  In fact, much like a video game, the object of this collectible card game is to deplete an opponent’s health meter to 0. 

     The score right now is 5 to 3, and the healthier opponent is about to make a move that will win him the game.  Looking confidently across the table, he declares an attack (more on game play mechanics later), using a dragon creature that will bring his opponent’s life total from 3 to -2.  He sits back confidently in his chair, believing himself to be the victor, but his opponent is allowed a response, and unlike chess, that response is unknown.  Hoping to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, the victim looks through several cards in his hand, and then smiles before playing a card called Delirium.  It’s a spell card that essentially prevents the damage delivered by the attacking creature, and instead re-directs it to its master.  There is no response, and instead of dropping from 3 to -2, his opponent actually sees his score drops from 5 to 0.  Surprise!  Suddenly, the tide of the game has changed, and the loser actually becomes the winner in a matter of seconds. 

     Imagine reversing a checkmate into a win.  In Magic: The Gathering, anything is possible and in over 16 years, Wizards of the Coast’s classic collectible card game has provided that type of excitement for players worldwide.  And it just gets better with age.     

 Let the Links Guide You:  

     History            Game Mechanics            Colors            Divine vs. Demonic            Shards of Alara 

        Other Magic Options            Benefits of Magic          

The History

     Magic: The Gathering was created by mathematics professor Richard Garfield under its original title, Mana Clash.  However, the game would have never come to be had Garfield not failed to sell Wizards of the Coast on a board game he had been developing called RoboRally.  Board games, notorious for their expensive production costs, were not a favorable venture, but Garfield’s ideas were looked upon favorably, allowing the Whitman College professor another opportunity to meet Wizards of the Coast’s need for a portable game that could be played in the downtime during gaming and comic book conventions.  Garfield returned with a prototype for Mana Clash, a game he had been working on, on and off, for several years.  Peter Adkison, then CEO of Wizards of the Coast, believed in the game, leading the company to market it under the title Magic: The Gathering on August 5, 1993. 

     Role-playing gamers, who had enjoyed playing such games as Dungeons & Dragons, enjoyed the game, but Magic: The Gathering became a bigger hit among the strategy gamers, leading to instant commercial success.  Since the initial offering, Magic: The Gathering continued to release several expansion packs throughout the years (approximately four a year), featuring various themes that introduced new elements into the game play.  As more gamers took to the strategic fundamentals of Magic, a Pro Tour was created, providing the best Magic players an opportunity to compete in tournaments for cash prizes.  An online version was also created to provide players with more options in terms of new opponents and game options, all while giving the Magic’s fans a central location to meet and play. 

Game Mechanics

     Magic: The Gathering can be played by two or more players.  Multiplayer formats allow greater options, as three or more players compete until only one player remains.  Another option allows teams to play against one another.  Often times, players create their own formats with house rules, expanding upon the options made available through the original game format. 

     Players must create a deck out of various cards of various colors, including spells, creatures, enchantments, and land.  Some formats determine the amount of cards that must be included in the library, but for the most part decks can be as small as 40 cards and as large as strategically possible.  Decks are made through a variety of means.  Some pre-constructed decks are sold, while others create decks through starter sets, booster packs, individual card sales, and trades.  The fun of deck building is coming up with themes.  Some players create elf decks or goblin decks.  Some players create land destruction decks or a discard deck, which forces players to discard cards from their hand.  There are a myriad of options to choose from, resulting in a different game each time. 

     Players shuffle their decks and then draw 7 cards to start the game.  Players determine amongst themselves, either via dice or other method, who plays first.  The first player sets the pace of the game, usually playing land, which can be the most important tool to a successful game.  Land is necessary to "purchase" spells and creatures.  Tapping or turning a land to its side produces 1 mana, which is money to spend on a particular item, matching the color of the land tapped. For example, if an item costs 3 green mana and 2 colorless mana, a player must tap 3 forests (representing green) and 2 of any other land [forests, mountains (red), swamps (black), islands (blue), plains (white), colorless lands or multicolored lands].  Various creatures and artifacts also can produce mana, allowing players to increase the speed of their deck and get around the initial rule stating that only 1 land may be played each turn. 

     The object of the game is to bring your opponent from 20 points of life to zero. It is important to either build an army or have a cache of spells to defend yourself from other spells and creatures.  For example, a creature with 2/3 (offense/defense) has the ability to deal 2 damage (if it is dealt 3 or more damage, it dies and must be placed in the player’s graveyard, otherwise known as a discard pile).  If an opponent doesn’t have any creatures to block or any spells to thwart off the attack, the 2 damage goes through and is dealt to the opposing player.  Creatures can block one another, unless otherwise noted.  Creatures with flying cannot be blocked by land creatures, unless otherwise noted.  Spells can also deliver damage if cast.  There are enchantment cards that supplement creatures and players, adding to the fun and strategy of the game.  The game is turn-based with certain cards only playable on the caster’s turn, while others, called instants can be played at any time, either for offense or defense.    

     A list of rules, tutorial videos and more can be found at, but the Golden Rule of Magic states "Whenever a card's text directly contradicts the rules, the card takes precedence," meaning everything you thought you knew about the game can change in an instant. 


     There are five colors commonly associated with Magic: The Gathering, each with its own distinctive characteristics. 

     White: The color of Justice.  White spellcasters use superior tactics, efficient creatures, and the power of righteousness against their foes.  Players who use white benefit from healing damage and life gaining abilities. 

     Blue: The color of Wisdom.  Blue mages focus on using superior knowledge to gain control of a battle, and slowly gain the upper hand.  Players who use blue benefit from spells that counter/stop opponents’ spells from being played.  In addition, blue spells allow the user to draw extra cards at times. 

     Black: The color of Ambition.  Black sorcerers are willing to do whatever it takes to win a battle, even if it means sacrificing everything to do so.  Zombies, vampires, and other ungodly creatures with unearthly abilities are commonly associated with black.  Black creatures will deal damage to its own master if it means also dealing damage to an opponent.  Black spells also tend to force opponents to discard cards.  Land destruction is among some of this color’s other traits. 

     Red: The color of Chaos.  Red conjurers try to win as quickly and dramatically as possible, smashing and burning their way to a quick victory.  Quick direct damage spells are commonly associated with red.  Land destruction is commonly associated with red. 

     Green: the color of Nature.  Green shamans win duels through the brute force of mother nature, summoning giant creatures to squash their enemies.  Green creatures often generate mana quickly in an effort to bring out creatures fast and in groups.  These green creatures swarm opponents in such a way that it becomes difficult to keep up with the pace. 

Divine vs. Demonic

     Beginners tend to stick with one-color decks, making it easier to pick up the rules of the game and develop strategy.  Wizards of the Coast has made it easier for these players, releasing special pre-constructed decks, the most enjoyable of which are called Duel Decks, perfect for two beginners to do battle with enough rare cards and new artwork to keep experienced fans of Magic happy. 

     Coming off the heels of success from the previous two editions of Duel Decks (Elves vs. Goblins – red vs. green, and Jace vs. Chandra – blue vs. red), Wizards of the Coast explores an age-old rivalry between Angels and Demons with the release of Divine vs. Demonic (white vs. black). 

     Divine vs. Demonic comes with two ready-to-play 60-card decks that showcase some of the greatest cards from both the forces of light and darkness throughout Magic’s 16-plus year history.  The Duel Decks feature 10 rare cards and showcases seven cards with new artwork, including foil alternate-art versions of Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Lord of the Pit.  But for the true gamer, it is all about the battle, and Divine vs. Demonic delivers. 

     The two sets are well balanced with large, imposing creatures battling it out for both sides.  Both colors employ life gaining skills to keep the action fresh and provide a true back-and-forth battle that makes for an exciting game.   White enjoys more life-gaining options, but the Demonic deck counters this advantage with spells that also deplete an opponent’s

     While testing the decks, black won 6 battles out of 10.  In those 10 battles, white won 2 battles via a 20-0 shutout, while black took 1 game 16-0.  Those destructive demonstrations could be easily attributed to the luck of the draw or a bad shuffle.  Most battles were close with at least two battles going right down to the wire.  More often than not, the Demonic deck was able to overcome certain defeat via four game changers::

     Corrupt: This card deals damage equal to the number of swamps controlled by its caster, who gains life equal to the amount of damage dealt in this manner.  As the game hit the later stages, and more swamps came into play, a 10-2 advantage held by Divine was quickly erased, and turned into a 12-0 Demonic victory. 

     Consume Spirit: Similar to Corrupt, only black can be spent on this card.  It costs 1 black mana, 1 colorless mana, and X to play, where X is equal to the amount of mana you tap extra into the card.  Sounds like an algebra problem, but we’ll get to that later.  The amount used to satisfy the X quotient of the cost is the amount of damage dealt to an opponent or a creature in play (and yes, sometimes for strategy, you may want to destroy your own creature).  The caster of this spell gains life equal to the amount of damage dealt by this Consume Spirit.  In battle, Consume Spirit destroyed a 5/5 (offense/defensee) Twilight Shepherd, clearing the field for black to pick apart weaker creatures and turn a 16-5 deficit into an eventual 8-0 win. 

    Reiver Demon: This creature is costly, but with Dark Rituals (provide 3 black mana for the cost of 1) and an Overeager Apprentice (a creature that through its sacrifice and the sacrifice of a card from the caster’s hand, provides 3 black mana), the card has the ability to come out quickly.  A 6/6 flier, the Reiver Demon, if played from your hand and not through any other method, destroys all non-artifact, non-black creatures, burying them instantly.  In two games, Divine had an insurmountable advantage, holding black’s creatures at bay.  While there was no clear-cut advantage in terms of the score (Divine held a 26-16 lead in one game, and Demonic enjoyed a 24-20 lead in another), black could not attack without losing its creatures to battle…that is until Reiver Demon came into play and wiped out white’s creatures, allowing black to run roughshod over its opponent. 

     Demonic Tutor: This card allows its controller to look for a card in his or her library and put it into his/her hand.  It also allows its controller to shuffle the library, which is key in a game where a bad shuffle can mean the difference between a win and a loss.  Demonic Tutor allowed its controller to play any one of the three cards above, which in critical moments easily snatched away victory from Divine. 

     Other key cards for Demonic include: Dark Banishing (destroys non-black creatures), Barter in Blood (each player is forced to sacrifice 2 creatures), Breeding Pitupkeep, this card allows its controller to bring a 0/1 creature into play at the end of his turn), Soot Imp (whenever a player plays a non-black spell, that player loses a life), Stinkweed Imp (flier that destroys any creatures it deals damage to), Abyssal Specter (when it deals damage to a player, that player must discard a card from his or her hand), Cackling Imp (tap him and target player loses a life), Fallen Angel (a 3/3 flier that gets an extra 2/1 until end of turn for each creature you sacrifice to it.  Combined with Breeding Pit, Fallen Angel can be a monster), Kuro, Pitlord (9/9 creature that has a mandatory upkeep cost of 4 black mana in order to keep in play, but allows its controller to play 1 life to put a -1/-1 counter on target creature), Abyssal Gatekeeperr (if this creature dies, everyone must sacrifice a creature.), Lord of the Pit (7/7 creature that provides a lot of power in an attack…however, a creature must be sacrificed to the Lord of the Pit or it deals 7 damage to its controller). 

     Divine also featured game changers in the form of four MVP cards:

     Twilight Shepherd: A 5/5 flier that does not even need to tap to attack (meaning if it survives its attack, it can also block an opponent’s attacking creature), this card has an extra ability in that when it comes into play it returns all cards put into the graveyard from play on the turn Twilight Shepherd was played.  In one game, Divine led an all-out, reckless assault on its opponent, losing both a Serra Angel (4/4 flier that doesn’t tap to attack) and a Luminous Angel, but getting through 6 points of damage through lesser creatures.  Twilight Shepherd was then played, allowing Divine’s controller to place the Serra and Luminous angels back into its hand.  Twilight also enjoys another ability in that when it dies, it is allowed to come back into play one more time from its graveyard.  This allowed Divine to lead one more reckless assault that eventually picked Demonic apart. 

     Luminous Angel: This 4/4 flier allows its controller to put a 1/1 white spirit creature token with flying into play at the start of his upkeep (see for information on player turns and phases).  Building an army each turn, Demonic was unable to stop the onslaught, holding off Divine for several turns, only to fall to the pesky little attacks. 

     Akroma, Angel of Wrath: This is the card to beat.  A 6/6 flier with first strike (its attacks count first before its opponents offense is counted – it can kill a creature without even getting a scratch), vigilance (it doesn’t tap to attack), trample (if it is blocked by a 4/4 creature, the extra 2 damage from Akroma’s offense goes through and hits its opponent), haste (it can attack the turn it comes into play – most creatures have summoning sickness, which means it cannot attack the turn it is cast), and protection from black and red (black and red creatures cannot block Akroma.  Black and red spells do nothing to Akroma.  Akroma can block any red and/or black creature without taking any damage).  Akroma was brought into play five times and three times it led to victory for Divine, nullifying cards like Corrupt, Dark Banishing and others meant to destroy creatures.  However, the other two times, Demonic was able to force Divine to sacrifice creatures; Akroma being one of them.  This is a difficult task late in the game when Divine had too many creatures in play where cards that forced sacrifices could have any affect.  More often than not, Akroma is a destructive force. 

     Reya Dawnbringer: This 4/6 flier has an interesting ability, in that at the beginning of its controller’s upkeep, he or she may return a target creature card from the graveyard into play. As long as Reya is in play, all Divine creatures can be resurrected, allowing its controller to attack in a liberal manner. 

     Some other key cards for Divine include: Angelsong (prevents all combat damage dealt the turn it is cast.  It can also be discarded at a cost of 2 mana, allowing its controller to draw a card instead), Pacifism (an enchantment that when placed on a creature prevents it from attacking or blocking…a key card to be used on a giant foe), Angel of Mercy (a 3/3 flier that grants 3 extra life to its caster when it comes into play), Icatian Priest (gives target creatures 1/1 extra each time the controller taps 2 white mana, and 1 mana of any other color), Righteous Causee (an enchantment that grants its controller 1 life per creature that attacks him or her), and Faith’s Fetters (an enchantment that grants its caster 4 life, but also prevents any card’s permanent from playing its abilities.  It can also be used to enchant a creature, stopping it from attacking or blocking). 

Shards of Alara

     For the more intermediate player, a deck combining two colors and the strengths of each may provide greater options in battle.  Advanced players may want to combine three or more colors.  A five-color deck is an exciting option; one that can challenge any player to put his/her own skills to the limit.  Magic: The Gathering’s most recent set Shards of Alara is actually built around creating multicolor decks.  Multicolor lands makes it easy to create a five-color deck built on speed and destruction.  Its sub-set, Conflux, follows this principle, and Alara Reborn, another sub-set, takes it to another level, as the only set in the history of Magic: The Gathering to contain only multicolored cards.  The Shards of Alara set takes Magic to a whole new level, providing a new strategic element with more options for deck builders, always looking to expand their skill set.  And to make it easier, a number of pre-constructed decks have been released to introduce the game and the set to the public, including the following:

     Grixis Undead: This Shards of Alara pre-constructed deck features demons and the undead and focuses on the colors blue, red and black.  To make it easier to play these colors, Crumbling Necropolis, a land that can be tapped for either of the three colors, is included in the deck.  In addition, Grixis Panorama is a land that can be tapped for a colorless mana, but can also be sacrificed so that the controller can search for an Island, Swamp or Mountain to bring into play in order to play a creature or spell.  In addition, Obelisk of Grixis is an artifact that can be tapped for either blue, red or black mana. 

     Important multicolored cards: Agony Warp (a blue/black instant that drops one creature’s power -3 until end of the turn, and can drop that same creature or another creature’s defense -3, too), Blood Cultist (a black/red creature that when tapped deals a damage to a target creature and gets +1/+1 on its power if a creature it deals damage to is put into a graveyard on that turn), Kederekt Creeper (a cheap 2/3 creature that costs 1 blue, 1 red, and 1 black mana, and has death touch, meaning it destroys any creature it deals damage to.  What makes this creature even more powerful is that it can only be blocked by 2 or more creatures.), Fire-Field Ogre (a cheap 4/2 creature at a cost of only 1 black, 1 blue, 1 red, and 1 colorless mana.  This creature has first strike and can be returned from the graveyard once.), Blightning (a red/black spell that deals 3 damage to a player and forces that player to also discard 2 cards – truly combining elements of red and black spells.), Cruel Ultimatum (an expensive, but effective card that utilizes all three colors and forces target opponent to sacrifice a creature, discard 3 cards and lose 5 life.  At the same time, this spell’s caster can return a creature from the graveyard to his/her hand, draw 3 cards, and gain 5 life.), and a foil Vein Drinker (a 4/4 black vampire with flying that gets +1/+1 when a creature it damages is put into the graveyard.  The multicolored component comes when a player taps a red mana and taps the creature to deal damage equal to Vein Drinker’s power to another target creature.  That creature deals damage equal to its power to Vein Drinker.)

     A booster pack of Shards of Alara is included to help supplement this and other decks. 

     Bant on the March: This Conflux Intro Pack features blue, green and white, and allows the user to assemble a quick army, take advantage of the exalted element (exalted boosts a creature’s power and toughness depending on how many creatures with exalted are in play and only if the creature attacks alone).  This deck also uses enchantments and abilities to boost an entire army at once; so either attack alone or in force – this deck is a force to be reckoned with.  Seaside Citadel, a land that can be tapped for either of the three colors, and Terramorphic Force, a 10th Edition land that can be sacrificed to search the player’s library for any basic land, are included in this deck to make it easier to play this deck. 

     Important Multicolored Cards: Deft Duelist (a Shards of Alara blue/white 2/1 creature that has first strike and an ability called shroud, which means it cannot be the target of spells or abilities), Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer (a white/blue 2/2 creature that puts bribery counters on other creatures, allowing those creatures’ controllers to draw a card in exchange for not being allowed to attack or block), Jhessian Balmgiver (a blue/white 1/1 creature that can prevent a damage that would be dealt to a target creature, or can make a target creature unblockable during a turn), Rhox War Monk (a cheap 3/4 creature that costs 1 green, 1 blue, and 1 white mana.  This Shards of Alara creature has Lifelink, meaning any time it deals damage, the creature’s controller gains that much life), Rhox Meditant (a white creature that allows the caster to draw a card if it has a green permanent in play), Aerie Mystics (a 3/3 white flier that gives all creatures its caster controls shroud until end of turn if the player pays 1 colorless, 1 green, and 1 blue mana), Rhox Bodyguard (a green/white 2/3 creature that gives its caster 3 life upon being played and has exalted, giving a creature an additional 1/1 in power and toughness if it attacks alone), Valeron Outlander (a green/white 2/2 creature that has protection from black), Skyward Eye Prophets (a green/white/blue 3/3 creature that can attack without being tapped.  When tapped this creature allows its caster to reveal the top card of his/her library.  If it’s a land card, that card is put immediately into play, and if it is another type of card, it is immediately put into the caster’s hand), and a foil Giltspire Avenger (a blue/green/white 2/2 creature that has exalted and can be tapped to destroy any creature that has dealt damage to Avenger’s controller). 

     A booster pack of Shards of Alara is included to help supplement this and other decks. 

     Rumbler: This Alara Reborn Intro Pack is built around massive red and green creatures that leave utter destruction in their waste.  Alara Reborn’s deck is entirely multicolored, but the intro deck includes other cards from the Shards of Alara and Conflux set, in addition to cards from Magic’s 10th Edition Core Set. 

     Important Multicolored Cards: Blitz Hellion (7/7 creature with trample and haste.  Its controller must shuffle his/her library at the end of the turn), Valley Rannet (a 6/3 creature that allows players to discard this card at a cost of 2 mana to search for either a forest or a mountain), Colossal Might (an instant that gives a target creature +4/+2 and trample until end of turn), Sangrite Surge (a Shards of Alara card that gives a target creature +3/+3 and double strike, an element of Magic that allows creatures to deliver its damage first strike and then again just in case it didn’t get the job done the first time.  If a creature with 9/9 attacks a player who cannot block, that player will be hit for 18 damage), Godtracker of Jund (a 2/2 creature that gets +1/+1 any time a creature with power 5 or greater comes into play under the control of Godtracker’s caster), Rhox Brute (a relatively inexpensive 4/4 creature at 2 colorless mana, 1 green mana, and 1 red mana), Bloodbraid Elf (a 3/2 creature with haste that also has a new element of play introduced in Alara Reborn.  That element, called Cascade, forces the caster to remove cards from the top of his/her library until a non-land card that costs less than Bloodbraid Elf is removed.  That card, instead, may be played without paying its mana cost.  The removed cards are placed on the bottom of the library in a random order), Gorger Wurm (a 5/5 creature that has an element called Devour 1.  When the creature comes into play, its caster may sacrifice any number of his/her creatures.  The Wurm gets +1/+1 permanent counters for each creature sacrificed in this manner.  If 3 creatures are sacrificed, the Wurm becomes an 8/8 creature), Vengeful Rebirth (this spell allows its caster to return a card from his or her graveyard to his/her hand.  If the card is a non-land card, Vengeful Rebirth deals damage equal to that card’s converted mana cost to target creature or player), a foil Spellbreaker Behemoth (a cheap 5/5 creature at 1 colorless mana, 1 red mana and 2 green mana.  This creature cannot be countered and extends this ability to any other creature spells with power 5 or greater). 

     A booster pack of Shards of Alara is included to help supplement this and other decks. 

     Magic: The Gathering has always featured multicolored cards, but not to the extent the Shards of Alara set and its subsets have.  Alara Reborn makes multicolored play the norm and allows for players to experiment with new color combinations.  The decks offer an excellent introduction to this new facet of play and stand very well on their own.  However, the inclusion of other cards from the set, in addition to those from other sets, truly unleashed the power of Shards of Alara.  One player created an amazing Sliver deck utilizing the multicolored lands and proclaimed that the deck was impossible to make to his liking until the multicolored lands helped speed things up.  Another player created a devastating deck featuring only creatures with power 5 or greater that was similar to the sliver deck in that many of the creatures shared abilities dedicated to creatures of that power bracket.  Magic lovers have more to love with Shards of Alara, but those that have never played the game will not be intimidated by this set.  It’s easy to pick up and may be the most addictive set in Magic: The Gathering history. 

Other Magic: The Gathering Options

     If playing with physical cards is not an option, Magic Online provides the exact same game on the computer.  Magic Online Version 3.0 can be downloaded for free and offers players an opportunity to play from a select group of pre-constructed decks for free.  However, the best way to enjoy the online version of Magic is to buy the digital cards and construct decks from booster packs, intro packs, trades and single card purchases.  Magic Online is great for beginners in that it clearly lays out the rules.  Longtime Magic players have learned rules they never quite understood, because it is impossible to stray away from the strict rules in the computer game.  Magic Online also offers users a chance to play against a wide variety of opponents from around the world without leaving the comfort of one’s living room, providing a myriad of possibilities in terms of game play.  In addition, the online game allows users to enjoy a number of tournaments with prizes offered to the winners.  Easy to use, this game does not miss a beat, offering a true-life experience on the computer screen. 

     As of this writing, plans called for a Duel of the Planeswalkers game to be released on Xbox 360’s Live Arcade for 800 points.  The game allows users to enjoy a single-player journey using pre-constructed decks.  Wins unlock cards and offer greater variety to the decks.  Once the single-player mode is mastered, test the decks online in one-on-one or team battles.  This is a relatively inexpensive way to play Magic, as new packs and intro sets are not required.  Hopefully, downloadable add-ons will provide extra life for a game that may not have as much to offer in the long-run as Magic Online and the traditional card game.  However, Microprose’s PC game, which Duel of the Planeswalkers appears to be an update of, provided fun for years to those who wanted to enjoy Magic beyond the cards.  It is still fondly remembered.  The Xbox 360 version, if similar, could do the same. 

Benefits of Magic 

     Magic: The Gathering is a fun game that can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages.  No two games are alike and with new cards, game play elements and strategies being unveiled or discovered, there does not seem to be an end in sight for this growing phenomenon. 

     But in addition to the fun, just like Chess, Magic players learn critical thinking skills that can benefit them in class, at work, or in life.  Developing strategy, always thinking ahead – only the best minds truly prosper in this game.  Magic helps to develop this mind, while also helping young users with their math skills.  There’s a lot of adding, subtracting, multiplication and division in this game.  And consider this:  Player A needs to deal 9 damage to Player B.  Player A has a Drain Life in his hand.  Drain Life costs 1 colorless mana, 1 black mana, and X mana.  X is equal to the amount of damage that the player wishes to deal based on how much mana he has available.  Considering Player A has enough mana to kill his opponent, how much mana is required to achieve this goal.  The answer would be 11. 

     Moreover, Magic: The Gathering is important to efforts that increase literacy.  There is a lot of text on the cards, including the card’s name, the type of spell, the rules for that spell, and even flavor text that offer serious, humorous and insightful looks at the spell or creature being played.  If interested in the game and the universe it depicts, a number of books have also been created to enhance the game play.  Read these books and the cards come to life.  Magic: The Gathering allows reading to be fun. 

     Magic: The Gathering offers a realm of possibilities that everyone can enjoy.  It’s time to throw that tired old rook in the trash.  Who needs Kings and Queens, when players can become Gods? 


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