Using Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planewalkers to Build Your Deck

MTG: For those of us who need a little more help.

Let me just say that no, I haven't been playing Magic for forever and a day. I actually just started a few weeks ago. As such, I've been spending a lot of my time (and surprisingly, my money) on cards and boosters. I've got my first deck built--a green/black creature deck that is proving to be very interesting to play.

I'm still learning, however. So, what would I tell those who are looking to get into a game which has a steep learning curve for some, especially those who've never really played a card game like MTG?

Play the Steam version.

I'm not even joking. The PC version, Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers, taught me more than both of my roommates combined (it helps that I'm a visual learner).

You duel bots in order to unlock cards and get achievements, but in general, the PC version taught me the mechanics of the game in a way that I could understand.

Not only does this game walk you through the general 'how the hell do I play this game' phase, it basically holds your hand through each phase.

The downsides? The game gives you a pre-made deck to play with, and unless you've unlocked a fair amount of cards, you're stuck with that deck--the only option you really have to customize at the beginning is to remove cards, which isn't a great idea given that you start with less than 60 cards. Once your deck has 60 cards, it won't let you remove any that would make your deck less than 60 cards.

You can buy the full decks, though I wouldn't recommend it.

This game actually makes a fairly decent deck building tool--create your real deck in the game and play the campaign with it to see how far you can get with it and how well it does against different play styles.


As soon as I unlock the rest of my deck, that's what I'll be doing.

Plus, the Steam version offers promo-codes that you can redeem for real booster packs at participating stores. The packs vary, but this week I'm getting a promo 6-card booster and 'alternate art Serra Avatar' promo card.

I love free stuff, so. The game is only $9.99 on Steam and is well worth it for anyone who wants to learn how to play, or even play online. I personally like playing the campaign because I like getting a feel for the game on my own and then applying what I've learned to surprise-murder my roommates.

Our Rating
MTG: For those of us who need a little more help.

Former Staff Editor

whale biologist.

Published Apr. 15th 2013
  • GS_Mike
    @Mat - if you want to get lost in the full MTG experience, I suggest Magic Online ( Its the official client for playing online, complete with buying packs, a market for singles, tournaments, and actual deck building.
  • Mat Westhorpe
    Featured Columnist
    I'm a M:TG novice too Katy. I missed the original craze, but recently bought some decks in an attempt to entertain my young nephews. They were only briefly interested, but I got hooked and when I couldn't find anyone to play, I downloaded the 2012 edition of Duels of the Planeswalkers. I lost days, but managed to wean myself off again (when the free content ran out). I should probably stay away, it's dangerous stuff.
  • Katy Hollingsworth
    Former Staff Editor
    There is a Planeswalkers 2012, so probably. I would be interested in 2014.
  • Jeremy
    These games are always great for people who have never played the card game before. Lots of cool decks, fun missions and puzzles, it's awesome. I'd play you in a game, if you'd like Katy!
  • EdibleKnife
    I really want to learn Magic and this seems like the best way but do you know if this is a yearly release type of thing? Like should I be expecting MTG 2014 soon?

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