Finding Your First Magic Opponent

Magic – What Is This Thing Anyway?

Last week, I found myself in a bind. I was having a tough time figuring out what to write about here, and my “deadline” was approaching.

As I sat in my living room with (nearly blank) notebook in hand, my wife walked in and asked what I was doing. I told her I was failing to write a Magic post, and she promptly stole my notebook and wrote the following.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Hello out there in internet-land! Today we’re going to figure out what Magic is. This post is geared towards the absolute newby, so all you veterans, see you next month!

First – you need to have a deck of cards. Now, don’t do what I did and show up to your first “magic” tournament with a deck of trick cards. No, these are special cards that feature various hard-to-pronounce monsters with quotes attributed to historical figures from our nation’s proud history (I assume). Head to a Game Store to acquire these babies.

“But wait Matt P. Magic, what about tarot? Are these cards not magical too?” you may ask. Yes, young initiate, they are magical, but unfortunately they do not gather correctly. You can’t play MtG with a tarot deck. That said, I do occasionally slip a tarot card or two into my deck when I play COMMANDER, as that format is more forgiving.

Next, you will need some dice. Glitter dice are best, and in a variety of shapes. You can use these to track your life force and also to negotiate battles. Try to match your dice color to your favorite Magic color. There are five colors of magic that scholars have so far discovered. If purple, orange, or yellow are your favorite colors, you will need to choose a different game to learn. Similarly, if you are red/green colorblind, you will need to learn the difference between fires and forests. Practice, so you can tell at a moment’s notice in the heat of battle.

Your deck will need to have an assortment of lands, and an assortment of creatures to live in these lands. The price of their citizenship is that they must be ready to be summoned by you and do battle at a moment’s notice.

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Numot the Devastator Commander Featured Image

ReCycling Bin – Numot, the Land Destroyer

Welcome back to the ReCycling Bin, a series in which I look back at theorycrafted Magic decks that never saw the light of day. This installment features a dragon I’ve never had the stones to Stone Rain people with.

Numot, the Devastator - Matt Plays Magic
Stone Rain x2, actually.

Numot, the Devastator was the only dragon to survive my Scion of the Ur-Dragon purge. The rest of the Scion deck hit eBay, but I swapped a different dragon in for Numot before posting, selling, and shipping the deck out.

Why, you might ask? Well, I had plans for Numot … plans to build him his own EDH deck.

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Niv Mizzet Reborn Featured Raymond Swanland

The All-Ravnica Niv-Mizzet Reborn Commander Deck

In keeping with his character, the latest version of Niv-Mizzet offers near limitless Commander deckbuilding opportunities:

Niv-Mizzet Reborn - Matt Plays Magic

All Niv asks is that you play a large number of exactly two color cards, spread throughout the ten guild combos, in your Commander deck. From there, Niv will do his best to put a bunch of your deck into your hand each time you summon him from the Command Zone.

When faced with so very many possibilities, it can be helpful to remember that (as Magic Head Designer Mark Rosewater is so fond of saying) restrictions breed creativity. As I began thinking through restrictions that could help me build a fun-yet-unusual Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck, I almost immediately hit upon one that delighted me.

Ravnica (home of Niv-Mizzet and the guilds) is one of my favorite Magic planes. Niv-Mizzet now represents all of Ravnica in the Magic story, so why not let him do so in Commander as well?

And that’s how I hit upon building an all-Ravnica Niv-Mizzet Commander deck. If the card wasn’t printed in the Ravnica, Return to Ravnica, or Guilds of Ravnica block, you won’t see it in this deck. Instead, you’ll see a deck that boils Ravnica down to its essence – a world of guilds, gates, cooperation, and chaos.

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Sen Triplets Featured - Matt Plays Magic

ReCycling Bin – Sen Triplets Commander

Welcome back to the ReCycling Bin, a series in which I look back at theorycrafted Magic decks that never saw the light of day. This installment features a deck I threw together … nearly seven years ago? I’d just learned Commander was a thing, and I was really excited to build a deck featuring the most badass Legendary you’d ever seen:

Yeah, I was THAT guy right away in Commander. I didn’t want to cast huge Dragons or summon a veritable army of Elves; I wanted to steal YOUR stuff. Doesn’t that sound fun?

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Jace the Mind Sculptor Featured Banner

5 Cards I Hope to Cast in 2019

With a new year comes new games of Magic! Like most Planeswalkers, I’ve got plans for what decks I’m going to sleeve up, what formats I’m going to rock, and what cards I’m going to buy in 2019.

Below, then, are the 5 cards I’m most hoping to cast in 2019. These cards represent not just the decks, formats, and matches I’m looking forward to, but the experiences I hope to have playing this Magical game this year.

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