Magic: The Gathering Summer School Handout

Why play Magic: The Gathering?

  1. Helps social skills / community aspect
  2. Brushes up basic math skills
  3. Improves reading & comprehension / vocabulary skills
  4. Good sportsmanship
  5. Resource management


For Brand new players

  • Basic decks (mostly creatures and basic land)
  • Mono colored
  • Explain Card Types
    1. Lands
    2. Creatures
    3. Enchantments
    4. Sorceries & instants
    5. Artifacts
  • Basics of combat
  • Key points to clear up are the differences in land and mana; attacking players, NOT creatures; one land per turn; life IS a resource (especially for the kids playing black); how trample, first strike, and double strike work.
  • Colors
    1. White: The color of Justice – White mages use superior tactics, efficient creatures, and the power of righteousness against their foes. Can focus on healing and restoration, with the ability to utilize many smaller creatures quickly.
    2. Blue: The color of Wisdom – Blue mages focus on using superior knowledge to gain control of a battle, and slowly gain the upper hand. The power of control. Blue is all about not letting your opponent make his moves, and ensuring your own. It also boasts some of the best draw power in the game.
    3. 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. Black is about one thing, and one thing only: Winning. Even if it means having to hurt yourself in order to hurt your enemy more, or to hurt yourself to get more.
    4. 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. The color of fire. Red has the ability to burn through your opponent’s Life quickly, and mercilessly. Red is all about impulse and passion. Act first, think later.
    5. Green: the color of Nature – Green shamans win duels through the brute force of mother nature, summoning giant creatures to squash their enemies. The power of nature and growth, green focuses on sheer brute force, and power-ups, with the drawback that some of these cards have high mana cost.


  • Standard deck building tips:
    1. pick your most powerful cards, and / or combo of cards.
    2. limit the number of colors – 2 is best
    3. pick a theme, or story
    4. choose 15 – 25 creatures
    5. add cards until you have about 36 creatures and other spells (be careful with too many spells that enchant your own creatures!)
    6. add around 24 land cards
    7. your final deck should be 60 cards, with no more than 4 of any card other than basic lands.
    8. play a few games
    9. refine your deck
  • Basic Deck Types
    1. Aggro – lots of damage as fast as possible
      1. Weenie (lots of small creatures, boosted with some enchants)
      2. Affinity (lots of artifacts that get easier to cast with more artifacts)
  • Suicide black – burn your own life plus mana to finish opponent faster
  1. Burn/Sligh – lots of direct damage to opponents health
  1. Control
    1. Mono Blue – lots of counterspells and bouncing
    2. Mono Black – card control, creature removal