Magic the Gathering

An Introduction for New Players

Magic the Gathering is the world's most popular TCG (Trading card game). As a new player, it can be very confusing on where to start and how things are run so that you can take part in the action in many different ways. We at Critical Hit Gaming Lounge are here to guide you on the right path for this fantastic game.

Brand New Players


As a brand new players come into the store on a daily basis we often see a few things missed by players looking for the full experience of what the game offers. This is the list of things you will need to jump right in the proper way so that you and your friends can have the most fun and join the community.


  • LGS means local game store

  • Land cards are the “currency” in which to play cards from your hand onto the field. Cards other land have the land cost in the top right corner of the card so you know how much a card will cost to play. Marked with a specific land symbol, a number of general land cost or both.

#1 DCI Card

The DCI card is your personal ID number that allows you to join events on a casual or competitive level. You need your DCI card to gather event points, win to loss ratio, and it allows our event organizers to add you to pair you against opponents to track scores of your matches. Once you receive a card you should create an account at to officially be inducted into the Wizards of The Coast worldwide servers. This card should be one of the very first things you receive for the total experience to happen.

#2 FREE Welcome deck

Something you may not know about getting into the game at your local game store (LGS) is that you can ask for a free welcome deck! Yeah, FREE, it’s pretty exciting for new players to get one of these bad boys. All you have to do is ask one of our staff and if they are in stock you can have one. With one of these decks, you get the rules on how to play and two premade ready to go 30 card decks for you and a friend to go head to head and learn. With these decks, you now have a gateway to build your first 60 card deck which is the most commonly played in terms of playing a “standard game”. Having said that not all formats require you to play with 60 cards, some play at 100 cards or 40 cards which we will explain later when we talk more on formats of the game and different ways to join the fun of Magic.


#3 A time to play

Although you can play Magic anywhere and any time it may be difficult to find different opponents to challenge if you don’t visit the store when we host events for you. We suggest coming to our DRAFT events every Thursday night at 6:30 pm. Draft is a fantastic format to sink deep into the game from a beginner level all the way to advanced because everyone is playing on the same playing field in terms of cards.

How that works is when you come to draft you pay your entry and receive three packs of 15 cards each, you then find your way to the store organizer for the event and he/ she will seat you in a “POD”. A pod is just a group of people sitting at the table with you that will also be drafting. To draft all you have to do is open one pack of cards, select ONE card and pass the rest to your left, everyone else will do the same. Once the first pack of cards is fully depleted then the next pack begins and you will alternate pass direction. Do the same with the last pack and you’re done! Now that you have a pool of cards to build a deck from the final stage before gameplay is … you guessed it, build a deck. Build a 40 card deck including land cards for mana (which are provided in store) we recommend 17-23 land cards per deck and the rest is your creation, you will then be paired with an opponent and begin your FIRST GAME!


In addition, the Draft format is a great way to build your collection of cards over weeks of play, enhances your knowledge of the game and provides a mastery of the current set of newest cards.

#4 Formats of play

There are different formats of Magic you can play, Draft, Standard, Commander, Modern, Legacy, Pauper. The first four are the most played at the store but all the formats are fun to get into. As a new player, we filter it down to the first three, Draft, Standard, and Commander

Standard: The newest 5 sets of Magic the Gather available, with a 60 card deck

Draft: 3 packs upon entry, with a 40 card deck.

Commander:  100 card deck, only one of any card in the deck with the exception of lands being as many as you like in the deck. You will also need a legendary creature or planeswalker card as your commander off to the side.

These are brief descriptions of the beginner-friendly formats that can be played at any LGS.