Apologies, it has been quite some time since I have blogged. I don’t think I have many regular readers but my apologies if you have missed me but I have moved house for my new job and so haven’t played much magic. However, I have recently started up playing Magic Online so I decided I would blog with a few tips if you are considering moving online.
Firstly, Magic Online is basically the same as paper magic. You buy boosters, collect cards and the game is exactly the same. In fact, it is possibly better than paper magic a lot of the time, because you cannot break rules, even accidentally. I find this helps tighten up your play in terms of playing with paper magic (there is a downfall, I’ll come onto this later). This means that it does cost money. How much money depends on what you want to do. You can build a constructed deck and there are various rooms which you can play in, with no pressure, no reward etc. Just for fun (or improving your game/deck). With these constructed cards, it is possible to also enter (often daily) tournaments and win other prizes, in the form of virtual boosters. The other choice is limited tournaments. You can enter using tickets, which are the currency of the game, or boosters. These are the same as drafts or sealed events, insofar as the format plays exactly the same. You have 8 man pods and although there are different prize payouts, the more you win, the more you get back. You play 3 matches and depending on how risky or confident you are feeling before you start, winning those matches could net you 8 boosters or 3 boosters, depending on the type of pool you enter. The payouts are on the Wizards website. I personally try to make my monetary input go a long way, so I tend to enter swiss drafts or 4 booster sealed events, as it is normally fairly low risk as long as you are a reasonable player. The 4 booster sealed, which I often do has a 4 booster entry cost. If you go 3-0, you win 5 boosters, 2-1 gets you 3 boosters, 1-2 gets you 1 booster and 0-3 gets you nothing. However, you do open boosters, the cards inside of which do have value. Often, as long as you can go 2-1 or better, you don’t really lose much entering these. It is low risk, low reward. I would highly recommend this format if you want to stretch your limited funds out (see what I did there?) and get the most play time for your money.
There is a trade system, through “Classifieds” where cards can be bought and sold. With so many cards opened through limited events such as drafts and sealed events there is an abundance of unwanted cards. These are bought and sold on a market by both humans and bots (computer programs, simulating humans, buying and selling cards) for event tix. Event tickets or tix are the currency of Magic Online and they are worth approximately $1. Whole number of tix are tradable. Part tix are not tradable, however, upon leaving a bot, they do save any remaining credit for next time you return to the same bot. You can use these markets to get the cards you want for constructed or to sell the cards which you open in your drafts. Some of the bots do have websites where you can check prices which helps a lot. I recommend supernovabots and mtgotraders, both are excellent for gathering information from in order to help you make decisions.
Overall I have been very impressed with the Magic Online experience. Impressed enough actually, to consider switching away from paper magic into it. I like the way it all works, automatically adjusting life totals, putting tokens into play etc. I also like how easy it is to just drop into a game. Within logging on you can be in a game in seconds and this is great. I can start a game at midnight if I like (and often do). This is a big draw for me. It doesn’t quite have the same social aspect as paper magic, trading is harder and less fun but overall I would say the experience is an excellent one. Sure, the graphics are a little outdated but it works extremely well under the skin and there is probably an update coming soon (MTGO V3).
Top tips if you are considering starting up on MTGO
1) Set a budget and stick to it. It could get out of control very easily
2) Use websites to scope of the bots prices. As a rule, know what things are worth as you might sometimes take a card that is worth something over a card that is not worth something if you are drafting
3) Write down which bots owe you partial credits so you can go back to them again
4) Learn the interface before competing. Play a few rounds with the free planeswalker deck in the new players room, get used to the interface and the controls etc.
5) Ask for help if you need it. Wizards employ “ORC”s to help people out, use the chat window on the right hand side in any room and an ORC will probably help you out.
I will post more about what I have been doing soon. I just felt it had been a while. Any questions or comments are appreciated