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CardShark Content - Alex Lee (7/21/2005)

Magic Online can be intimidating at first, and I’ve had recent experience with that. I’ve been playing for around a month now, and can offer some simple tips to succeed in MTGO. All the strange rooms and things like leagues may be confusing, let alone an actual match against an opponent. So here are ten hints:

1. Buy a Theme Deck
Yeah, I know, everyone says this. Buy a theme deck, have fun for hours for only $11.99! Guess what, it’s true! But there’s more to it than that. Don’t just buy any theme deck. Only get the ones with chase rares or uncommons. A chase rare is a card that is at the upper end of card prices, usually around $4-10. If you then sell the card on the Marketplace, you can get the rest of the deck for pretty much free. A recent example is the Betrayer’s theme deck, Rat’s Nest. Buy that, and sell the Umezawa’s Jitte for 11 tix. Congratulations, you just got the price of the deck back, and got 59 free cards. And all of those cards happen to fit together into a coherent deck!

2. Don’t spend too much
This should actually be named “Don’t spend too much if you have no idea what you’re doing.” Unless you are a Pro Tour Veteran and can get the best deals anywhere, it would be wise to save your cash. Those Fungasaurs may seem good now, but if they could have instead been an Oblivion Stone
Oblivion Stone
Oblivion StoneSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Sam Wood
Text:
4, T: Put a fate counter on target permanent. 5, T, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone: Destroy each nonland permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters from all permanents.
, then most people will laugh at you. Spend tickets wisely. The hardest part of this may be not to be tempted when a particularly good deal jumps out at you. Chances are, if it’s that good, then others are selling it at that price as well, or will be soon.

3. Bulk Deals are better than singles
With bulk deals, you can build entire decks for a couple tickets. Sure, the quality may not be as good as a single deck filled to the brim with expensive rares, but you’ll save huge amounts of money. The best are 32-1 deals, as the quality of the cards isn’t complete crap and it’s really cheap. I’ve built a zombie deck that cost me literally cost me one ticket in a 64-1 deal, and it can tear apart Extended Decks with Exalted Angel
Exalted Angel
Exalted AngelSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
28
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. Whenever Exalted Angel deals damage, you gain that much life. Morph 2WW (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
s.

4. Leagues are (sometimes) better than Draft and Sealed
Leagues generally provide more fun for the average beginner, as it doesn’t drain your money like a leech like Draft does, and you get to play with your Sealed deck more than a couple rounds. Also, with the added boosters every week, your deck can become more powerful and you get to tweak it however you wish. The one downside to a league is if you need quick tickets. In one of my leagues, I had opened Constructed cards like Shining Shoal
Shining Shoal
Shining ShoalSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
You may remove a white card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Shining Shoal's mana cost. The next X damage that a source of your choice would deal to you or a creature you control this turn is dealt to target creature or player instead.
and Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
, yet I couldn’t sell them because you can’t trade cards in a league.

5. Say “hi & gl,” at the beginning of a round
Now the exact phrase will differ for sure. I’ve had a guy say to me, “Live long and prosper,” but you get the idea. Being friendly to an opponent will give him an incentive to talk to you, and you may find that you have something to talk about, like the weather, sports, or how mana screwed you are even though your deck has 26 lands.

6. Play something interesting
There’s no faster way to make friends with anyone on MTGO than to be sociable. The second best way is to have a cool deck. If you have an interesting concept, others will take notice and comment. Sometimes they will be friendlier. I’ve been invited to a clan just because I played their leader with my Coretapper
Coretapper
CoretapperSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Myr
Rarity:
U
Number:
107
Artist:
Dany Orizio
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Put a charge counter on target artifact. Sacrifice Coretapper: Put two charge counters on target artifact.
/ Orochi Hatchery
Orochi Hatchery
Orochi HatcherySet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
266
Artist:
Alex Horley-Orlandelli
Text:
Orochi Hatchery comes into play with X charge counters on it. 5, T: Put a 1/1 green Snake creature token into play for each charge counter on Orochi Hatchery.
deck. [Editor’s note: In just a few weeks you’ll know what he’s talking about]

7. When doing a trade, make sure you know the value of the cards
People get ripped off all time on MTGO. Most are new to Magic or just play casually. A good way to know the value of a card is to go to the Message Boards and type in the card, and find the average price. Another way is to look at a website. Whenever I have Magic Online up, I also a window for Cardshark to quickly check prices.

8. When buying singles, use the Auction Room
It can be pretty tough to find an exact card you’re looking for in the Auction Room, but if you’re patient, chances are it’ll come up. If you’re not patient, leave the Auction window up on the side of the screen while you play. That way you can just glance over every ten seconds or so, and see if the lot is one you want. Auctions are usually cheaper than the marketplace, except when some guy sells his Trained Orgg
Trained Orgg
Trained OrggSet: Starter 1999
Cost:
7
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
s for 5 tickets. You can get to the Auction room by typing in “/join auction” in any window.

9. Instead of Drafting, think of what you could do with your tickets
Right now you’re probably saying, “But, isn’t drafting just like opening booster packs! We get forty-five cards and the fun of being in a draft!” Well, I never said that you should open booster packs either. Once you have a plethora of cards and the extra cards from your draft can be sold, great. But if your collection is tiny, instead use the tickets to buy cards for your other decks. Bulk cards are a good deal. Instead of 45 cards, you could be getting 500+. Or you could get a few rares to round out an existing deck. Heck, you could buy a Jitte.

10. Read other Magic Articles
This article is merely a small example of the many Magic Online articles out there. A good place to start is the Magic Online Academy at magicthegathering.com. They explain many concepts like stops and yields. Go to other Magic-related websites, and I’m sure they’ll have something useful.

*. The Message Board
Here’s something really quick for the people who don’t know what the Message Board does. When I first went into it, I expected it to be like the Marketplace. Instead there was a blank window. To find a message, you have to type in a keyword at the bottom. You can find people that are selling a card merely by typing in the card.

**. The Trivia Room
I heard about the Trivia Room on the MTGO Academy, but when I got there, no one else was there. You can get to the Trivia Room by typing /join trivia. There, people make trivia questions and if other people can solve them, give them a card of varying value, depending on the question. This is an awesome idea, yet no one seems to like it. Or maybe it’s that I always go on at the wrong times. If it’s the former, then let’s resurrect the Trivia Room. I’m sure at least one guy will like it!

***. Music
Guess what, not all MTGO players are created alike. Some are slower than others, and can take a long time per turn. So, you need to find something to do during that time. The easiest and the least-thought processing is listening to music. If you have an MP3 player, great! If not, copy some CDs onto your computer and turn up the speakers. I’m sure it will help pass the ticking seconds.


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