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Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO) can be an expensive game to maintain; more so than most online games like TheSims and Everquest. I’m surprised that nobody has really written a guide of doing it cheap.
There are two ways to get this game. You can buy the game from a store that sells computer games for a given price (ranging from 9.99 to 19.99) or you can download the client from the Wizards website. The downloading option varies on your connection. Since the download is over 300 MB, players with slow Internet connections should buy the software from the store and install it, because the download time takes forever. Players with high-speed Internet access can get by with downloading it as the expected download time for the software may range from 90 minutes to 3 hours.
Next, you will have to install the software. The software installation takes about 20 minutes to complete. Once completed, you will be launched to the login screen. Since you don’t have an account yet, click on “New Account” and you will be launched to the Wizards’ Magic Online website.
If you bought your software, you will be expected to fill in the coupons. If you downloaded it, you will be expected to pay a one-time fee of $9.99 for the account. The 9.99 fee includes a coupon to purchase up to $9.99 worth of product of your choice on the Magic Online Store.
First, you must fill in all required values including a user name. The user name is unique, and describes you. You will also pick an avatar from the list that the site provides, and it is highly recommended to do so. There can be thousands of players logged on at any given time, so pick an avatar that you know you can distinguish yourself with.
After you have registered and paid the required fee (if necessary), it is time to check your email. The email that is sent to you will have your password. I suggest writing it down on a piece of paper. The password is case-sensitive, so be careful as you write it down. Go back to the login screen on MTGO, and try to log in. If you logged in successfully, congratulations, as you now have an active account.
Getting the cards.
Before you can sit down at any table to duel, you have to obtain cards. There are several ways to do it.
First click “buy cards” from MTGO and it will take you back to the MTGO website. Log in there using the same login and password that you use in the MTGO client. If you have the email with the coupon, copy the coupon code, as you will need it later. Meanwhile, buy some event tickets (about 10-15) at $1 each, and then buy a few of each booster pack (3-6 of each, depending on your needs). Buy about 1 or 2 Tournament packs of Onslaught
. If you buy any theme decks, make it the Torment
Artist: Paolo Parente
Text: Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
U/B deck as it will get you 2 Psychatog
Type: Enchant Creature
Artist: Paolo Parente
Text: Enchanted creature gets -3/-0.
and 2 Chainer’s Edict.
Sub Type: Atog
Artist: Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Text: Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
When you are done adding items to your cart, proceed to checkout. Add in all required information. When it comes to the coupon, paste it in the coupon code box, and select the option “pay as much with the coupon, then pay the rest with credit card”. I suggest you use a checking card as your credit card, so you know how much you can spend with this game. Always keep your checkbook handy.
After the purchase, receive the cards but only open Theme decks. Save the rest for your booster draft and sealed deck events because you will need them. If you need certain cards, it is much cheaper to buy them individually.
There are several sites where you can buy individual cards. E-Bay is an auction site that you can bid on cards. Most of the E-Bay auctions are for event tickets and multiple copies of single cards. Some of the E-Bay auctions can go expensive, especially if the item you’re bidding on is popular. In addition, some of the people that sell on E-Bay may not be reputable, so only bid on auctions if the seller has a high rating with no negative feedbacks.
Alternatively, you can search Cardshark for singles. There can be anywhere from 1-200 of a single card listed, and almost all the cards that are in MTGO are listed for sale on this site. Try to buy from a single provider with a rating of 4.7 or greater, if possible, as Cardshark charges a $.35 transaction fee and that fee can add up if you buy from multiple sellers.
Before you buy from Cardshark, set up an account with PayPal, if you don’t have one already. PayPal is linked from Cardshark. Use a checking account or debit card as your payment option, as you can figure out how much you can spend. When setting up an account with Cardshark, you set it up by giving your contact information, and your MTGO information (user id). You can set up an alternate Internet messaging by giving out your id from your AIM or Yahoo accounts.
If you bought cards on Cardshark, you can check the seller’s information, and on your MTGO client, type in “/addbuddy username” with the username being the seller’s id. Some sellers will try to make contact; others will require the buyer making the first contact. The contact might take place in a short time, or in some cases it may take a few days. Some sellers like me have jobs that require working midnights, so their hours of login time may be very strange.
When you do make contact with the seller, the seller will offer a card for card trade. Before getting into it, I suggest you printing out the cards you purchased from the seller first. You will have to go through their binders and pick out the cards for yourself. When you find the card, just click on it. You can only do 32 cards per trade, so you may have to do two or more separate trades to complete the transaction. When the transaction is finished, leave feedback to the seller, because most will appreciate it. Leaving feedback will also give you 1 Sharkshare.
Getting into duels
There is a reason why to leave booster packs and tournament packs unopened. You must provide them just to play in drafts and sealed deck events. From the main menu, go to Sanctioned events or Premiere Events, and use the spreadsheet view to check the queues. Limited events cost 2 event tickets plus the required product; constructed events cost 5 event tickets. Avoid the constructed events for now until you have built a decent deck that can win games.
Instead, concentrate on drafting or sealed deck. Drafting is done in 8-player knockout rounds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sealed deck is offered in premiere tournaments, held about 6 times a day. Searching through the events in spreadsheet mode is much easier, and you can double click on a queue if you want to join.
There are two types of Drafts: Booster and Rochester. Booster is easier, and the other players do not know what cards you draft. Rochester is skill-intensive and takes a long time (about an hour) to conduct. After the draft begins, you will be shown the cards available to draft: clicking on one will show you have selected to draft and the other cards will disappear. After all the cards have been drafted, you will be sent to the deck construction screen. You can drop out of the event if you want, or you can build the deck and click the green check button. You can add as much basic land during the deck construction.
After all drafters have submitted decks, play will begin. Matches are 2 out of 3, and play will continue until the match has been decided. If you win, you will continue to the next round and be assured of getting prizes. If you lose, you can join another draft and try again.
Most sealed deck events have signups in the premiere events room, and most require a minimum participation of 24 players. Sealed deck events generally have Swiss pairings instead of knockout; thus you can play in all the rounds if you like. Sealed deck has a deck construction period as well, and again you can add as much basic land as you need.
The advantage of limited events is the fact you keep the cards what you pulled, with the exception of the basic land that you added. (You do keep foil basic lands that you drafted, and the lands pulled from your tournament pack.)
Making that Constructed deck.
As you get more and more cards either through Limited tournaments or buying individual cards, it will be time to create the constructed deck. Go to Deck Editor, and drag the desired cards to your main deck or sideboard. The Deck Editor section has a filter section that allow you to filter the card by color or type.
If you played Magic using real cards, building decks will not be difficult at all. If MTGO is the first time you played magic, it is suggested to have 2/3 spells and 1/3 creatures. You might want to go around the net looking for decklists to build. When the deck is built, save it.
Playing in Constructed events.
First, go to the Casual Play room, and then click on new players. These players are inexperienced and most will have beginner decks for you to play against. It is suggested to go into spreadsheet view and select a player that needs an opponent, or you can click on the new game button. Either way, you have to load your deck. Find the deck using the browse button. When finished, the match will begin or you will be shown waiting for an opponent. If you are waiting for an opponent, go into the chat client that is below and say “open”.
As you gain experience and work on your deck more, try playing in Constructed tournaments. You can choose Premiere events or the 8-player side events. Constructed formats include Online Extended (all the sets in MTGO) or Standard (which is the same Standard format you see in real life Magic). Constructed events require 5 event tickets.
If you choose to trade, first go into your collection and click on your cards that you are willing to trade. If you are looking for certain stuff, try to trade for it. If all else fails, try to trade for event tickets. Some of the players are willing to do this trade.
When you are done setting your trade binder, go into the trading area. There are several trading sections. Click on one and then a chat client is out. Please use the chat client to request what you are trading for and what you have for trade.
Some of the players are willing to buy and sell their cards, so if you want to sell, feel free to do so. However, I only suggest selling on Cardshark because some of the people that sell through MTGO may not be reputable at all. Go back to your collection, and click on the cards you are willing to trade, and then make them physical. Then go into spreadsheet view and right click by stating sort by physical cards only. Then right-click again and use select all feature. Then use the save as .csv file.
Then go back to Cardshark and select the Sell feature. Select Magic Online and you will be prompted to upload the file. Click the browse button to find the file and the click the upload button. The cards will be automatically loaded and put on sale using the average price of the card. Foil
cards are priced higher than non-foil cards. You can then go into the Buy feature and search for one of the cards you uploaded. The card by your username will have Edit or Delete option. Use the Edit option to change the price, or if you uploaded it by accident, click Delete.
Artist: Bradley Williams
Text: You may discard an island and another card from your hand instead of paying Foil's mana cost. Counter target spell.
This is all you really need to know about MTGO.
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