You will not win on Turn 1 !

by Mario Armenti

You will NOT win on the first turn of the game in Magic the Gathering (in Standard play). If your goal however is to win on the first turn, you might consider playing Type 1/Vintage MTG and spending vast sum of money compared to Yugioh.

Magic the Gathering is a turn based game that relies on costs. Yugioh has cards that are banned if they become too powerful and cause you to gain significant advantage over your opponent.

The  following should give you a fair idea about what Magic the Gathering is when starting it after playing Yugioh.

Yugioh has a style of gameplay that allows you to play many cards in one turn and many abilities. However, the term cookie-cutter is a term very commonly used in the game of Yugioh. Whether you’re playing an Inzector or Dino Rabbit deck in the present yugioh metagame, these decks are all similare because they are all playing mostly the same cards (with a few exceptions here and there). These exceptions are called “Tech” and are considered cards that adapt to a player’s playstyle and allow him/her to just have fun with these cards. A personal favorite of mine in the Advanced play of Yugioh is Enemy Controller.


This quick-play spell card allows you to either turn one of the opponent’s creatures to defense mode or by sacrificing one of your creatures, you can take control of one of theirs for the turn. Pretty powerful stuff!

I’ve been through it all. From Beatdown decks in 2002 with Gemini Elves and Spear Dragon, to Hand Control with Yata Garasu and Don Zaloog (massive favorite back then for me, still all-time favorite card today) in 2003, to Chaos Control in 2004 with Chaos Emperor Dragon and Black Luster Soldier (that is still played today). Afterwards, the first-ever banlist came and all of these decks were literally shot to the ground. Most of the aformented cards were not able to be played and new, weaker versions of cards that were banned started to appear. Lightning Vortex was an imitiation to Raigeki that targets face up monsters. Pretty weak stuff!


From this point on, I started to drift away from the game of Yugioh. I still remained in the loop however. New decks started to emerge and anything with individuality was very appealing to me. Theme decks do not have a grasp on my interest as a player, so when I mix and mash powerful cards together is when I’m having the most  fun.

Also, the player base in yugioh is generally adolescent. I do however play here and there and get criticized at how I must be very knowledgable about a game that is mostly for them. This is when you know that it’s not your time anymore.As a card gamer  and as an Italian, there is more than just Scopa and Briscola (Italian card games).

Now enters Magic: the Gathering. I tried the game as I was on a descent of interest in Yugioh, but the rules were just so complicated at the time. I did however win important matches, but we can say that my wins didn’t solely come from my skill in the game. The game became more like Yugioh in terms of difficulty in remembering key terms and became fun and enjoyable for me. Many things you had to watch out for were essentially gone, and I started this ‘new’ card game.

Here are key lessons I’ve learned playing Magic the Gathering:

–          The financial cost of key cards are significantly cheaper

–          There is not only a Standard play (Advanced in Yugioh), but Draft and Sealed play

–          Draft and Sealed play bring their own way of playing Magic to the table and can be played with friends, and is very cheap compared to creating your own deck

–          Knowledge is acquired very fast. This is admittedly much easier done in Yugioh because the card text is simpler when compared to magic, but the gameplay is tremendous.

–          The only way to get better at yugioh is by playing the only format that exists, Advanced, and playing versus better players.

–          The many ways of getting better at magic is playing Legacy (older format), Modern (moderately latest format), Standard (latest format), Draft and Sealed (Limited formats).

As you can see, Magic has many ways of offering practice to a player of any level. It is also much, MUCH harder to win at Magic than it is Yugioh. I’d honestly differentiate both games between University and High School and/or College, because the gap is definitely that big.

Yugioh would be much more enjoyable on a short term basis because the games do not last very long. Everything is very straight forward, even if there are rules questions as there are in every game, questions of card combinations arise much more often than what a card does. Magic’s rulings are much more hidden. A card can state a text but much more often than not the text can be confusing if we haven’t seen much of it already.

Essentially, a new Magic player would want to start Drafting. That is how most players I know have started the game because not only is it the cheapest method of learning how to play the game, but it also brings a flavor of Magic that only playing Draft does. Players are given 3 packs then they open one, pick a card and pass it around. This goes on until all three packs are opened and you make a 40 card deck with provided lands (usually 17 lands and 23 non-lands). Sealed play is more simple, but twice to three times the price. 6 packs and lands are provided, and you again make a deck of 40 cards.

However, the main lesson that every starting magic player that has transitioned from yugioh needs to learn is the concept of a Cost.

Not the kind of cost in Yugioh while playing with your cards, but the cost of actually playing the card. Lands are required in a deck of 60 cards and this is used to pay to play your cards. Symbols of colors on the top right hand corners of cards are what is needed to play the card from your hand. Therefore, a sole green (forest) symbol from the top right hand corner means that once your turn starts, you play a Forest, tap it (turning it to Defense mode like in yugioh) then play the card which you paid for its cost for from your hand.

Finally, a key way to transition skills acquired in Yugioh is to play with colors and cards that you like. Usually, player will want to play something more aggressive such as White, Red or Green colors and their monsters. Black and Blue are usually more control-based and are less aggressive which might not be as appealing to new players who mostly want to have fun.

Thank you for reading!

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