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Magic The Gathering Information Page

Magic: The Gathering (colloquially "Magic", "MTG", or "Magic Cards") is a collectible card game created by Richard Garfield and later bought in 1994 by the company Wizards of the Coast, which was purchased by Hasbro in September 1999. Magic inspired an entirely new game genre and has an estimated six million players in over seventy countries worldwide, as well as a successful Internet version. The game is a strategy contest that includes an element of chance due to the random distribution of cards from shuffling.

Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards called "Planeswalkers" who use magical spells, items, and fantastic creatures to defeat their opponents. Though the original concept of the game drew heavily from the motifs of traditional fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Magic bears little resemblance to those pencil-and-paper adventures.

The game has an official tournament system, with tournaments having been played on all seven continents, including Antarctica. The cards themselves are valuable, much like other trading cards, but in the case of Magic, a card's value is primarily based on its power and utility in game play, not just its scarcity and other intangible aesthetic qualities such as the quality of its artwork.

Game Play

In a game of Magic, two or more players are engaged in a duel. A player starts the game with twenty life points. The player loses when he or she runs out of life points. The most common method of reducing an opponent's life is to attack with summoned creatures, although numerous other methods exist. There are other ways to win or lose the game, but loss of life is the most common. 

Players also start with seven cards. They duel each other by casting spell cards, using mana or magical energy, typically drawn from land cards. Spells can have a single, one-time effect, set up a lasting magical effect, or summon a creature to fight for its player. More powerful spells cost more mana, or even other resources such as a player's own life points.

Some spells have effects that override normal game rules (e.g., allow a player to play more than one land per turn). The so-called "Golden Rule of Magic" is that if a card's text conflicts with the rules, the card has priority. Resolving interactions between conflicting spell effects is one of the more difficult aspects of game play. A detailed rulebook exists to clarify these conflicts.

Deck construction

A player needs a deck before he or she can play a game of Magic. Beginners typically start with only a starter deck, which is pre-built and ready for play. Two players seldom play with the same type of deck, and decks are customized based on the particular player's technique, playing style or even the anticipated content of an opponent's deck.

Decks are required to be at least sixty cards. Players may use no more than four of any named card, with the exception of "basic lands", which act as a standard resource in Magic. In Limited formats the minimum size is forty cards, and the four-of rule does not apply. Depending on the type of play, some more powerful cards are further restricted, allowing only one per deck, while others are banned outright. Experienced players often play with the minimum deck size in order to make their decks more consistent.

The decision on what colours to use is a key part of creating a deck. Although five colours of spells are available, lowering the number of colours used makes it more likely that a player will draw a correct mixture of spells and land that create mana of the correct colour. Since each of the five colours each have different strengths and weaknesses, playing more colours can help create a more versatile and well-rounded deck.