So, the local card shop/comic book store is about 15 minutes away from our house, and it’s a good one. It’s snuggled into a strip mall in a very unassuming location next to a Christian Strip Mall church and a Mexican Supplier Store (I imagine all the Taquerias nearby use them as a grocer).
Along a side wall inside the game store is a long series of tables where locals gather twice a week to try out their luck and finely crafted MTG decks against each other. We were told to show up on a Wednesday . . . that’s when newcomers were more accepted. Friday was tournament night. They called Wednesday “New Guy Night.” I quickly turned that into “Triple N,” or New Nerd Night, and the phrase Triple N around my house was born! When we showed up Wednesday and told a couple of people who were showing us how to play the game my joke about Triple N, they laughed and one even suggested an improvement. “N3”. Well played!
Ever since that time, my daughter and I have really had MTG on the brain. We’ve picked up a number of booster packs and contemplated buying a few fun decks like “Knights vs. Dragons.” I even purchased MTG: Duels of the Planewalkers on Playstation 3 . . . um, not all bajillion expansions of it . . . just the basic $10 game. My daughter hates it and thinks it’s far too complex. I love it. I think it’s helping me learn the game better. To each their own. ;)
I can safely say now that I see how people can spend hundreds of dollars on this game in trying to build a variety of decks. We’re at least $50 into it by now. What can I say? It’s incredibly addicting and fun! Building the perfect deck for every type of opponent you come up against would be a VERY costly and time consuming adventure (since there's like 10,000 different cards or what have you).
This whole MTG thing was not my idea. It was my daughter’s idea, but I'm firm believer in playing alongside your kids (and it seemed interesting to me as well), so why not, I'm all in. Unfortunately, she’s young for this game. There were a few swear words at Triple N the other night that made me cringe a bit . . . at the same time, there were some genuinely courteous people. One even apologized for the others in the crowd. He was a nice guy around 19 years old. I found out he just lived about 5 minutes from me. Nice!
Anyway, now I'm starting to see where MTG and Wizard101 are the same, and where they are different.
1- Where Wizard101 has pips, MTG has "lands." A land card is played at the beginning of the round. Pips are given to you at the beginning of the round. Both pips and lands count toward how big of a spell card you can play.
The difference is that pips go away after you've cast a spell and you have to build them back up, but lands usually stay so you can keep casting higher cost spells. I say usually because MTG is so complex with so many different cards that any object in play can be killed or boosted (including lands). Sometimes you can play a card to get more lands or remove opponent lands. etc. etc. etc. *insert complexity*
2- In Wizard101 you can summon one minion that hangs out to fight and attack for you every round--they are programmed to play from a mini-deck of cards all their own. In MTG you can summon any number of minions to fight and attack for you (called creature cards), but you have more control over their actions, which are usually limited to attack and block, but most have abilities that are activated by either "tapping" them or by them being introduced or removed from play.
3- In Wizard101 you have treasure cards that you apply to spell cards to buff them up or make them different all together (Gargantuan or Death Minotaur for example). In MTG you have enchantment cards that can modify both your spells and your opponent's spells. You also have equipment cards that can be used to modify your creature cards to make them stronger or have new effects like "infect."
4- In Wizard101 your damaging spells are usually creature cards that do a certain amount of a type of damage (like a fire dragon does fire damage). In MTG, most of your damage comes from your creature cards (remember those minions from item 2), but you can also cast "sorcery" cards that will cause your opponent damage. Damage from both your creature cards and sorcery cards are from a type (like a fire goblin does red card damage or a fireball does red card damage).
5- In Wizard101 you have "schools of magic": Fire, Ice, Storm, Balance, Death, Life, Myth. In MTG you have five basic lands: Plains (white), Island (blue), Swamp(black), Mountain (red) and Forest (green). Sometimes you get lands that can be played as any of the above or could be one of two land types.
There are other similarities and differences, but I think you get the point. There are differences, but the similarities are quite striking. In the end, Wizard101 is a social MMO with quests, a PvE element, housing, gardening, pets and can be played from the comfort of your home. MTG is a player vs. player card match--that's it, and that's ok.
If you're interested in learning more, Dylan and Sam are totally your dudes:
I'm sure there are a ton of people that play Wizard101 that have played MTG before, so feel free to leave your comments if you have some experience with the game and see the similarities and differences. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks and Happy Dueling!