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Which way is better for a new person to learn:
60 card 91%  91%  [ 10 ]
Commander 9%  9%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 11
Total voters : 11
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:22 am 
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So I’m in a board game group on Facebook and a few people expressed an interest in learning Magic. I agreed to teach them and said I’d have a few decks (I keep some easy to play ones just for learning). However someone responded about a pre formed commander group they should join and we got into a discussion on which was a better way to learn. I think commander would be a hard way to learn for a first time ever player because of the multiple opponents and decision making to be made when you don’t even know how combat works. They disagreed and thought it was better because of the social aspect and that they’d feel less bad about losing with 3-4 other people.

But I was curious as to what others opinions were. Remember the people learning have NO prior experience with this game.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:46 pm 
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I'd actually recommend pre made 40 card decks to start. If you kept two Sealed decks, those work pretty darn well most of the time.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:48 pm 
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I'm of two minds... 60 card registers to me as "Real" magic, but Commander is by far the most fun and accessible constructed format...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:50 pm 
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To completely-new players, the overwhelming number of keywords and complex-effect cards typical of Commander play, in addition to all the extra recordkeeping (tracking commander damage) and board-state tracking (LOTS more permanents on the battlefield to track), can be quite overwhelming. I think Commander is a very good casual level novice game - but it's rough as pure-introductory-level. Commander's the next step after introductory fundamentals are well understood.

Yarium posted what I was going to post - as a teaching tool, deck sizes as large as 60 are unnecessary. The ideal teaching tool is on par with the typical sealed-draft deck: a finely constrained set of new keywords for the player to worry about, and a game where they can reliably see each (constructed-for-the-purpose-of-teaching) deck's fundamentals more regularly because of a smaller deck size, is a good idea. Make simple 40-card learner decks to illustrate what each color historically does well - green ramps into efficient creatures, red plays tempo with direct damage and haste, blue has some countermagic and card draw, black has spot removal and discard, white has lifegain and control elements (spot and mass removal).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:42 pm 
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I'd say either 40- or 60-card.

But if you're running a 60-card, make sure that it has a lot of duplicates. Lot of 3 and 4 of everything.

There's more to making a simple deck than just size. The main thing is simplicity. Here are some constraints I'd suggest. This I call "New World Order on Steroids"

1. Make only 1- or 2-color decks
2. Limit yourself to creatures that are vanilla, french vanilla, simple ETB effects or simple "dies" effects.
3. Have 6-8 vanilla creatures per deck
4. Don't have any non-evergreen keywords, and maybe even avoid the more obtuse evergreen ones
5. Focus on only a handful of evergreen keywords per deck
6. No planeswalkers
7. Only basic lands or the very simplest duals (Salt Marsh/Submerged Boneyard cycle)
8. No equipment, and no more than two of Auras, non-Aura enchantments, or non-creature, non-Equipment artifacts
9. Limit yourself to the most basic of sorceries and instants, like Murder.
10. Go heavy on draw/discard and life gain/life loss. Everybody's played games where you draw and discard cards, while it is imperative that you understand life gain and loss by the end of your very first game.
11. Go light on things that require a lot of tracking. For example, it's OK to have a sorcery that involves the graveyard, but avoid Lhurgoyfs. Avoid mill or any alt-win-cons.
12. Build decks with a single, easy-to-understand, overarching strategy. For example, a white/black life gain/life loss deck. Or a white/blue air control deck. Or a white/red weenie deck. Or a Relentless Rats deck.

You might want to check out this thread where I created 60-card decks based on those constraints. http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16947&start=40 Some are more complex than others. I believe the easiest to learn.

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Last edited by purplebackpack89 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:07 pm 
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I'd say either 40- or 60-card.

But if you're running a 60-card, make sure that it has a lot of duplicates. Lot of 3 and 4 of everything.

There's more to making a simple deck than just size. The main thing is simplicity. Here are some constraints I'd suggest. This I call "New World Order on Steroids"

1. Make only 1- or 2-color decks
2. Limit yourself to creatures that are vanilla, french vanilla, simple ETB effects or simple "dies" effects.
3. Have 6-8 vanilla creatures per deck
4. Don't have any non-evergreen keywords, and maybe even avoid the more obtuse evergreen ones
5. Focus on only a handful of evergreen keywords per deck
6. No planeswalkers
7. Only basic lands or the very simplest duals (Salt Marsh/Submerged Boneyard cycle)
8. No equipment, and no more than two of Auras, non-Aura enchantments, or non-creature, non-Equipment artifacts
9. Limit yourself to the most basic of sorceries and instants, like Murder.
10. Go heavy on draw/discard and life gain/life loss. Everybody's played games where you draw and discard cards, while it is imperative that you understand life gain and loss by the end of your very first damage.
11. Go light on things that require a lot of tracking. For example, it's OK to have a sorcery that involves the graveyard, but avoid Lhurgoyfs. Avoid mill or any alt-win-cons.
12. Build decks with a single, easy-to-understand, overarching strategy. For example, a white/black life gain/life loss deck. Or a white/blue air control deck. Or a white/red weenie deck. Or a Relentless Rats deck.

You might want to check out this thread where I created 60-card decks based on those constraints. http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16947&start=40 Some are more complex than others. I believe the easiest to learn.

Reminds me of Portal. I think you'd be making a mistake with Relentless Rats, though, as that deck breaks one of the fundamental rules of magic.

I still have the Portal insert cards that describe allied two-color archetypes and how to build them (as 30-card Portal decks, mind) and I think they still apply as a baseline for the common strategies of M:tG. Anyone interested in me photographing and uploading them?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:08 am 
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I think purple has the large of it, but I disagree with two of the points.
8 & 10

8) It's imperative a new player understands what a permanent is. Artifacts and Enchantments that have continuous effects aren't that difficult to understand, and the nature of their effects are a part of getting a grip on the game. Of course, as always, the complexity of what they do should be kept to a minimum.

10) Draw cards are absolutely a positive, but looting effects are setting up someone for a bad time. There's no way that they can accurately assess a card to keep vs what to pitch if they're just starting out. Making another player discard is also an effect that a new player isn't going to give the proper weight, so they're not going to value those cards correctly. Life loss and life gain are likely on the opposite end of that. New players are going to overvalue life gain cards and life loss/direct damage cards... well, they'll probably understand the value fine, but won't have the skill to best utilize those cards, but you can definitely keep them in.

I've built a LOT of starter decks to give away to friends I'm trying to sucker int- I mean... teach to play.
Most of purple's notes are definitely on the money.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:04 pm 
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I also tend to stay away from non-pump instant effects. "Got you, my creature now has +3/+3" is pretty simple, but explaining "in response to your Giant Growth I Bolt your creature" always seems to disrupt the flow of the introductory game. I also prefer to make one of the introductory decks monocolor and the other two-colors so the player can see the benefits and costs of adding colors to the deck.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:30 pm 
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I think the previous posts beg two questions:

1) How far along before intro players learn the stack?
2) How far along before intro players need to learn the real value of cards?

FWIW, on the latter:
1) They can't learn the value of cards unless they have some that are worse than others
2) I'd still roll with life gain and loss because of the simplicity and fundamentality of their effects.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:06 pm 
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I think the previous posts beg two questions:

1) How far along before intro players learn the stack?
It's complicated, but probably as soon as you can.
Quote:
2) How far along before intro players need to learn the real value of cards?

That's not really something you can teach. Experience is the only way they'll pick that up.

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To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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