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Teaching new players



 
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clayparson



Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Teaching new players Reply with quote

Hey everybody, I was recently asked by a friend of mine to teach them how to play Magic. The problem is I haven't taught anyone to play since around fourth grade, and I am at a loss as to begin the process. Does anyone have any experience in teaching the game to new players? I'm looking for any and all tips here, as I have absolutely no idea where to start. Thanks!
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Kienan



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go over the very basics, such as how to play cards (including lands), what cards do, the card types, damage and life totals, and then briefly cover the phases. This should give your student enough knowledge to start a few games, which is probably the best way to learn the basics of playing.

That's my advice; cover the basics, then play some learning games, help them out along the way until they can play on their own. Smile
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urafever



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing somebody did for me when I was very young:

build a cheap burn deck and teach the guy to play it. Make it mono-red and put in at least one of each type of spell.

Then play him a bunch with one of your crappier decks.

He's gonna learn a lot more about creatures by playing "ball lightning" than by anything you can explain. And it'll teach him the value of lightning bolt early Razz
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Alphakiller



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

do you WANT to create yet another RDW player? lol
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gypsy



Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 1671

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tell them to download duels of the planeswalkers for pc or xbox 360, it teaches as the game goes along.
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Thran_Golem



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Kienan - teach them the basics, then get into learning games as quickly as possible.

If you can, I would advise going over the colours with them first, and then build mono-coloured decks out of the colours they like best. That way the student will be more likely to enjoy themselves (I've made the mistake of trying to use a blue deck to teach someone who turned into aggro-only player ... luckily I was playing with a green deck, and they correctly predicted they would have more fun if we switched decks).

Another important thing is to build a deck specifically for the purpose - it should be filled with four copies of basic cards that everyone should know ... stuff like Llanowar Elves, Lightning Bolt, White Knight, etc. That way there will be less cards for them to learn both initially (since everything's a 4-of), and when they start playing more (since everyone will assume they know those cards).

The first deck should also have few, if any, nonbasic lands, and probably no artifacts or planeswalkers (possibly even no enchantments). This will both save you time in the pre-game explanation, and simplify things for them in their first few games. You can introduce the other card types as they start understanding the rules better.

Once they understand the way the game works, give them a chance to build their own deck. Obviously you won't want to set them loose on your entire collection (unless it's small) ... narrow it down to 100 cards or so for them, but let them make the final set of cuts. I've always found I'm more excited about playing with a deck that I've built than with a netdeck, and I've noticed that the people I've introduced to the game seem to feel the same way.

If they make some bad deckbuilding choices, don't worry too much. This is their first deck after all - answer any questions they have, but try not to make too many suggestions without being asked to. While there are some major issues you should point out right away (unworkable mana bases jump to mind), letting them adjust their deck as they go is a huge learning experience for them. It's not until they have to choose between two cards that they really start to think about which one is better.

One last piece of advice - always remember that the student is the one who matters. Magic is a game, and so play in a way that they enjoy. If they don't like a certain card, take it out of the deck. Once they enjoy the game, they can deal with a couple of pet peeve cards. But while they're learning, the goal should be to make the experience a good one.
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whoempah_666



Joined: 27 Mar 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nah you gotta give a crash course and take him to a PTQ the next day :p
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asamodious



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 362

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whoempah_666 wrote:
nah you gotta give a crash course and take him to a PTQ the next day :p
I did that to a friend of mine once at a black lotus legacy tournament.

Cept he went 5-2 and got 9th place and won 16 packs.

go go legacy burns!
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Kienan



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thran_Golem wrote:
The first deck should also have few, if any, nonbasic lands, and probably no artifacts or planeswalkers (possibly even no enchantments). This will both save you time in the pre-game explanation, and simplify things for them in their first few games. You can introduce the other card types as they start understanding the rules better.


I agree with the general idea here, but think that it's taken to extremes. I think it's important for a new player to learn all the card types fairly quickly. I agree, you can do without the nonbasic lands to start, since the first deck will probably be monocolor anyway (although you should at least mention that not all cards enter the field untapped), and, I definitely agree about the planeswalkers. That will just cause added and unnecessary confusion. Loyalty counters, sorcery speed abilities that modify the aforementioned loyalty counters, attacking a planeswalker instead of a player, a card that almost looks like a creature but can't attack or block, etc. Owch. Razz

However, I think enchantments and artifacts are fairly straightforward, and would be fine for a new player, and may actually be quite fun for them. An equipment deck or the like could actually be a fun beginning deck. Maybe a Kor WW type deck? Although then you wouldn't have any straight damage spells, which would be good to cover...

Also, I thought of some more general advice. It should be pretty obvious, but go easy on a new player that you're teaching. Disruption is bad, and could put them off the game entirely. Don't counter all their spells or, worse, destroy all their creatures as they enter play. Laughing

Let them actually play and enjoy their cards and deck.
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Thran_Golem



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kienan wrote:
However, I think enchantments and artifacts are fairly straightforward, and would be fine for a new player, and may actually be quite fun for them. An equipment deck or the like could actually be a fun beginning deck. Maybe a Kor WW type deck? Although then you wouldn't have any straight damage spells, which would be good to cover...


It depends on how many decks you feel like building. I personally like doing it in phases ... start with nothing, then add the enchantments, artifacts, and non-basics, then go all out. But it means having at least three decks (or taking the time to adjust one deck). I agree that you should introduce the non-creature permanents very quickly, just not necessarily in the first couple of games.

Kienan wrote:
Also, I thought of some more general advice. It should be pretty obvious, but go easy on a new player that you're teaching. Disruption is bad, and could put them off the game entirely. Don't counter all their spells or, worse, destroy all their creatures as they enter play. Laughing

Let them actually play and enjoy their cards and deck.


I agree wholeheartedly.
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Vedrfolner



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 2325

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that when you teach them the basics, you should do so in such a manner that they are able to figure out pretty much what a card does by reading it.

Reading the cards = skillz

Therefore, having a score of DIFFERENT one-off vanilla or near-vanilla creatures in a deck with ALL the card types represented is the way to go. Nothing advanced, but a basic deck with maybe a bit of synergy that they can discover for themselves.

I totally agree on not correcting the play mistakes, though. Unless they ask, let them run into a blocker-wall and lose because of it without advicing them what to do. They learn more that way. Sooner or later, they will learn not to tap out before they attack and stuff like that without you saying so. The important stuff are mental techniques to avoid play mistakes - the fundament for their decisions - and not the decisions themselves.

In other words, teach them to gather information and have an overview over everything that may matter in the game. For example, a permanent that can tap a creature should not be forgotten at the end of the opponent's turn. And that an opponent's creature has first strike should not be forgotten when he attacks. Once information-gathering is taught, the decision-making will come by itself.

It is also better to teach two newbies together while acting as a judge and advisor. They will compete on equal terms. When they think they are ready to face you, let them and don't let them win on purpose. If you always beat them, many will lose interest since the (in my case) thirteen years of experience may seem a bit far off... but you pretending to do mistakes gives no reward.

Edit: when a friend runs around hands aloft yelling after winning a game where you didn't mana-screw, you know that he got a sense of real achievement Smile

I have felt the urge to do much the same when I on rare occasions beats someone who I know are really good players Smile Good feeling... but I am really bad at hiding it!
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