Q:

What are the official Magic: The Gathering rules?

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Quick Answer

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is a card game that requires players to manage their resources within their decks to cast enchantments, creatures and other spells with the goal of reducing the opposing player’s life from 20 points to 0. Games are most often played by two players, though an MTG duel can feature any number of participants.

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What are the official Magic: The Gathering rules?
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Full Answer

Players start by drawing an opening hand of 7 cards from their deck of about 60 cards. At the start of each turn, players draw an additional card. To play creatures or spells, players must pay their mana cost. Mana is gained from playing land cards, each of which usually produces one mana of a specific type. Only one land card can be played per turn and can only be tapped for mana once per turn, but the land remains in play unless it is destroyed.

Having mana allows players to cast spells and summon creatures. Creatures stay in play until they are destroyed by other creatures or spells. Creatures have power and toughness values separated by a slash in the lower right hand corner of the card. If a creature takes more damage then its toughness value, it is destroyed. Creatures are used to attack opponents and block an opponent's creature attacks. Attacking creatures become “tapped” and cannot be used for blocking on an opponent’s subsequent turn. Any unblocked, attacking creature deals their power value in damage to the opponent. Some creatures have special abilities that require them to become “tapped” as well. All cards become “untapped” at the start of the next turn, signifying they may be used.

Mana can also be used to cast a variety of other spells. Sorceries are spells that can only be cast during a player's turn and can do many things, such as deal direct damage to opponents or creatures, regenerate life or draw cards. Instants have effects similar to sorceries but can be played at any time, including on an opponent's turn. Instant spells can sometimes counter an opponent's spells. Enchantments are spells that stay in play until they are removed, like creatures. They do not have strength and toughness values but affect the game by having activated or permanent abilities.

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