Here's the question:

How should I approach teaching Magic:The Gathering to a new player?

11 upvotes, been around seven months with some good answers. I just posted an answer to point out a new inexpensive way to try the game. The question was closed for being "Too Localized" about the same time as I posted my answer.

This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

Sure, Base sets change every year, and maybe this product won't exist next year, but certainly the question can be answered, will have valid answers for a long time (at least a year's product cycle, the computer games will certainly be on the market a long time as well); the audience of the question is fairly large (ie. anyone with a passing interest in learning about the game); and furthermore the question itself is very similar in nature to:

How much would it cost to get started with Magic: The Gathering?

And it is also the same sort of question as this Go-releated query:

What do you recommend to learn Go?

Before I start a reopen/close war, thought I'd pose the question here. ;) It's a good question, isn't it?

  • 1
    I re-read it and think it's a good question, perhaps it should be worded more "how do I teach" and less "what do I buy" to make it more palatable.
    – Stephen
    Sep 19, 2011 at 18:40
  • 1
    @Stephen Not sure why "what do I buy" would be not palatable. It is a Collectible Card Game after all… like any board or card game you either have to buy something, borrow something, or — if you're hardcore and handy — handcraft something to play.
    – ghoppe
    Sep 19, 2011 at 18:44
  • Unless @Pat Ludwig posts, we'll have to speculate. I don't think it's a localized question, nor more subjective than boardgames.stackexchange.com/q/563/1583
    – Stephen
    Sep 19, 2011 at 18:56
  • 1
    @Stephen Nice pull. You found a mirror question that Pat asked. ;)
    – ghoppe
    Sep 19, 2011 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


I've taken a kick at editing the question to make it less sensitive to this moment in time.

I don't yet have the ability to vote to reopen, but if you do, please take a moment to consider the edits.

  • 1
    Great edit, I added a bit more and reopened it.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Sep 20, 2011 at 13:54
  • Thanks, appreciate the feedback
    – Stephen
    Sep 20, 2011 at 13:58

I think one thing that separates the recently-closed question from Pat's question about 18xx games is that the 18xx games are static: 1830, for example, was published in 1986 and hasn't changed since then. New variants may be released, but nothing will change about old variants, so answers that refer to them will be just as good in five years as they are now.

The Go question is more static, in one respect. Go is go; it always has been, as far as any of us could possibly know. Tools to learn go may change over time, but the game itself does not, and so some learning tools will remain constant. (This question may require occasional maintenance if some of the links rot, but that can happen on any question with references.)

MtG, on the other hand, has gone through a significant amount of change, and in all likelihood will continue to do so. Valid answers now may become invalid answers in a year or two ... as adamjford points out in a comment about the old Shandalar game for the PC:

Problem is there would be a HUGE learning curve when you transition to modern rules (the stack, no interrupts, combat), and there would be no familiar cards whatsoever (except maybe Giant Spider and Lightning Bolt.) I say this even though I loved Shandalar to bits back in the day. :)

So I think the closure reason here is that the question is relevant to "a specific moment in time". I'm not sure whether it would be sufficient to change the question to ask what to buy to teach 2011 MtG to someone, nor whether this is the line of logic that Pat applied, but it seems like a starting point to me.

  • Though rules are updating constantly, there hasn't been a significant overhaul that would invalidate what you teach to a new player since the introduction of the stack, the elimination of interrupts and damage off the stack. The answer that references Shandalar has 1 upvote compared with 14 for the accepted answer. The OP says that he would both buy a starter deck and wouldn't buy a starter deck, so I can see there is room for cleanup, but the basic approach to teaching the game is still relevant.
    – Stephen
    Sep 20, 2011 at 13:28
  • Additionally the Portal product is still floating around, so an edit asking whether it's a recommended approach instead of saying the OP can't find it online (I found it in 1 query for $10) would keep the question relevant for future searchers.
    – Stephen
    Sep 20, 2011 at 13:31

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