I began playing MTG around Beta/Unlimited but haven't played MTG since about 4th Edition/Fallen Empires/Ice Age.

I have been considering picking the game back up, and could use some suggestions on how to re-learn the game.

I already know that I can pick up a fair amount of commons/uncommons very inexpensively so I'm not concentrating on deck building but rather picking up the rules.

The biggest change I see is the concept of the stack, and the formalization of the rules (which I have a great link to and am browsing through).

I feel I'm probably best off ignoring the plethora of new cards/combos that have appeared on the scene and getting a feel for the flow ... the cards/combos will come from playing and being active again.

I also know that the best way to reinforce this information will be by playing, learning a game is rarely simply academic.

Is there a fairly straightforward strategy for re-learning MTG beyond these steps I've already identified?

  • 1
    Main differences: No mana burn, tapped defenders still deal damage, no interrupts but mana-abilities bypass the stack. The stack is very similar to the old LIFO rule, but you can start adding more things on top half-way through resolution.
    – Nick
    Jul 13, 2012 at 9:53
  • Pick up a booster battle pack and dive in. If you remember how casting spells works, you're 80% of the way there.
    – Discord
    Jun 18, 2013 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


I can think of a few ways to relearn Magic:The Gathering without simply reading the rules. Which, by the way, because of the new stack concept*, streamlining of phases/steps and elimination of many odd special-case rules, is easier than ever in my opinion.

  1. Download the Magic the Gathering Online Demo if you have a PC or if you have an XBox, the Duels of the Plainswalkers 2012 Demo. Since they take care of the game rules for you, you can walk through games, learn the turn sequence and how the stack works. That MtGO link has a YouTube video that walks through the game.

  2. Find a store near you and drop in for Friday Night Magic. It's been my experience that most MtG players are quite happy and willing to teach new players the ropes.

*honestly, the stack isn't that new. ;-)

  • 2
    Upvoted for recommending getting hold of MtGO. The way the stack works is really hard to get to grips with... until you have a computer resolving all the complicated timing issues for you, before your eyes. Then it becomes very easy indeed to assimilate. Aug 12, 2011 at 15:30
  • Play it with people who know it. FNM is an excellent suggestion, and has helped me get back up to speed very well.
    – John
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:57
  • Oh, you whipper snappers, calling the stack not that new....
    – John
    Jul 19, 2015 at 2:44
  • 3
    @John I realize you're being funny, and I do have old-timer cred (played during Legends) — but the stack was introduced with 6th Edition rules changes when MtG was six years old. There have been 12 core set releases and 49 expansion sets using the stack rules in the following 16 years. So, yeah, not new.
    – ghoppe
    Jul 20, 2015 at 19:22

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