How to Collect Magic the Gathering Cards


When Wizards of the Coast (a Hasbro subsidiary) introduced Magic the Gathering in 1993, it began as the first underground trading card game of its kind. Known for its complexity and the unsurpassed trading card artwork, Magic The Gathering (MTG) continues to thrive 15 years later. The game captures the imagination of audiences of all ages through card collecting, virtual card trading and worldwide tournaments.

  • Decide what interests you most about MTG. If you enjoy the unique artwork displayed on each card, collect cards for their aesthetic value without worrying about their strategic qualities. If you're planning to become an MTG player, collect cards that help you increase the strength and versatility of your playing decks.

  • Nail down your MTG trading card budget. While booster packs and theme decks run from $5 to $25, becoming an avid collector can be an expensive proposition. Larger theme deck boxes start around $50, and championship box sets can go for several hundred bucks.

  • Familiarize yourself with the card colors and types. Cards come in five different colors, representing the five different environments from which they draw their powers. Islands are blue, swamps are black, mountains are red, forests are green and plains are white. Cards are also distinguished by their three basic types: Land, Creature and Magic. One of the best ways to learn about how the cards work together is to play online at (see Resources below). The website also offers forums and chats about other card and game specifics--especially helpful for the novice player.

  • Buy a pre-constructed starter deck, also called a "pre-con" by MTG players. The deck comes with 40 cards and a rule booklet. If you're planning to play the game rather than just collect the cards, you'll need one deck of cards per player. If you want more cards, check out theme deck boxes that contain up to five pre-con decks, or a two-player core starter set, available from (see Resources below). Two-player sets include two starter decks, two mats and play guides and a set of premium cards for more advanced deck building.

  • Invest in inexpensive MTG booster packs to expand your collection and strengthen your game decks. Boosters come with 15 randomly assorted cards, allowing you to mix and match with what you currently have.

  • Visit a specialty trading card or gaming website like for a huge variety of MTG starter sets, booster packs and singles (see Resources below).

  • Browse to find common and rare card singles (see Resources below). The website allows you to search by card color, set name, card type and artist, among other categories. While some single cards cost less than a dollar, rare mint editions can run serious collectors several thousand dollars.

  • Have fun! Part of creating any collection is adding your individual flair, learning more about your acquisitions and selling and trading with other fans.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're an avid MTG fan and collector, check out the latest tournament news at You'll be able to view winning decks and read stories about winners and their strategies.
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