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Magic the Gathering or mtg for short is a popular trading card game in which you play as a powerful wizard who casts spells to fight the opposing wizard. Spells in Magic the Gathering have a wide variety of effects such as: summoning creatures from various planes to attack or defend, cast a spell that can burn the opponent or his creatures, as well as utility spells that can strengthen or weaken creatures on the field to your advantage.
The Five Colors
Spells in mtg revolve around the five mana colors: white, blue, black, red, and green. In order to cast a spell you will need to generate mana through the use of land cards which act as your resource for casting spells and it is reusable at the start of your next turn.
Each of the types of color has a specific theme to it: White is generated through grassy plains with a theme of justice, healing, and protection. Blue is generated through islands has a theme of water, manipulation, and knowledge. Black is generated through swamps and has a theme of disease, fear, and death. Red is generated through mountains and has a theme of fire, impulse, and freedom. Green is generated through the forest and has a theme of growth, instinct, and nature.1
In Magic The Gathering, a Planeswalker is a powerful mage who is able to travel across the planes of existence. There are infinite worlds across the Multiverse, and Planeswalkers are unique in their ability to move from one world to the next, expanding their knowledge and power through the experiences they collect there.
One in a million sentient beings are born with “the spark,” the ineffable essence that makes an individual capable of becoming a Planeswalker. Of those born with “the spark,” even fewer “ignite” their spark, enabling them to realize their potential and travel the planes. Most Planeswalkers have their spark ignited as the result of a great crisis or trauma, but every awakening is different. A near-death experience might ignite a Planeswalker’s spark, but so could a sudden, life-changing epiphany or a meditative trance that enables the mage’s grasp of some transcendent truth. There are as many such stories as there are Planeswalkers.2
The five key planeswalkers are: Ajani the Goldmane for the white, Jace Beleren for the blue, Liliana vess for the black, Chandara Nalaar for the red, and Garruk wildspeaker for the green. There are many other key planeswalkers that play a major part in their individual multiverse world though these five planeswalkers are key planeswalkers because they hop to the most multiverse to spread their magic.
Ravnica is a worldwide cityscape consisting of: a patchwork of grand halls, decrepit slums, ancient ruins, and layer upon layer of stonework structures. Of the world’s countless civic centers, one looms large above all others: the City of Ravnica, a metropolis so vast that its name has long since become synonymous with the entire plane. In the city of Ravnica, ten guilds fight for power and control over the metropolis.
Ravnica is the most popular set in magic the gathering due to its two colored mana guild system in which you join a guild and fight other guild wizards for dominance in the Ravnica plane.
The guilds are: the law enforcing Azorius guild, the sewer scavenging Golgari guild, the mad scientist Izzet guild, the faith based army Selesnya guild, the thrill killing Rakdos cult, the secretive Dimir guild, the bio-engineering Simic guild, the money grabbing church of Orzhov, the Boros army guild, and the nature loving city destroyer Gruul guild.
Dominaria, Phyxeria, and Mirrodin Planes
The plane known as Dominaria is a multiverse much like earths except that it is two and a half times larger, the oceans are larger then earths but more shallower. This is the first magic the gathering multiverse, the longest running card set, and is the centerfold of all the planes. This long running multiverse can be summarized by two brothers Urza and Mishra created two empires and went to war with each other for control over caves which contained rich materials to create artifacts.
Phyxeria is described to be a dark hellish multiverse filled with lava, biological living artifacts, and has a nine layered sphere structure. Little is known about the origins of the area besides that it once was created by a planeswalking dragon. After being abandoned for centuries, a mortal from Dominaria known as “Yawgmoth” ruled this plane constructing his own living artifact in preparation for taking over all of the multiverse. Luckily the portals to this plane are sealed and there are no planeswalkers to let the inhabitants of Phyrexia to spread its infection across the multiverse.
Mirrodin is multiverse is made entirely of metal. There are thorny copper trees that make up artificial forests, great structures of iron and rust that form mountains, and blades of grass on the plains are literally metal blades. There are also five suns or moons that radiate mana onto this plane. This multiverse was created by a time traveling planeswalker silver golem known as Karn as a test of his powers. Once he created the plane as well as its inhabitants, he decided to explore the other various planes leaving Memnarch in control of Mirrodin. Karn didn’t realize that when he created the plane he brought along some Phyrexian oil with him. This oil was transferred to Memnarch corrupted him into becoming a Phyrexian living artifact who built up a infected artifact army to wage war on all of the living artifacts on Mirrodin to their control.
Richard Garfield was a doctoral candidate at University of Pennsylvania when he first started to design the game. During his free time he worked with local volunteer playtesters to help refine the game. He had been brought on as an adjunct professor at Whitman College in 1993 when Peter Adkison (then CEO of Wizards of the Coast games company) first met with Garfield to discuss Garfield’s new game RoboRally. Adkison saw the game as very promising, but decided that Wizards of the Coast lacked the resources to produce it at that point. He did like Garfield’s ideas and mentioned that he was looking for a portable game that could be played in the downtime that frequently occurs at gaming conventions. Garfield returned and presented the general outline of the concept of a Trading Card Game. Adkison immediately saw the potential of this idea and agreed to produce it. Magic: The Gathering underwent a general release on August 5, 1993.
While the game was simply called Magic through most of playtesting, when the game had to be officially named, a lawyer informed them that Magic was too generic to be trademarked. Mana Clash was instead chosen to be the name used in the first solicitation of the game. Still, everybody involved with the game continued to refer to it as Magic. After further consultation with the lawyer it was decided to rename the game to Magic: The Gathering, thus enabling the name to be trademarked.
Parodies and Online Impact
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