Each player starts with their own “deck”. A deck is a collection of magic cards that usually follow a color theme. For example, some players prefer playing a singular, specific color. Whereas, others will build a deck based on a multiple color strategy. You can read more about deck building here.
Both players typically start with 20 points of life. However, in casual play you can start at whatever number you and your friends prefer. Life is taken away as a result of damage dealt by certain spells and direct damage from attacking creatures.
The idea of Magic the Gathering is to defeat your opponent by either:
- Bringing their life count to 0.
- That player accumulating 10 poison counters.
- Forcing that player to draw from an empty library.
- Meeting the conditions of a spell card. For example, Final Fortune is a red spell that grants you an extra turn. However, you lose the game at the end of the second turn.