In the Beginning: Oh, So Many Choices!

UPDATED: October 2013

Hello Everyone!

This tutorial is one of many intended for players new to Magic Online. It will be addressing questions, offering some tips and shortcuts, and sharing general information to take you from MTGO newcomer to veteran! Also make sure to check out our Tutorial page for other great tutorials about MTGO.

Today, we will be discussing what to do with your starting product after you register for a Magic: The Gathering Online account.

New Account Package

So you have your brand new MTGO account, screen name and all. But what’s next? What’s the best way to continue from here to maximize your fun for the lowest cost? Well, allow me to assist you. Today, we will be discussing:

  • Where to find your initial card inventory and how to “unlock” it.
  • What to do with the contents of this inventory in order to have countless hours of fun without spending a single cent!
  • How to be smart about expanding your collection and the places you have to know to accomplish that.
  • A lot of other tips, tricks, and strategies I wish someone would have told me when I started out!


I assure you, if you follow this advice you will get the most out of the limited resources available to you here in the beginning.

So let’s have a look at your initial inventory in your collection binder after creating your account. You get to your collection by clicking on: MENU -> CARDS -> COLLECTION (see below)

Collection Binder

After you have opened your binder, you have to look for your starting content. Every new account comes with the following:

  • Five regular “Event Tickets”
  • Twenty “New Player Points”
  • A predefined collection of cards


After you have opened your collection binder you will find the mentioned items. Let’s have a look at those and talk about the best way to use them.

 1) MTGO Event Tickets

Event Tickets (or “tix” as most players call them) are the basic currency in MTGO. While they were created to pay for entering events (thus the name), they are used widely as the de facto “money” to make purchases as well. One Event Ticket can be purchased in the Wizards of the Coast store for $1.00 (plus any applicable tax). They are also bought and sold among players for roughly that value. The five Event Tickets in your New Player Package can help you begin to accrue cards for your collection if you use them efficiently.

My advice is hold onto them for now. They can be used later to purchase cards when we have a better idea what kind of deck we would like to create and play.


We will keep our Event Tickets for now and use them at a later point for additional cards. Tickets are always useful to have as they are the most widely accepted currency on MTGO.

2) Five Vanguard Avatars

Starting AvatarsAvatars have two main functions in MTGO. They allow you to play a special format called “Vanguard.” In this format (meaning a specific way to play game based on various criteria), one of the Avatars represents you in game, modifying your starting life total and hand size, as well as adding special abilities that you may use. Additionally, they set your profile picture (the physical icon represented to other players). You can read more on Avatars and what you can do with them here.

Avatars are usually given out as additional prizes for participating in and winning tournaments. They vary in value. Some cannot be traded (such as the basic ones you have in your collection now) and therefore have no value. Others are rare and cost tickets to acquire (such as the Platinum Angel Avatar). Generally speaking, the majority of Avatars are cheap and very easy to come by.

If you want to change your Avatar to alter your in game profile picture go to: MENU -> SETTINGS -> DISPLAY -> SOUNDS and pick the Avatar you like by scrolling to the left or right. When you’ve made your choice just click “CLOSE” and the pic will be used as your “In Game Picture”.


Avatars are used to modify a game of Magic with new abilities and provide players with a character representation as their profile picture. The five basic ones you own right now CANNOT be traded. You will be able to get additional Avatars over time and all others can be bought, sold or traded as normal cards. We will spend more time to going into the details of this when we feel more familiar with playing and know how to build a deck.

3) A bunch of MTGO Singles

M10cutoutYour new account contains hundreds of cards that you can use to build your first decks and play them against other beginners in the New Players Room. To use these cards you first need to build a deck with them. After this, just head to the “New Players Room” to battle other beginners! If you don’t know how to build a deck on MTGO go straight to our How to Build Your First Deck video. You can find the complete list of cards you will receive here.


Those singles will give you the opportunity to try out deck building for yourself and battle with other beginners with your own creation. Try out different combinations of cards and see what works best for you and what kind of decks you have the most fun with.

4) MTGO New Player Points

You will receive 20 of those “New Player Points” that can only be used for so called Phantom Events that allow you to test tournament play in a low pressure environment with fellow newbies. Each New Player tournament is a 4-player Phantom queue. This means each event will launch as soon as four players join and each player will play two matches, win or lose, but the cards played with will not be added to players’ collections. You cannot trade these tickets with other players or use them for any other purpose.


New Player Points are used to enter special beginner limited tournaments and cannot be traded. MTGO Academy recommends to use those after you have familiarized yourself with the client and feel you are ready to try out a booster draft or sealed tournament but don’t want to spend to many “real” tickets yet. “Phantom Event” means you will NOT keep the cards you open in the boosters, but rather use those only during the tournament.

Now you are ready to play in the “New Players Room.” You can get there by clicking on the “NEW PLAYER” button on the “HOME Screen”.

New Players Room

When the “Game Window” appears, you only need to load your deck by clicking on “BROWSE.” Pick the deck you want to play. If you cannot find your deck in the list check the drop down at the top and pick “Net Deck” or “Local Deck” and see if it appears there (You always have the possibility to save your decks locally on your computer, called “Local Deck” or on the Wizards Servers, called “Net Deck”).

What should I do with the tickets now?

Once you feel a little more comfortable playing and know what deck(s) you would like to create, it’s time to invest your tickets in more cards! But before you purchase anything, here’s a tip on how to obtain some free cards! There are several dealers online that provide bulk cards at absolutely no cost. To learn how to find these dealers and expand your collection without spending any resources other than time, watch our video How to Get Free Cards. You can also visit MTGO Academy’s own Academy_Quizbot and win 4 free cards for answering a Magic trivia question!

There are several ways to spend tickets, but our recommendation is to buy in bulk for now. That means you offer your tickets for a larger amount of cards that will increase your collection considerably. Bulk is a common slang for cards that are not worth enough to warrant single sale and usually you can get:

100 commons for 1 Event Ticket
25 uncommons for 1 Event Ticket
12 rares for 1 Event Ticket
1 mythic for 1 Event Ticket

Please note that many cards are worth much more then 1 ticket if they are popular and widely used in tournaments. The above is a general rate that really only applies for cards that are not used widely in competitive play. If you want to get a nice bundle of bulk, you can visit automated stores called “bots” on MTGO and exchange your tickets for cards. You can also use an online dealer that offers bulk deals. MTGO Academy offers several wonderful bundle deals in our store, including ever-popular tribal packs and our massive mega pack!! The bots in question are easily found by their ads that often read:” Selling x commons for 1 ticket” or “Selling x rares for 1 ticket”. (By ‘x’ we mean a fixed sum: 10, 20, etc.)


Be careful with bots. The maximum number of cards you can trade in one session is 400. So if a bot offers you, for example, 600 commons for 2 tickets, he will take the ticket first and give you 400 cards, saving the missing cards as credit. Usually, you can come back and pick the rest in another trading session; however, there is no guarantee that a bot will do this. So be careful, as this credit could be lost. Always make sure that the bot is operated by a trustworthy dealer or player. It can be beneficial to ask other players or friends about their experiences regarding buying and selling cards.

Alas, we are at the end of our journey with this article, but there is much more to explore for those that wich to journey onward! I encourage you to check out our other content in article and video form and let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions or questions about Magic Online and all that goes with it. If you would like to continue learning about the intricacies of Magic Online, I highly suggest that you check our newest tutorial section (with links seen in the table below).

Get beginner bundles for amazing value and low prices!
Pt. 1: Paper Info Pt. 2: Using MTGO Pt. 3: MTGO Info Pt. 4: MTGO Trading
Paper Products ToS & CoC Digital Products Collection Tab
Playing Magic Introductory Videos MTGO Events Trade Interface
Paper Websites Trading Areas MTGO Formats Bots
Playing Areas Human Traders
Help & Support MTGO Websites Important Info
Store & Misc WotC Pages Classifieds
Strategy Sites
Webstores & Bots

Lastly, remember this: we were all new to the game at one point. It’s the one thing as fans and players of Magic that we all have in common!

Best wishes,
Marin (Plejades on MTGO)

  1. Excellent article. Answered all the questions I had as a new MTGO player. Many thanks, and I shall be returning :)

  2. Hello Bluff and Bully05!

    Glad you liked the article. We are currently preparing a huge series of articles and videos for beginners. Check back from time to time for updates and announcements. :-)

  3. As a brand new play to MTGO/MTG(even), the content on this site has been very helpful. Thanx for the effort that has gone into this site as it is much appreciated…..

  4. i was wondering since facebook has 400 million member from all over the world why doesn’t Wizards introduce magic online.they could make it free. But the catch is the free version can only use the gold bordered plainswalker cards.

  5. “But the catch is the free version can only use the gold bordered plainswalker cards.”

    Yeah, I’ve wondered myself why they make people pay for the Planeswalker gold cards. I figure a free version would get more people hooked. Maybe they’ll go out and want to start a regular collection. Unless of course it’s server load. It’s not free for them to provide the servers.

  6. Good article, everything that one needs when they first start and how to handle there starting gifts from wizards.

  7. I actually think the gold cards are a good way to give people time to play with other beginners and have cards in their pool that are popular and not so easy to get till they feel comfortable enough to step out in the “real world”. It would help though if they would make it a bit more clear that those cards have no trade values (they cannot be traded).

    Have fun everyone!

  8. I do wish they would give an option for the old type of new accounts where you get $10.00 at the MTGO store for the advance players purchasing extra accounts.

  9. Excellent article on startup. Highly recommended to new players – a reference I could have used when I started out.

  10. I for one, though still quite new on MTGO, have never played with the planeswalker cards I got. I agree with Owen, the 10 dollar coupon would have been better for me. Also, when filtering through your collection or through deck editor, the planeswalker cards can get quite annoying. I wish they would put in a feature to just always keep them hidden or something.

  11. Hi and ty for this helpfull article. I just started on MTGO and have one question: Are there more functions in the Chat, like “/join auction”, we do not know?

    Best wishes


  12. You usually can trade for most booster for the rate: 4 tickets = one booster. Some are considerable cheaper (between 2 and 3.5) while a few others can be above 4 depending on current events and surge of demand.

  13. Greetings Plejades.

    Thank you for this helpful article, it helped clear a lot of doubts for me. I’m currently playing the free trial version of MTGO, and I’d like to know whether the freeplay decks,(Teeth Of The Predator, Etc.) will be available to me once I pay for my account. Are the freeplay decks part of the aforementioned ‘Planeswalker Deck’?


  14. Hello Floyd,

    glad you liked the article. I have to admit that I am not sure if Wizards is still offering free play with the theme decks after switching to the Planeswalker cards in the starter package. If anyone here can help out with some information please let us know.

    Good luck,


  15. Unfortunately the Planeswalker pack cannot be traded or sold. It has no value outside of the related play rooms.

  16. Is there a spoiler list of the cards in Planeswalker sets 1 2 and 3? I love the deck builder but often have time when I could be working on deck ideas when I am away from my comp. I’ve searched the net to no avail. Any pointers?

  17. wrt examining the existing decks:

    - Go into the Deck Editor
    - Click the Load button
    - Make sure that the top dropdown in the dialog box is set to “Local Deck”
    - Make sure that the “Look In:” dropdown is set to “Default Folder”

  18. Going back to the problem in May sometime about “download Planeswalker Deck #1 in .txt format” , not being usable and bringing up the Invalid Deck sign. This still happens……all the suggested checks are done, ie Planeswalker pack open etc…….Still get the Error Message when I try to play solitaire. Would like to do this before I jump in the deepend… did anyone find an answer please?

  19. Seadog,

    we will check on the error and see why it happens. Meanwhile I have disabled the Planeswalker decks in the article until we have a solution.

  20. Thanks for the reply……..I discovered that you get 5 pre-made decks with your new account so I had a play with them before venturing forth to lose my MTGO virginity!
    Which I then preceded to lose, (the game I mean).. not realising that “destroy all creatures” means mine as well!… rofl

  21. Fantastic Article. I just joined MTGO today after trying the free trail for a week or so. this article was a massive help.
    Thank you

  22. You are welcome. If you want to help other players please retweet the post or tell friends to visit. Thanks!

  23. Thank you for this nice article. Great help no doubt.

    Some years ago I had an account with MTGO but I lost all the information about that. Is that possible that this old account is still available or I need to create a new one…

    One more time many thanks for this article and Academy.

    This is the right place to be a Pro, and I want to be one. ;)

  24. Are the current commons and uncommons provided definitely M12, even though it says M11 at startup? I really don’t want a bunch of useless M11 cards that are about to rotate out.

  25. L2ionok7, the new account assorted Commons and Uncommons have been updated to M12. The in-client, new account creation text, however, hasn’t been updated, but I’ve brought it to Wizards’ attention!

  26. thats for this deck list, i win a lot with the green blue elves deck i have added a few things to it though, is there any more deck suggestions out there i am not good at creating my own, i can change one to what i like once it is built but get lost when trying to do it myself…

  27. I was on the fence about buying MTGO, not knowing what I would really get and what to do with it. I haven’t played Magic since it was originally released and quit when Ice Age was first released in stores because I found other things to do with my money. Recently I became interested again and was not satisfied with Planeswalkers 2013 and Tactics just made my stomach turn!

    I found the MTGO client and could not bring myself to pay $9.99 to nab it, UNTIL I read through your beginner articles! Very well done my friend, very well done indeed. You made the choice easy, my only regret is I used the last of my gift card (birthday) to buy the client so I am unable to take advantage of the Newsletter special!

    I am excited to play!
    Thanks for the great articles.

  28. This article saved me to do great stupid things last night when I created my account.

  29. Thanks for all the positive feedback guys. I have updated the tutorial to reflect the most recent changes in starter package content. Hope you all have fun slinging cards!

  30. Hey Pleyades,
    I saw a streaming of a very cool format. It is called Momir (u probably know) and u can play this only online, so it made me to think about purchasing mtgo. However, as a casual player it wouldnt be worth spending lots of money. Can I play just casual games with my friends with no fees? And if so, can i play Momir games for free with them too?
    I also like limited formats, but i dont need the cards. Is there a cheap way how to draft/seal online or i have to always pay the 14 tickets?

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  32. Great job!

    However, isn’t it outdated? I just made a MTGO account and I got:

    1) Hundreds of cards from M14
    2) 5 event tickets
    3) 20 new player tickets

    That’s all. No gold-bordered cards or booster pack.

    Of course, the starting decks are also outdated. I haven’t been able to find the new ones though.

    But I insist, very helpful. Thanks!

  33. Latest new player pack is essentially this, except it’s 600 M15 cards (350 non-lands) and it includes 2 boosters again, which apparently it did a few years ago.

    I of course, being a noob, cracked my two boosters immediately >.< *sigh*.

    Anyway, pretty huge value IMO. $1-3 less than you could buy just the tix and boosters, nevermind the 600 (admittedly terrible) card set and 20 new player points. You'll get at least 50 random cards out of the NP points from phantom sealed events, even if you're horrible at drafting/sealed decks (min prize is 2 5-card non-trade boosters for a 4-player draft, top prize is 4 of them for winning 3 games, 1 win gets you 3). If you're good at draft (i.e. win at least three games in each of 5 drafts) then you could get 100 random cards out of those newbie points.