What Are Common Cards

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Exactly what are common cards? Are they just regular cards as opposed
to "rare" or "foil"? Also, I noticed that older mtg cards have
specific mana costs (like forest, or swamp), but most of the cards in
my deck don't specify what type of mana to use. I'm playing Mirrodin.
Sorry if these sound like silly questions, but I just started playing
and want to learn.
 
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sjmcarter@gmail.com wrote:

> Exactly what are common cards?

A common card is one that gets sorted into the common slots. A booster pack
will have one rare, three uncommons and eleven commons. Since a card set
will have an equal number of different cards in each commonality, obviously
commons are easier to get than uncommons, which are easier to get than
rares. This is completely separate from foils. About one out of every
seventy or eighty cards is a foil; it can be a common, an uncommon or a
rare. The two have no relevance to each other.

> Are they just regular cards as opposed
> to "rare" or "foil"? Also, I noticed that older mtg cards have
> specific mana costs (like forest, or swamp), but most of the cards in
> my deck don't specify what type of mana to use. I'm playing Mirrodin.
> Sorry if these sound like silly questions, but I just started playing
> and want to learn.

This has nothing to do with the age of the card. Some spells, known
as "Artifacts", have no colored mana requirements. They can be cast
with any color mana. They've existed in the game from the beginning,
(the original Magic set had all of but have normally been a small number of
the cards available. Mirrodin, as you've noticed, has a lot more of them
than has been usual.

--
Christopher Mattern

"Which one you figure tracked us?"
"The ugly one, sir."
"...Could you be more specific?"
 
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sjmcarter@gmail.com sent:
> Exactly what are common cards?

The makers of the game print more copies of some of the cards than of
others. The ones they print most of are the commons and the basic
lands, then they print fewer uncommon cards and fewer again of the
rare cards. For all the recent sets, you can check whether a card
is common, uncommon or rare (its commonality) by looking at the
expansion symbol on the right-hand side, halfway down the card. The
commons have a black symbol, uncommons a silver symbol, and rares a
gold symbol. In a normal booster you expect one rare, three uncommon
and eleven common cards.

> Are they just regular cards as opposed
> to "rare" or "foil"?

Foil or "premium" cards are a different matter. Some small number of
the cards you buy will be foiled versions instead of normal versions.
These cards have a metallic finish on them, often picking out details
in the artwork of the card.

> Also, I noticed that older mtg cards have
> specific mana costs (like forest, or swamp),

Just a brief clarification on terminology. There are five basic lands:
Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, Forest. Each of these has an innate
mana ability "T: add C to your mana pool." where C is a point of colored
mana according to the type of land. Plains makes white mana, Island
makes blue mana and so on. The game can get very confusing if you're
not fastidious about making the difference between the lands and the
mana. If nothing else, there are many many different lands and non-lands
that can produce mana, but there are only five colors of mana.

> but most of the cards in
> my deck don't specify what type of mana to use.

So, they have a generic mana cost like 2 or 4 or something, but none
of the colored mana symbols in the cost as well? The only cards that
have no colored mana symbols in their costs are lands and artifacts;
lands because they have no cost at all, and artifacts because that's
a design constraint on how artifacts work.

> I'm playing Mirrodin.

Mirrodin is a set that's heavily geared towards artifacts, so it has
many more of them than in any other set you're likely to see.

> Sorry if these sound like silly questions, but I just started playing
> and want to learn.

Keep them coming, and don't forget that this is a strategy group where
you'll find expertise in getting cards to work for you and why you'd
play one card rather than another. If you're learning and you have
questions about the rules, the people who are really into the rules
are over on rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules instead (or as well).

http://www.wizards.com/magic/rules/en_8e_rulebook.pdf may contain some
helpful information in the meantime, especially the glossary.

--
-- zoe
 
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Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

At some point in time, sjmcarter@gmail.com wrote:

>Exactly what are common cards? Are they just regular cards as opposed
>to "rare" or "foil"? Also, I noticed that older mtg cards have
>specific mana costs (like forest, or swamp), but most of the cards in
>my deck don't specify what type of mana to use. I'm playing Mirrodin.
>Sorry if these sound like silly questions, but I just started playing
>and want to learn.

[This question isn't really about strategy. You should post this kind of
question over in --.misc.]

Ooh, sounds like you have a lot to learn, grasshopper...

An excellent (but long) discussion of Magic rarity starts here:

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandsub.php?Article=2080

Another, more focused on the collector issues:

http://www.vhoeven.demon.nl/fc_genin.htm

Basically, when Wizards of the Coast prints cards, they put them on a "sheet"
with other cards of the same rarity. The sheets get printed in a ratio something
like 9:3:1, cut apart, sorted, and distributed in booster packs. In a normal
15-card booster from the more recent sets, you would expect to find one rare,
three uncommons, and 11 commons. (In Eighth Edition packs I believe you get a
basic Land in place of one common.)

A long time ago, "rare = powerful", while "common = weak" or at least less
interesting. That's changed a lot; nowadays, rares tend to be narrowly focused
while commons are more generally useful but not as splashy. Lots of exceptions
exist to that rule of thumb.

As to casting cost, what you are probably seeing is the large number of
"Artifacts" present in Mirrodin block. Those cards are colorless, in that they
have no specific mana requirements to play. And yes, you can use any color of
mana to play them, or colorless mana. An artifact costing (2) could be cast by
tapping two Forests, or a Forest and an Island, or a couple of Darksteel
Citadels.

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~| Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not
Jeff Boes | thus handicapped.
jboes@qtm.net | --Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American author