This is the second half of last weeks Wednesday blog which you can find here. Without further delay seeing as you have waited a week I will get straight to step 6;
Step 6 - Abuse the stack. This is not as potent as it once was when damage went on the stack and it was possible to kill someone in response to them killing you. However, it is still very important to understand the stack and when to put effects/spells on to it. It is also important to know that Duels of the Planeswalkers lies to you and that you cannot just do what you want when you want in Magic, you must first have priority. When you get priority is listed in the glossary of terms in the basic rule book here.
Step 7 - Mulligan without fear. In a game which is constantly talked about in terms of "card advantage" having less than 7 out of 7 cards in your opening hand seems like a really bad idea. This is not always the case. Having 7 cards you can't play or that you wont be able to play before your opponent kills you is a bad idea. Do you need a Flusterstorm in hand to stop your opponent going off and winning on turn 2? Well then don't keep a hand that doesn't have one in it! Having a hand of 5 or 6 playable cards is better than a hand of 7 you can do nothing with, and that includes 1 land hands unless your whole deck works off of 1 mana...
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no and no!
Step 8 - Read the rules. I know seems like a no brainer right? How can you play a game without reading the rules? Funnily enough it is really easy to play Magic without reading the rules. Someone probably showed you how to play and unless your particular leaning style drives you to read everything about Magic you can play quite happily without ever reading the rules. The full rules are a hideous document of doom but the basic rule book is fine and really needs a look. As mentioned above it can be found here .
Step 9 - Understand the value of "value". If a creature has a fantastic enter the battlefield ability but at this point in the game it would do nothing it might well be a good idea not to play it right now. paying 3 mana for an Eternal Witness when you have nothing in your graveyard or 4 mana for a gravedigger when you have no creatures to get back is sub-optimal. Sometimes it can be unavoidable but always remember just because you can cast a spell doesn't mean you have to cast a spell! The same goes for removal, don't waste it on things which are not true threats, kill the guys which will win your opponent the game.
This card keeps showing up. Maybe it's actually good?
Step 10 - Play lots of games. Yet again this is not as simple as it seems. If you only play against your brother and you beat him every time you play you will never improve. The games you learn the most in are often the games you lose to a better opponent. These are the games you should be playing, and play as many of them as possible. Go to PTQ's and Grand Prix's even if you have no interest in winning and qualifying for the Pro Tour. The level of the players there will help your game no end and allow you to put all of this advice into practise.
There are many more things that I could put in this list, including "Play more Islands" but by applying these 10 steps you will notice how much better you get at Magic and how much more you win. Remember the golden rule of all games is to enjoy playing and come away from them with a smile and some great memories... Which reminds me of this game I had with... oh maybe another time.
I have started a new job this week so I will not be back until Monday when I will be revealing my next Pauper deck for FNM Relax. Until then be well and I hope to see you for standard this Friday.