Magic: The Gathering is a fantasy trading card game from Wizards of the Coast that has been in continuous production for over 25 years. You can check out the official website
for more information on the franchise as a whole, including articles on game design, strategy, and lore.
The game is played in a variety of formats, from those that can include nearly every card ever printed, to formats that only use sealed product for deck building, to formats that only use common cards. You can find information about all of the official formats here
, and both a quick-start guide
and the comprehensive rules here
Here’s a quick rundown of the supported formats:
Vintage – You can play nearly any card ever made, supes expensive
Legacy – You can play most cards ever made, supes expensive
Modern – Play cards from 8th edition and the first robot set, just kind of expensive
Historic - Arena only, not actually mentioned on Wizards website as a format
Pioneer – Play cards from Ravnica (Return to) forward
Standard – Type 2
Brawl – Standard and Commander bumped uglies and made this
Commander – A format of dragons and highlanders
Pauper – Format of the commons
There are also tons of unofficial formats that are supported by communities both online and at your local gaming store.
Arena is the latest digital version of the game, utilizing a free-to-play model and currently supporting the Standard, Historic, and Brawl format and current limited formats, as well as some occasional digital-only formats/oddballs. You can download the game here
Magic Online is the original digital Magic platform and is still the primary official way to play non-Standard constructed formats online. They also run cube and chaos drafts on MTGO. It looks like an orcs butt, but it gives you the Magic experience. You can download the client here
If you're interested in competitive play, you can find information on the various levels of paper competitive play here. In addition to Wizards' own high-level tournaments, Star City Games runs their own national tournament series with large monetary prizes and Invitational, you can find information on their tournaments here.
The most recent set is Adventures in Forgotten Realms. It introduces dungeons (non-sex) to the game. AFR replaces the core set release.
Some other resources:
TCGPlayer.com can help you find the market values of cards before you make a purchase or trade. They also have an iPhone/Android app that allows you to scan cards and find their value/catalog them.
MTG Goldfish also has a price tracker feature with graphs, as well as articles on the game.Gatherer
is the official card search engine from WotC, featuring up-to-date oracle text, errata, format legality, and important rulings for every elk in the game.
Channel Fireball has a lot of articles on magic, but you have to pay for them.