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As much as I love playing with physical cards in Magic: The Gathering (MTG), seeking online alternatives does have its perks. MTG requires a lot of effort to bring out the best in it as a game: from collecting the cards you need, building your decks and so much more. Not to mention, the financial aspect can get pricey real fast.

As a result, playing online using different applications and websites becomes an attractive option. Magic: The Gathering Online, the official game from Wizards of the Coast, allows players to collect and build digital decks – assuming you are willing to buy some cards and pay for some events.

Though cheaper than the paper alternative, I think something more accessible is the way to go when you want to test out deck concepts easily.


The application called Cockatrice comes to mind. It is free to use, has a quick installation and gives you access to all of the old and new cards you could need for MTG. Not to mention, updates ensure even the next set, Kaladesh, will become available as soon as possible.

My friend and I recently got into this application because we wanted an easy way to play MTG together online without the hassle. Though the interface is not particularly fancy, it gets the job done. With a card database of so many cards, infinite deck possibilities are possible.

Of course, I decided to put together a cat-themed strategy to try this application out.

When you have a deck built, it is then time to hop in some games with Cockatrice’s online server.

At first glance, things may be on the bare bones side. But you have the potential to make expensive decks in MTG for free. Even the random makeshift cat deck I put together would probably run at least $100 with paper cards. I am not complaining.

C3When it comes to actual gameplay, remember: this is supposed to simulate a tabletop. You have to communicate with your opponent every in-game move and determine how effects play out. It is just like how a real game would be face-to-face. You place the counters, keep track of damage manually and so forth. This fact alone could turn some players off who would rather have a more streamlined experience. But by using the application’s hotkeys, you can speed up the process to expedite the game flow considerably.

Though it will never surpass playing with the actual paper cards, I urge players to give programs like Cockatrice a shot when you need to be frugal about your hobbies. Besides, you can create those dream decks you have always thought about and play them. For free!

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Magic: The Gathering card images belong to Wizards of the Coast. 

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