Magic: the Gathering Online is one of the very best tools we have to help us improve. It lets us play games with real stakes at any time and in any place. It is also a very frustrating program with woefully insufficient documentation. With this in mind, I’m going to outline some of the tricks and shortcuts I’ve learned in my time with MTGO. Most of these will probably be well known by people who’ve used MTGO a lot, but I thought I was one of those people and I just recently learned a few of these! I’ll start off with keyboard shortcuts.
F2 – Pass priority once. Use this when you are done with your precombat main phase but still have other things to do for the turn.
F4 – Pass priority for the rest of the turn or until your opponent does anything or you’re prompted to attack or block. Use this when you’re done for the turn assuming nothing changes, but have a counterspell or something you might want to use.
F6 – Pass priority for the rest of the turn, unless you’re prompted to attack or block. Use this when you have nothing (and don’t want to bluff anything).
F7 – Place all like triggers on the stack automatically. Use this when you have a Soul Warden and someone casts Lingering Souls. Also note that sometimes triggers are the same but you care about what order they happen such as evolving two different creatures.
F3 – Cancel all previous yields. Use this if you pressed one of the above by mistake!
F8 – Pass priority for the rest of the game whenever I’m tapped out completely and have nothing I can cast or activate. Use this at the start of the game when Force of Will isn’t in the format. Also note that there’s currently a bug where you can have a convoke card in hand that you may be able to cast, but F8 will still cause you to pass.
F9 – Shortcut for choosing “Yes.”
F10 – Shortcut for choosing “No.”
Other Keyboard Shortcuts
Holding M while tapping a land for mana will make it automatically use the mana ability printed first on the card. This is particularly useful with painlands as they’ll tap for colorless, or with Urborg as it will cause whatever land to tap for its “native” color.
Ctrl + U or Ctrl + Z – Undo the previous mana tap. Once you pass priority, you cannot go back, so be careful!
Holding the Ctrl key while adding an item to the stack will cause you to retain priority. This is useful if you want to copy that spell, or otherwise respond to your own spells/abilities.
Trading a Deck Between Accounts
Sometimes you’ll want to lend/borrow cards from a friend, typically an entire deck as that’s easiest to keep track of. This is actually easier to do than you’d expect! Rather than having to manually add each card in the deck to their binder, the simplest thing to do is export the deck you want to trade somewhere on your computer, then go back to the binder interface and create a new binder, using the import function to import the deck you just saved.
Be sure to make that your active binder and you should be good to go!
So now you know how to import a deck from your computer, but did you know that the mothership will allow you to download a deck list as a text file that you can import? Just press the button and then import your file. Remember that it will choose the ugliest possible basic lands for you so you may have to do some tinkering to make it playable.
Recording Your Drafts in a Text File
It can often be useful to go review your drafts after the fact to see if you really should’ve ended up in white or if you were just being stubborn. Fortunately, MTGO will record your drafts for you in a text file. Unfortunately, you have to go to a special setting and turn it on because it’s disabled by default. Under Account -> Game History, there’s a box that says “Auto Save Draft Logs” followed by the path that the client will use to save them.
Filing for Event Compensation
Unfortunately, things don’t always work the way they’re supposed to. When this happens, it’s pretty easy to file for compensation and Wizards customer support is actually really fast about reimbursing you. It’s important to file for compensation even if you don’t really care personally because that’s how they get information on what parts of the program are buggy. Here’s the link for event compensation.
Those are the tricks I’ve found most useful in my time with MTGO, but I’m sure there are a few I don’t know so please sound off in the comments with other helpful tips!