Though I rarely write, a few recent "prerelease primer" articles have prompted me to get off my butt and give the Magic community some unsolicited advice. I'm fortunate to have a column on Forbes.com, so I'm cross-posting it to QS in case any of our newer readers find it useful. An excerpt is below.
Make sure other players are aware that you're new to the game. Magic players love helping new players, and will generally reward your curiosity with more information than you knew you could ask for. The game can get complex at times even for veteran players, so it is smart to ask questions. During a match, there's a limit to what your opponent can and will help you with but most prerelease participants are cordial and helpful. Just remember, they're also trying to win the game just like you are.
Judges and Rules Advisors are omnipresent at Magic events and exist to answer all of your questions. You can call them during a match by raising your hand high and yelling "Judge" loudly. Normally it's frowned-upon to yell indoors, but in a crowded room with a few dozen Magic players all talking and flicking cards, that's what needs to happen. Oh, and keep your hand up until a judge acknowledges you and comes by to help. They're nice people but they really have having to play the "who just yelled at me" game. Magic is a game of knowledge and information and there's no such thing as too much of it.