While playing magic, I find it's much more convenient to keep track of life totals using some kind of application, rather than fiddling with icosahedral dice or carrying pen & paper. Here are some such programs I've written myself, and I'm using all the time.
Android life counters are nice, and most android phone screens are awesome, but let's face it, keeping the screen on for the hours it takes to go through an FNM, or even worse a pre-release tournament, sucks most of the life out of a typical android phone battery.
That's why I decided to write a GameBoy Advance life counter. The GBA SP in particular is very compact, and its battery lasts forever.
Use the direction-pad up/down buttons to increment or decrement the amount of damage or life-gain, then hit either left or right to apply it to a player's life total.
To directly edit either player's life total, press buttons A or B to enter edit mode, then use the up/down buttons to adjust it. Hit A or B again to apply the change and return to normal mode.
The left or right shoulder/trigger buttons can be used to enter undo mode for either player. In this mode, up/down moves back and forth through the life history of the player. A applies the undo, and B cancels.
The start button resets the state of the program to start a new game.
Finally, hitting select at any time, shows a graph of life totals for both players over time.
Copyright (C) 2016 John Tsiombikas
gba-mtglife is free software. Feel free to use, copy, modify, and/or redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License v3, or any later version.
Source repository: github.com:jtsiomb/gba-mtglife.git
If you want to build from source, you will need a working ARM7 cross-compiler toolchain, and the following dependencies:
Type make to compile, then make install to flash a GBA cartridge (needs if2a for the flash2advance link cable/cartridge, if you have something else, you will have to modify the makefile). You may also type make simrun to run with the vba-m GBA emulator.
Before the GBA version above, I wrote an extremely bare-bones android application for keeping life totals.
Copyright (C) 2015 John Tsiombikas
simple-mtglife is free software. Feel free to use, copy, modify, and/or redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License v3, or any later version.
Get it from the google play store: simple-mtglife.
Source repository: http://nuclear.mutantstargoat.com/hg/simple_mtglife (mercurial)