The Great Big Compendium of Old School Magic Knowledge by Christopher Cooper

Everything you need to know about Old School Magic Cooper

Everything you need to know about Old School Magic: The Gathering by Christopher Cooper

A while ago, just before the mtgUK Eternal Weekend, I did a mini-series of one-stop resources for the Eternal formats: Modern, Legacy and Vintage. It’s time to add a new one to that list.

In the last few months, something new has caught my eye. I completed my set of Power 9 at GP London and have a Vintage deck to play around with that I can work towards pimping out with foils and the like. My Legacy decks are how I want them to be and I actually own a Modern deck now. I’ve come full circle with Commander, twice. I need a new challenge.

Some of you may have been aware of the “new” Old School Magic format (also known as 93/94 Magic) that’s been gathering popularity recently. But what’s it all about?

Well, primarily it’s about going back to Magic’s roots, creating a sense of nostalgia by playing with this oddball mix of high powered cards alongside, well, less so powerful cards. The scarcity of cards from the available card pool is rather exaggerated, leading people to play with “suboptimal” decks until they can get the cards they want. Don’t have Power 9? Doesn’t matter. Just play with what you’ve got.

Old school Black cards
Just a few of the cards I use in my Mono Black deck.

My first port of call for all UK based players would be the Old School Magic UK Facebook group. Whilst there haven’t yet been any events for the format in the UK, at least that I’m aware of, there are plans to hold one at the Eternal Champion of the North event being held by Fanboy3 in October.

Here is the current Banned and Restricted list for UK Old School Magic.

Sets allowed:
Summer Magic
Foreign Black Border and Foreign White Border: Revised (Italian, French, German)
Arabian Nights
Legends (and Italian Legends)
The Dark (and Italian The Dark)

Card reprints (City of Brass for example) in sets not on this list (like 4th Edition etc.) ARE NOT LEGAL. This includes basic lands.

Shahrazad card
Yes, this card is legal in that format!

We will be using the Swedish Banned and Restricted List.

Restricted in 93-94 Constructed:

[draft]Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Black Vise
Chaos Orb
Demonic Tutor
Library of Alexandria
Mana Drain
Maze of Ith
Mind Twist
Mishra’s Workshop
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Pearl
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Sol Ring
Strip Mine
Time Vault
Time Walk
Wheel of Fortune[/draft]

Banned in 93-94 Constructed:

(The ante-cards are banned in tournaments that doesn’t play for ante)

[draft]Bronze Tablet
Contract from Below
Demonic Attorney
Jeweled Bird
Tempest Efreet[/draft]

Here’s the Gatherer link for those sets, or, if you’re like me, you could try getting your hands on a copy of the Magic The Gathering Official Encyclopedia for that proper old school feel!

official encyclopedia

Most groups will also use the following piece of errata as well:

[draft]Chaos Orb[/draft]

Chaos Orb

1, Tap: Choose a nontoken permanent on the battlefield. If Chaos Orb is on the battlefield, flip Chaos Orb onto the battlefield from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb turns over completely at least once during the flip, and touches the chosen permanent, destroy that permanent. Then destroy Chaos Orb.

chaos orb
This card is legal too! You get to play with all of the fun things here.

I mentioned the Swedish list a moment ago, where do the Swedes come into this? Well, the format was actually invented by them back in 2007, and it slowly spread across Europe and to the US. It has picked up a lot of steam in America. There was the first “big” tournament over there this year with Eternal Weekend – having 54 people show up to do battle with some very old cards.

Tournaments in this format tend towards the casual, with fun and drinking encouraged and prizes, whilst existent, are usually not of great value. Although, it has become a tradition for all players to sign the prize card: obviously, the more signatures, the higher the prestige of the card.

Jayemdae Tome card with multiple, black-penned name signs
Now owned by Randy Buehler, the winner of the 2015 Old School Magic Eternal Weekend Tournament.

Where does this leave us in terms of resources? Probably the best place to start is the Swedish blog on Blogspot, which has a little on the history of the format, decks to beat and the banned and restricted list, as well as regular updates to its blog with tournament reports and deck techs.

The next place to look for me is Eternal Central. Whilst there isn’t the abundance of content that the Swedish site has, I feel that the content is better produced and easier to read. Beware though, the Eternal Central Banned and Restricted list is different to the Swedish one: you are allowed 4 copies of Strip Mine for example, and Fallen Empires expansion is allowed. also run articles on Old School Magic as well as Vintage and are strong supporters of the format.

There are, of course, also the usual forums for this. There is a thread on Reddit, though rather inactive, which does have some different opinions and discussion on the format. There are also dedicated threads on both mtgsalvation and mtgthesource. There are also very few, but some articles on the bigger sites, like this one from Chas Andres on SCG.

There’s also a circuit as a part of the series, which visits places like Rome, Toulouse, Prague and Madrid. They also have an introduction to the format article, along with some beautiful looking decks here.

There will also be some articles on here too, both by myself and other members of the UK Old School Magic community. If you feel that you have something from the Old School Magic format that you would like to contribute to the website, then please contact us in the comments below, by emailing or through Facebook.

Community Question: Are you interested in Old School Magic as a format?

Are you interested in Old School Magic as a format

Thanks for reading,

Christopher Cooper

The Great Big Compendium of Old School Magic Knowledge by Christopher Cooper
Some of you may have been aware of the "new" Old School Magic format (also known as 93/94 Magic) that's been gathering popularity recently. But what's it all about?

Please let us know what you think below...

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