Hello Oldschoolers! How is your quarantine going? I hope you all are safe and willing to read another Old School article. You know that out here there are a lot of Old School rules: some of them with 1 strip mine, other with 4, some with infinite plague rats and others with ante before you start the match. All of them have been summarized in this chart:
So you knew all of this, and in your area they play Atlantic or EC and you are fine. But every week playing with the same rules can be boring, considering that we have a very pool of limited cards (ABU + Arabian + Antiquities + Legends + Fallen empires). Sometimes, changing the B&R list is not enough to have fun, and as our community is amazing, has created a lot of formats or “subformats” in Old School.
A common way to create some variation within the format without deterring it spirit has been introducing another year or another collection into the pool, thus creating a subformat. There are a lot of examples for this: Scryings, Old School 93-95, Old School with Ice Age… and we can continue ‘til the end of the page. But you are really really sick of playing against the same the Deck again and again (see what I did here?) you’re desperately striving for a change; but you truly love Old School and don’t wanna play Modern (or you don’t own a pool). What’s the solution? Subformats! Here you have some very interesting and fun to play Old School 93-94 subformats to enjoy with friends!
Commander is not exclusive to judges anymore: you can play Commander with the same rules but with a 93-94 pool. There are a lot of interesting Legendary creatures in Legends. 100 cards of the colour of your Commander, a bunch of friends and you can have fun all the night!
Singleton is about the same, but you only play with 60 cards and without a Commander. Here you have a URB deck with all the possible Commanders to admire what a beautiful format can be this (deck credits @guillemnicolau):
7 POINT SINGLETON
So you loved the Singleton idea but you don´t have money to buy an entire Commander deck, nor any Power pieces. Don’t worry! Although his name looks like Poker, this format is for you. We take the most powerful cards on Old School and we score them from 1 to 4:
4 POINTS: Ancestral recall, Black lotus, Library of Alexandria, Sol ring
3 POINTS: Demonic tutor, Mind twist, 5 Moxen, Time Walk
2 POINTS: Armageddon, Black vise, Channel, Land Tax, Mishra´s Workshop
1 POINT: Balance, Braingeyser, City in a bottle, Dark ritual, Hymn to Tourach, Mana Drain, Mana vault, Moat, Maze of Ith, Recall, Regrowth, Sylvan library, The Abyss, Timetwister, Wheel of fortune, Winter orb.
The cards not listed here cost 0 points, but don´t forget this is singleton! When making a deck, you can only have 7 points in your deck, hence the name of the format. There are some examples:
The dices are here to mark the cards for the TOs, to see the deck is legal on the format. As you can see, the last deck is very cheap and easy to make. This format is very fun and could make a great entry point for a lot of newcomers from other formats to Old School.
Do you remember when Wizards made the first Team GP? GPs of three person teams what the hell is this? If I recall it correctly, the first one was a Modern GP, and in each team you could only play a playset of each card between the three people. Well, we have adapted this to Old School, with a change or two:
First, due to COVID-19 the tournaments following these rules have been celebrated online so all the three decks are run by the same person (changing deck between rounds).
Second, as we have restricted card, you can only play one copy between the three decks.
As we play without proxies, this format is very fun because we have to search all our pool for playables and make some janky decks that are truly humorous. What the people normally does is to play some decent deck and the rest are “leftovers”. Here you have a pair of decks to see what I am talking about:
So everybody likes to play Cube in Magic Online! Who doesn’t like to combine broken cards with totally useless picks? In Old School this is a hyperbole. You can have an Ancestral and a 0/3 wall in the same deck… and it works! I can say how to make a Cube because it’s all up to your tastes and preferences, but here you have a pair of links of 360 Old School cards to start from somewhere:
All I can say is that you cube as we do, with beers and bbq, it’s better for you if you play with proxies because as the night approaches there can be accidents and card losses ;p. Also, here you have a cube seen on Twitter. What’s your p1p1?
Welcome to the millionaires format! The only cards allowed here are cards from the very first edition of Magic: Alpha. As you probably thought, this is a very expensive format, but at the same time a very enjoyable one. You play with a 40 card only-Alpha-deck without sideboard, and the matches are best of 3. Even if you are rich, you can´t play all the crazy stuff you are thinking about because there are a lot of restricted and “semirestricted” cards with a lot of incompatibilities between them. If you are interested, as it is difficult to explain, here you have the link to the rules:
As you can see, the format has 7 different groups of playable cards and a banned list. Of the first four groups (Fast Mana, Power, Destructive and Card Draw) you can only play a card of each. Not one copy of each card, just one copy of one of the cards. “Restricted” cards work like restrictions in other formats, which means only one copy of each card; in the “Rares” and “Moderated” group up to 3 copies of each card can be played, and the rest of the cards that are not in any of the aforementioned lists can be inserted in any amount. You could have as many copies as you want! So you can play 17 forest and 23 War Mammoths for example.
As I said, the format’s layout is a bit complicated, but don’t worry; the people is not rich and they play straightforward decks, basically aggro. But enough chat and better start watching the photos. Warning! For adults only.
If you want more photos like this, you should follow @SMenendian on Twitter. Here is his latest report, with more photos:
If you loved Alpha 40, but now you are angry and envious like me because you don’t own the money to buy the cards and you want something similar but kinder to your pocket, don’t search anymore: Revised 40 is your format. As its twin, you play 40 card decks but they are Revised, not Alpha. The biggest two problems are gone: cards are cheap and power level is much lower. The rules are easier to understand too:
Most important change comparing to other constructed formats is that you don’t play playsets, only 3 of each rare and uncommon. You can play infinite commons though. Be careful with the card choice because there are more uncommons than you think. Here you have some interesting constructions:
As we have seen through this journey, Old School is a very open format with a lot of possibilities in deck construction and formats. In our “North Remembers” league, every year we change B&R to make it more fun and change the way people constructs decks. I would really love to play some of these formats as a one-day-tournament or as a side event for the people who didn’t make the top 8 cut for example. I really like how Revised 40 or 7 Point Singleton play.
As always, thank for reading. I really appreciate your feedback, and you know you can find me in Twitter as @diliz13 for anything you want to know (or to teach me) about Old School. Take care and buy Alpha!