I’ve been thinking about this for about a week or so, and when I woke up this morning, I decided that now was the time to write it. Here are five reasons why I play Old School MTG 93/94 (and why you should, too!)
1. The Community.
I am very fortunate. As a resident of Southeastern Massachusetts, I am within a reasonable driving distance of every New England state, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc. The Old School MTG 93/94 community in the Northeast is, based on what I’ve seen, above-average in the terms of Old School MTG 93/94 playerbase (in both quality and quantity) and events. The Old Men of the Sea, New England Old School, have weekly meetups (with good turnout!) in either the Greater Boston Area or Southern New Hampshire. The food is tasty, the beer is cold, and the hearts are warm.
There’s always a meetup or a major event if you’re willing to drive or fly, but if you aren’t, there’s a worldwide place to play remotely via appear.in or Discord through the OLDSCHOOL 93-94 ONLINE TOURNAMENTS Facebook Group, so you can’t complain that there is “nobody to play with.”
2. The Metagame.
This seems to be everyone’s criticism: “OH MY GOD BUT IT’S SO BROKEN.” Sure, if you’re a Spike, this probably isn’t the format for you, but not everyone who plays Magic plays on the Pro Tour. There are casual formats and casual players of competitive formats. Also, it’s not like Old School MTG 93/94 is completely unregulated. There are at least three distinct sub-formats of Old School MTG 93/94 (excluding Brawl and Alpha 40), which each have their own Banned/Restricted lists:
No, not every deck has the full Power 9, and you aren’t required to own them all in order to be competitive. Most decks tend to feel like really well-drafted, two-to-three-colored Sealed or Limited decks: a lot of Flying, removal, and mana fixing. Many of us just like to wistfully sling oft-forgotten cards like Scryb Sprites, Giant Growth, and Berserk, while sipping on a tasty microbrew for nine rounds.
Finally, winning isn’t really rewarded in this format. The prize support is typically either esoteric fame, cool Old School MTG 93/94 cards donated into the prize pool by the players themselves, or a momento, like having to sign @dankpancakes‘ Sea Serpent after it Jumped to kill you. Personally, I find that donating to charity and meeting people from around the world feels a lot better than going 0-2 drop at a PTQ and then driving home.
3. The barrier to entry isn’t that bad.
Anecdotally, I accidentally bought into the format, just a year ago, for $20. I was perusing Craigslist for deals (as I do), and something caught my eye: a small pile of cards, of which I could see a Mana Vault (already worth more than the $20 asking price), and a caption with something to the effect of: “I played Magic in 1994 for a little while and I haven’t used these since.” In February of 2018, in the dark of night, in a snowstorm, going uphill both ways, in a very dangerous neighborhood of Boston, I met this guy at a McDonalds and passed him a $20 bill in exchange for a plastic CVS bag full of bent cards. I didn’t know it yet, but therein was my first Old School MTG 93/94 deck:
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Oh no! We left Andrew unattended and he accidentally made a #9394 deck! The humanity! Also, Drudge Skeletons and Lure are a #combo #93 #94 #mtg #magic #magiccards #magicthegathering #magicwotc #legacy #vintage #wotcmtg #wotcmagic #mtgwotc #ccg #tcg #old #school #oldschool
For the price of a Sealed event, I had a deck. A month later, I met NEOS at SCG Worcester, and the rest is history. I understand that not everyone will get that lucky. However, the gainfully employed can assemble a competitive deck for half the price of a Modern deck (budget deck-techs are forthcoming!). Additionally, if you’re an EDH player or Legacy player, you probably already have the better part of a deck, unused, in your trade binder. You might as well sleeve it up and go meet some people.
4. The art, and flavor text, was way better.
Meaning no disrespect to the current art or artists, but I associate Magic: the Gathering with the water-colored cards of my youth, like Ashes to Ashes.
5. Chaos Orb is banned in every format, but this one.
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This week is your last chance!
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