Twenty years ago, I played Magic every Saturday evening at a run down card shop on the highway leading to Kentucky Lake. Throughout the school week we’d play at the school cafeteria tables, but the card shop was where we got serious. We’d spend time talking strategy and showing off the decks we ported over from issues of Inquest and discussion threads on The Mana Drain. When something didn’t work or we needed another piece of hot tech to metagame against, we’d run over to the long boxes and rare binders and fish through what the store had. Our decks may have started life as Extended decks or Type 2 (Standard for you zoomers) piles. But we all built to a single rules set: Type 1.
Known as Vintage now, Type 1 was the pinnacle of Magic power. My first taste of Power 9 came not from using Black Lotus to cast Serra Angel, but to power out a turn 1 Academy Rector with a Cabal Therapy to strip 2 cards from the opponent’s hand and trigger Yawgmoth’s Bargain into play. That is, before my group decided to strictly follow the WOTC rules and not allow proxies (not even gold bordered cards, which we all thought were fakes anyway). Regardless, it was still one of my favorite eras of Magic. That is, until Mirrodin was released. More on that in a moment…
Times have changed. Vintage is very different, two decades on. We have two formats (Premodern and Middle School) to relive the game from 1995 to 2003. Old School remains a staple of bar tables and destination events. And much like the game has matured, so have we. Proxies are just fine, even though a lot of us own at least a few pieces of Power. But these disparate formats don’t fully capture what the game was to me in 2003.
Enter the Lords of the Pit and the Classic Magic format.
I had the pleasure of taking part in some webcam tournaments that involved the Classic format during the Pandemic. This scratched the itch I’d been reaching for. Classic is a recreation (perfection?) of Type 1 Magic from 2003. Everything from Alpha to Scourge is legal (that means supplemental sets like Portal too). There’s a list of banned cards, but also a list of restricted cards to allow for Power 9 and other broken nonsense.
The rules are a bit more complicated. Old School uses modern Magic rules but also adds mana burn. That’s easy enough. Middle School adds to that combat damage on the stack and the original Wish rules. A couple more things to remember that has potential to get complicated, but okay. Classic does all of that but also includes errata on Time Vault and Illusionary Mask to allow them to be functional but not hideously broken. The errata history on these cards is as long as a receipt from Walgreens, and in 2003 they had already been tinkered with a few times. Classic uses the errata from that period. Check out our Formats page for a copy of the EC rules:
In recent months, MCOS has been playing more and more Classic at our local meetups. I’ve built a battle box of several decks, some of which are the exact same cards I owned and played in high school. Classic seems to be a big hit. I’ve also been noticing that other groups are playing Classic quite a bit more as well. So I wanted to organize something that can bring everyone together.
Announcing: The MCOS Midsummer Classic
- Format – Classic MTG Rules. See this link for more:
- Location – This will be a purely webcam-based tournament.
- Structure – We will play X rounds of Swiss, depending on the number of signups. A round will last one week. You will have 7 days to schedule your match with your opponent, play it, and report the result. All rounds will be best-of-3.
- Schedule – Rounds will begin August 5th or so.
- Sign Ups – Contact CayceG on Discord (Discord handle: “cayce.g”). He will send you a link to the MCOS Events discord, where this will be organized.
- Proxies – We are 100% proxy legal. Just make sure they’re visible and distinct on webcam.
- Decklists – DM Cayce a photo of your deck list prior to the start of the first round.
Before signing up and building your deck, take a close look at the B&R list. There are some weird things going on that you should remember. For example, Black Vise, Gush, Maze of Ith, Fact or Fiction, and Burning Wish are restricted. Tinker is not. Chaos Orb and Falling Star are banned.
I expect this to be a great event that people will have a lot of fun with. I’ve already seen recreations of historic decks going up against modern brews. Classic is largely unexplored and this event should prove to be a crucible of brewing.Author: CayceG