Old School is a group of Magic: The Gathering formats that limits the card pool to the earliest sets.
My first experience with “Old School” — besides actually playing the game in 1994 — goes as far back as 2004. Some players on a Magic Workstation chat decided that it would be neat to play with only the first few sets and see what happened. We tossed together some decks by randomly generating some “starter decks” of A/B/U and some “packs” Arabian Nights, Legends, and The Dark and went to town. There were plans to “release” sets over time, but the 4-set version was more fun. No doubt many people independently had similar ideas over the years. If you’re interested in the history of the current format, it can be found in the links in the sidebar.
To some players, this is an exercise in nostalgia, but it’s also a diverse format with interactive games and many fun interactions. Those of us who were playing at the time can relive our earliest decks (or, more realistically for those of us on the younger side, build the decks that crushed us on a regular basis at the game store …), while those who started playing later can reevaluate the origins of the game with a modern eye.
It might amaze some players how fully-formed the game was even in its infancy. There are any number of different aggressive and control strategies, prison builds, hand and land destruction, and, perhaps most surprisingly, combo decks. Despite the presence of powerful restricted cards, many tournaments are won by true budget decks like classic White Weenie.
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