Old School 95 Rules

Revisit the rise of Necropotence, Stormbind, and Zoo.

Old School Magic 95 is another “throwback” format, which focuses on playing with cards from the first three years of the game. The summer of ’95 was a period of explosive growth for Magic, and the third year for the game. The early releases and expansions had mostly sold out immediately, with the exception of Fallen Empires, which had seen an overprinting in late 1994, and was and underwhelming set. Players were clamoring for more and more new cards.

Wizards of the Coast not only delivered on this demand, but they shook up players and collectors alike with a spate of summer releases that stretched to the fall. Fourth Edition (April 1995) saw the removal of the ten original dual lands, while Ice Age (June 1995) was a new world, and the first completely stand-alone set (meaning you didn’t need cards or lands from the original base editions to play). Ice Age was selling like hotcakes, and retailers couldn’t keep it on the shelves, as wave after wave of new players joined the game. Only one month later, Wizards would release Chronicles (July 1995), an all-reprint set, consisting entirely of cards printed in the first two years’ worth of expansions, many of which had seen their values swell. This was great chance for new players to catch up, but the printing caught collectors off guard, as many previously expensive cards saw their values take a substantial hit. This would set off a chain reaction of events that would ultimately shape WotC reprint policy in an unfortunate way for years to come. Rounding out the year was the oddball set Homelands (October 1995), which once again felt underpowered when compared to the earlier fruits of a successful year.

Old School 95 Rules

All Old School 95 tournaments that Eternal Central hosts will use the rules below.
Note: last updated July 19, 2016, to reflect Nalathni Dragon legality.

Legal Sets

Old School 95 decks may consist of cards from the sets printed in 1993-95:
Collector’s Edition (CE)
International Collector’s Edition (IE)
Arabian Nights
The Dark
Fallen Empires
Fourth Edition
Ice Age
Chronicles & Renaissance

Additional Sets and Cards Allowed
Tournaments hosted by Eternal Central also allow all non-foil cards from the sets above, that were reprinted IN ANY LANGUAGE with the original frame and original art. So for example, a Fifth Edition Wrath of God, and Collector’s Edition Mox Ruby would all be legal (original frame + original art), while an Arena 1996 Counterspell would not be legal (different art). The misprinted Revised Serendib Efreet (with Ifh-Biff Efreet’s art, and green border) is of course allowed, because it was printed in one of the original sets in 1994 (Revised). We always encourage you to seek out the oldest and coolest versions of cards you can find, but these can serve as your de facto substitutes for the cards printed in 93-94. Absolutely no proxies and fake cards allowed. Finally, the following promotional cards from 1994-1995 are also legal: Arena, Sewers of Estark, Nalathni Dragon, Giant Badger, Windseeker Centaur, and Mana Crypt (note: Mana Crypt is restricted).

Deck Construction

Constructed decks must contain a minimum of 60 cards (no maximum deck size; however, you must be able to shuffle your deck with no assistance). If a player wishes to use a sideboard, it can contain up to 15 cards. With the exception of basic land cards (Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, Forest), a player’s combined deck and sideboard may not contain more than 4 of any individual card, counted by its English card title equivalent.

The following cards are banned by EC in 95 tournaments:
• Bronze Tablet
• Contract from Below
• Darkpact
• Demonic Attorney
• Jeweled Bird
• Rebirth
• Tempest Efreet

The following cards are restricted by EC in 95 tournaments (maximum of 1 of each card per deck):
• Ancestral Recall
• Balance
• Black Lotus
• Braingeyser
• Chaos Orb
• Channel
• Demonic Tutor
• Library of Alexandria
• Mana Crypt
• Mana Drain
• Maze of Ith
• Mind Twist
• Mox Emerald
• Mox Jet
• Mox Pearl
• Mox Ruby
• Mox Sapphire
• Recall
• Regrowth
• Sol Ring
• Time Vault
• Time Walk
• Timetwister
• Wheel of Fortune

The following cards are on the Watch List by EC in 95 tournaments (unrestricted, but constantly being monitored for true power level):
• Black Vise
• Fork
• Hymn to Tourach
• Ivory Tower
• Mana Vault
• Mirror Universe
• Mishra’s Workshop
• Necropotence
• Power Artifact
• Stormbind
• Strip Mine
• Underworld Dreams

Notable Rules/Differences from Modern Era of Magic

MANA BURN STILL HAPPENS (as in, players lose 1 point of life for each unused mana in the mana pool at the end of each phase)

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 lands resting on the chosen permanent, destroy that permanent. Then destroy Chaos Orb.
(Note: because of how Chaos Orb is worded, with it being destroyed after a flip, it can still be Disenchanted or Shattered in response to the activation. This is consistent with the wording of Chaos Orb not being sacrificed upon activation, as it probably would with modern templating.)

No Draws in EC Tournaments

In order to encourage the maximum amount of Magic and matches being played (and disincentivize draws and concession for seeding), we enforce a strict no draw policy (intentional or otherwise). After 50 minutes if there was a tied match, the tie breaker will be a sudden death Chaos Orb flipping contest, similar to a hockey or soccer overtime shootout. If both players make or miss the Chaos Orb flip in the same round, repeat the process. The first person to make it while the other person misses will be declared the winner of the match. The point of Old School is to play Old School, so we always encourage everyone to play quickly and have fun each round, and this tournament structure has worked very well to that end.