Introducing Middle School

The Fires of Yavimaya burned, and the Wildfires raged, but could they be extinguish the Verdant Force? You may have unlocked and abused the Horn of Greed, but what was the Price of your Progress? After you committed Pernicious Deeds, will you be punished by the Rock and his Millions? Mages Meddled, the Rebels amassed, and Dr. Teeth’s Intuition recalled the Accumulated Knowledge, but would any of it be enough to stave off the Living Death? The lost ways of wizardry will once again be uncovered.

Middle School is a throwback format that encompasses these and many other strategies from Magic: The Gathering’s storied past. It rewinds the clock back to 1995, and traverses along to part way through 2003 – before the advent and introduction of “modern” borders and frames with the rollout of Eighth Edition and Mirrodin block. Ice Age through Scourge represented an exciting time in the growth and development of Magic, and no doubt introduced the game to many of today’s disciples many years ago. The stories, flavor, and epic cards and game play of the era make for compelling reasons to reach back into the sands of time once again.

Additionally, there are a few important rules differences between Middle School and the way modern Magic has mutated over time:
1) Mana Burn Happens (as in, players lose 1 point of life for each unused mana in the mana pool at the end of each phase).
2) Damage Uses the Stack (as in, combat tricks such as Morphling, Triskelion, and Mogg Fanatic work).
3) The Judgment Wish Cycle Works as Originally Designed, Pre-M10 Rules Change (as in, Cunning Wish, Burning Wish, Living Wish, Death Wish, and Golden Wish were originally able to find an appropriate card that had either been removed from the game, or was located in your sideboard. The Wish cycle functionality has been restored to allow this).

Birthed by the passionate members of Team Serious, and fully supported by Eternal Central, Middle School is not the only throwback format to include cards of this era. Some of the European communities have been playing what they have dubbed “Premodern,” and the greater Atlanta community has been playing a format they have designed called “HyperExtended.” They each have their own respective cards and sets allowed, as well as unique Banned and Restricted Lists. Middle School is simply what we have found to be the most interesting mix of cards and strategies at this time. As always, we encourage you to experiment with your friends to find what you enjoy.

If you’re an “investor” or speculator looking at potentially monetizing exploitable cards, take this time to kindly copulate with yourself. Middle School rules will be allowing all versions of all legal cards, so feel free to take your lecherous behavior elsewhere.

Our full set of recommended rules for Middle School, as well as the most up to date Banned & Restricted List, can always be found here, and will be updated regularly. Explore the vast tomes of arcana below to get started, or to rekindle the lost ways of your youth.

Pro Tour Chicago 1999 Coverage (Extended)
Worlds 1999 Coverage (Standard and Extended)
Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur Coverage (Extended)
Grand Prix Sydney 2000 Coverage (Extended)
Masters New York 2000 Coverage (Extended)
Worlds 2001 Coverage (Standard and Extended)
Pro Tour Houston 2002 Coverage (Extended)
Grand Prix Sau Paulo 2002 Coverage (Standard)
Grand Prix Reims 2002 Coverage (Extended)
Grand Prix Lisbon 2002 Coverage (Extended)
Grand Prix New Orleans 2003 Coverage (Extended)
Pro Tour New Orleans 2003 Coverage (Extended)
Worlds 2003 Coverage (Standard and Extended)
The Past as Prologue: Extended 1999-2000, by Peter Jahn
Extended in Seasons Past: 2000 to 2001, by Peter Jahn
The Past as Prologue: Extended 2001-2002, by Peter Jahn
The Past as Prologue: Extended in 2002-2003, by Peter Jahn
The Past as Prologue: Extended 2003-2004, by Peter Jahn
The Top 10 Extended Decks of All Time, by Mike Flores
Extended articles on StarCityGames (1997-2003)

These are just some of the most useful resources we have found for thinking about how to approach building decks for Middle School. You can check out a more broad range of official WotC coverage here in their official archive to dig deeper. Because Middle School did not exist as it does now at any given time in history, it is a unique chance to use many of the sweet cards and strategies of the era, without the cost of dual lands, nor the near perfect mana of some large pool formats. You will have to think carefully about constructing mana bases, which cards you can add to bolster old Standard or Extended decks of their day, creating new decks with cards that never overlapped with each other in some cases, and much more as you craft a brew for Middle School. Good luck!