Why I Play Oldschool Magic

Getting into the Oldschool format is what really got me into Magic. I was into it before, but really casually. I wasn’t into it enough to be able to build a competitive deck. Even for kitchen table Magic. The occasional times I did play, I always lost. I just wasn’t as into it as other people.

I was too young in 1993 and 1994 to play Magic. I was too young to play Magic until about 1997 or 1998. And I didn’t actually really learn how to play until about 2001 when I was played Invasion cards at school during lunch. I was able to beat the kid I played with about half the time. I was under the impression that I was a decent Magic player. I played a premade deck that I got for my birthday and replaced some cards with other cards that I thought had better art. One day I played against a different kid. A nerdier kid. His name was Andrew. He played actual tournaments. His cards weren’t in sleeves and the edges were all worn. That was intimidating to me. I knew Andrew had spent a lot more time than me playing. Still, I was under the impression that I was a decent player. I mean, I won about half the games that I had played.

So the game started. Then it ended. I lost. He beat me in about three turns. I didn’t know that was even possible. I thought that might be the first time that had ever happened in the history of Magic. I wanted a rematch because I knew it had to have been a fluke. We rematched. It happened again. That day I learned that I actually didn’t know a damn thing about this game called Magic. I still see Andrew every now and then walking around the town we grew up in.

Some of the first cards I was given. I want to say Jump may have been the first?

Rewind to the summer of 1995. Way before I knew how to play Magic. I was 7. This summer I would learn about this game called Magic by happenstance. It would change my childhood. Me, my brother, and my parents used go to my grandparents’ beach house every summer weekend. My aunt would always be there too. She had a friend who would often come with her two sons, Scott and Greg. Scott and Greg were a few years older than me. By default, they were “cool”. They had bowl cuts and good looking girls would approach them at the beach. One weekend they brought these white boxes. They opened them up and I saw that they were filled with cards. It was a card game. The game? You know it. It was Magic. I had no idea what Magic was. But I knew I loved it.

They took some cards out and started playing a game on the living room floor. I watched amazed. I was a shy kid but I thought about asking if they would give me a card. I eventually asked. They each gave me a card. The next time I saw them I asked again. They each gave me a card again. Eventually I had about sixty or so cards in my collection. I didn’t know how else to get them at the time besides asking other people to give me their cards. I asked my parents for Magic cards for holidays and they never knew where to buy them. I didn’t know either. I was too young to figure it out. I didn’t know what comic book stores where. This situation created a magical mystique about the cards. They were, in a sense, out of reach no matter how badly I wanted them.

Some of the Fallen Empires cards…

I would later find out that the majority of these cards were Revised. Some were Fallen Empires as well but the majority were Revised. Funny that the Swedish 93/94 rules don’t allow Revised or Fallen Empires because they were so easily obtainable at the time. For me, however, being to young to know anything, they were damn near impossible to acquire.

By the time 1997 or 1998 rolled around, Scott and Greg had moved on to Pokemon cards. I liked Pokemon cards right away but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that they didn’t have their Magic cards. Pokemon didn’t light that fire inside me that Magic did.

So why do I play Magic today? I don’t really know. It could be because I simply just like to. But let’s dig deeper. One reason is that I feel a nostalgia with many of the Old School cards. I don’t feel this way about any of the newer sets. My nostalgia is different than most in the 93/94 and Oldschool Magic community. I didn’t actually play in 93 or 94. I was just learning to read. I also was unaware of the majority of the Oldschool cards until recently. The few cards I was aware of, however, bring me great feelings to simply just glance at the picture.

Not 93/94 but I absolutely loved this art as a kid.


While playing with modern cards the last few years I always had a desire to make a deck of only Oldschool cards. Eventually, I did it. This choice is what really got me playing Magic. My jump into 93/94 Magic happened at a time of intense life stress. Adulthood isn’t easy. It’s complex; it’s messy; sometimes there’s not enough money; sometimes you hate your job; sometimes your relationships aren’t working; sometimes you’re just simply too tired to be an adult. Playing Oldschool Magic has been an escape from the stress of life. Playing Magic with friends and planning what I’m going to post on Instagram and engaging with the community on there has been a stress relief. I think that’s why I play Magic. And to specify why I like Oldschool? Probably because the old card designs bring me back to a time of simplicity. I think this may be why feelings of nostalgia even exist in the first place.

I know most people that play Oldschool Magic do it for nostalgia purposes. But I’m curious, what got you into Magic?



4 thoughts on “Why I Play Oldschool Magic

  1. I was born in November 1993, the year the X-Files, Jurassic Park and Magic: The Gathering all made their debut. Having discovered Magic just a few years ago, it could be said that I arrived incredibly late to the party. Nonetheless, it’s funny how the fact that I wasn’t around in 1993/1994 to pick up the original game makes me feel all the more nostalgic about it.


    1. It’s funny how old Magic cards have that type of power, isn’t it? I only had a small handful of cards in ’94 but, like you, I’m nostalgic about all the cards which I had never even seen until recently.


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