Magic 93/94: Back to the Old School

I’m excited that my group is taking up a 93/94 old school league soon! I’m going to experiment with some decks, but Goblins and Red are my touchstones. Per the rules, we can only use cards up to Ice Age. I might be mistaken on that since the league is still in the beginning phases. But assuming that’s the case, I’ve started to refresh my memory on this tribe. They have some bright spots and a lot of not-so-bright spots. Here’s a list of what I could find:


  • Goblins of the Flarg
  • Marsh Goblins
  • Scarwood Goblins
  • Goblin Artisans
  • Goblin Balloon Brigade
  • Goblin Chirurgeon
  • Goblin Digging Team
  • Goblin Flotilla
  • Goblin Hero
  • Goblin King
  • Goblin Mutant
  • Goblin Rock Sled
  • Goblin Sappers
  • Goblin Ski Patrol
  • Goblin Snowman
  • Goblin Wizard
  • Mons’s Goblin Raiders

Other Spells:

  • Goblin Caves
  • Goblin Grenade
  • Goblin Kites
  • Goblin Shrine
  • Goblin War Drums
  • Goblin Warrens


  • Goblin Lyre

I won many a game back in the day spamming Goblin Grenade on unsuspecting players. Goblin King is pretty much a must have card in any Goblin deck, and throw in a Blood Moon to make your force of underlings suddenly unblockable. I’m probably going to include Orcs in the fray, though this tribe is even less useful under these parameters.

Throw in Goblin War Drums to give yourself an early advantage with mass Intimidate. The goal here is speed. Lots of speed. In that sense, it’s your classic aggro deck with a ton of weird restrictions. I’m not quite sure how the old design team worked, but I’m pretty sure flavor and gut feeling was at play. I’m partial to the balloon brigades and the raiders. Goblin Wizard is an interesting choice, but feels overcosted at 2RR.

Below is my basic deck list, which I’m going to be revising as I goldfish and the format rules shape up. When I get a chance, I’ll upload this into Tappedout so it’s not as low-tech and can be commented on by the community. Or leave your thoughts below, if you wish. Thanks for looking!

Rough draft: Goblin Old School deck

Creatures (13)
4X Goblin King
4X Mons’s Goblin Raiders
4X Goblin Balloon Brigade
1x Goblin Snowman

Spells (24)
3 X Blood Moon
4X Lightning Bolt
4X Goblin Warrens
4X Goblin Caves
4X Goblin Shrine
4X Goblin Grenade
1X Fork

Artifacts (1)
1x Sol Ring

Lands (22)
20 Mountains
1X Maze of Ith
1X Strip Mine

SB (15)
4x Red Elemental Blast
1x Blood Moon
4x Flashfires
4x Fireball
2X Goblin Wizard

Dragon Stompy: Beginner Beginning

Last time I mentioned I was getting into competitive Magic and had chosen Dragon Stompy as my deck. I may not stick with it depending on how well I do or how the meta shifts. But for now, here’s a compilation of my initial research. As finances permit me, I’ll buy into paper and MTGO versions. If you’re reading this and interested in your own Dragon Stompy 75, or have some better ideas/advice for a noob, let me know.

Before I get any further, here’s a blurb from AZMagicplayers that’s concise (and maybe outdated):

Dragon Stompy is a metagame deck. The creatures may vary – Werewolves have given a new set of creatures for Dragon Stompy to play around with – but the lock pieces are the same. Moon effects lock greedy opponents out of the game while cards like Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere make it hard pressed for your opponent to come back. Dragon Stompy is very explosive at the cost of consistency. The strength of the deck depends on the opening hands, and what deck it is pit against.

Dragon Stompy Videos

These are Legacy format games from Railbird Gaming’s channel:

Here’s a video from Jay Nelson
Dragon Stompy run one


Dragon Stompy Analysis

I came across this Reddit thread by a fellow who played 200 plus matches with the deck. That’s one way for a neophyte such as myself to get in some laps without actually playing, I suppose. His analysis is quite extensive, and the discussion is also helpful. Bookmark it, read the whole thing, etc. Here’s his conclusion for those who don’t want to do even that:

I find myself quite enamored with this deck and think it’s well-positioned, particularly on Magic Online. I’d recommend it for anyone new to the format because it forces you to learn how the other decks work, so you know how to best attack them with your lock pieces. And sometimes you just win because you played a turn 1 Blood Moon and they didn’t have Force of Will, which is OK with me!

Next Steps

I have to put together a Dragon Stompy 75 for this thing and get some games in. The next time I post about this, I will have done that, with the appropriate links to TappedOut. Thanks for reading!

Magic: Dragon Stompy vs. Infect (Legacy)

With the help of a good friend I’m getting more into competitive Magic. Specifically, Legacy. A few years ago I tried to get into Modern, but the Magic bug had left me. We’ve played mostly EDH and some limited drafts since 2013. But after the last game night at the new shop, I decided I wanted to get serious about the game.

He suggested I take a look at Dragon Stompy, knowing my play preferences and tendencies. Here’s a 20 minute match against Infect.

As I get more into the Legacy format, I’ll keep track of my progress on usualjay.

Thanks for reading and watching.

Commander Tonight

Sorry for the short posts lately, I’ve been preoccupied with a few other projects and obligations. But tonight I’m excited to be trying out a new lgs in my area, in my hometown as a matter of fact. It’s EDH night, so my gaming group and I are going to check it out and bring a few of our decks.

I’m going to roll out there with my Slivers tribal deck that I’ve nicknamed “Infinite Slivers,” due to its win-con. I also have a slightly souped up Breya deck (Commander 2016 precon) that I want to give a shot at the tables.

In the future I may write about my local EDH league, but the games have been so infrequent – and it’s so hard to keep track of the plays – that it might not be worth the effort.

Cube Draft Tonight

For a long time a friend of mine has been working on a Magic cube for our gaming group, and tonight it will be unveiled for its inaugural drafting. I contributed a few cards to it, my final contributions (for now) are:

  • Wrath of God
  • Mind Twist
  • Regrowth
  • Hymn to Tourach

I’ll provide an after action report if anything interesting happens, and I may take a crack at a themed cube in the near future. I’ll discuss that in greater detail when the time comes.


Old Friday Night Magic

This week I took a break from the electronic games and got back into Magic a bit. My friend has been constructing a cube for some time now, and I finally got around to bring over some donations for it. Amongst the 1200 cards or so in the boxes, there were some gems from the early 90s that we had a good laugh over. This isn’t retro-hate by the way: we both started playing around the same time (1994) and had many of these old cards. He made the offhand comment that I should make a “worst cards ever” cube for drafting with the group. I haven’t quite taken him up on the offer, but I was inspired to blow the dust off my binders and take a look at my old collections.

The Dark was released in the summer of 1994. It was the first Magic expansion from which I would buy packs, passing over Arabian Nights and Antiquities which were in short supply and Legends boosters which were priced at a hefty $19 a pack at my local hobby store. I had but a Revised starter deck and two booster packs in my entire collection and a poor understanding of the game. To say nothing of not knowing about the business model of collectible card games (who did back then anyway?).  Though it gets a bad rap these days for its wonky and underpowered cards, it did give us some iconic staples (Blood Moon) and the flavor was very strong.

Eater of the Dead was one the cards I was scared of back in the day. For no other reason other than it could be untapped by removing somebody else’s cards – from the game. At 5 to cast for a 3/4 creature, it’s not exactly a beater. But its ability was unique for its time. I’d have to do my research but it may be one of the first legitimate graveyard hate cards in the game with no drawback. In fact, the lack of a drawback makes the card unique for its time. Other than its bad stats and high casting cost, that is.

And the artwork is pretty metal too.


Commander Report: A Day with Daretti

The other night the stars aligned and nearly my entire gaming group plus some walk-ons managed to get in a game of Commander. We had decided to play a 7 player free-for-all earlier that day though one of our number was lobbying for a Power Cube draft. I had purchased the Red Commander 2014 preconstructed deck “Built from Scrap” so I was spoiling to get in some EDH, as were several other guys.  Alas in hindsight that was probably the better decision, as the EDH game ended up being a four and a half hour long slogfest, with no win conditions hitting the board. We came closest to a finish when the guy piloting a Progenitus deck had something like 10 planeswalkers out on the board. His undoing was his turn 4 drop of Dream Halls which enabled him to cast Progenitus.  Dream Halls is an older card from Stronghold that was famously overlooked when it first came out but was soon banned for abuse. 17 years later it’s still great for warping board states. Speaking of that, a Warp World hit the board and the Progenitus deck was able to weather that and line us all up for the KO.

That’s when I decided to act.

Progenitus deck had drawn a lot of hate during the game, so its pilot’s life total was at 8. As Warp World spun down, I was left with a Tyrant’s Familiar on the battlefield and a Bogardan Hellkite in hand. I attacked with the Familiar, knowing my opponent couldn’t block the flying damage, and then promptly used Dream Halls to flash out Bogardan, killing the Progenitus pilot. I was fairly certain at that time that somebody else was going to kill us all off, but by the second time the turn had been passed back to me, there was no end in sight. About 15 minutes to midnight (we had started at about 7:15) we decided to call it; one of the guys had amassed 75+ life so he was declared the winner, but he refused the honor, so I took it as the only one with a PK to my credit during the game.

So it didn’t go as well as it could have. But we had fun during the game before it degenerated into sheer boredom and top decking.

As for Daretti, I came away very impressed with the deck. Unfortunately Jeleva was one of my opponent’s commander, and had gutted my obvious win conditions. But the synergy is so strong in this deck that with just a few modifications I can easily see why it is one of the best precon EDH decks of the last bunch, if not all of them.  I’m looking forward to trying this deck out more in the near future.

The Good Old Days in Magic

Over at Gathering Magic, Abe Sargent takes a trip down memory lane to the very beginnings of the game:

“As someone who played in the halcyon days of Magic, I still have a fondness for some cards and concepts. The cards in the first set continue to influence us today. I thought it would be fun to build some decks just from cards from this era.”

If only the time machine were a real thing. I wouldn’t mind going back to the time when there were two or three lgs and comic shops within walking distance of me as was the case in my youth. There is a little part of me still regrets buying two packs of the Dark and two packs of Revised to complement my very first starter deck, instead of taking up the cashier’s offer on half a remaining box of Arabian Nights. But as Sargent opines in his piece, who really knew how long the granddaddy of the CCG phenomenon was going to stick around? Surely there’s some unopened product of Jyhad still lying in somebody’s basement somewhere that could be cashed in on eBay. Sealed starter decks can be had for only $12 at the time of this writing. Of all the imitators that flooded the market in the early to mid 90s, Magic had the most staying power. But it wasn’t so obvious back then even back in the “halcyon” days of Magic. (I do think it’s somewhat laughable that Abe would consider The Dark to be the halcyon days, since that’s when he started playing according to his bio. The consensus in my neck of the woods was that it was far inferior set to the vastly better Fallen Empires…)

Anyway, I enjoyed reading his modern constructed take on some of the classics. As I mentioned when I found my old U/B deck list, we didn’t have a notion of archetypes back in the early days of Magic. At least nobody in my playgroup did. Our decks were just cobbled together from whatever we could trade for and got out of random packs. In fact it was only with the greatest hesitation that we reluctantly agreed to follow the draconian guidelines we learned about from reading Duelist: 60 card decks, only 4 copies of non land cards, singletons of others, and even following the banned list.  The entire card pool of the game was slightly less than 1,000 back in the fall of ’94, so it was relatively easy to figure out the group meta when we all were following the same rules for constructed and ran with mostly the same cards. And when at most your paper route money could net you a $20 Vesuvan Doppleganger or maybe a $15 Sol Ring at the nearest lgs, you weren’t exactly going out to fill up a deck with singles. The exception being the guy who taught me, who was a few years older and had a real job.

My teacher and mentor was the most advanced player in the group for a while, and he was always happy to teach anybody who to play. That was because he was eager to get more novices into the card pool since that was often how he grew his collection by winning ante. You definitely didn’t want to be the guy who never played for ante, that’s for sure.  Magic is definitely a more fun game when you’re winning with superior cards, most of the time. As I recall, he ended up quitting (retiring as he put it) about 2.5 years into his run, shortly after Ice Age was released. By then a lot of my friends had stopped playing too and most of us traded in those worn decks toward PlayStations and Nintendo 64s. Coincidentally this was also around the time I had constructed a tribal Goblins deck and was winning 9 out of 10 games. Go figure.

From the looks of the lists that Abe put together, I would have to say the decks that I ran into the most were #4, #5, and #7 – or what he calls W/B Soul Control, W/U Sleight Knight, and Enchantress Combo respectively. W/U was particularly brutal in my group, at one point I think six or seven guys were running some variant of it. I chuckled at the combo of Magical Hack and Karma. That was good for a few rage quits back in the day. The only missing in these deck lists are Veteran Bodyguard and Personal Incarnation, which were staples. In fact I wouldn’t mind seeing Veteran Bodyguard get reprinted. If he had expanded the list beyond ABU, there would have the odd Legends card like Moat tossed in for good measure. That was only about $40 back in ’94, in case you were wondering.

We were much more willing to tinker with brews too. There’s so much data available on the game today that it’s often hard to resist the temptation to paint by numbers. Experimentation is a necessary component of coming up with that meta breaking deck, but you have to be brave enough on a certain level to do it. At one point it was fairly common to include hoser cards just to defeat one person’s deck, especially if they were managing to win 10 or 15 games in a row. Not an uncommon occurrence. So this kid got smart and decided to run an all artifact deck. His rationale he explained to me afterward was that he could use any kind of mana to cast his spells, and besides Circle of Protection: Artifacts, there weren’t any hoser cards that he could think of. He brought this deck – filled with things like Juggernaut,  Mishra’s War Machine, and Obsianus Golem. He managed to win the first couple of rounds, but that day I remember we had agreed to play with a “new” rule: side boarding. The way we played it was you could swap out 15 cards of your deck for any other in your collection. In response to this new threat, the host put in a number of Shatterstorms, as did anybody else who had the card on hand. You can probably guess what the artificer’s deck W/L record ended up looking like at the end of the day, and how red our friend’s face got.

Yes, I sure do miss the good old halcyon days of Magic.