Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration

Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration

During every single Banned and Restricted discussion, the conversation eventually turns to “well, when do you think the format was last great?” At that point, each player thinks back to their favorite time in vintage, which is invariably when they last played frequently or had tournament success.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go back to that time???

Vintage players have long been considered the more casual Magic player. Many would often show up to a tournament with no idea the current metagame, a deck with month’s old technology, and would still have a great time and often perform well. Then MTGO occurred and suddenly the “casual weekend Vintager” was quickly exposed. Vintage endured a schism and old school filled the need for this casual crowd. Conversely MTGO players, able to get in dozens of reps a day, became much better players and quickly thirsted for a fast-changing metagame. At this point it became very difficult for a casual player to show up to a tournament and do as well as they might have in the past. Playing in a tournament with a 2-month-old deck would often be death.

And if that isn’t a concern, take a moment to recognize the trajectory of modern-day Vintage. What used to be a glacial format is now being upended almost every other set. Who knows where it will be in a few years?

Despite this, Old School continues to enjoy its 3-4 year explosion in popularity and has cultivated a large and dedicated crowd. However, players will eventually create a schism in that community too. The players will divide into those that come to a magic night with a tech’ed out THE DECK and players who will try to make kobolds a thing for the night. This type of disconnect will eventually create demand for “a shakeup” or a new format. This is already being attempted with FE/IA formats, middle school, and fractured B&R lists. The more fractured these pools of players become, the less successful they will be.

Old School players like a slow-moving format. Modern Vintage players like to have a changing environment. There has to be a way to combine the two, right?

A few years ago, @Prospero tried to create a new format that featured “old borders.” I think he was trying to go back to circa 2000-2005 Magic, which many people have fond memories of (myself included). This got me to thinking...

Is there a solution to the following desires or issues?
1.) Possible Old School Malaise
2.) A desire to go back in time
3.) A chance to play your favorite cards again in a competitive deck

I think most players dream of having a Magic night featuring all the decks of a particular point in time. I personally would love to go back to the Necro-MirrorU-Zoo triumvirate for a weekend. I would love to test against mono-red fireblast again. I would love to play Cunning Wish Keeper or Zoo one last time. But when the logistics are considered, getting people to build a single-era deck for a single night just isn’t very realistic. The Old School Format works because most people understand it, the decks are consistent, and at worst you must swap out 3 Strip Mines if you change venues.

But wouldn’t it be cool if everyone got to play in their favorite era “one last time?”
Wouldn’t it be cooler if we could prolong the Vintage as we know it for another 20yrs?
Wouldn’t it be the coolest if you could apply your present-day knowledge to the cards of the past?

I introduce……..Vintage Redux

I’ve given this format a lot of thought for over a year or two, but have given the intricacies of it very little. This post is mainly to see if there are like-minded people, but even more so to see if there is someone who can pick up the gauntlet or help tighten this concept if it proves to be something people want.

Pretty simply put, I propose that Vintage Redux would be an “evolving Old School.” A new format that follows an old path. Essentially every year, we would tack on another three sets. This could be done tri-annually set by set or all at once. We would follow the old B&R list, and if there are active playgroups, they could update it as they see fit. Nobody wants to go through another Combo Winter. Vintage barely survived it back in 2000, and there is reason to worry about present day understandings of Magic with old cards.

How Redux could work:

2020- Add Ice Age and Alliances
2021- Add Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight
2022- Add Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus (I am already penciling in this year for my max play).
2023- Add Urza’s Saga, Legacy, Destiny
2024- Add Mercadian Masques…..anyway you get the idea.

That’s right. If you plan your next 6 years carefully, you can play Gro-Atog again. You can play TnT!

If this format becomes popular, I envision it could even lead to maybe two major American old school tournaments a year. The Old School tournament at Eternal Weekend is already giving the Vintage one a run for its money, why not have Vintage and Redux run at the same tournament? The crossover of players might be higher than we think.

This format is also a great way to bridge the increasing gap between Vintage and Old School, and possibly increase interest in both. We would be creating a whole new era of re-appreciation for Vintage.

Best of all, there is significant incentive for retailers to support it. Taking it a step further, they could even introduce a Type 2 Redux as well. Their inventories, long collecting dust, would immediately spike. When was the last time someone bought a Mangara’s Blessing, Ancane Denial, or Wildfire Emissary? Well now they would. I’m sure many retailers are sitting on a treasure trove of old Ice Age-through-Mercadian Masques playables. Even better, many of us have them collecting dust in our binders too. Just having this format be played by 200 people would bring a ton of attention to these long forgotten cards (Pro Tip: Buy your Juzams, Sinkholes, Mana Drains, Beta Bolts, Anvil of Bogardan, and Fireblasts now). And for the budget inclined, mono-red is cheap and would be tournament viable for at least 2-3 years. Talk about a legendary budget deck!

As you can see, my details are sparse, but the emotion and passion of this project is high. Maybe I am an overly-nostalgic person, but something tells me this could be a lot of fun. By keeping the timeline annual, it allows people to take the time to actually build a Redux deck and keep it with them. It doesn't have much cross-over with Old School or Vintage, and it's entirely plausible that people of both worlds might make a Redux deck. The only major issue is whether there are enough players to support an additional Vintage format.

Having a once-and-done tournament isn’t worth the effort. Having a year of being able to show up at Old School night and asking someone if they have a Redux deck, is.

I could see this format appealing to a lot of people:

  • Pumps some innovation into the Old School crowd.
  • Gives modern vintage players something to tinker with, without having to go full on old school.
  • Bridges the gap between the two divided formats.
  • As the sets progress, people who started in time periods other than 1993-1994 might become attracted to
    it- fresh meat for the format.

People have been talking about the death of vintage for 20 years. With Redux, we can guarantee a fresh and varying format for at least 20 more.

last edited by joshuabrooks

Wouldn't this just put you where we are now, but decades from now...again.

I didn't like Old-school until I came across EC and other non-Swedish rules. OS'96 is a bit better, but Vintage redux is definitely something I would stay away from altogether.

The rules/B&R would still become fractured as, if not much more, than OS'93/94.

This might be a format for a few players out there but, I just dont see it becoming a thing.

My 2 cents anyway

@ten-ten said in Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration:

Wouldn't this just put you where we are now, but decades from now...again.

Well yeah, but maybe in 2039 you long for the days of Karn, the Great Creator blowouts 😉

In all seriousness, I agree this would take some effort to manage, but I also know MANY people have MANY fond memories of certain metagames of the past. Reliving those metagames in a non-defined manner is super difficult. I know there is a demand for a more progressing Old School, I thought this might be a good way to do that without people having to balance 100 different historic metagames.

last edited by joshuabrooks

Considering how much I (and many others) love flashback drafts on MTGO - this is essentially flashback constructed! MTGO has tried similar in the past with the flashback gauntlet (you get a random selection of 8 or so top tier decks from a specific era of MTG). In any case, I fully support efforts like this

Not interested. I don't feel like I have the same nostalgia for old formats that many do, I would rather play my older cards in new compelling ways.

The thing about vintage that compels me more so than Legacy is the restricted list. I find that I like the skill that is required from a player to deal with the variance that comes from having powerful bomb cards that only can come up every so often. I thought I would like that about Commander but it turns out I'm not a fan of multiplayer, nor am I a fan of house rules style stuff. Commander games are actually surprisingly consistent when you factor in the fact that you start with an 8 card hand that always has 1 legend of your choice in it.

The most compelling vintage format to me would be singleton vintage, where everything except basics is restricted but it is otherwise identical to this current format. I think in a format with that much variance not only would you see real reliance on player skills you would also see decks that are slightly worse but more consistent have a much better shot at winning.

It would also limit the number of degenerate lists that have one game plan (mull to X for Bazaar, Shops lock on turn 0, Oath orchard turn one win) and would force players into playing well rounded decks which I suspect would include control as well as creature based lists. The format also now has enough free, turn 0 counters with the printing of Force of Negation that I suspect it can handle degenerate turn 0's.

@Protoaddict I too enjoy Vintage highlander, but it never seemed to take off.

I will comment on your desire to use old cards in new and different ways, though. What about improving on old technology in new and different ways.

What would Magic knowledge of 2019 look like if we applied it to 1996 cards or decklists? How much more optimized could an Atog/Mana Crypt deck be, or a Reap Deck, or even a Zoo deck if we applied some modern fundamentals. I personally would be more interested in this than whether we can slot a new 1-of into Workshop Ravager. (Not to say we can’t have both!!)

That said, this was not a format meant to compete with Vintage, but more to complement Old School, and hence this might be the wrong place to post something like this. But I have a tremendous respect for TMD and have been a long-term lurker/participant, so I wanted to post it here first.

I find Redux to be a more compelling approach than something like Middle School which is niche and has a small target audience, but that said I might be totally wrong. Old School is a fixed format that is likely somewhat optimized. Having an evolving format in tandem with Old School, (that still contains many of the things people like about Old School) was intriguing to me. Apparently, I might be alone in that however 😉

At the end of the day though, the post wasn't meant to convince people this was a better format than anything we have, it was to see if there were other people like me that might be interested in an evolving Old School.

last edited by joshuabrooks

I play a game called Everquest. They have TLP servers the "TLP" stands for "Time Locked Progression". The server starts out with no expansions like it was in 1999, and every 3 months adds an expansion. This has been very successful and for a video game that started out 20 years ago, its amazing that they are still adding servers.

Theres also a similar thing happening soon with WoW, so the model is defiantly portable.

Here is a link to Ice T trash tralking on behalf of the top two guilds during the lead up to the launch of the most recent 2 servers.

TLDR; I like the idea and think it could take off.

I'm interested from 2022 onward.

Old School or 93/94 aren't played for the game experience. The actual play experience is pretty bad. It's primarily driven by aesthetics and nostalgia (and younger people who like to think they are experiencing how Magic was played to a lesser extent).

Vintage is supposed to be about the game experience and the deck building experience. You won't get that with this approach for a while until you have a sufficient card pool and so you'll kind of just be old school with hideous M10 lightning bolts for a couple of years.

@nedleeds said in Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration:

Old School or 93/94 aren't played for the game experience. The actual play experience is pretty bad. It's primarily driven by aesthetics and nostalgia (and younger people who like to think they are experiencing how Magic was played to a lesser extent).

Vintage is supposed to be about the game experience and the deck building experience. You won't get that with this approach for a while until you have a sufficient card pool and so you'll kind of just be old school with hideous M10 lightning bolts for a couple of years.

I enjoy old school as a format, and like the back and forth nature of gameplay. However, I agree that Magic opens up a lot more later on. I think there are worthwhile areas to explore in Tempest Block and Urza's Block.

But who know, nobody has really explored these blocks with modern Magic knowledge. I think there are a lot more competitive deck options in 1995-2000 Magic for a beginner than in old school though.

@joshuabrooks said in Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration:

nobody has really explored these blocks with modern Magic knowledge

There are formats called Premodern and Middle-School that do exactly that. 😉

@fsecco said in Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration:

@joshuabrooks said in Vintage Redux: A New Format for your Consideration:

nobody has really explored these blocks with modern Magic knowledge

There are formats called Premodern and Middle-School that do exactly that. 😉

I thought they only explore those blocks, like without Alpha-Dark. No moxes, etc.

Regardless, the idea seems to be underwhelming and polarizing at best, and I’m not the person to be a catalyst. It was a cool idea, that I’ve given a lot of thought to, but apparently I might be the only one!!

I was seeking a format that could potentially tap into every single Vintage player’s nostalgia (at some point), but at this point there is little demand for that. I do appreciate the feedback from everyone and maybe it shall be resurrected in the future!

last edited by joshuabrooks

@joshuabrooks I think that any theory craft in the field of potential format design is terrific.

@joshuabrooks I like it. I've toyed with the idea of a Vintagy format only allowing old boarder sets but with a higher power level than middleschool/premodern/hyperextended.

I play a couple of different casual formats that have grown to be become quite popular. The key to succeed in creating a community is to start small and grow it organically. You don't need buy-in. Build it and they will come. Or not. 🙂

last edited by hardy

Hello all,
First post here since many years, please be indulgent (not a native english speaker).

If I had to create a new format, especially a "vintage redux", I would take an entirely different approach. Let's take this step by step :

What's the problem ?
-> There are fewer and fewer vintage players, especially paper players. Some fresh blood is needed.

What can we do to solve it ?
-> Bring in new players. MTGO has already failed doing this. Old School only brings back a few old players with old cards : no fresh blood at all.

Where can the potential new players come from ?
-> I guess the most plausible is legacy players. Explanations follow.

Why would they want to play vintage ?
-> To play with broken card that are banned in legacy. Each time I discuss with a legacy player, they take an interest about tinker, oath , yaugwill, necro...

What keeps them from coming to vintage ?
-> The answer is always the same : "I hold no chance without P9, and it costs way too much. I have no interest in playing dredge or fish, I'd prefer to play with broken cards, necropotence, etc. And well, I just don't want to play with proxies, that's no fun at all".

How can we make them step in vintage ?
We create a new intermediate format, that takes into account the price/availability of cards.

Fondamentally, that wouldn't be hard to create. We already have a banned list (ante, etc), and a restricted list. The only necessary step would be to move some cards from the restricted list to the banned list. These cards would only be the "legendary and unobtainable P9", + whatever is warping this new format. I would especially monitor bazaar and shop.
Bazaar : dredge might be just too powerful for this format.
Shop : this may be too powerful as well, but I guess shop decks can run without it.

Please do not brush this suggestion off too quickly. Please take the time and give it some thoughts. The players I target are from legacy : many already own FoW, bilands, fetchs, etc. Our non-P9 broken cards do not cost so much (except bazaar, shop, LoA, etc - many are under 100$, most cost next to nothing). This new format, if it became popular, would not impact the P9 prices. On the contrary, if players are attracted to vintage-like formats, more people will build a deck and want to add in power, that would sustain the prices, so no worry for P9 owners.
Maybe a good threshold for the ban hammer would be cards over 100

I can't even start to imagine the unique metagame that can come from this. This would be quite different from vintage or legacy as we know them. In short : yes, that would make "vintage unpow" a whole format.

last edited by StrayCat

From a practical standpoint, needing to change your deck every year would be very annoying, unless you ran it as full proxy or something.

As always, whenever someone proposes a new format, I say the same thing: if you want to start something, then do it yourself. Get a playtest group and make some decks and jam some games. Then if it ends up being good, start running tournaments.

You're not going to convert people with just a forum post, you have to build a (small) community first.

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