Friday, 28 September 2018

"Coming Back Home" Number 2, by George

The second chapter in an occasional series where members of the London Old School community reflect on their experiences of getting into Old School.

"The Old School Child" by George G

Let me start off the article by introducing myself: Hi! My name is George and I love playing a format that is older than I am! Throughout this article I will be explaining my journey into Old School, the great people I have met along the way, my views on the format, and my hopes for the future.

My journey into Old School started in mid June 2016, in the wonderful city of Prague. I was playing in the main event (which was Legacy). I was celebrating my 21st birthday, receiving my university results and accepting a position at Magic Madhouse (the UK’s biggest and best online Magic: the Gathering store!). I had a lot to celebrate, and did so by setting myself a challenge: I wanted to collect a full set of Unlimited power in one year, which would enable me to get into Vintage, a format that at the time I was very interested in. That weekend I picked up a Mox Ruby, and thus started my momentous journey.

The card that started it all

My position at Magic Madhouse is Social Media and Market Outreach Coordinator, which basically means I create a content for a variety of platforms, including Facebook. The position also includes being a buyer for Magic Madhouse at European GPs and other events. As a result, I attended the Pro Series Grand Finale in Blackpool, which included a 93/93 UK Championship side event.

At the time I had no idea what Old School even was, but after a four-hour drive to Blackpool with my colleague Jason I was well and truly educated about the format!  I purchased my second part of power, a Time Walk which I needed for Vintage, and had a busy weekend selling more cards to the Old School crowd then every other format combined.

I also managed to pick up a few Loti in Blackpool. Sadly they were a little oversized

I met a few people in Blackpool which helped me in my journey towards Old School, the main one being Rod Smith. Rod and I began talking online in the weeks and months that passed, and he showed me the first deck I eventually went on to play, a RWG Blitz deck that I soon started trying to assemble so I could play some games.

This brings me to a part of Old School in which I love - the collecting. Seeing Rod’s collection made me green with envy, but also showed me cards that I did not even know existed, alongside some of the iconic cards. I have always enjoyed the collecting and trading side of Magic.  In Old School, it's enough of a thrill to even locate some of the rarer cards - let alone getting a good price!

At this point I was lucky enough to meet Julian Snape, an ex-WOTC employee who had a lot of cards that I was after, alongside some very rare sentimental cards such as an artist proof Lotus and a Splendid Genesis. Julian provided a much-needed kick start to my Old School collection, and ever since that point I have been hooked.

My first Old School Mail Day - I started off with a bang!

In the following months I would carry on picking up some pieces of power here and there, but most importantly I would get a chance to play the game that I was collecting. At first this was done through Skype with Rod.  But pretty soon I wanted to play without a computer screen in front of me, and here’s the second reason why I have fallen in love with a format older than me: the community.

Not long after this, I met Markus, who invited me to come to London, play some games and drink some beers. Games and beers: the basics of any Old School meet-up, and just the thing I was craving. He showed me the ropes, and explained the mentality behind Old School, his views on the format and what he loved about the game.

My eyes were now well and truly open: the whole mentality of Old School is completely different from every other form of MTG I have played before. No longer was my happiness based on my win/loss (something that normally led to me being unhappy!), but just playing a game the way it should be played, jamming Juzams and Savannah Lions into combat. In my eyes, everyone I have met has similar (or very close) enthusiasm for the game and format, and are extremely welcoming, even to an ‘outsider’ like myself.

By the end of 2016 my collection had blown up! Just a few more pieces of power to go!

After a large amount of testing with Markus and Rod, I decided to attend my first ‘Big’ Old School event. Accordingly, Jason drove us up to Birmingham to play in Mana Leak’s Eternal Weekender, with Old School on the Saturday and Vintage on the Sunday.

I was surprised at first at the size of the Old School event - much bigger than I expected - but it was a great day.  As I looked around I saw everyone having so much fun, meeting old friends and reminiscing about when they used to play as kids.  And of course I finally got to compete against a lot of new decks!  I ended up losing my 'win and in' for the Top 8, but being able to watch some of the top 8 games instead felt like good compensation.

On the second day I played Vintage, and this was the last time I played the format.  For me, Vintage has all the bad things about Old School, and very little good, leading to worse games and an overall worse time.  I duly decided that I would drop my original reason for picking up power, and turn all of my efforts into Old School.  My journey had come full circle.

The majority of the players of the Birmingham event holding the signed participation card: Boomerang!

Since then I have only been lucky enough to both complete my set of power and attend a few events, the latest of which was COPcon VII, where I ran a deck that has taken me a full year to collect.  I recently had a ‘Eureka’ moment and realised that I now have a fairly decent Old School collection, and it needs to get more use outside of deck boxes and binders.  My plan for the future (2019) is to try and attend and play as much Old School as I physically can around the UK, and even possibly travel to Europe for a few games and beers. Ever since I heard about N00bcon I have wanted to attend. And hopefully with some more practice and a bit of luck at a qualifying event I may one day make it!


  1. Great article George. I hope you continue to enjoy Old School. I enjoyed our close games at COPcon!

    1. I did too! I have since made a few tweaks to that deck to try and make sure it can draw out of those mid-match slumps!

  2. Nice one George! See you again soon! :)

    1. Yup, already saving for next years travel, it's going to be a good one!

  3. Great read! Thanks for sharing your story :)

    1. Thanks for reading! Looking forward to meeting you at some point in the future!