Budget 100 - an old school magic format
Old school Magic is a wonderful way to play the Magic the Gathering card game by using only the cards created in 1993 and 1994 (the first 2 years of Magic). Lots of nostalgia and excitement. Back when cards had beautiful fantasy related paintings and were not overly complicated.
Are you an old school magic player?
Perhaps tired of only seeing the same 3% of the available 93-94 card pool over and over which is the case in most old school formats?
Maybe you would like more variance and be able to play and even win using cool spicy cards?
And you want something in which a competitive legal deck costs less than $200? Something that is not pay-to-win? Something in which additional money does not provide an unfair advantage?
Sometimes you want to have a good time and playing a fun casual game rather than flexing your expensive cards?
Then you should try this new casual format Budget 100.
- Your deck must be exactly 100 cards.
- No sideboard.
- All cards are restricted except basic lands and City of Brass which you may have as many as you want in your deck.
- Legal sets same as Eternal Central: Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Revised, Legends, The Dark and Fallen Empires.
- Reprint policy same as Eternal Central: any language, original art and old frame. So for example 4th edition cards are all good.
- Mana burn applies.
- Modern MTG rules apply including the London mulligan.
The following cards are overpowered or destroys the fun in this format and are banned:
Black Lotus, Sol Ring, Library of Alexandria, Mind Twist, Ancestral Recall, Braingeyser, Moat, The Abyss, Arboria and City in a Bottle.
Select up to maximum 4 of the following power cards to include in your deck:
Chaos Orb, Icy Manipulator, Black Vise, Timetwister, Serendib Efreet, Mana Drain, Recall, Fireball, Disintegrate, Wheel of Fortune, Land Tax, Balance, Preacher, Juzam Djinn, Hypnotic Specter, Royal Assassin, Regrowth, Karakas, Mishra's Factory, Mana Vault, the 5 moxes and the 10 dual lands.
And the following great cards which counts as 2 Power Cards each:
Demonic Tutor, Time Walk, Control Magic, Serra Angel, Maze of Ith
These are currently not considered to be Power Cards but could be considered in the future based on feedback from the players:
Juggernaut, Triskelion, Dark Ritual, Animate Dead, Wrath of God, Armageddon, Sedge Troll, Channel
Observations so far
Me and my son have been playing this format for a while now and we like it a lot.
Playing this for a while I came to realize that many of the old cards that I previously considered unplayable suddenly made sense to me and are not that bad anymore, some are really good. Now when games last longer a card like for example Stream of Life is not so bad actually. Even a bad card like Healing Salve also is actually not that bad as it can be used to save a good creature.
- Games generally last longer, taking many turns.
- Creatures that regenerate are very annoying and difficult to deal with which means that trample is more important.
- Removing enchantments is really difficult. White has a single copy of Disenchant and there are only a few other ways to remove enchantments. But this has not been a problem as both Moat and The Abyss are banned.
- Removing creatures with spells is much more difficult, which I think is good and how I think the game was meant to be played in the early days.
- Decks now tend to have more creatures and less percentage of spells, as there are more good creatures than good spells.
- Artifact removal is also now a bit more difficult which makes it easier for players to play with more artifacts.
- Playing 4 or even 5 colors in your deck is actually now possible which is of course very fun.
- Is there not more luck in this format compared to regular old school? At first I also thought so with the luck of the draw. But it seems to be the opposite. If you have some bad draws and some bad turns in Budget 100 it is not a very big deal but in regular old school you would surely lose the game.
Also because the game is slower it makes for some interesting decisions. Imagine you draw Swords to Plowshares. First of all you are lucky that you even draw it as you only have 1 in your 100 card deck. Should you use it now or save it for later? How long should you wait?
Also interesting is that after you play a game and then shuffle and play again you both see completely different and new cards.
What is wrong with the similar format 7pts Singleton?
We love to play 7pts as well on a regular basis and my son and I played in the championship in Madrid 2022 and we have built 7 different decks for the format. We will also play in the next championship. But for a really competitive deck you should have some very expensive non-pointed cards such as Chaos Orb, dual lands and some others which I don't want to buy for our decks for both me and my son (that kind of money I prefer to invest in other things). Another problem if you want to win is that you normally don't have room in your deck for many interesting and cool spicy fringe cards and you have less variation in a 60 card deck when you regularly play against the same person (like we do). If you want more variance, more budget and more a kind of kitchen table feeling then Budget 100 could be more fun for you. If you want something more competitive then 7pts is more suited.
Is mana screw not a problem in Budget 100?
This format is slow and mana screw is not a problem. Put as many City of Brass in your deck as you want, but it is really only necessary if you play 3 or more colors. Other than that you have the very good Fellwar Stone, applicable dual lands (Power Cards), Birds of Paradise, Land Tax (Power Card), Elves of Deep Shadow and Untamed Wilds. If you play 4 or 5 colors the card Celestial Prism is also an option.
What about the format Brothers’ Highlander?
I just recently found about that format. It is also an old school 100 card singleton format and of course very interesting. However the main point of Budget 100 is that it is a budget format, there is no real focus on budget in Brothers’ Highlander meaning that cards like Chaos Orb and dual lands are auto included in all decks.
Examples of cool budget cards that are actually good in this format
Finding cards for your deck
Use these links to find popular cards that are legal in Old School and cost less than €10 to buy:
You can adjust the "eur<10" in the search box to a higher or lower amount to better suit your budget.
Advice when buying many cards
Add all the cards you want in a Want List in cardmarket.com. You can specify minimum card condition, language, set and price. Then you can use their shopping wizard to find sellers with the best options for you and especially finding sellers that have many cards you need so they can be sent in the same shipping. This is how I buy cards.
Deck to beat:
This format was created in December 2022 by Jim and his son Alvin. It is very new and feedback is appreciated, contact me.
If you ever come to Marbella, Spain, let me know and we could play. The old school scene here in Marbella is just me and my son so far.
Please also check these free games that I have created: Advinsula, Clesto and The Space War card game - would be really appreciated if you check them out. Really cool if you would create an account on Advinsula.
6 months later Jim and his son Alvin created 5 Color Mirror which we prefer to play instead of Budget 100. It is a bit similar but very different: 5 color mirror deck, starting with 7 life, more focus on thinking and skill, less focus on luck. Be sure to check it out, we can highly recommend it!
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