MTG Old Frame Formats
The MTG Old Frame League and this website started with only one format in mind, what we nowadays refer to as MTG Old Frame Vintage, but with time and rising demand there have been several formats that include some or all of the old framed Magic the Gathering cards. This article will try to serve as a compilation of all the formats and sub-formats of Old Frame, both the ones created by this community and also those that precede or succeed us.
What is Old Frame
We use the Old Frame denomination to refer to those formats where only cards originally printed between Limited Edition Alpha and Scourge are allowed. These would be the cards that had the original Magic the Gathering frame design.
Within this denomination, there are tons of different formats and sub-formats and also tournaments that may or may not allow certain reprints of said cards.
Main Old Frame Formats
We consider the main MTG Old Frame formats to be the following.
Old Frame Vintage
Our starship format, Old Frame Vintage was the only format we initially talked about on our site and the main format for our Online League.
Old Frame Vintage allows use of all the sets printed between Limited Edition Alpha and Scourge, included the three Portal Sets, Anthologies and Starter 1999. It has the following list of restricted and banned cards.
You can read more about Old Frame Vintage in this rules article.
Old Frame Legacy
Old Frame Legacy is still a theoretical old frame format (it has never been played in tournaments, or at least that is what the staff of MTG Old Frame believes), but there has been a decent amount of discussing on it in our Discord server, where it even has its own channel.
The idea is to have a similar banned and restricted list to that of Legacy back in 2003 and we plan on running a tournament in Old Frame Legacy as one of our Online League stages during 2022.
Old Frame Commander
Old Frame Commander follows the rules of the MTG Commander format but only allows the sets allowed in the Old Frame Vintage format.
99 cards + 1 commander, colour identity, no duplicates with the exception of basic lands are some of the essential rules of the format. To see the available commanders you can refer to this commander list.
The XI MTG Old Frame League was played in the Old Frame Commander format and you can even find our first ever video with commentaries on the linked tournament page.
Old Frame Singleton
Another theoretical format for now. The plan would be to follow the rules of the Singleton format allowing only cards from the Old Frame sets.
Old Frame Sub-Formats
Beyond what we consider to be the main Old Frame formats, there are a series of sub-formats that include only some of the sets found between Limited Edition Alpha and Scourge.
Some of these formats predate everything related to MTG Old Frame and all of them are completely independent.
There are formats that have only been referred to during certain events and formats that allow the same cards than others but that may differ in the rules applied (all the Old Frame formats follow the current Magic the Gathering rules).
Here is a list of all the Old Frame Sub-Formats we have encountered. If you have created your own sub-format and would like for it to appear in this list, contact us in the Discord server or Facebook group.
1993 7-Point Singleton
A Singleton sub-format that restrict the cards being played with a 7-point system that we will see in other sub-formats and that allows only cards published in 1993.
The fact that Ante is allowed in this format means Contract from Bellow can be played. You can participate in this format by joining this Facebook group.
Format organised by the members of this Facebook group.
The ALICE format, discussed in this Facebook group, plays decks with cards from the Ice Age and Alliances sets.
On the Alpha 40 format, we find a format that allows only cards from Limited Edition Alpha. It is played following the guidance of this pdf with the original rules of 1993 and a maximum deck size of 40, as the name indicates.
To get you craving for this format, the following video shows super cool match between two Mono-Black Alpha 40 decks.
Alpha 60 7-Point Singleton
Created by the members of this Facebook group. 60-card decks with no duplicates past basic lands.
Another format that also allows to play with temporary Ante.
A very interesting rotating format that plays monthly a different old frame Standard cycle, from Chronicles to Scourge.
You can join tournaments of this format in this Facebook page.
Created by Old School 93/94 & Premodern players, Legacy 96, discussed in this site, includes cards printed between Limited Edition Alpha and Mirage.
Another requisite of this format is that, in case of using reprints, they have to also have an old frame.
Middle School decks include cards printed between 1995 (Fourth Edition) and 2003 (Scourge).
Find the rules of Middle School in this page.
Possibly the most popular Old Frame sub-format. Most of the players of our online and live leagues come from Old School.
Old School tournaments allow cards from Limited Edition Alpha, Limited Edition Beta, Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends and The Dark. The first three core sets and the first four expansion sets of Magic the Gathering, released between 1993 and 1994.
You can read a lot more on the Old School format in this blog.
Old School 7 Points Singleton
The point-based MTG Old Frame formats have been quite popular in recent years in order to control the use of extremely powerful cards without having to ban or restrict them completely.
7 Point Singleton allows the same sets as the Old School sub-format. It has mana burn and London mulligan and seven points to be distributed amongst a certain group of broken cards.
The singleton deck has 60 cards and no sideboard. And you can read about it here.
Old School 10 Points
Another sub-format that uses points to limit the usage of powerful cards is the X-points Old School 93/94.
It also has it’s own Facebook group here.
Old School 95
Just as the name indicates, Old School 95 decks have cards printed between 1993 and 1995: Limited Edition Alpha, Limited Edition Beta, Unlimited, Collector’s Edition, International Collector’s Edition, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Revised, Legends, The Dark, Fallen Empires, Fourth Edition, Ice Age, Chronicles, Renaissance & Homelands.
These are the rules of that sub-format.
Old School 96
Add Alliances and Mirage to the previous format and you have Old School 96. The rules of Old School 96 are here.
Old School Brawl
A combination of the Old School sub-format and the standard Commander rules is what we find on Old School Brawl.
Find the full rules of the sub-format in this site.
Old School Commander
As opposed to Brawl, the deck size for Old School Commander is 100 instead of 60. Further information is here.
Old School Scryings
Scryings was an unofficial expansion that included cards from Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions and Weatherlight, and the Old School Scryings sub-format described here brings it back.
Premodern not only complements Old School in terms of the sets that the sub-format allows (Fourth Edition to Scourge) but also is the second most played of them all. With many options to claim the number one spot.
The Premodern site is one of the most developed of all the sub-formats. Definitely worth spending some time on it.
To many people the most nostalgic of all the formats, Revised 40 uses 40-card decks of the Revised edition, Foreign Black/White Border (French, German and Italian) & Summer Magic.
This site explains the format thoroughly.
A similar format to that of Alpha 40 but including cards of all first three sets of Magic the Gathering, Alpha, Beta and Unlimited. Different restrictive groups make it harder for decks to be broken to the point of unplayability.
There is a comprehensive introduction to this sub-format in this site.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of all the MTG Old Frame Formats, you just need to choose those you want to play and join their communities!