So how does Ancient compare to other oldschool MTG formats? It's a question I've been asked a couple of times, so I decided to give the awnser in this small article. I'll compare Ancient to another popular oldschool format called 93/94.
So how are they different?
The short version is:
- It's easier and cheaper to make a legal Ancient deck
- The cardpool for Ancient is a little bigger
- Gameplay basically feels the same (with the use of mana burn, etc.)
The slightly longer version is:
Ancient has been around since just after 8th edition came out (mid-2003, I had to look that up and I had no idea it was that long ago...) and wants gameplay to feel like in the early days. In that respect, it's just like 93/94. However, there are some differences.
Ancient has no problem with reprinted cards like Chronicles, as long as they have original border and artwork. 93/94 allows only original cards, so you cannot play a chronicles Ernham Djinn or a 4th edition mishra's factory in 93/94, but you can in Ancient. This makes Ancient a little more open to casual players who want to join, without them having to spend big bucks on things like AQ mishra's factories or beta Serra Angels. As long as a card has the original layout and artwork like in the allowed sets, you can play them. We love it when someone plays with only old cards though, so you can easily join Ancient with your 93/94 deck :) You will have to make some changes though:
Ancient took the old '95 banned and restricted list, and we want to keep as close to that as we can. To keep gameplay interesting, we have made some changes though. We have restricted strip mine, even though that card was not restricted at the time. And we keep to the DCI list of '95, so you'll have to remove 3 of your underworld dreams from your 93/94 deck. And your Chaos Orb, because that was banned at the time, so you can't play it in Ancient. For a complete set of rules, look them up the rules section. It also gives some visual examples as to what is and is not allowed.
Ancient allows for more sets to be played, up until the Ice age block (ice age/alliances/homelands). This is different from 93/94, which only allows for cards up until the Dark (or in some places, up until Fallen Empires). This allows for a little more variation in decks and gives people a little more alternatives when they build a deck.
A large portion of Ancient players plays old cards. I myself play with original AN djinns, original legends from the legends set and AQ mishra's factories because I like them. You can to, however, you don't have to. A revised kird ape is just fine and does not make much difference to the feel of gameplay.
So that's it. Go build a deck and enjoy the feel of playing a game of MTG like it was in the early days!