Old School Brawl — a 93/94 Commander variant

lady evangelaOld School Brawl is a 93/94 Magic sub-format that closely follows the official Brawl (“Standard Commander”) format promoted by Wizards of the Coast.

Old School Brawl generally follows the rules for Brawl outlined by Wizards, EXCEPT players start with 20 life in a two-player game. The two-player (1v1) variant is the focus of this page and is the default/baseline way to play Brawl.

Format Rules

60 card deck, including 1 legendary “commander” and 59 other cards

Singleton deck construction, i.e. one copy of any card, except basic lands

The first mulligan is to seven cards, then each mulligan afterward results in one fewer card (six, five, four etc.)

All commanders start in their command zone

Commanders can be cast for their mana cost, plus 2 mana more for each time they’ve been put back in the command zone

Every card in your Brawl deck must only use mana symbols that also appear on your commander. (Colorless cards are allowed in any deck.)

As with Swedish 93/94, Brawl follows the rules of modern Magic, along with the standard Old School errata for Chaos Orb. There is no mana burn, by default, but of course you can mutually opt to play with mana burn if your opponent agrees.

Old School Brawl is played without sideboards. Ring of Ma’rûf is legal, but you may only use it to get a card that is legal under the rules on this page, and that you do not already have a copy of in your deck.

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Card Legality

Old School Brawl is played with the baseline 93/94 card pool (Limited Edition, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark). Fallen Empires cards are also permitted in Old School Brawl, but of course can be mutually disallowed if your opponent agrees.

Old School Brawl is played with a short baseline Banned List from the 93/94 card pool, consisting of all of the ante cards, along with City in a BottleKarakas, and Library of Alexandria. In addition to the baseline Banned List, Old School Brawl has a recommended Banned List consisting of Ancestral Recall, Braingeyser, and Mind Twist. A brief explanation of this 6-card Banned List can be found further down the page.

Following the recommendation of the Beasts of the Bay rules for Old School EDH, the following cards have been errata’d to be legendary creatures and therefore may be used as commanders in mono-color decks:

king suleiman{W} Abu Ja’far, King Suleiman

{U} Sindbad

{B} El-Hajjâj, Uncle Istvan

{R} Ali Baba, Ali from Cairo, Aladdin

{G} Niall Silvain

Old School Brawl follows the typical Eternal Central reprint legality for Old School, that is, all original-art, old-border, non-foil printings of cards are acceptable. This includes but is not limited to Revised, 4th Edition/Chronicles, CE/IE, Artist Proofs, World Championship (gold border) printings, and Timeshifted. Revised Serendib Efreet and Plateau are also legal. Promo cards from 1994 (Arena, Sewers of Estark) are legal.

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A bit more about the Banned List

The baseline Banned List consists of the following cards:

Karakas — banned as in normal EDH/Commander for obvious reasons, it effectively locks the opponent out of casting their commander.

City in a Bottle — banned for the same reason as Karakas: with the Arabian Nights named cards acting as mono-color commanders, Bottle would lock your opponent out of casting their commander. Also, in normal 93/94 Bottle acts as a “fun police” making it less viable to play fringe Arabian Nights cards, and one of the aims of Brawl is to play more fringe cards.

Library of Alexandria —  if allowed, this would be an easy auto-include in every Brawl deck, resulting in non-competitive games that take a long time to finish, and encouraging the inclusion of 2-4 “mandatory” land destruction effects in every deck to combat it.

The recommended Banned List adds the following three cards to the list above:

Ancestral Recall, Mind Twist, and Braingeyser — these three cards are very powerful card advantage creators that ask essentially nothing of their caster, again creating automatic asymmetry for players lucky enough to draw them.

Playgroups desiring more consistent game pacing and more available slots for fringe cards are encouraged to use the full six-card Banned List.