About Rules – the Atlantic Ruleset

Fellow Oldschoolers

The New England Oldschool Community recently announced a new rule set which they call „Atlantic“. The new rule set is a „best of both worlds“ and should represent a possible way for players to enrich their play stile. I personally like a lot if the community is discussing on a regular basis the current status quo, the recent metagame, structural or other changes etc. I also like that there are multiple sets of B&R lists within the various communities around the world. Such a multiverse of different ways to play definitively enriches that beautiful format and should not destroy it – (this will really happen if we listen to some comment writers on Facebook and co.)


As an European player and mostly familiar with the Swedish B&R, i would like to highlight the major changes from the Swedish rule set to the Atlantic one. I will highlight my personal views and some personal experience, if i have any in the respective topic. Overall i am very happy with the current rule set (Modern rule set with all advantages and disadvantages, including scry and mulligan etc.). I am not a fan of introducing new rules or rule changes to the modern rule set (like mana burn and the latter), but more to this later. I personally think the Swedish B&R is very balanced and addresses a lot of various issues properly – i like to play Swedish-Style and i enjoy the fun out of it a lot. Please be aware that Swedish B&R has (directly) nothing to do with the available cardpool. In Europe, most of the tournaments are played within the Ravenna-Reprint policy (all cards with old framework and non-foiled are allowed to play).

Enough introduction, let‘s go into the topics:

Strip Mine
Within the EC-rule set, Strip Mine is unrestricted.  This fact does surprise most of the European players, as we simple cannot think about playing 4 Strip Mine. Every time i am playing EC-rules or have a discussion with European players about this fact, we agree very fast that this possibly is not a very good decision. I saw a lot of games which have been decided with the 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th strip mine. And the fact that this effect is simply un-counterable (i know, there are ways but literally nobody plays pyramids or consecrate land my friends), it makes it even worse. Within all other discussions there is always the „but Library of Alexandria…“ argument. We all know that it is kind of annoying to lose against turn one Library. But honestly, count how many times this really happens. And how many times one keeps a greedy, Library including hand just to run into the one Strip mine or Sinkhole or City in a Bottle or Mind Twist for two or or or…  Also the argument of Maze of Ith is not really valid, but more to Maze later in this Blog. So overall i completely agree to restrict Strip Mine and not let it live unrestricted. If there will be anytime discussions about a „light restriction“ (2 allowed instead of one) be my guest to have the discussion about putting the Strip Mine on this List.

Personal opinion: i like this decision from NEOS (New England Oldschool)

Fallen Empires
The Fallen Empires set most of the time is (together with Homelands) treated as the weakest of all expansions. I totally agree to this statement. Also there is one card included, which (in my point of view) does not fit into the Oldschool-Cardpool and just does not feel right – Hymn to Tourach. Overall i have no bad feelings at all about this additional set. It even can support that Merfolk is a real deck (grab your Lords of Atlantis). Also the Order of xyxyx do support WW respectively Black Aggro in some cases. And with Aeolipile, even mono green get‘s a chance to deal some direct damage. The Europoeans are quite happy that Fallen Empires is not part of the legal cardpool, mostly because of this card. Therefore i am really surprised that Hymn is not even on the „watchlist“ for restriction – but City in a Bottle is (according to a Facebook post of Dave Firth Bard).

Personal opinion: It‘s OK for me that FE is not in the EU cardpool. For the Atlantic Format i think an additional variety for Decks is interesting.

Mana Burn
This topic is quite different to address, as it does not concern in anyway the B&R nor the available card pool. I like the idea of „playing by the old rules“ but to be honest i rather would stick with an official rule set as a whole rather than just adding/removing something. Mana burn was/is quite an interesting/hindering conception for some Archetypes (Su-Chi, Mana Flare etc.) resp. wizards created cards just to address this topic (Power Surge). Also an Icy Manipulator turns most Lands into a City of Brass for the opponent. As a consequence, also Mana Drain is getting worse and could be unrestricted in a format with mana burn. But again, i am not a fan of squeezing in rule-parts of older rule set’s into an existing rule set (like the Modern rule set we use in Europe). One has to be aware that in the beginnings of Magic, also the Mulligan-Rule was completely different.

Personal opinion: Most of the time it will affect Su-Chi players and overall i am not a fan of this rule so i would rather play with the original Modern rules than „Modern but …“.

To be honest, there is not much to say about un-restrict recall. In Europe there is a bulletproof view that Recall is not to strong. It is not even an „auto include“ just as the other powerful blue cards (Twister, Walk, Ancestral, Braingeyser). Maybe in a very specific shell – but i would embrace a new strong Deck archetype very much if Recall can help this Deck over the top. A lot of the time one will sit at the table and would wish for another card than Recall in his/her hand because either no valid Graveyard targets, not enough mana to „abuse“ or not the proper cards in hand to discard… Yes there are turns in which you can discard two lands and get Ancestral + Time Walk back – but those moves are very rare.

Personal opinion: absolutely save to un-restrict

This one caught me on the left foot – as a former Vintage-Player i always hated to play against MUD. First turn Workshop did burn its claws so deep in my brain that in the first second thought „they are crazy to do that“. After some seconds of breathing into a plastic bag i gave a serious thought about it. The workshops are really strong in Oldschool – but as a matter of fact mostly they push the first creature respectively the start hand of the player. Sure, a hand with one Su-Chi and one Trike which see the battlefield constantly on turn 1 and 2 are scary but not unbeatable. If one can stabilize this jump-start (Disenchant, Crumble, Swords etc.) each Workshop that is drawn after the first is (mostly) a bad draw for the artifact player. Especially as they do not help to untap the Mana Vault at all. And to be honest to buy 3 Workshops now „just“ for this one Deck seems like a really expensive investment.

Personal opinion: Overall the Shop would also be on the „restrict to two“ favorites, but i assume i can live with four.

Maze of Ith
introduction: in Europe there is proof that 4 Maze are fine. I have to be honest, i rarely see so much comments about a rule change as i saw on Facebook about Maze. It seems that a big part of the community foresee an apocalypse within the format if they are unrestricted. I saw a lot of arguments that the European „proof of safety“ is not valid for the US community because of the card pool (Fallen Empires). Yes it is true that with Fallen Empires Merfolk, WW and Goblins receive a huge push and can be counted as Tier 2.x Decks. But to use this as argument for Maze of Ith – i doubt. In the same perspective one could say to restrict Earthquake, Wrath of God, Fireball ant the latter because those cards disrupt those heavy creature based strategies massively but: dear community – really?  Also it is true that there are some control Decks which play currently 2 (two) Maze‘s main and sometimes one in Sideboard (UWb Skyes or Lauter.dec and Troll Disco). They do not play 4 main because a lot of the time one needs „business“ rather than defense tactics to win. Also there are ways to beat one or even two maze with creature heavy Decks: Armageddon, Ice Storm, Time Elemental, Twiddle, Icy Manipulator (!), Sinkhole etc. Also, the Fallen Empires boosted Decks win most of the time because of Islandwalk or Mountainwalk, So the Maze cannot be used with his full power (to stop an incoming attack completely due the negative combat math).

Personal opinion: It‘s fine to un-restrict and it will not tear apart the format. Yes there is a need to adapt the main- or sideboard of creature heavy decks but isn‘t that the interesting thing about a format with no new added cards?

Usually i can write stuff about cards, here i cannot so well.  I totally dislike the mechanic of Shahrazad and honestly i cannot understand why this card is not banned. Or at least changed into Oldschool-manner like: „play Sharazad, do Chaos Orb flips until one player misses, that player loses half his/her life, round up“. I really also cannot see any Deck which can use Shahrazad as useful addition. But i assume that there is a reason behind this decision (un-restrict resp. not restrict), which i cannot see through. If anyone can enlighten me, feel free to do 🙂

Personal opinion: See text – change the Card to Chaos Orb flips and the loser of the flips loses half his/her life. Maybe you can even add „the players lose 10 Minutes of Game time for this current match“…

Not on the List: Hymn to Tourach
Please restrict or ban this card in the format 😉

Overall i have to say that i like a „best of two worlds“ rule set. I made my points on some of the changes. I would be happy to see your opinion in the comments and feel free to challenge my opinions.

As always: stay Oldschool, enjoy the format with friends and bend the rules at your table as you like them 🙂


Christian aka Lord M from Legion Urborg



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