Community Spotlight: Oldschool in Québec City

With both the Eternal Central Championship and the Fishliver Oil Cup coming up in the next couple of weeks, it can be unusually tempting for an observer to view 93/94 as a large, organized format with a coherent followership. We do have 100+ player tournaments these days after all. But I still don't believe that is really the case. In the end, 93/94 is all about the grass roots; the local pubs, the local rules and tech, and the local high fives. This is what makes the format what it is. The major tournaments just gather many of these different locals to battle on a common turf. Think 1912 Olympics more than a contemporary Grand Prix.

I've been wanting to share some "community spotlights" here for quite some time. What's it like in Yekatrineburg, Manilla, Los Angeles or Québec City? Damn if I know.

Some guys do know their stuff however. In particular Christian Arcand, a weathered spellslinger from Canada. Christian quickly picked up the gauntlet when it was suggested that he shared some stories from his local crew, and gracefully went writing. This is his story of 93/94 in Québec City. Enjoy! /Mg out

The Challenger's Guide to Old Schooling

Challenges come in all forms. Some are stupider than others. I recall playing Bottle Caps drinking a whole 26oz bottle of straight up 40% alc. Bacardi rum against people drinking 4% alc. beer. Unfortunately I recall pretty much every details of the ensuing night. Boy was I stupid back then.

This one challenge was served to me by Mg when I commented one of his publication. I could have bailed out, who would know if I did? I'm just another random guy and nobody knows me 'round here anyway.

But I decided to grab the bull by the horns.

The Battlefield at the End of the Multiverse

I didn't choose to play Magic, the Gathering. Magic chose me.

Back in October (or was it November? Memory has a funny way of altering facts over time) of 1995, I was sitting in a friend's basement with another friend who took out of his backpack a deck of that new card game he discovered a couple days earlier. Then he took out a second one and proceeded to teach us the basic of that game we ever came to know by the name of "Magic". That afternoon I gave in to this world that forever changed mine.

I don't recall much from that afternoon but for one thing, Uncle Istvan. That guy could handle any other creature without even so much as a blink. He must've been the most powerful creature in Magic, right?
I remember my first starter deck. It was from 4th Edition and I spent all the pocket money I had in order to buy it. I found a Force of Nature and a Gaea's Liege inside that wonderful little box. I traded them away to get an Ice Age Kjeldoran Frostbeast because gold cards were so much better to 15 year old me.
My deck building skills were at best abysmal back then and I carried my whole collection in a 500 ct box pretty much everywhere I went. We spent lunch breaks tapping cardboards at the cafeteria. We had the time of our lives and no responsibilities holding us from playing whenever we wanted.

Fast forward 17 years.
"Choose a life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers..."
Irvine Welsh's words forebode of my adult life to come. I got to let go of Magic for some time but eventually got drawn back into it... more than once.

I now live in a different city, I was lucky enough to meet people with whom I share a common interest. That of a game drawing us together every other week for some relief from our other duties, sharing memories of the past and having a good time in general.

Let me introduce you all to the group I play with.

Québec, the Multiverse and Everything

Where are we?

The 1607 settlement founded by Samuel De Champlain, Québec City. From up North a.k.a. Canada. Eh
Modern days Québec City (credits:

Who are we?

A band apart. Our group comes from the merging of several other groups.
  • There are the singleton players. They evolved from playing "one of" to playing "four of". They also have their own rules for Magic, the Drinking Game. Don't try it unless you know what you're doing kid!
  • There are the '95 players. They started playing Revised to Alliance and evolved to playing '93-'94.
  • There are the '96 players. Once upon a time a couple guys started playing their own format where they played Revised to Mirage with rares and a couple outstanding uncommon cards being restricted and having a limitation of 6 restricted cards in a deck. White border was king amongst these men but black border was highly sought after. They (we!) moved on to playing '93-'94.
  • Then there are the others. A ragtag of people coming back from vintage-legacy-edh.

Where do we play?

Any basement will do. But we prefer the warmth of a hardwood kitchen table. Preferably with some fuel, ethanol in any of its form (craft beer and whisky being the most commons).

We gather for 2 official events
  • A spring tournament held at La Chope Gobline (the Goblin Beer Mug, a medieval themed restaurant) where we duel for a Goblin King
  • A summer tournament held at Le Corail (the Coral, a biker bar) where we duel for a Lord of Atlantis
Both places are aptly named and can be linked to a lord available in the format. We plan on holding a fall tournament where the winner would get a Zombie Master at some point but still need to find a Hallowe'en themed place (edit: a suitable place has been found. The event will take place on November 4th at the Meldown an eSport bar).
There are also discussions for holding a two-headed giant tournament with a shared card pool for building decks. Members of the winning team would get a Two-Headed Giant of Foryis each.

When did we start?

An interesting question that is not mine to answer. I got involved 2 years ago from the '96 players and help found the '93-'94 community. But the Old School roots go back to before my time.

Our weapons of choice?

Cardboard of course! We abide by the swedish B&R but allow Revised, FBB and FWB. CE/IE are welcome at night but haven't got an official stance for tournament play yet.

Mana burn is in effect.

Who are our champions?

  • Simon, Goblin King and Lord of Atlantis holder. From the chosen many, he found his way to the crown twice.
  • Sébastien, Goblin King holder. Living away from Québec City he is. But that does not stop him from being one of our most active guy around. He drives-in to jam a couple of games whenever he can notwithstanding the distance. He is also our resident signed cards afficionado. He would rather play a signed Purelace in UR Counterburn than an unsigned Volcanic Island.
  • Guillaume, Lord of Atlantis holder. He stitched the various sub-groups together into the quilt that is our community. His musing can be found on his Old School blog (Argivian Restoration).

Name a card that can be found in our meta that stands out

Spitting Slug. What can be said about it? It survives Lightning Bolt and the weenie favorite critters. I heard it's been gaining some momemtum outside of our group recently.

Power Surge (okay that makes it 2 cards). It combos pretty well with Candelabra of Tawnos.

Who am I anyway?

I like janky decks that underperform but everyonce in a while I come up with a build that works well. I was really happy with my 2-1-1 score at the Toronto GP Old School side event last month. I was even happier when one of my opponent spontaneously granted me with an "You didn't get that deck off from the net" at the end of our match (he was on Weissman and I gave him a run for his money that ended in my favor 2-0 with my Esper robot).

So Long, and Thanks for All the Cards,


  1. Great to hear about the Canada Community!

  2. This looks like a really great community. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi. I'm from Montreal and looking into playing in a QC tourney of old school. I also play the Swedish B/R. Is there a mailing list or FB group?


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