Today we released yet another in a long line of banned and restricted announcements, dating back virtually to the game's beginnings. The modern banned and restricted list is heavily curated, always watched, and typically very sensible.
The first list might have been, well, a little soft in some of those areas.
The first list was actually published on USENET way back in the day (think of it as a precursor to Internet message boards, forums, or even reddit). You can actually see the full text of it still, right here, preserved for posterity's sake.
Just for fun, let's look at what that first restricted list looked like:
- Ali from Cairo
- Ancestral Recall
- Black Lotus
- Dingus Egg
- Gauntlet of Might
- Icy Manipulator
- Mox Pearl
- Mox Emerald
- Mox Ruby
- Mox Sapphire
- Mox Jet
- Orcish Oriflamme
- Rukh Egg
- Sol Ring
- Time Vault
- Time Walk
By and large it looked similar to the modern-day Vintage restricted list (at least as far as with cards that had actually been printed at the time) except for a few interesting nuggets.
You could probably add Icy Manipulator, Gauntlet of Might, Rukh Egg, and Ali from Cairo to the list of oddities, but power levels varied a little bit back in Magic's early days. Icy Manipulator was actually one of the best cards in the game early on, and Rukh Egg suffered from confusion and unfortunate wording that led people to get 4/4 Rukh tokens simply by discarding it.
Additionally, Magic put out a Banned list at the same time that looked a little something like this:
Ante cards were banned from tournaments from the get-go, and subsequently removed from the game altogether. Shahrazad was banned for being weird and time consuming and really poor for tournament play. I think we're all better off for that particular move.