So I was just talking to a friend today and we were reminiscing about the early days of Tolarian Academy (not pleasant of course for anyone playing at the time), but for some reason early versions of the deck didn't include Mana Crypt, even though it was a 95+% turn 1 kill deck and seemingly would have been improved.
It got me to thinking, so I went through some old decklists from the late 90s and couldn't find any that featured Mana Crypt. The only one I could find was a speed-kill Atog deck (Vise, Atog, Factories, Crypts, Bolts, Psi Blast), but even that only had three crypts.
I'm pretty sure it was legal at the time (when was it printed?), but wasn't restricted until 10/99, 9 months after Academy (1/99).
This card seems like a no-brainer for at least the MirrorU decks of the time, as I am pretty sure the meta at the time of Saga was mostly Zoo-Necro-Mirror-WW, Burn.
Anyone have insight as to why Crypt was such a slow burn?
My only guess is that mono-red kept it in check for that long. Back then, the first deck you tested against was 4-turn mono red. You had to have a sligh plan.