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Time: 22.02., 13:05 o'clock
Board: Reports
Subject: Re: TNM Highlander Tournament Karlsruhe

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User: tonytahiti
Time: 21.02., 10:13 o'clock
Board: Announcements
Subject: Metagame Masters 8, March 4th 2017, Berlin

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User: Vazdru
Time: 19.02., 22:04 o'clock
Board: Ladder Tournaments
Subject: Re: Ladder Tournament 2016 - Reports

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User: firestarter
Time: 19.02., 21:25 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL] Scoreboard / Schedule- Season XXIX

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User: Vazdru
Time: 19.02., 12:58 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL] Scoreboard / Schedule- Season XXIX

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User: TaZi
Time: 18.02., 09:55 o'clock
Board: Ladder Tournaments
Subject: Re: Ladder Tournament 2016 - Reports

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User: derStefan82
Time: 17.02., 20:10 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL] Scoreboard / Schedule- Season XXIX

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User: Payron
Time: 16.02., 14:13 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL] Scoreboard / Schedule- Season XXIX

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User: Vazdru
Time: 14.02., 20:33 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL]Meeting Point

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User: Dr. Opossum
Time: 13.02., 23:25 o'clock
Board: Web project
Subject: Re: Our new website - creating a comprehensive change-/wishlist

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User: hitman
Time: 13.02., 22:04 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: [HLL] Scoreboard / Schedule- Season XXIX

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User: Vazdru
Time: 13.02., 21:06 o'clock
Board: Web project
Subject: Re: Our new website - creating a comprehensive change-/wishlist

Useravatar of Payron

User: Payron
Time: 13.02., 18:02 o'clock
Board: Web project
Subject: Re: Our new website - creating a comprehensive change-/wishlist

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Time: 12.02., 23:13 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL]Registration - Season XXIX / Win a Dual - Vol. VIII

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User: derStefan82
Time: 12.02., 22:50 o'clock
Board: [HLL] Online Highlander League & Ladder Tournament
Subject: Re: [HLL]Registration - Season XXIX / Win a Dual - Vol. VIII


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<empty>News-Übersicht

01.10.2011, 00:28 Uhr, von <empty>

<empty> Banned List Changes Season I - 2017

07.02.2017, 00:00 Uhr, von <empty>
Valid during January 1st, 2017 0:00 CET until March 31st, 2017 24:00 CET.

Cards on the following list will be closely observed and are potential candidates for a banning on April 15th, 2017.

Demonic Tutor
Dig Through Time
Fastbond
Mana Drain
Mystical Tutor
Oath of Druids
Tainted Pact
Tolarian Academy
Treasure Cruise
Yawgmoth's Will

Cards from the following list are still banned but will be under testing for a potential unbanning on April 15th, 2017.

Entomb
Grindstone
Imperial Seal
Stoneforge Mystic
Vampiric Tutor

Changes:

Entomb
Gifts Ungiven
Grindstone
Imperial Seal
Vampiric Tutor

Reasonings:

The tutor setting in highlander has always been a controversial object. How many tutors are necessary for a healthy meta? And which one? There were epic debates over the different tutors in the long history of our format. Many people consider Demonic Tutor as best tutor overall and always wonder why Demonic Tutur is unbanned while other has been banned. Our banning policy is founded on following principles five reasons. Imperial Seal was also kept banned by an unofficially reasoning #6 - the price barrier. Since the recent judge foil reprint this has been partly fallen away. At least we decided to have an "overall-picture" view on our tutor setting again and to discuss the current one on the whole. That's why we also added Vampiric Tutor to the watch-list. It is argued that the format should have that one good tutor, which has been Demonic Tutor from the beginning, maybe there is time for a reallocation. It is also said that splashing for Demonic is too easy with no real cost, while Vampiric could perhaps remove that reason. Vampiric is more often harder to interact than Demonic, but a successful counter play to nullify Vampiric Tutor costs to its caster a draw and 2 life, which favors opposing control, and aggro strategies.

Both Imperial Seal and Vampiric Tutor seem comparable in power-level to Demonic or Mystical Tutor, but they shine more in combo-decks and decks with clear gameplan but less in midrange-goodstuff-piles. At the cost of 2 life, sorcery rather instant speed, card disadvantage, and the fact that present meta is lacking a combo presence with shift to burn, we should take both under a scrutiny.

Indeed Entomb has a different effect on the game play and it is still comparable to the other new introduced tutors on the watchlist. But Entomb is even more a combo-tutor than the others and usually no option for most Aggro-, Midrange- or Control-decks. Entomb is obviously THE tutor for graveyard-based decks, especially of course for reanimator. We will evaluate how strong those decks perform which could have any use of Entomb in the next months.

Hermit-Druid-Combo, Helm-Combo, Buried-Alive-Combo, Splinter-Twin-Combo seem to be accepted by a big part of the highlander-community as elements of the meta. Grindstone + Painter's Servant combo seems at least comparable to the mentioned combos in terms of speed and power-level. We will rediscuss if Painter's Stone at six mana is still too strong for highlander.

The Council has decided to temporary take Gifts Ungiven away from the Watch list. Many compare it to Intuition. That is not correct. Intuition classically searches for a specific card and 2 Witness effects (alternative 3 cards with the same or a very similar effect). Gifts allows us one more specific card with the same Witness count, because independent of what combination the opponent gives to us, the direct access to 2 wish-cards are enabled. With increasing importance of the graveyard, Gifts becomes rapidly a 4-card-tutor. It is not only able to find the missing combo piece, but the whole combo. Additionally, it is easily splashable.
Still, we are aware of the higher mana requirements of this card, so that Gifts is not a “Fast-Tutor”. Parallel to our evaluation of the tutor cards (in the format and on the Watch List) we want to distract ourselves from this card, which could lead alone to an overload by Combo or Control in the current format for now.


Other Changes:

New Council Member

Since Tabris has left the council in May we have been looking for an appropriate candidate to close this gap somehow. Payron has been on our watchlist of potential council members for quite a while already. As he joined our forum in February 2008 he is a member of the first days and proofed his dedication for our format since that time constantly. He has an excellent reputation as well-accepted and -connected community member of Erfurt, one of biggest and most active communities in Germany besides e. g. Berlin, Mannheim, Frankfurt and Würzburg. He delivers content for our format which is quite rare. Recently he launhced a Youtube Channel to present highlander for a bigger community and raise the degree of popularity of our format. We welcome Payron as new council member as of Jan. 1st 2017

The current council members are:

ChristophO - Christoph, Germany, Hamburg, * 1983
Dalibor - Dalibor, Slovakia, Senec, * 1979
Dr. Opossum - Stephanie, Germany, Berlin, * 1987
Maqi - Thomas, Germany, Mannheim, * 1982
Nastaboi - Juha, Finland, Espoo, * 1982
Payron - Jan, Germany, Erfurt, * 1988
pyyhttu - Tuomas, Finland, Helsinki, * 1982
Vazdru - Gerry, Germany, Karlsruhe, * 1975

<empty> Banned List Changes Season IV - 2016

06.02.2017, 00:00 Uhr, von <empty>

Valid during October 15th, 2016 0:00 CET until April 14th, 2017 24:00 CET.

Changes to the present list, effective 10/15/2016:


Banned
none

Unbanned
none

Ban watchlist
Demonic Tutor
Fastbond
Mana Drain
Mystical Tutor
Oath of Druids
Tainted Pact
Tolarian Academy
Yawgmoth's Will
Dig Through Time *new*
Treasure Cruise *new*

Unban watchlist
Stoneforge Mystic
Gifts Ungiven

Explanations:

No bans, no unbans

First of all, while all of the cards currently on watch are worth debating about, we believe that the Highlander metagame and the Highlander gameplay are both in a very good spot right now. Community feedback mostly echoes this sentiment.

Also, some big tournaments lie ahead of us and we want to wait until after the dust has settled and we have new data so we can make more profound and correct choices when it comes to banning or unbanning something.


Off the ban-watchlist

Timetwister - We observed Timetwister as kind of a placeholder for all Draw-7 effects. Those have the potential to be broken when paired with fast mana.

It seems though, the amount of fast mana available in Highlander is too small to really make the Draw-7's oppressive.

Currently, Storm seems to have fallen off the radar and Artifact Combo or Eggs remain as the sole archetypes sporting Draw-7's. Those decks are able to win tournaments but are lacking in the consistency department.

We are fine with a certain amount of brokenness in the metagame. As already stated, we believe we are in a good spot right now metagame-wise. Combo is viable and even good but not dominant. Because of this, Timetwister leaves the watchlist.

Mishra's Workshop - The ol' shop is inherently broken. No doubt about it. There is more to it though. To really leverage the Shop's power, you have to run a large number of artifacts in your deck. The Shop makes you go "all-in" so to speak.

The problem then becomes, when you don't have Mishra's Workshop. What do you do with all these Trinispheres, Coalition Relics and Lodestone Golems in your hand? Those cards are amazing when powered out by the Workshop but lackluster when cast on curve and even when cast after mild acceleration like a Talisman or Signet. Unlike in Vintage, where the "shop-density" is rather high (4/60), we have to make do with 1/100. This poses great challenges to deckbuilding, where you want to make your deck good with and without Mishra's Workshop.

Overall, we think Mishra's Workshop enriches the format by being a very good but not mandatory incentive to play artifact-centric decks. We know this is a judgment call and one could certainly argue otherwise but we feel the provided deck-building incentive outweighs the potentially dangerous brokenness of the card.

 
On the ban-watchlist

Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time

If you'd have to pick the single color which has got the most powerful cards it would certainly be Blue. As the stale saying goes: The best land in Magic is Island. Nothing new under the sun.

Consequently, we have to make sure to keep Blue contained. Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time certainly rank as two of the best blue cards at the moment. Their ability to run away with the game should be known by now. Most decks built to abuse the Delve mechanic will cast those cards for U and UU pretty consistently. The deck-building cost isn't even very high, because you just
play cantrips, fetches and cheap spells which is a thing most decks want to do anyway.

Having these two cards on watch can't certainly be a wrong thing.


<empty> Banned List Changes Season III - 2016

06.02.2017, 00:00 Uhr, von <empty>

Valid during July 1st, 2016 0:00 CET until October 14th, 2016 24:00 CET.


Cards on the following list will be closely observed and are potential candidates for a banning on October 15th, 2016.

Demonic Tutor
Fastbond
Mana Drain
Mishra's Workshop
Mystical Tutor
Oath of Druids
Tainted Pact
Timetwister
Tolarian Academy
Yawgmoth's Will


Cards from the following list are still banned but will be under testing for a potential unbanning on October 15th, 2016.

Gifts Ungiven
Stoneforge Mystic


Changes:

Dig Through Time
Natural Order
Sensei's Divining Top
Timetwister


Single card explanations:

Natural Order comes off the list and will stay banned at least for the immediate future. The card has been subject to much discussion during the past two years, so we will not repeat the reasons for its ban. We will say though, the vast majority of the community and the council seem content with it being gone. Games are just much more enjoyable without the randomly powerful swings this card creates.

Just recently banned and now gone for a while is Sensei’s Divining Top. We have reasons to believe – and community opinion is backing us up here – that overall gameplay is improved or at least not harmed at all by the absence of the Top. Nevertheless, we will further monitor the performance of Control decks. Should they decline, a renewed discussion of SDT would likely become appropriate.

Power-level wise, Dig Through Time ranges just a little beneath other blue cards currently on the list (we're looking at you, Mana Drain and Mystical Tutor!). Because of that, DTT falls off the list.

We introduce Timetwister to the banning watchlist. There are hints of Combo potentially being too strong (although the verdict if this true is still up in the air). We certainly would like to have a little control over some of the lower tier key cards those combo decks use, in order to retain the option of not having to completely axe Combo (for example by banning Tolarian Academy) but being able to modulate its power-level by cutting a good but not crucial card from the strategy.


<empty> Banned List Changes Season II - 2016

01.04.2016, 00:00 Uhr, von <empty>
Valid during April 1st, 2016 0:00 CET until Juli 14th, 2016 24:00 CET.
Changes to the present list, effective April 15th 2016

Banned:

* Natural Order
* Sensei's Divining Top

Unbanned:

* none

Ban watchlist:

* Fastbond
* Mystical Tutor
* Oath of Druids
* Mana Drain
* Demonic Tutor
* Dig Through Time
* Tolarian Academy
* Yawgmoth's Will
* Mishra's Workshop
* Tainted Pact

Unban watchlist:

* Stoneforge Mystic
* Gifts Ungiven
* Sensei's Divining Top
* Natural Order


Single cards explanations:

Ban:

Natural Order
Unfortunately, Natural Order did not have the positive effect on the format we hoped for. Since its unban, especially lists, which are very present anyway, profited from this card, which in turn lead to the always same game procedures, mainly focusing on Craterhoof Behemoth and Primeval Titan. Also the card's downsides (rather high cmc, the need of sacrificing a green creature, sorcery speed) aren't enough compared to the unmissable influence it has on the game. Therefore we decided to take the card out of the format, despite its short phase of legality.

Sensei's Divining Top
A powerful tool for many decks, which continually smooths draws to a degree like no other card can, while also being almost indestructible.
However, the problematic part of playing this card is the time issue, which it often creates when used repeatedly over a long game. By banning this card, we would like to come to less stressful tournaments and lower the amount of unfinished games, which in turn should create a happier environment for everyone.

Ban-Watchlist:

Fastbond
Fastbond has found a niche in Storm, artifact-based decks and some Oath builds, where its performance is quite powerful. We will have a closer look at the tournament results during the next months in order to exactly value its impact on the meta. If Fastbond continues to be the key for combo decks and pushes those decks above the top, we will put it back to the Banned list in October. However, until now their popularity and tournament performance were within reasonable limits.

Mystical Tutor
Mystical Tutor stays on the watchlist for the reasons already given. Besides the obvious mana efficiency (1-Drop + End of turn option and therefore no loss of mana in player's own turn) and timing (Instant), Mystical Tutor is able to find direct answers (in form of removal, discard, counter) or indirect answers (other tutors). In contrast to his 'siblings' Enlightened Tutor and Worldly Tutor, Mystical Tutor is much more powerful. Like many other tutors too, Mystical Tutor gains more and more options with each new set (e.g. Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise). Furthermore it enables Miracles like no other card. The potential of this card is undeniable and therefore should be observed.

Oath of Druids
One of the most powerful cards in the format. There are some decks created around this card, but it also demands a very specialized deckbuild. It gives the opponent at least one turn to react to it, which is the main reason to keep this card in our format. Due to its interaction with powerful creatures which could be printed in every new edition and its low casting cost, it has to stay on the watchlist so we can be prepared for new situations.

Mana Drain
This card is uncontested the strongest representative of its kind. Even if it needs more elements to exploit its full potential, it is in the worst case still a Counterspell, i.e. a 2-drop, which cancels the opponent's spell and has no disadvantages.
However, in fact Mana Drain repeatedly and randomly leads to absurd situations, by not only throwing the opponent one turn behind, but by also giving his caster an almost insurmountable advantage through a potent follow-up (especially early in the game). Therefore Mana Drain is often felt as frustrating by many members of the community. Hence the Council has decided to take a closer look at this card.

Demonic Tutor
No other card polarizes as much as Demonic Tutor. Supporters describe it as format defining and as the best answer card available while detractors claim it as the potentially strongest card in the format because it increases the count of each yet so powerful card to two. Demonic Tutor is not only the Swiss army knife against uncomfortable board situations, but also helps to enable those. In fact our statistical analysis has shown that each deck, which plays black, also plays Demonic Tutor. Many decks splash the colour only for this card. Its presence is unusually high for a non-land card. Therefore we will discuss whether Demonic Tutor is a problem.

Dig Through Time
With Khans of Tarkir, WotC released several new and powerful Delve cards, which influence our format decisively. In other formats, DTT (and its sibling Treasure Cruise) are already banned. We therefore decided to give this card special attention.

Tolarian Academy
With the addition of Tolarian Academy some Combo decks like Eggs and Artifact Combo were able to arise. Even if the performance and appearance of those decks is still reasonable, we are well aware of the potential of this card. Artifact-based lists can generate significant board advantages very fast, from which it is difficult to catch up. To what extend Tolarian Academy really influences the format will be observed by us during the next months.

Yawgmoth's Will
Yawgmoth’s Will is a card with outstanding potential, that theoretically benefits not only but mostly Combo lists. Until now, especially TPS and Artifact Combo profit from this card and abuse its possibilities to its fullest. We would like to give more attention to Yawgmoth's Will and will observe its development.

Mishra's Workshop
A "one of a kind" card, which in the early turns gives artifact specialized decks a pretty overwhelming advantage. Mainly in the combination with cards like Trinisphere or potent mana rocks like Coalition Relic, it sometimes works like a 1st/2nd turn win condition and suppresses interaction. We decided to monitor this card very closely in order to keep the environment healthy for players.

Tainted Pact
Tainted Pact - like Demonic Tutor - has the potential to find every card you need and at the same time can be cast as an Instant. Yes, you exile everything until you found what you are looking for and you have to have a "true" Highlander deck - which is a reasonable downside to the card at first glance. But in nearly every case you are looking for a certain genre of cards to tutor for, instead of a specific single card, or you are just looking for the missing winning piece. This again keeps the downside of Tainted Pact modest and can even make it irrelevant altogether. Like Demonic Tutor and Mystical Tutor, this card will be observed more in the future.

Unban-Watchlist:

Stoneforge Mystic
Even if we, similar to Natural Order, have to be afraid that Stoneforge Mystic will strengthen present and popular decks in particular, the wish of the community for this card is a reason for us to think about it more concretely. Therefore, this card also gets a place on the watchlist for cards to be unbanned.

Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven has been banned exactly four years ago. Although the main-reasons (splashability, combo-potential, one of the best tutors in HL overall) haven't changed, we decided to rediscuss this card because metagame and gameplay has changed alot within the years. Furthermore, one main-characteristic of a banned card nowadays is its cheap casting cost. In fact we have only three cards left with cmc4 or higher: Natural Order, Birthing Pod (Phyrexian mana!) and Gifts Ungiven. It is time to have a closer look at this card again.

Sensei's Divining Top
Sensei’s Divining Top had, independent of the arguments for its ban, indeed positive influences. It enabled some combos and also gave library manipulation to non-blue decks. We like to observe in what kind of way the format profits from the banning of this card and possibly intensify the discussion again at a later point in time.

Natural Order
This card was one of the most powerful cards in the format. Unlike other powerful cards, it doesn't require many deckbuilding changes to most of the decks playing it. We will keep this card on the watchlist for at least one more season to give the community chance to respond to the ban in either positive or negative way.

<empty> Banned List Changes Season I - 2016

01.01.2016, 00:00 Uhr, von <empty>
Valid during January 1st, 2016 0:00 CET until April 14th, 2016 24:00 CET.
Changes to the present list, effective January 15th 2016

Banned:

* none

Unbanned:

* none

Ban watchlist:

* Fastbond
* Mystical Tutor
* Oath of Druids
* Natural Order
* Mana Drain
* Sensei's Divining Top
* Demonic Tutor
* Dig Through Time

Unban watchlist:

* none


Single cards explanations:

Fastbond
Fastbond is found as a niche in Storm-decks and some Oath-builds where its performance is quite powerful. We will have a closer look at the tournament results during the next three month to value its impact to the meta and its function. If Fastbond is the key for combo decks to push those decks above the top, we will put it back to banned list in April.

Mystical Tutor
Mystical Tutor stays on the watchlist for the reason already given. Besides the obvious mana efficiency (1-Drop + End of turn option and therefore no loss of mana in player's own turn) and timing (instant), Mystical Tutor is able to find direct answers (in form of removal, discard, counter) or indirect answers (other tutors), in contrast to his 'siblings' Enlightened and Worldly Tutor. Like many other tutors too, Mystical Tutor gains more and more options with each new set (e.g. Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Kolaghan's Command). Furthermore it enables Miracle-spells quite cheaply. The potential of this card is undeniable and therefore should be observed.

Oath of Druids
Oath of Druids has been mostly introduced to the watch list because of its enormous potential, especially in decks like Eggs, TPS and many other Oath Control lists.
Particularly its performance in the last big tournaments was remarkable. This card earns special attention and therefore stays on the watch list.

Natural Order
Natural Order stays under close observation. Although Natural Order doesn't appear in many winning lists of larger events recently (e.g. MGM, Slovakian Cup) its impact is noticeable. We will analyze its performance and occurence mainly based on the reported results at mtgpulse.

Mana Drain
This card is uncontested the strongest representative of its kind. Even if this card needs more elements to exploit its full potential, it is in the worst case still a Counterspell, i.e. a 2-drop that prevent the opponents spell and has no disadvantages.
However in fact Mana Drain repeatedly leads to absurd situations, that not only threw the opponent one turn behind, but give his caster a clearly advantageous position. Therefore Mana Drain is often felt as frustrating by many members of the community. Hence the Council has decided to take a closer look on this card.

Sensei's Divining Top
Sensei's Diving Top is still a controversial matter which is discussed in many formats and forums.
https://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/3mqt9n/duel_commander_banlist_update_senseis_divining/
https://www.reddit.com/r/TinyLeaders/comments/2vu60e/banning_senseis_divining_top/
initial reasons for the ban in modern: http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ld/144
The reasons for its ban or unban are well-known. We decided to discuss this card with the community once again.

Demonic Tutor
No other card polarizes as much as Demonic Tutor. Supporters describe it as format defining and detractors as potentially strongest card in the format, because it increases the count of each yet so powerful card to two. In fact our statistical analysis have shown that each deck, which plays black, also plays Demonic Tutor. Many decks splash the color only for this card. Its presence is unusually high for a non-land card. Therefore we will discuss in the next months, whether Demonic Tutor is a problem.

Dig Through Time
With Khans of Tarkir, WotC released several Delve cards, which influence our format decisively. The "cost reduction" by the Delve ability let especially these cards appear problematic, which generate a substantial information advantage. The most information is gained by Dig Through Time. In other formats this card is already classified as alarming and even if we are also aware that the power level of DTT is much lower in Highlander than in a 60 card format, which allows every card 4 times, we have decided to give special attention to this card.


Other announcements:

Council
Whereas only Germany and Finland had larger communities in the early days of our format the Slovakian has become a quite important one in the last few years. So we have been looking for a representative in the council for quite a while now. After a closer look and the feedback from the Slovakian community we are pretty sure we've found the right candidate with Dalibor. He is a quite active member in the local community and has proven his dedication to our format already for a long time. He even travels hundreds of miles to visit the larger Highlander tournaments in Germany whenever he has the chance to and motivates other to do the same. Furthermore he has proven this insight in Highlander and other formats like Legacy already in many tournaments. We welcome Dalibor as new council member.

ChristophO - Christoph, Germany, Hamburg, * 1983
Dalibor - Dalibor, Slovakia, Senec, * 1979
Dr. Opossum - Stephanie, Germany, Berlin, * 1987
Maqi - Thomas, Germany, Mannheim, * 1982
Nastaboi - Juha, Finland, Espoo, * 1982
pyyhttu - Tuomas, Finland, Helsinki, * 1983
Tabris - Jonny, Germany, Berlin, * 1984
Vazdru - Gerry, Germany, Karlsruhe, * 1975

Reminder: Legality of World Champion- and IE-/CE-cards
If World Champion- or IE-/CE-cards, also known as gold-bordered cards, are allowed or disallowed for a given tournament, should be clearly communicated by the tournament organizer within the respective tournament announcement. If the tournament organizer doesn't explicitly allow these cards for a tournament, players should assume the event to be sanctioned and only integrate DCI-legal cards in their deck. In order to avoid misunderstandings, please approach your local T.O. beforehand and try to make sure that your community is well-informed on how this matter is usually handled.

<empty> Banned List Changes Season IV - 2015

01.10.2015, 20:00 Uhr, von <empty>
Valid during October 15th, 2015 0:00 CET until April 14th, 2016 24:00 CET.
Changes to the present list, effective October 15th 2015

Banned:

* none

Unbanned:

* Natural Order

Ban watchlist:

* Tolarian Academy
* Fastbond
* Oath of Druids
* Mystical Tutor
* Sensei's Divining Top
* Natural Order

Unban watchlist:

* Stoneforge Mystic
* Entomb


Other changes:

Mulligan:
Scry-1 Mulligan (described here: http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=1115.0) will be part of the official HL Mulligan rules (http://highlandermagic.info/index.php?id=mulligan).

Gold-Bordered Cards:
Back in October 2014, Wizards announced changes to Friday Night Magic events, according to which any format could be sanctioned. This was also covered in our forums. Sanctioning an event would require the Magic cards being used to be from tournament legal editions; more specifically, the cards with square edges or with gold-bordered backside/front would not be permitted as they would be considered proxies, which are not in line with the requirements of sanctioned tournaments.

We want to make the Highlander format broadly available so that it can be sanctioned by tournament organizers if they so choose. Currently cards from these editions are permitted in Highlander:

International Edition
Collector's Edition
Championship decks

Beginning with the next banning season (October 15th, 2015), we put the decision whether to allow or disallow IE-/CE-/Championship-cards solely in the hands of the respective tournament organizers.

In case the cards are not getting allowed by the tournament organizer, the tournament may be sanctioned as a casual-rated event through the WER (Wizard's Event Reporter).

Why do we do this?

As a general rule, it is not permitted to sanction a rated tournament and at the same time allow proxy cards. (Magic: The Gathering tournaments sanctioned by the DCI allow the use of proxy cards only to replace cards damaged during play, e.g. water is spilled on a deck mid-tournament, causing some cards to be marked. That is the only exception.)
"Gold" cards are considered proxies and this creates a complicated barrier for Highlander tournaments to be arranged as part of bigger, official tournaments, like as a side event at PTs or GPs. In the long run, we want to promote Highlander on a larger scale and we will therefore need to deal with potential impediments which will prevent Highlander from being accepted in broader non-casual environments.

Also, we have been observing the trend of tournament organizers having themselves banned IE-/CE-/Championship-cards from their tournaments for varying reasons. We don't want to hamper the work of TO's, who through their dedication and effort promote Highlander as a competitive format. Instead, we want to empower TO's to being able to make the decisions which best suit their needs.

What this will mean?

We want to emphasize again, that we are not discouraging the use of IE-/CE-/Championship-cards at all. Ultimately, since tournament organizers are the ones who make Highlander happen, we want to let them be able to choose the approach they prefer.


Single cards explanations:

Natural Order
Natural Order was banned exactly two years ago (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=959.0). The ban was partly justified with a meta full of green-based Goodstuff, Naya and 4c Blood decks, which almost all included the "Natural Order+Primeval Titan"-package. The meta has changed in the last two years and so Natural Order appeared on the unban watch list from time to time (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=1045.0).
Based on the results reported to MTGPulse in the last year (since Khans of Takir has been released) the metagame shifted towards blue-based control and -midrange decks. In fact beside 4c Blood there are following top entries on MTGPulse since KTK-Release:

RDW 14
Azorius Control 14
Izzet Control 13
Jeskai Midrange 11

Actually there are not that many T1 decks, which are able to get any profit of the unban. Maybe 4c Blood could make use of it, but we guess it won't be an autoinclude like in older days. As the meta changed, so 4c Blood did. Nowadays the Blood decks usually have a lower mana curve. Most of these play spells only up to CC 4, adding (if at all) just a few CC5-drops (mostly Thundermaw Hellkite). To get any advantage of Natural Order they have to add a fitting valuable high mana cost creature (e.g. Primeval Titan, Thragtusk).

In contrast we believe the unban can push decktypes, which are actually underrepresented, like Pattern Rector (3 entries in the last year), Ramp (3 entries) and Elves (0 entries). Maybe some other hidden champions will appear, which can mix things up again a bit. Nevertheless we are aware of the power of Natural Order, so it is added to the ban watch list.

Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy always stays under close observation, as its potential as a key card for non-interactive combo is known.
The game has slowed down with the introduction of the free mulligan and it is not as easy as it was under spoils conditions to sculpt a perfect hand, but with the tutoring power present in the format, building a combo shell around Tolarian Academy is perfectly possible, and we want to see, what kind of new archetype this possibly brings forth. Should it be harmful for the metagame, we have to think again about Academy. The latest developments regarding the Eggs deck demand a reintroduction of Tolarian Academy to the ban watch list.

Fastbond
We are aware of Fastbond being able to enable advantageous plays in a short time. However at the moment the card is not notably present in the decks, nor does it overperform in the big tournaments or the weekly events. (HL Cup Maintal -> occurrence: 2, Top 8: 0/ MGM#3 -> occurrence: 7, Top 8: 2)
Since Fastbond was unbanned not so long ago and the next Edition contains two sets with land strategies (Landfall), Fastbond will stay under observation.

Oath of Druids
Like Tolarian Academy, Oath of Druids is mostly introduced to the watch list because of its enormous potential, especially in decks like Eggs, TPS and many other Oath Control lists.
Particularly its performance in the last big tournaments was remarkable. This card earns special attention and therefore stays on the watch list.

Mystical Tutor
We have decided to put Mystical Tutor on the watch list.
Besides the obvious mana efficiency (1-Drop + EoT option and therefore no loss of mana in my own turn) and timing (instant), Mystical Tutor is able to find direct answers (in form of removal, discard, counter) or indirect answers (other tutors), in contrast to his “siblings” Enlightened and Worldly Tutor. Like many other tutors too, Mystical Tutor gains more and more options with each new set (e.g. Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Kolaghan’s Command). The potential of this card is unmistakably and therefore should be observed.

Sensei's Divining Top
SDT seems to split the community somehow: http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=684.60. There is obviously no way to please everyone by banning or unbanning that card. SDT has been never banned in the long history of highlander, but not many cards have been discussed that intensively.
Sensei's has been banned 4 years ago in Modern. The reasons for its banning also fits in Highlander somehow. Following topics were discussed quite controvertible:
* time issue, especially problematic in tournaments or in hands of unskilled players
* (un)fun factor, SDT sometimes leads to quite annoying games
* skill rewarding, yes or no?
* powerlevel, acceptable or still a huge swing T1 into SDT?

Stoneforge Mystic
In contrast to Natural Order Stoneforge Mystic seems to be an autoinclude in most of T1 decktypes.
4c Blood will add it for Sword-Toolbox.
UW- / Jeskai- / Esper-Control will add it for Batterskull and sometimes Sword of the Meek.
The already top seeded archetypes would get a new powerful toy to play with, which makes things worse for those decks which are actually a bit behind and have no use for it.
So Stoneforge Mystic won't help to have a more diverse meta, but contributes to more similar games, which will often circle around Stoneforge Mystic and the way to handle the enemy Sword (SoFI vs Izzet, SoFF vs 4c Blood etc). That's why we decided not to unban SM yet, but leave it on the watch list as it could may be a good moment in the future to unban the Mystic, when the meta changed a bit again.

Entomb
Entomb is put on the watch list. We are aware of the power of this card and the possibility that Entomb could push Reanimator and various other combo decks. Nevertheless the format greatly changed within the past years. Is Entomb too strong in the actual meta? Would its influence be disproportionate? Or might it have a healthy impact on the format? These questions can only be answered, when we pay more attention on this card in the future.

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