Highlander Magic

MagicPlayer Highlander => General Discussion => Topic started by: MMD on 30-07-2012, 02:19:23 PM



Title: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 30-07-2012, 02:19:23 PM
I have the feeling that tournament Highlander is slowly and silently dying, at least here in Germany and I would like to discuss this situation.

1.)   The attendance of the smaller regional tournaments is decreasing
2.)   Nearly no content on Magicplayer.org (or other international sources)
3.)   Very limited activity in the international forum of magicplayer.org (and the German one is now closed due to no activity!)
4.)   no council activities (to my understanding they just supervise the banned list which is IMO not enough)
5.)   the online highlander league is not as active as in former days
6.)   EDH 1on1 community is growing (and I think that some of them are potential “Highlanders”)

The only active Germany forum is http://www.mtg-forum.de/forum/221-highlander/ and most of the content there is either Commander or Fun-Highlander Multiplayer. There is just Tabrys Youtube videos in the weekly block on www.magicuniverse.de which keeps the flag flying (Thanks Tabrys!)

Do you have the same feeling/experience?
What is the situation in the other “Highlander Countries”?
What can be done to improve this situation?

These could be viable approaches:

a)   All highlander tournament players should focus on one international forum to post content in.
b)   One European Highlander Championship per year which must be in a central and interesting area for all active communities. This Championship should be supported/feeded by local/regional trials. Price structure must be interesting to travel long distances and there should be other interesting things to do in addition to the Highlander tournament (e.g. Main Legacy or  PTQ tournament, interesting sightseeing opportunities etc.)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Kristian on 30-07-2012, 03:34:45 PM
The card pool has changed alot over the years. Back in the day when I found the format and decided to build decks based on it and subsequently got my friends to play too, the meta was very different. Today aggrodecks are, in my opinion, too dominating and consistent to allow the diversity I need in a format to keep it interesting and thus I've slowly transitioned into EDH and a few of my friends are doing that too.

-Kristian


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 30-07-2012, 08:04:07 PM
Year ago when Wizards adopted the EDH and release of the "Commander" products caused this. Each pack contained new oversized and decently powered generals. Our small playgroup accepted the challenge by building decks legal for both formats, but since there are only three remained with such deck.

We mainly play commander now and convincing them to play Highlander is bit hard. Some of them are not willing to build up such deck. They cannot do it without leading theme of commander, or they wont give up of some cards such as Sol Ring.

Also the reason why I called the such tournament now.

Things changed after some time when Wizards updated their support for "Singleton 100". Mainly same format as Highlander with only few differences in banlist. This format became part of weekly schedule in local MTG club and german Highlander was abandoned.

What I do against it:
I am trying to promote german Highlander in two separate playgroups before the tournament. However deckbuilding in such formats ends in white-red agro decks which are able to kill within 4-6th turn. Even recent unbanning of Trinisphere did not helped to it.

Partially I see as a problem that most players follow archetypal decks based on Type 2, Modern or in best case the Legacy. Banning or unbanning can solve parts of some problems, but I believe that tournaments have also to promote cards with strong power level especially those cards which have been forgotten by players. This is one of the reasons why i added Leeches, Reset and Concordant crossroads to the price list. Those cards have its potential, but people are not even thinking about them.

Mostly players buy, sells and trade cards while they cardpool is quite limited to cards of some power level. I have decided to build a collection of cards first and then to build highlander deck. My current cardpool contains more than 1500 different cards and its quite easy to pick and add or remove them from deck.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Doks on 30-07-2012, 10:33:38 PM
Good topic, I will thank you for opening it right after I explained my thoughts.


From my experience, the people that play serious competitive traditional highlander (read: not that commander crap...) are by far the "older" ones of the magic community(I personally can't think of a handful of people that are underage and seriously spent time for traditional highlander magic).

Unfortunately, all these 20+ year old people are either students or just on their way into a job which means they don't have the capabilities & resources to constantly participate in tournaments (because of final exams, academic dissertation, semester abroad).
Some of them already have children or a well paid job that requires work on weekends etc.

I for myself didn't participate in a tournament (usually Germany's Dülmen and/or Iserlohn) for more than half a year (even though I really, really wanted but I just couldn't affort to free up the time) because of things like that. Jobbing, studies, new & old relationships usually have priority.


But even before that I could notice a decline of players. In the middle of 2011, Germany's Dülmen was already missing too many players to make a Highlander event worthwhile for the tournament organiser (Trader online). Now, Highlander format is not offered anymore.

Only hope left was Iserlohn that now moves to Dortmund (which is pretty good for me), but I'm not sure if the new organisers will keep it for long. I really hope so, though.


In addition, there are more format related things that keep the declince going.

Powercreep level. Wizard pushes creatures' power over the top. "Play creatures yourself or die" is the motto (maybe with the exception of Oath decks, but some of them run a little 2/1 flashback human wizard themselves because it's just too powerful to not have it even though oathing into it might suck from time to time). Classic draw-go is not viable and combo often too inconsistent (or it's creature based and can beat the enemy down if needed, but no pure combo anymore).

But I still think something can be done about it via unbanning some heavy control (having E. Tutor on the unban watchlist is a big step into the right direction IMO).


Wizard's pushing Modern / Legacy format for the ones aiming to play competetively and if you want to have fun, then Commander is the choice to go (just because it gets so heavily promoted by Wizards and little kids seem to get attracted by the idea of summoning an uber mighty General that crushes their opponent's in their imagination).

And to make it even worse, Commander is multiplayer based which takes a lot of competitiveness from the singleton idea because you can now play a ton of CC6+ cards without getting punished (everybody and his / her mother runs 5+ wrath effects) and strategic diplomatic behaviour between the players matters a lot.


Last but not least, money makes or breaks a new highlander player. Many people don't want to spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on dual lands and mana drains (I can understand this though), just to play a DCI irrelevant format. For me, it was much easier to enter the format because I played Legacy for several years.

I had enough of Legacy because it was always the same (5-6 different decks to beat and some random tier two decks) and it has proven to be still be this until now (UW Miracles, Stoneblade, Maverick, Delver, Reanimator and Sneak & Tell are the current DTB in Legacy right now iirc and that proves my point). I wanted something more diverse but still competitive so Highlander magic was perfect for me, so I liquidized my Legacy pool and got me some nice highlander foil stuff I enjoy playing up to now.

In 2006 and earlier, you could have that near mint german limited Tundra for 30 Euro whereas it now costs five times that much at least. And paying three digit sums for a simple revised whiteboarded U-Sea doesn't make it easier for newer players.
 

I still spend several hours per week deckbuilding & theorycrafting about our traditional highlander format even though I didn't play a single tournament during the last 6 months or so (read above) and I believe that there are many more "sleeping players" like me. Just look at last years highlander german nationals tournament in Iserlohn: almost 100 of players from all over the republic being my best experience so far with this format.

The format is definetely not dead yet, it's just too focused on regions which is the 4th reason for the decline of players. I have no idea what I am going to do if the new Dortmund doesn't offer Highlander tournaments anymore.

I am studying in Osnabrück in Lower Saxony (part of Germany for those who don't know) and there is nothing traditional highlander related. I reapeat: NOTHING. In the game stores they have small groups of competitive legacy players and the rest of the customers are little kids that play commander.

No one wants to play more than 1 game against my competitive Highlander because they think it's too serious and "tryhard" (I have currently revived some UWG Oath version inspired by your 2nd place at HL GP 7 (http://blog.magicplayer.org/2010/05/28/hl-gp-7-place-2-bjorn-ortmann-uwg-oath/)), so my whole time at these game stores is spent on trading the new highlander viable cards in foil to add to my cardpool.

It's not even close to the good old times in 2005 at Dortmund's Auenland where every T2 / Legacy player had an almost fully pimped Highlander deck with him because it was just so popular at that time.


Well, for those that don't want to read the whole wall of text (a.k.a. tl;dr) here comes the summary.

Reasons to see less and less german highlander players.

1. Traditional highlander community pretty mature having less and less time.
2. Creatures' powerlevel is counterproductive to the format's deck variety.
3. Wizards pushes T2/Modern/Legacy for competitive players and now has EDH for casual players (read: HL lost its play niche).
4. Acquiring a basic & sufficient card pool for highlander decks became unbelievably expensive if you start from zero.

All this is creates a snowball effect that makes the situation worse and worse.

What to do?

I have no real solution in my mind yet. However, if we can keep the very big events going (national championships, Grand Prix, certain extraordinary events by certain sponsors like MKM etc.) and people actively join what's going on in the community (starts with active forum and tournament participation), I am pretty sure that we can still have a lot of fun with our beloved format.


Cheers.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Tabris on 30-07-2012, 10:41:59 PM
Serious business. I want to ask you Björn, what you think the council could do to increase the playerbase?
I personaly got a lot of feedback about my column on magic universe and mainly people are thanking me for doing this and
even start playing highlander on cockatrice because of this. Another question is how to get the "lost" players to commander back and if its even possible
to do so. A lot of T2 players here in berlin have "fun" highlander but are not willing to improve their decks to a certain competitive level (at the same time they play each week their fnms and go to Type 2 grand prixs and stuff). So they mainly see this format as a casual one.
Planet MTG, the biggest german Magic site declined my column with the comment it is too casual for their readership (which is bullshit...my games have a much higher level then most Legacy tournament play I am seeing around here) but yeah, many people dont see this format as serious as we do


So what to do. The attendence in my local scene is alos decreasing but for the summer months its pretty usual...

Maybe the forum need some work so do the blog (which I cant run by myself speaking contentwise) to make it easier to access for new people.

I would say the online player base is increasing a lot and the last mkm tournament in berlin showed that some competitive players are still out there (speaking about north- and east- germany)but yeah I hear what you are saying..


+ the reasons mentioned by Doks :)


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 30-07-2012, 11:31:31 PM
Focus on some single cards for a while:

Commander Tower
This card is not banned in any formats, but its useless in other than EDH. Currently I dont know any other land which produces any color of mana without any drawback... This makes building of EDH much cheaper than Highlander.

Teferi's Isle
A "Bad card"? Definitely considered like this by many players. They could not even imagine why to play it. Took me some time to create infinite mana combo around it.

I have decided to collect cards - all even the bad ones and spent a lot of time by analyzing of many possibilities. Building blue monocolor - the hard way. Each play with the same blue deck was a completely new discovery of new unseen potential. Building up agro deck and all possibilities are known within few games... This is how I play it and why its still fun for me. Bigger card pool - more possibilities. And thats how I try to improve my play.

There are ways how to punish creature based decks. Such as Meekstone, Trinisphere - but you barely see them ...

There is a big gap between fresh created deck, and deck which has been tuned up. People usually dont want to improve their strategy or play, but they want cards with higher power level. Also many co-players are encouraging them in this way.

Blogs, articles, analysis of cards just as Wizards do for some formats might help to new players find alternate ways. Mostly it is simple. Take one card which has been refused by Type 2 community, mention some possibilities and examples how to use it more effectively as it looks on the first sight.

Question is whether its possible to build up good highlander deck without spending a fortune... I believe that its possible, but people need to be told about it.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: carte_blanche on 31-07-2012, 01:36:27 PM
I don't have any new thought that were not already mentioned (thanks @ MMD (for the topic) and Doks (your points on the topic)) but I really want to put emphasis on the point of HL players becoming "old".

A subjective example: The last tournament I attended was the MKM tournament. I cannot recall seeing any player being younger than at least 20 but several players being 30 of age. -> The consequences are listed in Doks's post.

Maybe the main problem of tournament HL is that there are not enough die hard tournament players (I mean really those that play just to win = spikes). These people who are willing to travel quite far to play on every tournament they feel worth to be grinded out (my assumption). Without this kind of players every local HL scene remains separated from one another. On one hand there is no real appeal for such player in this format (not DCI sanctioned maybe too bad prices(?), what do I know). On the other hand the "open for all" in HL spirit allowing cards form sets that are not playable in DCI sanctioned formats is one of the great advantages of this format but at the same time makes it a casual format by definition.
I fear with a casual format you'll not be able to tempt "spikes" to "waste their time" on a format where you "can make no money" and don't get planeswalker points. So it seems we'll have to live with the local character of the HL tournament scene.
As much as I approve the initiative by Mir to advertise for an european HL tournament (your German in the other forum wasn't so bad  ;) ), I doubt that it will change the status quo (=casual format). There are three people I often play with that have tournament capable HL decks and they are really eager to play on a big tournament but at the same time will not travel some 100km to the next tournament (not even out of the city at all). If that is the case in many playgroups... local scene.

Speaking about card prices and the casual character of HL... in my opinion that's the one great advantage of HL that you're able to play a eternal format without having to pay incredible amounts of money to build a deck (putting aside red aggro - that exists in every format I suppose...) because you can play cards from world championsship decks, collector's edition and international edition. You have access to very strong cards for a price not nearly as high as in legacy. (The singleton nature of the decks add to that, too.)

Maybe the price may still frighten players with a very restricted budget but it's not as bad as in legacy (not speaking about vintage...). I don't visit any legacy events at all - how is the "age structure" over there? The same as in HL? Age 20+? That might be an interesting point to know in order to find out whether the low player count is a problem due to card prices.

The support by WotC is helpful as we have seen by the example of EDH / Commander (my godness, what a boring format!). Without really knowing it, I state that legacy is confronted with the same ignorance by WotC (Mental Misstep print and immediate ban) but the legacy scene is a lot larger than HL.
Commander is now taken care about by WotC in card and edition design, because they earn money with the format (directly). More support from Wizards -> higher popularity -> better publicity -> more players. Seems logical to me (I still might be wrong).

Solutions... good question. Hmm what are the tools at hand? The banlist, some forums, Tabris's weekly highlander videos,... what else? Maybe somebody comes across the brilliant idea but that's not me at the moment. In general there are too few people having the will, the time and the passion to advertise the whole format in a way Tabris does. Again, that might be due to the average age of "highlanders".


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 31-07-2012, 05:07:44 PM
@ Kirstian: Have you moved to multiplayer and therefore casual EDH or 1on1 EDH? In case you still play 1on1 but on Commander rules I would like to understand what is your motivation. To my understanding Highlander is clearly the most balanced, diversified and competitive 1on1 100/1 format. Official Commander rules allow a lot of unbalanced cards which makes it nearly impossible to play 1on1 (e.g. Sol Ring & Mana Crypt but also cards like Necropotence or Sylvan Library). Even if you play on modified Commander rules like French EDH you do not gain any advantages to Highlander as the Tier 1 decks are IMHO limited to a handful of Generals and the Commander centered strategy make the game state situations recurring and boring (e.g. 4th turn eot Wydwen…).

@ Mir: I really appreciate your activities for the format. If there would be more people showing the same interest and activity I wouldn’t have to worry like I do. I really wish that you have success with your tournament and that you are able to convince some of the EDH players to play a more competitive 100/1 format but also to find some new guys from other competitive formats to have a good time with Highlander.

I also think that Wizards strategy to push Commander but also eternal formats with Legacy and Modern narrows the niche for Highlander even more.

But I don’t think that that promoting older unknown single cards will work but I agree that promoting unusual decks can improve the awareness how diverse Highlander really is. There are a lot of good decks out there which are probably not Tier1 put can win tournaments in the hands of good pilots and bringing it to the right metagame. Piloting the right Tier2 deck is sometimes better than playing coin flip matchups all day long.

Sure we see a lot of multicolour aggro and goodstuff in the T8s but there are also other decks in the lists (e.g. Angry Hermit, Reanimator, RampControl, etc.). IMO the T8 is that boring because there is not enough development and evolution in our format. It is easy for everyone to bring a 3-5C goodstuff deck to the tournament as everybody knows it will work. I decided that I will stop playing mainstream decks and bring new decks to future tournaments to give some fresh input to the community. I do this not only to demonstrate but also because I really think that there are some hidden gems out there which could influence the current metagame. If some of the better players will also start to bring new creations (or revised oldies) and T8 with them, other people will follow. Also perhaps some of the casual players will join, when they see that uncommon decks can win on a tournament level.

@ Doks: Thanks for your detailed explanation about your personal situation which I can copy paste for myself. I can also confirm most of your points. It seems this is the standard situation for many other Highlander players as well. I really agree on the “old player” and the Legacy/Commander problem. The creature problem is IMO not Highlander specific and concerns nearly all formats nowadays. Also the price issue might be a small problem for some newbie’s but I think most of the Highlanders enter the format with a sufficient card pool.

Perhaps unbanning certain Control/Combo cards could help with the aggro/good stuff problem but I think that even with the current bannings you can build competitive Tier 2 decks which can win tournaments.
I could be “enough” IF some of the experienced/good players would show that it is possible to win with them. In Iserlohn for example we had Angry Hermit in the last two T3 and in the beginning of this year we had Staxx in the T3 a couple of times, even winning the tournament 1-2 times. You cannot find the lists because the players declined to publish their list, don’t understand the reason behind by myself…

@ Tabris: I think that competitive content and a tournament organisation can improve the current situation. IMO Highlander has to prove that it is a competitive format to stay alive. Your weekly column is really a centrepiece of the current Highlander content and I can imagine that this is a lot of work to do, so I do not want to complain about your personal activities which I really appreciate. There is also Vazdru´s Online League Administration but are there any other activities from the rest of the council? I understand the council’s duty not only as “The Banhammers” but also to moderate, promote, organize and manage the format which is IMO necessary to keep the format alive or even create growth. Certainly it’s not only the council’s duty and certainly not possible without a community but the council should at least lead the way and I don’t see that at the moment beside your column. Is there any mentionable communication between the council members? I ask that because I do not see a lot of posts here on the board. Even if the council board is a closed area I can see the “traffic” and there is non except a few posts during the banning period. I can understand that doing this is time consuming but not that much if the required “work” is shared equally and asking for help in the community. Just my proposal: Each council member is responsible for one ressort (e.g. tournament organization, forum administrator/moderator, weekly blog, statistic, reports, etc.) and has to manage it actively. It sound a little exaggerated and inappropriate for a hobby niche format but basic activity and organisation could help here.

I think if we prove that Highlander is a competitive format we can convince some of the Legacy Oldies which decline to pay these prices but also some of the young Commanders which understood that 1on1 Commander is bull%$§”.

If the online player base is really increasing (also as a result of your column) I see a good trend and a possibility that some of those online players will play on a HLGP or even smaller, local HL tournaments in future. Perhaps we should concentrate on Highlander online magic for daily magic, a couple of local trials and 1-2 big tournaments a year but keep the content high, so that every Highlander “feels” that this format is alive.
I personally think that there is a place for Highlander in the world of Magic. But there must be a certain effort to keep this format alive. I decided that I will put more content into this forum in future and use some uncommon but competitive decks (hopefully into the lists) to be part of that community. If I find out that it was not enough I think I have to accept that even the die hard spikes have to die some day.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Ball.Lightning on 31-07-2012, 08:32:32 PM
Hi,
 I also feel, that something went wrong with german HL. Our local comunity still holds up, since the core of the community meet every week. The core form about one third of the whole comunity, which is rather big portion. The rest of comunity comes from time to time to every month tournament we organise to ourselves. Tournament attendance is quite stable, but declining over the few past years. There is no support from any local playground or magic retailer. Irregularly there is a pure HL article on biggest website devoted to Magic in Czech Republic (once per two months). So it is quite hard to gain new players and attract them to play HL and not EDH.
 
 I feel EDH lurks from every corner of todays biggest magic websites. Forums, new cards discusions, articles are very much EDH oriented. Even cube is getting more spotlight today then HL. There is almost not a single word about german HL. The format is almost invisible to biggest sites including wizards. But they adopted EDH, so it is no wonder. Without articles, discusions, informational stream towards the players base, there is no chance for german HL to keep up. Even our www.magicplayer.org forum is almost dead. There is no new content to read or discuss every day. Since the forum is not attractive for the current comunity, it can hardly be attractive to new players.
 
 The social aspects metitoned above are 100% true. Average age of our comunity is probably slightly under 30. Also the format entry cost is quite large. Same holds for legacy, but legacy is obviously more attractive format since there is ton of content online and many tournaments every week.
 
 The worst investment in the world of magic is into format which one cannot play often or not at all. I see good example with real life allcommon legacy format. Once there were regular tournaments and the comunity was fine. But after the tournament organiser got bankrupted format disappeared, since his tournaments and his playground were like a glue, that holded the comunity together. Once the glue got lost the decks gathers just dust.
 
 I hope our format - german HL - will never become "a bad time investment". ^^^
 
 Ball.Lightning

P.S: One idea: our comunity uses FB to discuss common stuff and organise itself. Maybee this medium could do some good here. I propose this even if I am not fan of FB. It just works for us..


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 31-07-2012, 10:18:51 PM
Today I was playing against Tier1 EDH deck with Zur the Enchanter as general. Contained cards like Necropotence, Contamination. When I asked owner of the deck to build up Highlander deck he responed that it would be too expensive. I bet his EDH deck was more expensive as mine highlander deck currently is.

I dont believe that Highlander is that expensive as people think. But "Win 5 duals" tournaments is part of the problem.

The expensiveness is first myth we have to bust. Second is surely that people believe that its not possible to build up working combo decks, because its "singleton". I was looking for "Fog" effects in blue-white color combination and i have found 6 almost identical cards. third is "this wont work since you are dead by 4th turn". EDH has legal cards like Entomb, LED, Mana Crypt, Sol Ring and so on which fuel many fast tier 1 decks. They are actively used, and in EDH the combo solution is quite successfully used - mostly tied with the general, but not always. But even if i play against players with combos like Entomb, animate dead, Worldgorger dragon, which is legal in EDH this wont work on every game.

What inspired me much was an article about EDH deck with Azami as general, with full description how it works. I was really amazed at it, since it utilized a lot of cards. It had everything i was looking for. Decent power level, flavor based on blue wizards. I could build up a blind copy of it, but I rather chosen to do it my way.

The serious fun with Highlander is the deckbuilding. But honestly... are there any deckbuilding sessions? From time to time we meet with a bunch of cards and try to improve our decks. And its fun...


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Kristian on 01-08-2012, 12:44:44 AM
@ Kirstian: Have you moved to multiplayer and therefore casual EDH or 1on1 EDH? In case you still play 1on1 but on Commander rules I would like to understand what is your motivation. To my understanding Highlander is clearly the most balanced, diversified and competitive 1on1 100/1 format. Official Commander rules allow a lot of unbalanced cards which makes it nearly impossible to play 1on1 (e.g. Sol Ring & Mana Crypt but also cards like Necropotence or Sylvan Library). Even if you play on modified Commander rules like French EDH you do not gain any advantages to Highlander as the Tier 1 decks are IMHO limited to a handful of Generals and the Commander centered strategy make the game state situations recurring and boring (e.g. 4th turn eot Wydwen…).
The casual mp EDH. I simply got tired of everybody playing aggro/goodstuff. I loved the format before the invasion of spells on legs. By the way Sol Ring and friends are banned in 1v1 french as far as I know.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 01-08-2012, 08:59:52 AM
@ Mir: Feel free to start a deckbuilding topic in this forum. I will paticipate. ;) I also decided, that I will start own deckbuilding/discussion topics by myself.

@ Kristian: Yes they are banned. Thats why I mentioned this format as an "improved" one.


Title: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: ChristophO on 01-08-2012, 10:42:32 AM

As a native of the wonderful city of Hamburg I would like to share my experience regarding Highlander:
I organized a monthly tournament in Hamburg and the attendance was pretty good. We always had 8 or more players and broke 20 two times I believe. We also had people joining our tournament from Kiel and Rostock highlighting that people are willing to travel a bit for a fun highlander tournament.
Sadly the store where we used to play closed down in May and we do not have a hosting site right now. There is some talk about a new store opening in Hamburg. In the remaining stores in Hamburg it has not been able to establish a time slot for us. Since the player base is somehwat older the tournament has to be on the weekend but those time slots are taken right now in the other stores...

For the MKM tournament in Berlin we also had one car that only went there to play Highlander, one car for Legacy plus Highlander and of course also players who just went for Legacy and/or standard. I believe as long as the commute stays below 4 hours the Hamburg players will join tournaments if they advertised on time (~2 to 3 months ahead) so people can keep that weekend free of other duties and arrange travel with fellow players. From my perspective the Hamburg Highlander szene will be vibrant again, once we are able to find a new playsite.


Things that I believe need to change/improvements possible:

The web appearance of Highlander magic has to be reworked. There is a defunct german forum, the .info page, this forum the blog and the connection of those offers is terrible. Also, this forum has way too many sub forums regarding traffic on this board. The internet presentation of our beloved format is unfitting!

We should organize 8 man tournaments on cockatrice on a monthly/14day/weekly rhythm! Also using IRC as communication device for online gaming is unbearable. I only got IRC for the Leage play this winter/spring and only left my IRC number on this very board. I recieve russian spam via IRC on a weekly basis now. Why do I have to use this shitty program which does not even support voice over IP? I sure liked IRC 2000-2004 but today there is a better option with Skype which I use for online communication.

It would be nice to have incentives for tournament organizers so that hopefully new local tournament series will be established at the grassroots level to grow and foster our community. Incentives could be funded by the players of the yearly Highlander GP (like one or two euros per players to give free entry for grassroot tournament organizers) or by willing sponsors or so. I think it not so much the lack of players in most regions but rather a lack of grass root tournaments because Yu GI and other Magic formats draw bigger crowds and are therefore more profitable which leads to Highlander tournaments depending a lot more on input from the player base itself to create formats. Which we should be able to organize!






Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: so_not on 01-08-2012, 12:54:01 PM
Great topic, thanks for it! Couple points I'd like to mention:

Social media is the word of the day so promoting the format through facebook, twitter, google+ and the likes could have an impact. Sharing of information, advertising of articles, tuning decklists and reporting tournament results and other content would easier. At least there should be a facebook fan page for this format and people could report stuff through it so all fans would see the action. It's also true that this forum has too many subforums and other pretty useless functions and buttons like calendar. One big international forum and one deck database would be optimal situation but it seems a lot of people prefer to post on their national forums :(

Stick to DCI policies. I know this is hard to accept but every time I introduce this format to new people and they visit the info-site they ask me why gold-bordered and other fake cards are legal. The information gotten through conversation on this site doesn't really convince them but since they aren't allowed in Finland the format makes much more sense to them. I don't know if this is the case in other countries but if you want more competitive tournament grinders, this is one rule that need to go.

I had this idea about highlander 8-man single elimination tournament queues which could be nice way to test out new decks. We just had a this years Ropecon. Usually there has been one big highlander tournament during the weekend but a lack of organizer stopped this tradition. Instead the 8-mans were rolled with decent success and they saw plenty of different decks. During bigger events this is a great way to get people involved in highlander.

EDH is pretty popular here but I have heard increasing amount of complaints and frustration considering that format. More and more people seem to realize that by heart Magic just isn't a multiplayer game.

It's actually kind of funny that I started highlander so I could play some tournaments while sitting on rating. When they abandoned elo-ratings and introduced the even worse PWP-system I figured I have no time to grind points to qualify for WMCQ:s or to get byes (or to qualify for nationals since there is no such thing any more :( ). So I pretty much quit playing other formats and just stick to highlander and some legacy. I know other players in a similar situation that just quit playing altogether and they could be potential highlanders.

Oh, and WotC doesn't push legacy. They do not consider legacy when designing new cards. They would let legacy die if it was up to them because it doesn't sell boosters. They just arrange a couple of GP:s to keep the crowd happy.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 01-08-2012, 06:38:41 PM
I browsed thru the old magicplyer.org main page some weeks ago with the old reports from the beginning in 2004 (HLGP1 is already 7 years ago!) and was really impressed how active the community was during that time. It was a HL community rule to write a report as tournament winner and nobody complained about that. The former HL council actively organized the GPs and on some GPs there were also amateur reporters which wrote tournament reports and analysis.

I think that the passion of the HL inventers but also an active and beneficial community was key for the success in the beginning. Today it seems to me not enough players are interested to invest time in this format. They join a local tournament when they have time for it, No more no less.

But today there are much better tools to spread the “HL virus” as we have youtube, facebook, Cockatrice and other tools. I think there must be some kind of magicplayer.org and tournament organization relaunch to improve the current situation.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Maqi on 01-08-2012, 11:16:32 PM
Very good topic!

I wanted to start something similar to this a while ago... but didn't do it. I guess mostly because of time constraints.

Here in Mannheim we still have a solid player base. But a slow and steady decline in numbers is also definetely to be noticed.

I for myself am planning to do a Highlander column. Discussing card choices, deck archetypes etc.

I hope this can be a small part in the puzzle to "revive" Highlander.



Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Dreamer on 06-08-2012, 05:24:08 PM
I'm not much of a tournament player, EDH has definitely made a big dent. Here in Tapiola we've managed to reclaim a couple lost souls, but people still like doing silly things for some reason. As far as decktypes go, we haven't seen Bant or 4-5c monsters in ages - most people play monored or 2c aggro or control/ramp decks with at most three colours.

But I agree that apart from EDH cannibalism the lack of articles and other content plus focal websites is kind of a problem. Dead forums everywhere, a good portion of the content is in German (which most of us Finns can't read). Pauper suffers somewhat similar problems even though their forum is a bit more active, but there just isn't terribly much content, and the forums lack things like archetype primers and the like to give new players a handle on what is even played, let alone why. This makes getting in on the format kind of hard - what can you do in this format in the first place, why is it fun, where do I go to discuss it and so on?

I'd say if we want an international presence, a unified main site with a single international forum where things can be posted to would be ideal. Concentrate the traffic to one site, link all external content to that one place (see article threads on the Source), strive to produce whatever content is made in English so it is accessible to as many people as possible, and start tinkering together resources that help a new player map out the format is a decent plan of action?


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 07-08-2012, 11:54:56 AM
Most complaints on magicplayer.org is about special HL rules (banned list, mulligan, gold cards etc.) but somehow I don’t think that this is the main reason why HL tournament attendance is decreasing. IMO those things are just the most superficial topics and it’s the easiest thing to whine about it.

If I sum up some of opinions and proposals the approach could be:

a)   generate useful content (primer, reports, statistics, discussions etc.) in English language
b)   focus on one international page (magicplayer.org?) or at least link external content there
c)   convince casual players to join if they are interested to play a casual but competitive 1on1 tournament format and advertise Highlander (at least refer to b) in other forums
d)   rebuild this homepage including forum and blog or create/use a better one
e)   Improve tournament organisation ( e.g. next HLGP incl. trials, online tournaments on a regular level, etc.)

How can we manage that?

Everyone who wants to improve the current situation can help to work on the first three topics. I will take over the reporting (standings, T3, tournament reports) of the monthly tournament in Dortmund on this page as first step. If I find time I will also write a primer or at least a deck discussion topic. But the homepage and tournament management is something which is beyond my possibilities.



Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 07-08-2012, 12:28:38 PM
Previously I was trying to find a way how to make casual tournament. However I havent found any way how to do it. Special banlist for single tournament is not the good way. Refusing players because they are profesional players is also not a good way.

I agree on those points:
a) It can be done. There are events in our country which are reported only locally (if they are reported...)
c) Good point, but I people are fairly able to find why is Highlander more "cool" than EDH.
d) Im in. If you need some graphics I will gladly help.
e) This can be done with new webpage.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: malz77 on 10-08-2012, 11:03:13 AM
sorry for my inactivity (but i'm currently changing my job, we are moving house, I'm trying to finish my phd...)

just a few thoughts to the problems mentioned:
- a lot of relevant points were mentioned (age of the players, familiy, jobs,...) and I don't have to repeat this
- most of the old-school players who (still) love the format are no longer thrilled by it. Because we have seen it all. Although there are enough decks to play (just watch Tabris column), there will be nothing really new.
- The Banned-List is nearly perfect and minor changes will not lead to any invention.
- New sets aggravate the problems we have, because only the pricy cards and the broken creatures will find a place in your decks. Old pet-cards are unplayable
- There are too much staples, so you have the feeling although you are playing different decks, you are playing always the same cards...

I think the only way out of this is to expand the minimun deck size to 200 or 250 cards. Although I thought in the passed it would be wrong to do this, I'm now convinced this is the only way out of our problems. More cards just solve a lot of problems (yeah, I know that shuffling and searching is a new problem!!!).

Just think of the manabase and fetchland discussion, just think about cards you can reactivate, just think about deck building, just think about the game situation we will face...

Just think about it!


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Han on 10-08-2012, 12:01:22 PM
Hi, I am from the same community as Ball Lightning (we're located in Prague, Czech Republic). I organize monthly tournaments, basicly without any support from anyone. And even though the attendance is quite stable, or rising a little (last season 15 players attended tournaments in average, there very 28 individuals). I also write from time to time some articles on czech magic website. I quite aggre with the others:

- let there be one international website, where will be articles and other content in english from different communities - I can help with some articles as well.
- let's make a group on Facebook/Twitted/Google+ connected to the website and forum.
- if there is another GP, it would be good to have trials for it. In Prague community some us are interested in attending such a GP


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: carte_blanche on 10-08-2012, 01:00:10 PM
Maybe this is a bit off topic, but the discussion has shifted a bit to "what could / should be done" after MMD's post.

In the german forum (http://www.mtg-forum.de/forum/171-highlander-decks/ (http://www.mtg-forum.de/forum/171-highlander-decks/)) we had the initiative to write primers to some decks and did so. I could translate / rewrite in english the one for RDW if there is need. Maybe we could translate the other ones bit by bit and improve them.

@one international web site: This one could be the one you seek. However, it could be improved but who would be responsible for this and (even more important) who has the time for it (if we don't even have the time to turn cards...)?

Maybe there should be a new thread somewhere here in the forum where we could discuss such subjects concretely if there is something to happen with this forum. But that should be done by someone who has the time and the means to set things in motion. I'll be glad to help as far as I'm able but that will be restricted to the translation of some primers etc. Otherwise we'll have to live with the status quo.

@one minor point concerning golden bordered cards, CE and IE cards: I don't think that banishing these cards will help the format. As far as I know, there is also a 100 card singleton format supported by WotC with a slightly different banlist. To dissociate the HL format from the casual card pool and turning toward a sanctioned format means to compete with the other sanctioned formats (even more) and especially with singleton.

The disadvantages might be:
  • Loosing some players that don't want to afford the "original" cards because of budget restrictions (e.g. for duals etc.)
  • The competition between the formats is hard and there is a slow cannibalism going on (take a look at Vintage!)
  • I don't think the German HL will recieve much support from WotC because they got already their own singleton format which is completely under their control
  • We could not influence the banning politics in a way as it is now (directly addressing the responsible people)

Possible advantages:
  • More players due to the possibility to gain planeswalker points? (Questionable assumption to my opinion.)
  • An opening of the local metagames toward an international scene (that currently doesn't exist)

I forgot some points for sure...


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 10-08-2012, 02:29:05 PM

most of the old-school players who (still) love the format are no longer thrilled by it. Because we have seen it all.
Been there, done that…perhaps satiation is another problem we have to face. A format without any reasonable evolution gets boring; but this is the problem of all eternal formats.
We have to accept minor development steps created mostly by new mechanics and power creep of the new editions. The problem with evolution is an even greater problem in 100/1 formats as we cannot build a new deck with a new mechanic (e.g. Legacy Miracle) or reactivate an old decks just because a new card is printed (e.g. Legacy Merfolk/Goblins). Highlander needs a certain amount of different cards to form a reliable strategy.

What can we do? Just ban/unban single cards will not be enough to shake up the format. I think this has to split up into two complete different topics.
The first one is the improvement of “marketing and communication” mostly to gain the attention of potential new players but also to bring the local communities together.
The second one is the discussion and evaluation regarding the necessity of a drastic rule change (ban of fetchlands, min. deck size etc.) to revive/repair the format.

I think the only way out of this is to expand the minimun deck size to 200 or 250 cards.

I doubt that increasing the minimum deck size is a reasonable solution if you want to keep a certain competitiveness which is IMO necessary to stay alive with EDH lurking.

Some opinions to the deck size proposal:

-   As mentioned: Tutoring/shuffling is nearly impossible
-   Playing Combo and Control will become nearly possible. Already with 100 cards you have a hard time to keep pace with creature decks. There are not enough good combo/control spells out there to fight against the flood of powerful creatures and I estimate that this problem will grow with every new edition.
-   It will be very hard to build a deck with a reasonable strategy (especially single card strategies). The unfocused 3-5C Good Stuffs will just become unfocused 2-3C Good Stuff decks.
-   Go(o)d draws beating average draws will happen much more often because the variance is highly increased

I’ll better keep my Highlander pet cards and old goodies in my binder forever or sell them to EDH players. Lets better ban the fechies for good  8)


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: LasH on 11-08-2012, 04:10:35 PM
Frank Topel introduced highlander more or less. Since he left the ship - the format is dying.

He did the right choices overall, knowing how ppl wanna play the format (did a great job at ban policy). He pushed the format with his tournaments and he added pricepools from his own. He was very active on his own in forum and page. I only see posts from tabris recently and vazdru. The other council members seem only to exist on paper, doing not really much for the format (should not be a blame since all do it on their free time, but a reason why the format gets less attention)

This council reduced their activity (less updates to the banlist for example, less updates in general). This council is afraid to ban dominating cards (stoneforge mystic for example 2 years ago). Not willing to ban cards to make it harder for the ultimative dominating aggro-control decks (spells on legs - goodstuff - ban wordly tutor eladamri's call). In my area ppl are totally bored to play ONLY goodstuff mirror's. Oh ye one guy plays sligh. Sigh.

7 years ago were about 8-12 viable decks. You can even check the old top8 list and i doubt u find the same deck twice. That made the format fun and different. We lost that format due to the lack of bannings to creature based spells and to the editions which r currently pushing these decks over and over.

Ppl argument "banlist as short as possible". I will never understand this. Rather a big banlist with lots of different decks than a short banlist with one dominating deck in 5 different color-combinations while 80% of the cards are the same.





Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Topas on 11-08-2012, 04:29:21 PM
What would you think of unbanning some of the cards that might help the control decks? E.g. Balance, Mystical & Enlightened Tutor, Mana Crypt, Mana vault, Sol Ring...


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Tiggupiru on 11-08-2012, 05:40:22 PM
Ppl argument "banlist as short as possible". I will never understand this. Rather a big banlist with lots of different decks than a short banlist with one dominating deck in 5 different color-combinations while 80% of the cards are the same.

I agree. I don't think there is a need for ANY guidelines regarding the banned list. Maybe if the current council were doing a bad job, I would be happy to have some rule of thumbs, but they have been doing some fine work for quite some time now, so I trust them to make the correct choices without having to restrict their job by placing any arbitrary restraints.

What would you think of unbanning some of the cards that might help the control decks? E.g. Balance, Mystical & Enlightened Tutor, Mana Crypt, Mana vault, Sol Ring...

Let's see: Balance is stupidly good and probably one the most obnoxious card to play against. Doesn't matter how bad the format gets, adding Balance to the mix is not going to improve it. Mystical would just find it's way to goodstuff, so that doesn't help much. Enlightened would probably be okay, I see no harm with the card. In any case, don't think it's going to matter too much, that one tutor will not save the format alone.

And unbanning any one of those mana artifacts is just going to rape the whole format. Sol Ring gives you access to four mana on turn two with the cost of your first turn and one card. Original Moxes are more balanced in this kind of environment. Besides, Aggro benefits this just as much. Turn 2 BBE, fun times.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Nastaboi on 11-08-2012, 10:37:12 PM
Frank Topel introduced highlander more or less. Since he left the ship - the format is dying.

He did the right choices overall, knowing how ppl wanna play the format (did a great job at ban policy). He pushed the format with his tournaments and he added pricepools from his own. He was very active on his own in forum and page. I only see posts from tabris recently and vazdru. The other council members seem only to exist on paper, doing not really much for the format (should not be a blame since all do it on their free time, but a reason why the format gets less attention)

This council reduced their activity (less updates to the banlist for example, less updates in general). This council is afraid to ban dominating cards (stoneforge mystic for example 2 years ago). Not willing to ban cards to make it harder for the ultimative dominating aggro-control decks (spells on legs - goodstuff - ban wordly tutor eladamri's call). In my area ppl are totally bored to play ONLY goodstuff mirror's. Oh ye one guy plays sligh. Sigh.

7 years ago were about 8-12 viable decks. You can even check the old top8 list and i doubt u find the same deck twice. That made the format fun and different. We lost that format due to the lack of bannings to creature based spells and to the editions which r currently pushing these decks over and over.

Ppl argument "banlist as short as possible". I will never understand this. Rather a big banlist with lots of different decks than a short banlist with one dominating deck in 5 different color-combinations while 80% of the cards are the same.

Whoa whoa whoa. Are you saying that if Frank was still running things Wizards would have never started printing countless bloodbraid elves? Or are you suggesting that we should ban them all? Because people don't have to use Eladamri's or Worldly to find those creatures, draw step will do as every card you draw has so much value.

And "shortest banlist possible" approach means that we seek to unban cards that have no impact like Yawgmoth's Will or Trinisphere, not that we are afraid to ban cards that are format distorting.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Maggot on 12-08-2012, 04:28:37 AM

Whoa whoa whoa. Are you saying that if Frank was still running things Wizards would have never started printing countless bloodbraid elves? Or are you suggesting that we should ban them all? Because people don't have to use Eladamri's or Worldly to find those creatures, draw step will do as every card you draw has so much value.

And "shortest banlist possible" approach means that we seek to unban cards that have no impact like Yawgmoth's Will or Trinisphere, not that we are afraid to ban cards that are format distorting.

Following your line of argument, there is no reason to have cards like Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Enlightened Tutor or Gifts Ungiven remain on the banned list.
In a format where we have access to so many creatures that are spells on legs I don´t understand the difference between the the "weak" creature tutors and the spell tutors.
Creatures do everything nowadays together  with being a clock. Hmm you´re playing angry Ghoul or Pattern Rector let´s get Oooze, RDW? here you go Kitchen Finks or Thrun or SFM for SoFI, oh you managed to put a win condition on the board Control Deck? Here you go I have removal for everything an it won´t cost more than three  mana since I´m able to look for Pridemage and Shriekmaw. I´m a little screwed let´s find a mana dork, I´m tired of not winnig gogo Power Titan, oh you played a tutor here is my Clique...
Creatures are able to attack all kinds of strategies and many many decks.
IMO there is no reason not to ban Worldly or Eladamri´s, it won´t change the format alot since there will always be the draw step, which will always give you the right answer at the right time...
And btw unbanning cards that have no impact is really going to stir up the format, and bring up some new and interresting decks.[Sarcasm off]


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 12-08-2012, 11:49:24 AM
Sorry, but IMO discussing about removing/adding single cards is very narrow-minded and will not solve the problem.

Perhaps there is a card on the banned list which will not break the format if unbanned. Perhaps the creature tutors are overpowered as they are already on the borderline and get better with every edition. But discussing about single cards (not) on the list will not help on the long rung as I see it as a side show attraction. There are already enough creatures out there that a multicolour creature strategy will have an edge to other deck concepts. We cannot ban every overpowered creature Wizards will introduce in future. We have to deal with the fact that they want us to use creature strategies. Period. Even in Legacy creature strategies are Top tier nowadays. Accept it or start playing vintage or play group houserules.

But again, ban-/unban discussions of single cards will not revive the format at all.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MarcMagic on 12-08-2012, 01:02:16 PM
60 cards + sideboard? 80 without? I don't know for sure but I'd guess that there will be more diversity in terms of different deck streategies? I always bring this point because some time ago I made Highlander decks with just 60 cards and it seemed to be more interesting because it is possible to build decks around even small strategies (tribals for example did way better). just want to throw it in again : )


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Nastaboi on 12-08-2012, 01:04:03 PM
There are already enough creatures out there that a multicolour creature strategy will have an edge to other deck concepts. We cannot ban every overpowered creature Wizards will introduce in future. We have to deal with the fact that they want us to use creature strategies. Period. Even in Legacy creature strategies are Top tier nowadays. Accept it or start playing vintage or play group houserules.

That's what I have been trying to say. And I want to add that, even if you are forced to use more creatures, different strategies as aggro/control/combo/prison are still doable.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: cron on 12-08-2012, 02:37:20 PM
hello,

i think many player don't know where & when nearby tournaments in germany are.
i can only talk from my view, in braunschweig, there 4x local tournaments every year.
mostly there are ~12-20 players, entry fee is only 5€ and the prices are always nice and highlander staples (fetches, duals, shockduals, engl. karakas, ....). but the main problem is, the most players in the nearby citys (hannover, wolfsburg, osnabrück, oldenburg, göttingen) don't know this tournament-series exist!

maybe a little and fast solution is a fixed topic with gathered tournament-series infos (maybe sorted for countrys and states).

regards
sascha


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: LasH on 12-08-2012, 10:22:10 PM

There are already enough creatures out there that a multicolour creature strategy will have an edge to other deck concepts. We cannot ban every overpowered creature Wizards will introduce in future. We have to deal with the fact that they want us to use creature strategies. Period. Even in Legacy creature strategies are Top tier nowadays. Accept it or start playing vintage or play group houserules.

No but u can ban the tutor's for the op creatures. It will have a much bigger impact than u might think, bc cards like Moat etc get much more playable again because the decks would have to run more than 1 spell on leg vs moat (and other permanents who punish creatures). Simply not having the perfect answer EOT with legs IS game changing.

I dont know but it was not a question to ban mystical/enlightened as winter orb/oath dominated the meta. But now that creatures dominate the meta you dont go to ban the tutors? That doesnt make any sense.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Dreamer on 13-08-2012, 12:49:49 AM
If anything, we should be striving to keep as much playable tutoring and card sifting tools in the format as possible. Over the years it's started to dawn on me that the very reason I find decks like Pattern-Rector enthralling is that you really feel like you are in control of your own deck instead of the deck and your inner valubot playing the game for you. That feeling of staring down a stupidly hard board, having naught but Demonic Tutor in your hand, initial search coming up empty but then finally finding a single unassuming card in your deck that temporarily defuses the situation is priceless.

The tutors also help in constructing decks with an actual game plan, especially combo decks and quirkier control-oriented things, because you can emphasize otherwise-rare effects a bit. They surely also benefit goodstuff decks, perhaps even more so than plan decks (if this kind of claim makes any sense), but killing the tutors does not kill goodstuff, because the heart of goodstuff is individual card power instead of some adherence to a plan.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Maggot on 13-08-2012, 03:14:39 AM
Regarding Transperancy I really like the explaining texts regarding Banlist and Watchlist changes.

I would like to see a "header text" for the Highlander format. While most format "veterans" know the vague standpoint of the council this would be a great benefit for newer players, so that those players can read the text and attain the basic concept of the format and the boundaries the council has set for the format. This header should provide an answer to a couple of format concerns:

- Reason for the exitance of the spoils mulligan
- How big should the role of "pure" combo be in the format?
Is combo allowed only as a fringe archetype or would it be okay as a deck to beat?
- How fast (on which turn?) are decks allowed to kill?
T1 kills okay? T2? T3?  
- What is the stance on unfun cards?
- Are there Banning principles regarding old and powerful cards?
Possible examples: draw 7 spells; 1cc tutors; fast artifact mana

I would also very much like to see the Banlist and Watchlist texts expanded to all cards on the banlist and the watchlist. This would obviously be a lot of work but I strongly believe that well reasoned explanations would further bolster trust in the decisions of the council and the support of the format both. Those texts would also allow an easy entrance into discussion regarding an unbanning at a later time. Right now I have the feeling the council is only concerned about playstrength of cards on the banlist but the influence of a frustration factor, format coherence, and metagame shaping should also be strongly considered. Formulating a strict aim for the format (a header text) and written explanation for all problematic cards explaining the concerns of the specific card would be my dream for the future of the format.

posted by CristophO in March


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 13-08-2012, 12:52:18 PM
60 cards + sideboard? 80 without? I don't know for sure but I'd guess that there will be more diversity in terms of different deck streategies? I always bring this point because some time ago I made Highlander decks with just 60 cards and it seemed to be more interesting because it is possible to build decks around even small strategies (tribals for example did way better). just want to throw it in again : )

I can imagine that this could also be a possible improvement as you can focus on (or fight against) a certain strategy much better with only 60+15 cards. We should not disregard this possibility in our discussion.

This would certainly be the end for many casual cards, which I could accept by myself, but it will be the end of the Higlander format as we know it. I have no general problem to play a semi-competitive 60/1 Legacy format with sideboard.

No but u can ban the tutor's for the op creatures. It will have a much bigger impact than u might think, bc cards like Moat etc get much more playable again because the decks would have to run more than 1 spell on leg vs moat (and other permanents who punish creatures). Simply not having the perfect answer EOT with legs IS game changing.

I dont know but it was not a question to ban mystical/enlightened as winter orb/oath dominated the meta. But now that creatures dominate the meta you dont go to ban the tutors? That doesnt make any sense.

Even already horribly of topic I would like to comment.

Again, IMO banning of these two creature tutors might be correct but will not matter enough to make a change.

I would sign a banning of Worldly Tutor and Eladamri´s Call  :o as I think they have the same power level as Mystical and Enlightened Tutor. I would even also ban Demonic Tutor and Mana Drain because of power balancing reasons but this is another topic.

But in the end of the day multicolour goodstuff will STILL be the only Tier 1 deck out there. They will cut the "bad" tool creatures like Wickerbough Elder & Co. and add some Vindicate effects (back) in their deck and continue with their "play the best cards available" strategy. Sure there will be more situations where Moat & Co. can be good game then, but in overall it will not matter enough to "repair" the format and the tournament environment.

Quote
Regarding Transperancy I really like the explaining texts regarding Banlist and Watchlist changes. I would like to see a "header text" for the Highlander format
Thumbs up! Such "headers" would definitely help people to understand the format, its rules and decisions made by the council.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 14-08-2012, 11:25:49 AM
What would you think of unbanning some of the cards that might help the control decks? E.g. Balance, Mystical & Enlightened Tutor, Mana Crypt, Mana vault, Sol Ring...

All cheap mana sources such as Sol Ring or Mana Crypt would put this format too close to Vintage. They enable a lot of combos, but may fuel agro decks as well.

I personally play monoblue deck based on both High Tide and Mind over Matter archetypes. To make the deck consistent I use a lot of blue tutors, but:

Putting any spell on your hand, graveyard or even battlefield at instant speed at cost less than 4 is bit broken in this format. Thats something thats direcly in conflict with the slower nature of format.

The questions are how slow or how fast should the format be.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Ball.Lightning on 14-08-2012, 12:04:38 PM

All cheap mana sources such as Sol Ring or Mana Crypt would put this format too close to Vintage. They enable a lot of combos, but may fuel agro decks as well.

I personally play monoblue deck based on both High Tide and Mind over Matter archetypes. To make the deck consistent I use a lot of blue tutors, but:

Putting any spell on your hand, graveyard or even battlefield at instant speed at cost less than 4 is bit broken in this format. Thats something thats direcly in conflict with the slower nature of format.

The questions are how slow or how fast should the format be.

0cc or 1cc manastones without card disadvantage(like Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox) or restrictive like Mox Opal would break the format in half. Especially many games would be decided on the fact, who draws mana stone in opening and who don't. Balance is stupidly good card and would not improve the format. If current problem is agro, you certainly do not want to unban Enlightment Tutor as it serves as second Winter Orb. Control can fetch Moat or Humility, while agro has solid amound of answers to that. On the other hand control almost always die when Winter Orb resolves.

I would be fine with mystical tutor on the other hand. Yet it would serve as a removal of choice for goodstuff. 4c decks would propably not be eager to cast armagedon that much. On the other hand its value would be apreciated mostly by control and combo, which have now serious trouble. It might be too good (happy Terminus times ;-) ). If Y. will is unbaned to grant some chance to combo, I think it is safe to allow Mytical Tutor as well.

But yet again, this would not solve the problem itself (which is this thread about).


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 14-08-2012, 02:30:35 PM
I wanted to ask different thing... Who are the typical Highlander players?

1. Do They prefer long games?
2. Variable gameplay?
3. Do they have large card collection, or only "good" cards based on direct power level?

First we have to introduce a bit of statistics... We need to know who are the target players, and what they expect from the play...


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: pyyhttu on 15-08-2012, 11:52:11 AM
@Maggot and MMD regarding transparency:

Quote from: Maggot
I would like to see a "header text" [...] This header should provide an answer to a couple of format concerns:

- Reason for the exitance of the spoils mulligan
- How big should the role of "pure" combo be in the format?
Is combo allowed only as a fringe archetype or would it be okay as a deck to beat?
- How fast (on which turn?) are decks allowed to kill?
T1 kills okay? T2? T3?   
- What is the stance on unfun cards?
- Are there Banning principles regarding old and powerful cards?
Possible examples: draw 7 spells; 1cc tutors; fast artifact mana

Would it be okay if we deepened some of these explanations to the FAQ at http://highlandermagic.info/index.php?id=faq ?

I can take the ball on this, since I'm reviewing the contents of that page (and seeing that some of the entries there are already outdated). This could be targeted to be ready by the next ban/unban review (October 15th).

Quote from: Maggot
I would also very much like to see the Banlist and Watchlist texts expanded to all cards on the banlist and the watchlist.

We do have the regularly posted (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php?topic=790.0) reasonings whenever changes have been made. But if I read you right, you want the older card ban reasonings _also_ to be documented somewhere (Black Lotus, Fastbond, Tinker...)?


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: ChristophO on 15-08-2012, 01:57:26 PM
Hey pyyhttu,

I did the original post Maggot and MMD picked up in this thread. Maybe you did not even find it in the bloated forum structure. MMD also reposted it in this thread.

I would rather see a newwly written article as an introductory text similiar to the intent of this old german article/text:
http://www.magicplayer.org/?id=eskannnureinengeben

I also strongly believe that most of the features of the Highlander interset site needs to removed. There is a bloating of features that nobody needs and uses. There are still links to tournament results from 2006, there is a disfunctional german board where I tried to register two times but my application has never been worked out (I never received a mail to finalize account creation probably because nobody is doing that anymore). Nevertheless Frank demands that the forum be kept. I disagree strongly. All the old rubble needs to go so that new interested players do net get lost in this old stuff. This is what we need:

1) Starting page  with:
a)Introduction text about highlander
b) big quarterly news feed regarding bannings (with comment function)
c) tournament locator
d) link list on top with links to:
- Banned List (each card name containing a link to a written out explanation similiar to the banlist changes)
- Forum (like international forum but with maximum 6 sub boards)
- Blog (I like this much more than Tabris games column to check out a deck. Maybe there should be a blog entry for each deck feature article. Once my computer has been fixed I will try to skype with Tabris regarding this topic)
- FAQ/Search/copyright/disclaimer stuff

Especially we should just get rid of a dual presence in both english/german. Instead the translation of the english newsfeed could be posted in the announcement subforum in a collection thread (one for each language that our community supports).

This would obviously be a lot of work but I think that is what I would aim for if I were to make decisions here. We need to debloat and streamline. The web presence is user unfriendly because english/german presence is not the same (which makes the updating process a troublesome work I guess) and there are is too much unnecessary stuff. People I have talked acutally did not find banned list, forum etc. and instead got lost on the web page and therefore maybe did not join our community!



Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: SirGalahad on 15-08-2012, 03:00:09 PM
This is what we need:

1) Starting page  with:
a)Introduction text about highlander
b) big quarterly news feed regarding bannings (with comment function)
c) tournament locator
d) link list on top with links to:
- Banned List (each card name containing a link to a written out explanation similiar to the banlist changes)
- Forum (like international forum but with maximum 6 sub boards)
- Blog (I like this much more than Tabris games column to check out a deck. Maybe there should be a blog entry for each deck feature article. Once my computer has been fixed I will try to skype with Tabris regarding this topic)
- FAQ/Search/copyright/disclaimer stuff

i think many player don't know where & when nearby tournaments in germany are.
i can only talk from my view, in braunschweig, there 4x local tournaments every year.
mostly there are ~12-20 players, entry fee is only 5€ and the prices are always nice and highlander staples (fetches, duals, shockduals, engl. karakas, ....). but the main problem is, the most players in the nearby citys (hannover, wolfsburg, osnabrück, oldenburg, göttingen) don't know this tournament-series exist!

Two really good posts here, that finally got me posting here, too. I think, Christoph really pointed out the things, that have to be done about the magicplayer.org-page, if this page is to support the format and the tournament scene in a proper manner.

But the big thing in my opinion is the knowledge about tournaments and other players. Like cron said, players don't know, where and when tournaments are and where other players are. The playgroups are not linked with each other. For example, i didn't know about the tournaments in Braunschweig, although they aren't much further away than the tournaments in Iserlohn were. I didn't know there were players in Osnabrück, although i was there for some FNM-playing. The solution for this point has to come from the community itself. The players and organizers have to be more communicative. If we post more on the boards about our activities, more players will know about it and can join in.

So i think, you can rework the mainpage, the forum and the banned-list - why does everybody and his mother have to talk about the list in this thread? - but you will solve none of the problems, if the people don't talk about tournaments and playgroups and are willing to join and get connected with each other.

And a last point: Ask yourself how many monthly tournaments you want to play. If the answer is not more than one, you got another point, why smaller tournaments are decreasing. If there aren't grinders, who try to play three to four tournaments each month - if they know about and can reach that many - then there will be no big increase in participants, no matter what you do about it. Me for example, i could reach Iserlohn (now Dortmund), Braunschweig, Dülmen (if there was still highlander) and maybe something like Bochum (where many tournaments were thx to Frank's initiative), but because of limited time, i'm sure i would attend a maximum of three in two months, say about 1,5 per month in average.

So guys, don't waste time discussing the banned list, as bad as it may be, or big changes to the format, but go out and try to reach other players. First date for this could be the tournament in Dortmund this saturday. (http://auenland.de/?page_id=703)

edit: And if you really want to know, why so few players from the competitive scene join in on the highlander format, all players i talked to over the time - not a few from the german tournament scene - told me two points: awful mulligan and unbalanced banned list. (now i talked about the banned list myself  >:() These are the two things, that hold the most players from trying out the format.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Tabris on 15-08-2012, 03:26:29 PM
Good points Christoph, as usual a sharp analysis. I agree with you on the much needed updates for the site. Some time ago I was making some content for the Highlander Blog and was speaking with Vazdru and Stefan (which is more or less our technical admin for the board) about improvements for the blog and forums.
Somehow we were not able to implement the ideas we had. I hope this second attempt will be fruitful.

Clarity on the forums/site should be our first priority. So much people told me they were not able to find anything here. The board structure is just horrible.

If we want to keep the blog I surely need assitance. I have no problem with posting articles or other content people will send me. Like Kassow Rossing did with his Oath-Primer. I did some articles by myself with metagame analysis and reports from the Grand Prixs or some Deckprimer but now with my weekly column I dont have the time to produce content for both sites (I agree that a deckbase or locked threads are much easier to find than my decks on the Magic Universe site, thats why I post it here on the decklist board, so people can browse trough the post (not optimal but better than nothing))

@Galahad: Do the people tell you what specific aspects(cards) they find unbalanced on our bannedlist?(I am assuming they dont play the format bc of mulligan+bannedlist?)



Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: berlinballz on 04-10-2012, 01:24:50 AM
Hey everyone,

I've really enjoyed the discussion. Very interesting to hear from different people what they feel causes declining participation. After returning to the game a few years backand playing standard, limited and Highlander, to me it's obvious that Highlander is by far the most enjoyable format for numerous reasons and deserves any push we can give it, I have some ideas of my own.

One thing I kept reading, which really has me wondering though is the "5c aggro rules, I am a sad control-clown" argument.

Maybe I have it totally wrong, but I am from Berlin and I just don't see it.What I see is Tabris dominating week after week with only control and combo builds. And not just him. I've top-eighted a few times with zoo, I am
no complete newbie and I think maybe everyone needs to take a long hard look at whatcontrol has been getting in the last few sets and is about to get. Just of the top of my head, this is what comes to mind:

Dungeon Geists
Geist of Saint Traft
Snapcaster Mage
Entreat the Angels
Bonfire of the Damned
Runechanter's Pike
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Baleful Strix
....probably forgot a bunch of stuff.

about to get:

Detention Sphere
Supreme Verdict
Azorius Charm
Jace, Architect of Thought

what has aggro gotten lately? Come on you control-guys. Make me call for bans. I'm aggro, midrange at most.
Bring it :)





Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Kristian on 04-10-2012, 09:54:21 AM
Berlinballz,
It's the inherent consistency of aggro that's the issue compared to control. Around here (Denmark) people play 3-4 colour aggro for most success packaged with distruption (discard/land destruction - Hymn to Tourach, Gerard's Verdict, Duress, Thoughtseize, Inqusition of Kozilek, Vindicate, Sinkhole, Wasteland and more), that coupled with plenty of good tempo and card advantage (quality and/or quantity) creatures/planeswalkers (Bloodbraid Elf, Stoneforge Mystic, Elspeth Knight-Errant, Ajani Vengeant etc.), makes it hard for control to contend. I'm not syaing you can't win as control, but it's unfun when you consistenly lose to quicker decks.

I've transitioned into EDH/Commander, simply because I enjoy the control archetype (for Commander) more and I have the cards for building mostly any deck I want.

What I think kills the format (along with it being aggro-centric), is the lack of innovation. We simply have no rapid influx (and possibly outflux) of new cards. Unlike standard, we don't have a rotation of sets.

ADDENDUM:
Also, of the cards you list, Geist of Saint Traft and Snapcaster mage are great to devastating in aggro. Dungeon Geists and Tamiyo, the Moon Sage I haven't tested, but I suspect they might be too slow. Bonfire of the Damned and Entreat of the Angels could obviously be good in control and works well with tutors to top, however, they're also more of topdeck cards (miracle) than purposefully playing well, add to that, nigh useless if you draw them out of situation (starting hand or turn 1 to 3). Baleful Strix is good for any control deck that can run him.

Of RTR, Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict are great. Azorius Charm needs to be tested, it can be problematic with etb creatures and cascade. The new Jace isn't worth it, for 4 mana, he doesn't do enough.

One thing that haven't been addressed. You NEED to play creatures, even when you play control. In order to be somewhat succesful against aggro (weenie, tempo and midrange), you have to run creatures like Flametongue Kavu, Shriekmaw, Lone Missionary, Eternal Witness etc. simply because of the effectiveness of having blockers and etb effects (the spells on legs issue). I often couple this with an Recurring Nightmare engine simply because of the power of the cards. I consider this an issue because it locks in a larger part of your deck when you construct a control deck. It's not an option, it's a necessity.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: berlinballz on 04-10-2012, 02:00:13 PM
I don't agree with you on quite a few things, so I will argue a little for the good of HL.

It's the inherent consistency of aggro that's the issue compared to control.

If by "inherent consistency" you mean aggro drops creatures and acts during there turn constantly...while control doesn't... then you have just described the difference between the two concepts. Aggro constantly does stuff, control doesn't, waits, then wins.

Let me repeat again: I think control can win now, it has the tools. You mentioned that Highlander has no quick rotation of card pool, but I actually think that is the beauty of it. You really have to look into the metagame and the impact of changes and cards and then it might take a while before you realize potentials. I think people are stuck on the perception of Aggro being dominant, but it's outdated.
ADDENDUM:
Also, of the cards you list, Geist of Saint Traft and Snapcaster mage are great to devastating in aggro. Dungeon Geists and Tamiyo, the Moon Sage I haven't tested, but I suspect they might be too slow. Bonfire of the Damned and Entreat of the Angels could obviously be good in control and works well with tutors to top, however, they're also more of topdeck cards (miracle) than purposefully playing well, add to that, nigh useless if you draw them out of situation (starting hand or turn 1 to 3). Baleful Strix is good for any control deck that can run him.

Of RTR, Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict are great. Azorius Charm needs to be tested, it can be problematic with etb creatures and cascade. The new Jace isn't worth it, for 4 mana, he doesn't do enough.

One thing that haven't been addressed. You NEED to play creatures, even when you play control. In order to be somewhat succesful against aggro (weenie, tempo and midrange), you have to run creatures like Flametongue Kavu, Shriekmaw, Lone Missionary, Eternal Witness etc.
I don't wanna get into every detail about the single cards, cuz I think it's a bit off-topic. You are right, control does need some creatures, but that doesn't stop it from being draw-and-go and controlling and sweeping.

Lastly, I will just comment on two cards you just rated:

@Dungeon Geists: Play it.
@Snapcaster Mage: Nobody said this card was bad in aggro. But it has written control all over it. Just the amount of instants and sorceries in those decks makes it infinitely better than in aggro-strategies. EOT if you want.
@Jace, Architect of Thought: How do I put this nicely? Saying this Jace isn't worth 4 Mana is just completely wrong.

I really enjoy looking into the potential of cards, which is why I love Highlander's slow meta and endless diversity of play-situations. Jace, Architect of Thought is the perfect metaphor for people saying Control is weak right now. It's wrong. It's just something that's easy to say. Card is sold out at 39$ on starcity by the way. For good reason.

Please do return to playing Highlander.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Kristian on 04-10-2012, 02:43:41 PM
I don't agree with you on quite a few things, so I will argue a little for the good of HL.

It's the inherent consistency of aggro that's the issue compared to control.

If by "inherent consistency" you mean aggro drops creatures and acts during there turn constantly...while control doesn't... then you have just described the difference between the two concepts. Aggro constantly does stuff, control doesn't, waits, then wins.
That isn't the point I'm trying to convey. By inherent consistency I mean that they have many parts that can replace eachother, a plethora of threats that can act as other roles too. Everything from acid slime, quasali pride mage and harmonic sliver (enchantment/artifact removal), to Dark Confidant and Stoneforge Mystic which both provide card advantage and beat face in.

Let me repeat again: I think control can win now, it has the tools. You mentioned that Highlander has no quick rotation of card pool, but I actually think that is the beauty of it. You really have to look into the metagame and the impact of changes and cards and then it might take a while before you realize potentials. I think people are stuck on the perception of Aggro being dominant, but it's outdated.
And I believe that assertion (control having the tools to compete) is wrong. I've played and followed the format since I discovered it in march 2007 (http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/feature/393). While we are gradually seeing more control cards, it can't compete with the spells on legs and general optimization of the creatures Wizards have been printing. Turn 4 answer is often too late in our meta. Also, with regards to the stagnant format and fixed card pool, it allows for exhausting card options and thus leads to a somewhat stale format. This also applies to legacy in a lesser degree, however, with their 60 card size decks and "up to 4 of" option, they can let new cards have a bigger impact than highlanders 100 card deck size and "1 of" rule.

ADDENDUM:
*Snipped for simplicity*
I don't wanna get into every detail about the single cards, cuz I think it's a bit off-topic. You are right, control does need some creatures, but that doesn't stop it from being draw-and-go and controlling and sweeping.
Induvidual card evaluation is relevant to this discussion when being brought up as examples and arguements. Furthermore control doesn't need some creatures. They need alot of creatures in highlander.

Lastly, I will just comment on two cards you just rated:

@Dungeon Geists: Play it.
@Snapcaster Mage: Nobody said this card was bad in aggro. But it has written control all over it. Just the amount of instants and sorceries in those decks makes it infinitely better than in aggro-strategies. EOT if you want.
@Jace, Architect of Thought: How do I put this nicely? Saying this Jace isn't worth 4 Mana is just completely wrong.

I really enjoy looking into the potential of cards, which is why I love Highlander's slow meta and endless diversity of play-situations. Jace, Architect of Thought is the perfect metaphor for people saying Control is weak right now. It's wrong. It's just something that's easy to say. Card is sold out at 39$ on starcity by the way. For good reason.

Please do return to playing Highlander.
Dungeon Geists dies to Lightning bolt, Incinerate, Searing Spear, Lightning Helix, Go for the Throat, Swords to Plowshares and Patch to Exile and can thus be too easily negated unlike creatures as Loxodon Hierarch, Obstinate Baloth and Flametongue Kavu or planeswalkers like Sorin, Lord of Inistrad, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Ajani Vengeant. All of these yield instant reward in the form of card or tempo advantage, however some of these can also be used effeciently against control. Snapcaster Mage is more tempo/aggro than control. The new Jace might buy you a turn but I sincerely doubt that it'll be good enough for competetive highlander. It's high cost is due to it being a mythic rare, hype and possible viability in standard. Those are the good reasons, not it's possible semi-viability in highlander.

On a related note, other tactics that I've found somewhat worthwhile are land denial (Wasteland-Dust Bowl/Crucible of Worlds-Life from the Loam, Vindicate, Avalanche Riders and Goblin Ruinblaster) and discard used to protect your own answers to his threats in form of the same discard package as aggro employ.

Edited for additional point about stagnant format and typo.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: tonytahiti on 05-10-2012, 12:04:45 AM
when we talk about "control" we gotta be precise what we are talking about. for me, there is something in between "aggro control" and "do nothing till turn 4"-control. yes, a competitive deck in Hl needs creatures, creatures are the best cards and the "main" cards in magic and it should be that way. they supply answers and "ask questions". so it depends, how many you run, 20-40 is what I have seen in competitive decks. 20 being control..25-30 mostly aggro control/maybe some midrange, and then 30+ is mostly aggro. the thing, in my opinion, there are about 20 creatures that really really stand out (in a vacuum, without any context given, not gonna list them), so the argument "more creatures, the better" does not apply, since then spells come close to the power level/efficieny level of those creatures (20th best creature and going up).

creatures have gotten a power creep, yes, thats also true, but i'd like to argue, as berlinballz already pointed out, that some creatures that can be gamebreaking are more suited for control. stoneforge mystic ist better in uw control than it is in 4c, that is a fact. cawblade dominated the meta, cause you never had to tap out, let your batterskull or feast and famine do the work, be proactive and reactive at the same. there are more examples. snapcaster mage also way better in control then in aggro. while it can be argued that it was a tempo card in standard you gotta realize this was only due to the fact that we had vapor snag. in highlander snapcaster does not gain much tempo in 4c and 5c decks, since the only way to gain tempo, is removing a creature for cheap. there is lightning bolt, path and swords, thats nothing in a 100 card format. so the flexibility and diversity of spells to flashback is what makes this card insane, and thats given in a control deck, with lots of instants and lots of options. to be honest, in some 4c, 5c decks, the ones that run like 15-18 instant/sorceries, i have seen snapcaster being stranded in there hand, its a 2 mana 2/1 flash creature, that gets them value later in the game but has nothing to do with a tempo play. dungeon geist is a very good creature, and the "it dies to bolt" or "it dies to searing spear" (what? what besides rdw plays that) is not a valid argument. sower of temptation dies to bolt and that is as much of as staple as a card can be. playing against aggro, they likely tap out on turn three, given you were on the play, a turn 4 dungeon geist does slows them down significantly, cause their biggest thread is locked down and if they wanna bash through your dungeon geist they gotta remove it (which might cost them the turn/half the turn). its a very good card and not even close to being "too late".


besides all the cards berlinballz listed, control got lingering souls, which buys TONS of time. additionally, esper for example now has 4 sweepers and i wonder how aggro ever has a good match up against a deck with 4 maindeck sweepers (if you decide to ever play all 4).

imagine this hand from esper control (not a nut draw): 3 land, counterspell, inquistion of kozilek, go for the throat, dungeon geist/sower. how does this have a bad matchup against aggro? of course you cant fill your deck with bulky, clunky spells, but there are good, efficient spells to build a control deck that is absolutely competitive.

one word on jace: i am getting tired of people saying he "does not do enough". its a fact that he is very good when you actually tested him or read about him. yes, planeswalkers are hard to evaluate, but knowing that statements like that should be hold back until you actually played with him. i did, and yes he is very good and yes he will be played in highlander.



Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Kristian on 05-10-2012, 09:42:56 AM
when we talk about "control" we gotta be precise what we are talking about. for me, there is something in between "aggro control" and "do nothing till turn 4"-control.
There is obviously different types of control. But given highlander's construction as a format, the third wheel of the archetype "combo" has been left out, leaving control to keep aggro in check. So far have I yet to see any tier 1 control deck. I'm not saying they can't be succesful when piloted right, but that you're behind already before the game starts due to a higher inconsistency when compared to aggro decks. This is kept more in check in other formats with the rules allowing for more consistent deck construction.

yes, a competitive deck in Hl needs creatures, creatures are the best cards and the "main" cards in magic and it should be that way. they supply answers and "ask questions". so it depends, how many you run, 20-40 is what I have seen in competitive decks. 20 being control..25-30 mostly aggro control/maybe some midrange, and then 30+ is mostly aggro.
Merely looking at the quantity of creatures isn't enough, thre's also the mana curve, card roles and gameplan which matters greatly. Furthermore, if you by aggro-control refer aggro with distruption then it's tempo, which is still an aggro deck.

the thing, in my opinion, there are about 20 creatures that really really stand out (in a vacuum, without any context given, not gonna list them), so the argument "more creatures, the better" does not apply, since then spells come close to the power level/efficieny level of those creatures (20th best creature and going up).
This doesn't respond to my arguement about the consistency of having a significant amount of multiple answers that also can double as other roles. Control can do this too with running Damnation, Day of Judgement and Wrath of God, however, there is less diversity when it comes to spells. Counterspells is one of the few exceptions, but the inherent weakness in counterspells is that they can only answer in a short time window (when the spell is on the stack).

creatures have gotten a power creep, yes, thats also true, but i'd like to argue, as berlinballz already pointed out, that some creatures that can be gamebreaking are more suited for control.
And I have not contested that. Baneslayer Angel is a good example of a creature being better in control than in aggro.

stoneforge mystic ist better in uw control than it is in 4c, that is a fact. cawblade dominated the meta, cause you never had to tap out, let your batterskull or feast and famine do the work, be proactive and reactive at the same. there are more examples.
I would like to see you demonstrate it if it is a fact as you claim. Cawblade dominated standard (and was played to a lesser extend in legacy), a format which enjoyed all the benefits of the higher consistency for all archetypes. The lesser consistency in highlander means that you can't rely on single spells and thusly the equipment package is less useful when played in a control deck while an aggro deck has a higher rate of benefitting from drawing an equipment. On a related note, it's my experience that Stoneforge Mystic is vastly better in midrange aggro compared to weenie aggro, simply because it allows midrange to combat weenie more efficiently on creature quality while benefitting from equipments, then again Stoneforge Mystic can lead to onesides games due to it high card quality and enabling.

snapcaster mage also way better in control then in aggro. while it can be argued that it was a tempo card in standard you gotta realize this was only due to the fact that we had vapor snag. in highlander snapcaster does not gain much tempo in 4c and 5c decks, since the only way to gain tempo, is removing a creature for cheap. there is lightning bolt, path and swords, thats nothing in a 100 card format. so the flexibility and diversity of spells to flashback is what makes this card insane, and thats given in a control deck, with lots of instants and lots of options. to be honest, in some 4c, 5c decks, the ones that run like 15-18 instant/sorceries, i have seen snapcaster being stranded in there hand, its a 2 mana 2/1 flash creature, that gets them value later in the game but has nothing to do with a tempo play.
I'm not contesting that Snapcaster Mage can work in control. Snapcaster Mage still allows for tempo plays, but also for amplifying other resourcedenial tactics (discard spells such as Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, Duress, Hymn to Tourach etc. and spot removal such as Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, Lightning Helix, Sinkhole, Vindicate etc.). It's effeciency is bare far not excluded from aggro decks.

dungeon geist is a very good creature, and the "it dies to bolt" or "it dies to searing spear" (what? what besides rdw plays that) is not a valid argument. sower of temptation dies to bolt and that is as much of as staple as a card can be. playing against aggro, they likely tap out on turn three, given you were on the play, a turn 4 dungeon geist does slows them down significantly, cause their biggest thread is locked down and if they wanna bash through your dungeon geist they gotta remove it (which might cost them the turn/half the turn). its a very good card and not even close to being "too late".
Why is it not a valid arguement? The other cards I listed still provided a benefit EVEN if being removed instantly in EOT. Furthermore, I listed a significant larger list of removals (which all see play in the meta I used to frequent), please don't short it down and only responding to some of it instead of recognizing the point. Besides, it's also relevant for late game situations where you need an answer were you're both sitting on a low card count and playing the war of attrition. Also I would still rate Sower of Temptation vastly better simply because of the opportunities it provides. It has a better risk/benefit comparison because it allows for defense (and offense!) with the stolen creature provided you can defend it, unlike Dungeon Geists. Dungeon Geists still has 1 more power and toughness which also could be relevant, but it still doesn't address it trading 1 for 1 with a spot removal and leaving you open for attacks.


besides all the cards berlinballz listed, control got lingering souls, which buys TONS of time. additionally, esper for example now has 4 sweepers and i wonder how aggro ever has a good match up against a deck with 4 maindeck sweepers (if you decide to ever play all 4).
I've not evaluated Lingering Souls myself but would if I were to return to the format. While it has potential, it also has the chance of being "just" 4 1/1's for 5 mana which at certain times, which can be a problem.

imagine this hand from esper control (not a nut draw): 3 land, counterspell, inquistion of kozilek, go for the throat, dungeon geist/sower. how does this have a bad matchup against aggro? of course you cant fill your deck with bulky, clunky spells, but there are good, efficient spells to build a control deck that is absolutely competitive.
It's a neat hand. But picking specific hand combination is far different from playing the game. We're evaluating cards based on how they would perform on average over the course of many games and thusly it should be accounted for if it's good enough in situations where you're not under optimal conditions AND if the card is bogging down your deck by being too expensive compared to the average effect.

one word on jace: i am getting tired of people saying he "does not do enough". its a fact that he is very good when you actually tested him or read about him. yes, planeswalkers are hard to evaluate, but knowing that statements like that should be hold back until you actually played with him. i did, and yes he is very good and yes he will be played in highlander.
I might have misjudged the new Jace. He certainly is more effective when combatting the weenie aggro. Along with that he actually amplifies the effect of spot removal to the biggest threats. I'll have to see this one in action.

Which types of control do you think is more viable? UW? BUW? 4c? 5c? A fifth option? I could assemble one and see how it fare in my meta, this would take time though. The only cards I don't have for this is The Abyss and Moat. I do have stuff such as Mana Drain and all duals, shocks and fetches for the mana base.

Edited for typos.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Mir on 09-10-2012, 02:37:39 PM
There are two points of view which I saw in last weeks.

1. The format is considered to be slow
Hell YEAH! Thats it meant to be. This opinion is common for "Goodstuff" or agro players.

2. The format is considered to be too fast
What? Both at the same time? This opinion was put by control and combo players, who tend to play EDH now.

Bring those two groups on same tournament and it will not be much fun for both sides... And thats the problem.

EDH with more hitpoints makes standard agro strategies less viable and when I compare old control cards with the new ones - well... was there something similar to stasis last years? I dont think so.

What exactly people expect when they start to build 100+ card singleton deck?
- Wide variety of different cards
- Longer game time
- more and even unpredictable interactions between two decks

Well, some of people do. Some dont...


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: SpoCk0nd0pe on 18-04-2013, 04:42:14 PM
I think Highlander lacks diversity because 100 cards is just too much. It encourages goodstuff because many strategies lack the card pool to fill 66 nonland cards with singletons. Going 60/15 could diversify the format and probably attract more tournament players.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 18-04-2013, 05:54:58 PM
 ??? I like Highlander BECAUSE of the diversity 100/1 has to offer. I personally have no problem to built a 100/1 deck with a very liniar power level. Certainly some cards are superior to others but there will be no big difference in a 60/1 deck either. 60/1+15 will be a complete new format which could also be interesting but I think it will even suffer diversity.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: ZeSword on 22-11-2014, 11:18:56 AM
@MMD
Do you think what you say is still true nowadays ? I'm a French guy willing to start in Highlander, but if you think the format is coming to an end, maybe it's not worth it...

Anyways I just read that you managed to find Reports from early Highlander Grand Prix on the home page. I could find some information about these GP but not the decklists from Grand Prix I & II (I'd like to add them on mtgtop8 for the record), maybe you can help me by giving me the links ?

Anyway when I came to a local store at Saarbrücken, what they told me is that "Commander is for fun, Highlander is for competitive business". I also play Duel Commander (and don't see it as a "fun" format), and it's also difficult to have tournaments. When I see the list of upcoming tournaments here I think it's pretty good (even if most of the tournaments don't exceed 15 people)


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: MMD on 23-11-2014, 08:11:40 AM
At first I would like to thank you for your efforts to promote our format and your activity in this forum which still not very active beside the banning seasons. It would be great if Highlander would have a French Community in future as well.

Actually I think that things got better in the last months regarding tournament attendence. Also the "new council" is doing a good job lately IMO and as far as I can understand the name of the lately active council topic they are thinking of a revision of the homepage which will be a great deal for all of us.

So it seems it is just me an my small personal community which "dies" as we are getting older and life goes on. I see that other communities are stable (or even growing?).

I even think that this years HL Cup could probably top the last years player total of 131 players, but we will see. At least from my local player base we will come of with five guys, three of them usually retired from "magic life".

Regarding french Commander I understand that this is as competitive as Highlander (and unfortunately has a very similar player target group), just the regular Commander is non-competitive. With only one 1on1 Singleton format the other player base would be much bigger as I think the Highlander community would also enjoy French Commander but things are as they are.

Regarding the old deck lists, I will try to find something for you but I expect that they are lost.







Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: ZeSword on 25-11-2014, 12:51:56 PM
I've been sent a link for the decklists from GP 1 & 2. They weren't lost and are now on mtgtop8 (just missing one list from GP2).

I've seen that the Mannheim community is pretty active and has a monthly Highlander tournament. Mannheim is reachable from Saarbrücken (1h30) so I'll try to start Highlander with that community ! :)

Do not hesitate if you have some wish on mtgtop8, usually the webmaster tries to improve his website when necessary.


Title: Re: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...
Post by: Tabris on 25-11-2014, 02:51:07 PM
If you wanna test some decks and get a feeling for the format you can always play on cockatrice were a lot of players are available.

http://www.woogerworks.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=91 <-- client download but I guess if you play 1v1 commander you probably knew that already since there are a lot of people playing that format there.