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1  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / May 1st, 2022 - Ban and Watch List Changes on: 01-05-2022, 12:02:12 AM
May 1st, 2022 - Ban and Watch List Changes

Changes to the present banned list, effective 15/05/2022:

Banned:
•Underworld Breach
•Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Unbanned:
•Mind Twist

Changes to the present watch lists:

Ban Watchlist
• Dig Through Time*Removed*
• Intuition *New*
• Mind Twist *New*
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns
• Opposition Agent*Removed*
• Tainted Pact*Removed*
• Underworld Breach
• Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
• Urza's Saga

Unban Watchlist:
• Birthing Pod *New*

Single card explanation:

Underworld Breach
This enchantment has enabled one of the most powerful and resilient combo decks the format has seen. Although not putting up huge player numbers, the dominance of the deck, if picked up, was undeniable. Similar to the artifact deck that was powered by Tolarian Academy, the Underworld Breach deck led to undesirable and frustrating gameplay. While bans to the card Tolarian Academy itself and Thassa's Oracle were initially thought to be sufficient to cut back on Breaches powerlevel, the core of the deck proved to still be more than competitive enough. New additions like Urza's Saga and Lier, Disciple of the Drowned helped the deck to secure its spot at the top. Unmatched in raw speed (thanks to the fact that it basically runs Black Lotus as part of the combo), incredible adjustability to almost any situation on the board due to a plentora of tutor spells and the possibility to grind out opponents that overloaded on combo-interaction with backup plans like ThopterSword, Oath of Druids or Retrofitter Foundry made the deck a nightmare to deal with.
In our statement regarding combo decks in the format we emphasized that we not only want these decks to not go above a certain degree of speed but also to allow meaningful interactions and decisions that matter to the outcome of the game.
Unfortunately, after having monitored the situation for quite a while, we think that these fundamentals of the format are violated by the card in question.
It is therefore that Underworld Breach is banned!

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
This stabilizer turned every non-combo matchup into a grindfest due to the fact that Uro can not conclusively be dealt with by discard, counterspells or non-exile removal. Uro is engine, enabler and payoff in just one card. Including it in an UGx shell has basically no downside since it fuels itself while being easily tutorable. While other format staples have similar qualities, the inevitability of Uro puts it over the top. As soon as Uro is found by an UGx-player via draw, selfmill or tutoring, the game revolves around it and even if handled once or twice it will eventually win the game either by attacking or just by outvaluing the opponent. It often has an extremely smothering effect on the game by drowning the opponent in cardadvantage, while at the same time limiting the UGx players opportunity to make meaningful decisions, since very little is better than looping Uros. The combination of Uro/Oko/Life from the Loam emphasized these strengths of UGx to a point, where it was by far the "best fair thing you could do". We hope this banning will result in more deck diversity and lead the community to explore new, different, and exciting paths of deckbuilding.


Mind Twist
Similar to Umezawa's Jitte, we mostly got positive feedback on this card during the trial period. While some concerns were raised about frustrating gameplay experiences when on the receiving end of a Mindtwist we ultimately think that these situations will be few and far between. Mind Twist stays on the watchlist for now, in case we were to be wrong about this. However, we are confident that the results of the trial period are valid and there won't be reasons for unease.

Intuition
Intuition has been a powerfull tutor for a long time already and even enjoyed a short period on the watchlist previously for setting up strong interactions with cards like Sevinne's Reclamation. Then it was mainly used for cards like Uro and Life from the Loam in order to get card advantage from it. This was already raising eyebrows from players about the power level of this card, but with the edition of channel lands, it crossed the line into brokenness, at times essentially providing almost always 3+ cards. While not being that fast at 3CMC, it often turns into a powerfull shell for escapeing Uro as well as setting up for a lot more card advantage in future turns if paired with Loam/Channel Lands/Urza's Saga. Despite the current Uro ban, we want to keep monitoring this card and its interactions, so we decided to put it on the watchlist again.

Dig Through Time / Opposition Agent / Tainted Pact
All three of these cards have been on the list for quite a bit of time now. While all of them are very potent we don't think that any one of them is a cause for concern at the moment. We are therefore removing them from the watchlist.

Birthing Pod
With two bannings and one unbanning as well as the recent release of a new set there is already plenty of change happening in the format. While we might ultimately end up testing an unban of Birthing Pod we've decided that it would be best to run trials like this only after watchlist announcements (or maybe ban announcements without any other changes) as to being able to better assess the influence of a trialed card. For now we would like to hear your feedback about a possible unban of the powerful phyrexian artifact.


Contact us:

Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)

Next scheduled Update: 1st August 2022 - Watchlist update
2  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / February 1st, 2022 - Watch List Changes on: 01-02-2022, 01:00:26 AM
February 1st, 2022 - Watch List Changes

Changes to the present watch list, effective 15/02/2022:

Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:

Dig Through Time
Oath of Druids
Opposition Agent
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Tainted Pact
Umezawa’s Jitte
Underworld Breach
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Urza’s Saga
                                   
Unban watchlist:                                                  
Mind Twist *New*

Because we are testing Mind Twist for an unban (see next point Trial Period) we are putting the card on the unban watchlist.
If we decide not to unban Mind Twist after evaluating its trial period, we will remove it from the watchlist again (similar to how we previously dealt with Skullclamp).

Trial Period:

The following card will be unbanned from February 15th till May 1st 2022.(It will be default banned at that date unless it specifically gets unbanned):
Mind Twist


Single card explanation:

Umezawa's Jitte
This powerful equipment was unbanned with our last announcement after being extensively tested during a trial period. Because Jitte didn't prove to be problematic during either the trial period or the time since the unban we have decided to remove it from the watchlist as we don't expect this card to be banworthy again any time soon.

Mind Twist
We want to continue to give some cards that have been on the banned list now for quite some time a chance to reenter the format. The choice this time fell on Mind Twist as we thought the card to be least unfair. The general idea is, that Mind Twist only shines when it is played for 4 or more mana (Hymn to Tourach is the more efficient card at lower values!). However Highlander has become much faster over recent years. People play lower mana curves and a four mana spell that doesn't evolve your board has to be pretty good to be played. We think Mind Twist is still a good card, but we don't think that it is as much of a deciding factor in our game as it used to be some years ago.
We especially want to gather feedback on whether or not Mind Twist exclusively leads to "unfun" play experiences for the person casting it or the one being on the receiving end (games being decided by hitting either no relevant cards or all relevant cards).


To further improve the format and gain valuable information we need your input, worries and opinions on these changes and views on the format. Do not hesitate to contact any of us via private message or just start a topic in the forum.


Contact us:
Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)


Next scheduled Update: May 1st 2022 - Banlist update
3  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / November 1st, 2021 - Ban and Watch List Changes on: 01-11-2021, 01:00:54 AM
November 1st, 2021 - Ban and Watch List Changes

Changes to the present banned list, effective 15/11/2021:

Banned:
• Skullclamp

Unbanned:

• Umezawa's Jitte
• Secret Lair x The Walking Dead

Single card explanation:

Umezawa's Jitte:

A powerful equipment for sure, Jitte was deemed to be over the limit for a long time. But, in the days of fast, aggressive and powerful tempo decks, the initial investment of 4 mana to get the card going means it is not so over the top anymore. That's not to say it isn't potent. In fact beyond the 1st activation it is anything but weak. Still, during the trial period we got mostly positive feedback on this card and thats why we feel confident Umezawa's Jitte can stay in the format for now.


Skullclamp:

Clamp in testing was warping decks towards smaller creatures, tutoring and anti-clamp tech. We saw an uptick of Stoneforge Mystic and Steelshaper's Gift being played. Also Urza's Saga, as the newcomer of the format, was used for this. Anti-clamp techs saw various artifact hate and instant based removal being played.
The trial period showed that Skullclamp mostly wasn't healthy for the format because it was warping games, it was included in from a card advantage point of view, and it was also freezing the boardstates into an unfun holding pattern with little to no hope of out-tempo’ing or out-value’ing the card. This was most crucially evident in midrange on midrange matches where advantages gained from Clamp could not be compensated for by the opponent. At the same time, the card pushed out many decks that didn't have a chance to be competitive (in particular control decks that are already lagging behind) due to clamp being in the format.

As Skullclamp has proven to be too powerful for the format as of now we have decided to keep it banned as well as to remove it from the unban watchlist for the time being!


Secret Lair x The Walking Dead:

Back when we announced the banning of TWD Secret Lair, exactly one year ago, we cited feedback from the community and a player desired "protest effect" as reasons for our move.
Earlier this year Wizards declared that upcoming Secret Lair cards will have functional in-Magic printings as part of The List. While TWD was initially excluded Wizards has changed their approach since, stating that it too would see in-Magic printings! (Source: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/secret-lair-universes-beyond-update-2021-06-07)

The ban of the Walking Dead Secret Lair never happened due to power or in-game reasons. Because the original contributing factors for the ban have been taken care off by Wizards, we don't see any more reasons to keep the TWD cards banned. Therefore we decided that future "Universe Beyond"-cards will be legal in our format, too.



Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:                                              
• Dig Through Time
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns
• Opposition Agent
• Tainted Pact
• Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
• Umezawa's Jitte *NEW*
• Underworld Breach
• Urza's Saga
                                    
Unban watchlist:                                                  
Skullclamp



Additional Topics

Secret Lair Statement:

As stated above WotC announced future "Secret Lair// Universe Beyond"-cards will also see printings in regular sets or on the "List". (Source: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/secret-lair-universes-beyond-update-2021-06-07) Therefore they will be available much more easily and we decided that future "Universe Beyond"-cards will be legal in our format.


Trial-Period Feedback and changes:

We were satisfied with the Trial Period as an instrument to playtest possible unban candidates. As it was the first time, we applied this instrument, we now have the opportunity to evolve this tool and adjust it to the specific needs of our player base.

A large number of players were concerned, that the duration of the Trial Phase was too long. In the possible but hopefully not imminent case of the trial of a meta-breaking card, this would lead to an unhealthy metagame for a long period of time. Therefore, we decided to limit the Trial Period to three months. Some might be concerned that this time span is too short, but we felt that three months are enough to at least get a gist on the effects a possible unban will have on the format without influencing and possibly hurting the metagame for a long period of time.

Possible trial candidates are all cards mentioned on the Unban watchlist, emphasizing its importance. If you see banned cards you would like included on the Unban watchlist and therefore possibly tested in a trial period, please mention them in your feedback of your own Trial Period testing.

Furthermore, the Trial Period will be linked to the Watchlist announcements, giving us the possibility to react to the results of the testing and the community feedback in our upcoming Ban announcement. In this context we want to stress again how vital your input is in the further progression of our format.



To further improve the format and gain valuable information we need your input, worries and opinions on these changes and views on the format. So please do not hesitate to contact any of us via private message or just start a topic in the forum.


Contact us:
Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)


Next scheduled Update: 1st February 2022 - Watchlist update
4  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Trial unbanning of Skullclamp and Umezawa's Jitte Recap on: 06-10-2021, 02:27:20 PM
Hello Community,

time runs fast and it‘s been 5 month now since Umezawa’s Jitte and Skull Clamp are on a Trial unban. Time to recap and collect your thoughts about those two cards!
We would like to hear your opinions on them in our format. Should they leave again or should they stay? WHY should they leave or stay? What were your experiences with these cards (as a caster or as an opponent)?
It is important for us to get YOUR reason and not only a "yes" or "no" – vote.


So please give us feedback  here, on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/480610332544301), directly via PM or via mail (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com).

Best Regards

Rigero - HL-Council
5  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / August1ST, 2021, WATCH LIST CHANGES on: 01-08-2021, 01:02:17 AM
August 1st, 2021 - Watch List Changes

Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:
• Demonic Tutor                                                
• Dig Through Time
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns
• Opposition Agent
• Tainted Pact
• Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
• Underworld Breach
• Urza's Saga *NEW*
                                    
Unban watchlist:                                                  
• Skullclamp
• Umezawa's Jitte
• Thassa's Oracle


Single cards explanations:

Demonic Tutor:

The discussion about tutors in Highlander is as old as the format itself. After years on the watch list, we now decided to take Demonic Tutor from the watchlist. Tainted Pact will stay for now. This has the following reasons. First and foremost, we are quite happy with the banned/unbanned status of the tutors today. Of the really powerful tutors Demonic Tutor, Tainted Pact, Imperial Seal, Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Enlightened Tutor and Worldly Tutor, the latter two are of a manageable power level, because they create card disadvantage and their scope is somewhat limited. Demonic Tutor and Imperial Seal on the other hand have a maximal scope but are much slower at sorcery speed, which we deem also ok. Vampiric Tutor and Mystical Tutor on the other hand, are not only instant but the breadth of their scope pushes them over the top in terms of power level. Finally Tainted Pact is a somewhat complicated animal. It is instant and has a very large scope, however it restricts deckbuilding to a significant degree and some combos can't really make use of it because they risk to exile other necessary combo pieces. Our experience is, that Tainted Pact is ok in good-stuff decks however the printing of Laelia, the Blade Reforged and related effects prevented a majority for taking it of the watchlist too.

Urza's Saga:

Modern Horizons II introduced many powerful new staples to our format. A standout of these is Urza's Saga. Being a land makes it exceptionally hard to interact with, while generating a board presence and tutoring value engines (Retrofitter Foundry, Skullclamp), hate pieces (Relic of Progenitus, Pithing Needle) or combo pieces (Zuran Orb, Expedition Map, Grindstone). It finds inclusion in all archetypes and might be overly powerful in comparison to the rest of the format. The singleton nature of Highlander emphasizes its strength even more, being a land, threats and value in just one card.
We do want to watch its development closer and have the possibility to take action against it if necessary.

Thassa's Oracle:

In the last update we stated our vision of combo decks in the format. Therefore there is currently no reason to keep Thassa's Oracle on the Watchlist for the moment.

Other Topics

Discussion of Skullclamp and Umezawa's Jitte:

Half of the testphase of the unbanning of Skullclamp and Umezawa's Jitte is now over and at this point we would like to ask you how your feeling are about those cards in Highlander. For that reason we will start discussions here in the Forum as well as on Facebook within the next week and want to encourage you to tell us your experiences with those cards. Additionally, you are welcome to write any of us directly or use the council email for direct feedback.

Use of Proxies in European Highlander:

We noticed the recurring discussions about the use of proxies1 or playtest cards2 in highlander, as the price of decks and cards always increases. That’s why we need to state that we cannot decide for or against the use of those at all. The use of proxies is completely with the tournament organizers and these are usually bound to the specifications given by WotC.
The boundaries between proxies, playtest cards and counterfeits are partly fluid and subjective.
This means there is a possibility for store owners to lose their contracts if they allow those on sanctioned tournaments or even if people play with those in their store. Additionally, the harm of counterfeits3 is imminent and not only hurts the store but is also a legal offense that a tournament organizer cannot permit.

All in all we cannot give any regulations for the use of proxies / playtest cards in the format as we are not in charge here. And of course as we want to support our local games stores we cannot recommend to allow proxies or playtest cards on official tournaments. However, we want to support the use of playtest cards in any casual environment outside of a tournament.
And last but not least we want to distance ourselves from ANY counterfeits. Using, buying, selling etc these is a legal offense and we would never accept these in any tournament nor store environment.

1Proxies = a placeholder card given out by a judge as a replacement e.g. for a marked or damaged card during a tournament; only legal for this specific tournament; c.f.: Magic Tournament Rules 3.4 (status: July 23, 2021)
2Playtest cards = what players really mean if they talk about proxies; a placeholder for a card in your deck, not legal on official WotC tournaments
3Counterfeits = a fake card; something that imitates a card produced by WotC; Proxies and playtest cards that are not immediately recognizable as those are also included here

Dungeon-Mechanic in European Highlander:

Dungeons aren’t cards in the traditional sense, but are regarded more as tokens. They can’t go into your deck, and their main function is as a specialized progress marker. That’s fine in Highlander and they’ll work as normal. We take the very same stance on Dungeons as has been taken in Commander.

Contact us:
Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)


Next scheduled Update: 1st November 2021 - Ban & Watchlist update
6  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / May 1st, 2021 - Ban and Watch List Changes on: 01-05-2021, 12:02:03 AM
May 1st, 2021 - Ban and Watch List Changes

Changes to the present banned list, effective 15/05/2021:


Banned:
• Thassa's Oracle

Unbanned:

No changes

Unbanned for 6 Month Trial:

• Skullclamp
• Umezawa's Jitte


Single card explanation:

Thassa's Oracle:

Oracle was put on the watchlist in August last year when we wrote: "Right now it [Thassa's Oracle] is only seen as a sidekick (although a very powerful one) but in reality it has the potential to be the main gameplan aswell and we want to be prepared for that instant."
Since then Oracle, paired with Tainted Pact, has shaped the meta to a point where it slid into almost any deck that could cast the combo. The fact that the game-winning trigger can not be dealt with via creature removal narrowed the amount of playable interaction down to a point where blue based tempo decks had no longer to worry about their green based creature midrange matchups because those decks had basically become unplayable at the top level.
For it's continuous influence on wraping the meta we have decided to ban Thassa's Oracle.
For more information about our approach towards combo decks see the respective passage further down in this announcement.


Unbanning on Time:
We had once more a closer look at the banned list and the feeling grew, that some of the cards have been on the list for so much time now, that it is very hard to evaluate them in the current, much stronger, metagame. This holds for Jitte as well as for Skullclamp and to some extend also for Mindtwist. The idea, as announced in the previous Announcement, is the following.
As currently less competitive tournaments happen, we want to use this as a trial period for potential unbannings. This means the following cards will be unbanned for 6 Month until the next banning Period. The default for those will be that they get banned again after this time. Of course they will be voted again to keep them unbanned without limitation. Additionally be aware that non of those cards would have been unbanned in the normal procedure this time. Your feedback is required here to evaluate the influence of these cards and of course we want your opinion on the option to unban cards for a limited amount of time.

Skullclamp:
Creatures in play are a pretty valuable asset in contemporary Magic games and more and more cards, in particular creatures, provide card advantage just by themselves. Moreover wrath effects play a pretty minor role already. Combined with the fact, that Skullclamp doesn't provide an advantage in the crucial early game, we think that Skullclamp is weak enough to test her temporary unban. This said, we believe that Skullclamp is still a strong card, however not as dominating as 17 years ago.

Umezawa's Jitte:
While this surely is a strong card, creatures have become much bigger these days and hence you can't kill them as quickly. This is also a card, that might not find the way into your 15 creatures Uxx aggro-control deck, because you might end up without any creature on the board for some time. Finally answers in the form of Abrupt Decay and Assassine's Trophy are more present today. Overall, we think, we should give her a chance after all these years in the dark cellar.



Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:                                                  
• Demonic Tutor
• Dig Through Time
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns
• Opposition Agent
• Tainted Pact
• Underworld Breach
• Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
                                    
Unban watchlist:                                                  
• Skullclamp
• Thassa's Oracle
• Umezawa's Jitte


Additional Topics

Council:

Max / Bobz0rd leaves the Council. We thank him for the time and commitment that he has made available to us and we wish him all the best for the future.

At the same time, we are happy to announce our new Council member Justus/ hoylt, who has decided to join us from now on. Justus has been known for his regular tournament presence for many years. Beside of his current work on his podcast project he was particularly noticeable because of his always friendly and fair dealings with other community members. We looking forward to work together in the future and thank Justus very much for his support.


Tutors in Highlander:
The tutor topic is one of the longest ongoing discussions in the community. We discussed this topic intensively in the past few month and came to the conclusion that tutors belong to the Highlander format, even though its singleton approach on MtG. This means we dont think there is the need to ban more tutors and we want to focus more on other parts of the deck construction to keep balance in the format. In our opinion tutors that have the worst influence on the format are already banned, and currently there is no need to ban more in the ever accelerating deckplans. However, we will of course come back to this discussion every now and then and closely observe the influence of tutors, especially in the connection with combo decks.

Combo-Decks:
With the rising of powerful, fast combo decks we came to the conclusion that we of course want to keep combo decks in the format. However, these should not be combo's that are simple to set up, universally usable AND fast. This means we want to restrict "two-card combos" that can be reliably played in non focused decks and lead to wins reliably in the very first turns. As an example Thassa's Oracle combo can end the games very fast in addition to be playable in a lot of non-combo-focused decks. What we want to keep in the format are combo decks that on the one hand both need specific set ups and decks built around them to work and on the other hand allow for interactive games with decisions for both players.



We want to stress again that we need your input, worries and opinions on these changes and views on the format. So please do not hesitate to contact any of us via private message or just start a topic in the forum.


Contact us:
Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)


Next scheduled Update: 1st August 2021 - Watchlist update
7  MagicPlayer Highlander / Banned List & Rules / Re: In response to: February 2021 Watchlist Update on: 03-02-2021, 03:31:25 PM
First: Thank you for starting the discussion and the input!

Before I’d like to start answering on the points you brought up, I want to make sure that you’ll take these as what they are: my answers. I cannot and will not speak for the whole council and all opinions on cards or decisions are mine and may not be the ones of the council.

But let’s get started:

Birthing Pod:

Even though I see that Birthing Pod might open up possibilities on deckbuilding (especially on creature based combo decks), I think that unfortunately this is a card that only grows in power and never decreases at all. It’s the kind of ability that Survival of the Fittest has as well, with constantly tutoring, with no drawback at all. With more powerful creatures and combo-options getting released in nearly every set, the potential power just increases. At this point I want to remember the unbanning of Natural Order, which impacted the format heavily and was just banned at the next possible point in time. A thing that you might hear from me more than one time is that it unfortunately has only a few advantages for “fair” decks. However, “unfair” decks would gain a boost and this might not be the decks we want to push currently. Additionally, I dont think there are a lot more answers than there were before the ban. I doubt that adaptation to the decks would happen in a reasonable time frame, as this unfortunately is not the mind set  the majority of the players have.
Overall this card pushes: combo decks and may be some ramp strategies do you really think this helps the format?


Umezawa’s Jitte:


As an aggro / midrange player I’m quite afraid of this card, as this solely destroys these decks or makes it really unpleasant to play against. Some time ago we tested Jitte as well as Skullclamp on our FNMs, and (even though sample size was super small etc..) it was just as expected: every creature based deck trying to get jitte online as fast as possible to just destroy the opponent. I would also say it does not even help those decks against the problematic match ups, as in those it “just” increases the pressure, which usually you should have enough anyway. On the opposite no one stops powerful decks (like Tempo) to include this as well to bully decks that rely on elves.
Additionally, I dont think we have to strengthen stoneforge mystic at all. At least this cannot be a reason to unban Jitte in my opinion. Stoneforge Mystic had it’s time in the sun (until it got banned) and is still a good card in certain decks. And again the next good (maybe not broken) equipment printing may be just ahead of us with wizards releasing new sets at hyperspeed.
I think this would not help the right decks, as it just makes creature mirrors worse and is not as effective against others.


True-Name Nemesis:

Even though I also think that this card is not as powerful as other cards on the banlist, I’m not convinced that this card would help the format in any way. It is most of the time just one thing: annoying. And on this point you might just have to think about what this means to the community, as they might feel uncomfortable by playing against decks that include this one.  For me this banning is in a way similar to Sensei’s Divining Top, in the case that it is not banned because it is the most powerful card in the universe, but it influences the game in a way that (at least for a part of the community) is unwanted. That's why for me this is a difficult candidate to unban any time soon, as the feeling against this card has not changed and it’s not like this card creates a lot of depth to it as well.


Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against unbanning these cards (especially for a limited amount of time). However, I’ve not decided yet, whether I want this or not. I just see a lot less benefit from those, with looking at how people have reacted to these cards in the past and how these have the possibility to create unpleasant games.

At this Point: What is your opinion on Scullclamp? It’s a card that is named quite often as an unban candidate, especially together with Jitte as an “equipment package”.



Regarding the potential banning of cards:

First: Of course Oath of Druids is a broken card, and I would be the first to erase it from HL, BUT let’s think about it. As you just wrote Oath of druids is not played very often. I dont know the reason for this, but i assume it’s a mixture of a boring deck concept or people staying with their pet decks etc. However, not being played a lot and if played not dominating at all, is almost a guarantee to not get banned. I mean why take a decktype away from the format if it is played rarely and does not overperform? There is a reason that Oath of Druids is on the watchlist since like forever, cause (nearly) everyone is quite aware that this card is (sometimes) stupidly broken. I think the main question here is why does no one play if it is that strong?


Demonic Tutor:

This of course goes into the whole combo/tutor discussion, which was already mentioned in the announcement and should be heavily discussed in my opinion. My point of view currently is that even though Demonic Tutor is “clearly” the better tutor in comparison to Tainted Pact for example. I still would prefer to ban Tainted Pact as it has a smaller influence on the broad field of decks, and at the same time weaken Thassa's Oracle combo, without (hopefully) completely destroying it.
Overall I think tutors in Highlander are somewhat problematic as they are contrasting one of the main points of the format: to not have multiple copies of a card in a deck. However, tutors are also bringing stability into the format, by adjusting the variance. That’s why I think a strategy cannot be to ban all the tutors right away, but lowering the amount to adjust the deck diversity.

Especially with the discussion about strong combo’ in the format, in my opinion the focus should not be on “let’s ban DT it’s so broken since forever”, but on if this is the right way to adjust, while keeping the possibilities and cards that people love to play with in the format.


8  MagicPlayer Highlander / Official Announcements / February 1st, 2021 - Watch List Changes on: 01-02-2021, 01:00:12 AM
February 1st, 2021 - Watch List Changes

Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:                                                  
• Demonic Tutor
• Dig Through Time
• Intuition
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns
• Opposition Agent *NEW*
• Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
• Tainted Pact
• Thassa's Oracle
• Underworld Breach
                                    
Unban watchlist:                                                    
• Skullclamp
• Tolarian Academy
• Treasure Cruise

• Umezawa's Jitte


Single cards explanations:

Intuition
While Intuition continues to be a very powerful card that enables a lot of different game winning setups we do believe that it is neither too dangerous nor impactful enough to warrant a spot on the watchlist for now. We will however keep monitoring it's impact on the format in the future.

Opposition Agent
Even though this card was just printed lately, it caused quite some discussion about how interfering a card should be. We want to watch this card closely in the next period, whether it has a big impact on the format or just stays inconspicuous.

Treasure Cruise
The ban on Treasure Cruise aimed to weaken the powerlevel of all kinds of blue based decks but especially tempo and midrange builds that utilized the Delve mechanic to the fullest. As those decks still continue to perform at the top level while other strategies could closen the gap a little we don't think that Treasure Cruise will be reintroduced to the format any time soon. It is therefore removed from the watchlist.

Tolarian Academy
The potent artifact powered land was removed from the format with our last ban announcement back in November 2020. We don't foresee this card coming back into our format soon so we are removing it from the watch list.


Upcoming Topics

Tutors in Highlander:
Tutors were often discussed in the past and their place in the format is quite controversial. Some people think tutors are too strong and dominate highlander, especially with the arise of more competitive combo decks, some others think tutors are needed to keep variance in check, and others think tutors shouldn't be a thing in a one-off format at all. In the past tutors were always part of Highlander and therefore finding a common ground is a balancing act that needs a lot of evaluation. We want to emphasize discussion about this topic and request input from the community. This means please contact us in any form via Forum, Facebook or Mail. What are your thoughts?

Combo-Decks:
We know there are quite a some people, who are afraid of a combo dominance in the format. However, current reported tournament results (even though statistics are low because of corona) are not indicating a dominance of this archetype. Additionally, we want to make sure to not forbid combo decks or whole type of decks without a time to adjust. Instead we want to evaluate whether it would be more reasonable to weaken this kind of decks in another way. This is of course closely connected to the tutor topic. Here as well discussions are very welcome.
An example: Ban Tassa's Oracle or weaken the combo by banning Tainted Pact? Or neither of these since the meta will adapt anyway, and currently with few tournaments it is not the right time to decide?

Unbanning Cards on Time:
Since there are few tournaments happening in the past year, adaption on the meta and new cards may be slower than usual. Currently we are discussing and want to discuss with you, if this might be the right time to unban cards for half a year to test the impact on the format. Length, cards etc. will of course have to be decided at a later point, but we want to start the general discussion with you now.

Council member:
We are currently actively looking for more fitting members to add to the council. However, the process is rather slow, since we want to be sure to select people that not only want to, but also are able to fit into the team. Additionally, this means that we are not solely looking for representatives of region, but also on the ability to reflect the whole Highlander community. We like to encourage once again applications and recommendations and will contact these individually.



Contact us:
Forum (http://www.magicplayer.org/forum/index.php), Email (hlcouncil.eu@gmail.com)


Next scheduled Update: 1st May 2021 - Ban & Watchlist update
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