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15132 Posts in 1137 Topics- by 466 Members - Latest Member: Myscah
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 1 
 on: 28-08-2020, 01:48:25 AM 
Started by SpielRaumThrias - Last post by berlinballz
Hey.

Jan here, I was mentioned before. Thanks for all the effort, this is an interesting summary of the recent play during these odd times. While I must say that I actually agree with many of the observations you made and I think the summary of decktypes is pretty adequate and great to have, I still have some questions and some things I‘d like to point out.

One question that I hope can be answered easily: How many different players took part in the aforementioned tournaments?
This seems important to me. If we are going to try to compare this data to say the last Continental Cup (which is likely the highest level of competition our format has) with approximately 90 players and 7 rounds (so something like 315 matches, not counting IDs) it would be good to know how often players switched decks during the Corona age tournaments. Because switching decks does make a difference regarding play level ad well, since many players take months to really master decks.

Also I feel forced to state that with the little amount of play and possibility for players from all communities to join larger competitions in the recent months there might have never been a worse time in the history of the Highlander format to talk about or seriously consider bans. I understand the urge. And I also feel like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are very good cards that many people believe to be problems. Yet: Neither the Council nor the community (or God beware both together) have to this day any idea or outline as to why we should ban certain cards and what we want to achieve. We have also recently had a drastic mulligan change which in my opinion factors way more into the state of the format than banning ... say 4 cards. I personally believe it has made Highlander much more random and reduced the influence of skill on the outcome of games. But maybe that‘s what we want. Yet: The promised outline doesn‘t exist. We do not know why we do anything. Maybe most of the community enjoys more randomness. Maybe the best players have less fun with the new mulligan. Who knows? Maybe an eternal format needs to get over the fact that Blue is the best color ... because if we seriously try to weaken it, boy that might take a lot of bans. Either way: I hope we can find ways to broaden and tighten the competition even with this new Corona world we live in. I believe that to be much more urgent than bans and I will focus on it. For the meantime: If you haven‘t read it I can only point to my years-old attempt of an outline for the format again. It didn‘t consider a new mulligan that causes more randomness. It didn‘t factor in if this should be a casual and random or a skilled and competitive format. It should have. But until we know these things ... and have bigger sample sizes again, I am afraid any ban conversation is completely useless. I did enjoy the read and will read again though. Maybe we can just keep observing a little more for a while instead of pushing change buttons out of sheer helplessness. That would be my wish. Keep up the great work though. And I do hope to face that Oracle Breach (kinda fitting name to the state of the format actually) deck in full extent soon.


 2 
 on: 27-08-2020, 09:57:38 PM 
Started by SpielRaumThrias - Last post by SpielRaumThrias
There has always been a lot of discussion about the state of the Highlander metagame but the publification of not only one but two articles in the span of 24 hours that both tackle the subject, shows, that the topic is thought of and theorized about even more than usual.

This is not going to be another article about the direction the format is heading towards but rather a snapshot of what it already looks like right now. A lot of the trends that both Paul and Jan described in their respective articles, in particular the increasing share of the meta by blue decks, can already be seen in drastical fashion by taking a look at some of the most recent tournaments.

I have devoted some time to gathering data from the 12 CamLander tournaments (thanks Dominik for not only organising these tournaments but also putting the available data out there) as well as the 3 Highlander Masters Series tournaments that took place in Vienna this year.

(For some reason I couldn't attach any images so I uploaded them to my imgur account and put in the links instead)

My first step was to put in all the results from the 15 tournaments in an Excel sheet

In total, 195 Decks were submitted and in 61 rounds about 390 matches were played.
I know that there are a lot of different decks represented here but I still think this is a respectable sample size, especially if you group them into bigger categories.

https://imgur.com/a/p6Wu5iC (Picture of all listed decks, includes points and standings)

For quite some time now I have been arguing that the HL metagame can actually be broken down into 7 (really 6) major categories when it comes to decks. Therefore my second step was to lable the listed decks accordingly.

In my opinion the major categories are:

.) Decks that play the delve spells Dig Through Time and/or Treasure Cruise These are mostly tempo decks like Temur or Jeskai as well as Izzet Control. They mainly use counterspells as weapon of choice when it comes to interaction because they are the cleanest available answer no matter the question. They establish board presence via 1-2 threats and protect them with the aforementioned counterspells. Cheap Cantrips help them find their impactful and sometimes matchup specific spells. They are very good at trading up in mana while mostly trading 1 for 1 card wise in the early stages of the game. A resolved Dig Through Time or Treasure cruise is usually game over against any non blue deck as they'll have a hard time competing with this level of cheap card advantage.

.) Decks that play a proactive discard package of at least Thoughtseize/Duress/Inquisition 4C Blood, Jund or Mardu Aggro are the prime examples of this categorie, while slower, more grindy decks using Life from the Loam occasionally see the light of day as well. These decks rely on their discard to deal with problematic spells by stripping the out of their opponents hand before they can do them any harm. They are usually running a number of highly effective permanent interaction such as Abrupt Decay, Assassin's Trophy or Kolaghan's Command. They mostly seek to close out the game with either a Planeswalker or a powerful midrange creature.

.) Decks that play both packages There are some decks that fit into both category 1 as well as category 2 (so you could argue if this category is even necessary) and are doing a pretty good job of making use of both packages. The most notable example is Sultai Midrange which is capable of playing the aggressor as well as the defender equally well.

.) "Pure" Combo decks Although they often times also overlap with the first 2 categories, their goal to win the game and match is entirely different. Although they can win via several different card interactions, creature combat usually is not one of them. Decks like Storm, Academy and the latest addition Oracle Breach fall into this category.

.) RDW Most of the time mono coloured, in very few cases with a light splash. Oftentimes seen as the "fun police" of the format. As in: If you durdle around too much you will be taken out by this strategy. The most redundant strategy and therefore one of the most consistant.

.) Taxing Decks Some taxing decks actually also fall under the discard category so mostly this includes DnT as well as WW. The gameplan involves denying the opponent proper usage of their resources and finishing them off with a slew of creatures before they can leverage any kind of advantage.

.) Cradle Decks They deserve a seperate category when it comes to "combo" decks because of their reliance on creatures which means they can be interacted with but also win via a different angle. These are the classic Mana Elf into big baddy decks.

.) Others Any deck not falling into one of the above categories. Entries from the tournaments into this category inclued for example Naya Midrange and Bant Bogles

https://imgur.com/a/N9JzcWo (Picture of all decks labled according to their category)

An astonishing 50+% of the decks were running Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise, in most cases alongside Counterspells! Matter of fact, if you check the decklists from the last tournament in Vienna the average deck there [Not the average blue, the average deck!] was running 8 counterspells!
Combo and Discard decks add up for about 30% of the metagame.
This means that 4 in 5 decks (80%) fall into one of the first 4 (or really rather 3) catergories!

https://imgur.com/a/sgzUpZY (Metagame share per category)

Even without any further analysis this already screemed like an unhealty metagame to me, but I wanted to take a deeper look.
So I compared the expected amount of those decks to show up in the Top4 (or Top8 if the tournament had at least 16 participants) to the actual numbers.

https://imgur.com/a/AxJ8HfU (Decks in the winners metagame)

While decks of the first 3 catergories fare slightly worse than expected, decks from the bottom 4 catergories fare even worse.
The big winner is Combo with an overrepresentation among the top decks!
Thanks to the strong showing of combo, decks from the first 4 (really 3) catergories make up a whooping 87% of the winners metagame, compared to the 80% of the overall metagame!

https://imgur.com/a/AUcdACR (winners metagame percentages)

The bottom of the standings were a better representation of the overall metagame with numbers being very similar to the expected values.

https://imgur.com/a/bgq8Zxx (decks in the losers metagame)

Dig/Cruise decks as well as Combo decks were doing just a tad bit better than expected but those are in no way significant outliers when you take the samplesize into consideration.

https://imgur.com/a/kCl8Avt (losers metagame percentages)

Very short Intermezzo:
At this point in my analysis one outlier among the players caught my attention.
Since I don't wanna call anyone out, I am just going to call the player in question X.
X was participating in 6 tournaments where he managed to gathered only a total of 12 points. (an abysmal 16% of the possible points)
I usually don't like to remove specific entries from statistics like this but in my opinion in this case the evidence strongly suggests that the performance of the player and not the decks in question resulted in these stats. I therefore decided to continue my analysis without the inclusion of Xs numbers.


Once I removed X from the equation, the combo decks categories number shot up again! Not only was combo doing much better when it comes to overperforming and putting people into the Top4 (or Top8) but the low numbers in the losers metagame already indicate, that the archetype was doing very well overall!

https://imgur.com/a/5HbYpw0 (losers metagame percentages after removing X)

I concluded my analysis by adding up the points individual decks made over the course of the 15 tournaments and compared them to the points they could have made, which is basically another way to get a win %.
Finally I sorted them by win % and took a look at all decks with at least 3 entries.

https://imgur.com/a/sxaeTvi (Win % of decks with 3 or more entries MP1 is taking into account that multiple entries of the same deck can't all possibly win one tournament, while MP2 is removing points for rounds not played after a drop. % numbers are calculated with MP2)

Although the metagame appears to be about as hostile as it can get (with ~77% of the other decks running counterspells, discard or both), Combo still managed to put 2 decks into the Top4! From the 6 match losses Breach took in those tournaments all 6 happened against decks with counterspells.
Academy proofed once again that it is still a contender when it comes to winning tournaments.
With Sultai Midrange and Izzet Control 2 decks that pack delve spells to win the attrition game put up insane numbers as well.

Other decks over 50% winrate with 3 or more entries: https://imgur.com/a/mvhgvKK

My conclusion:

The metagame is wrapped around combo decks (that somehow still manage to win) and decks running delve card draw.
Especially Sultai is the perfect embodiment of what a competitive deck has to look like right now:
Discard - cheap threats - counterspells - Delve Card Draw to pull ahead once you have traded 1 for 1 long enough
Izzet on the other hand has Blood Moon and Back to Basics at it's disposal as well as the recent addition of Mystic Sanctuary (which was already discussed quite a bit by Paul in his article)

Non blue decks can no longer compete with the combo decks unless they overload on hate pieces which, for them, usually happen to be fragile, undersized creatures that fare poorly against the rest of the meta.

In my opinion it is time for changes that go beyond just banning one single card.
Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise are putting blue decks ahead of every other colour that is trying to win a fair fight while Academy and Breach have shown that despite the dominant number of counters and discard spells as well as the increasing number of hate cards out of blue decks, combo is still looming over the format.

 3 
 on: 01-08-2020, 12:30:16 AM 
Started by Dr. Opossum - Last post by Dr. Opossum
Watchlist changes August 1st 2020

Cards on the following list will be closely observed and are potential candidates for a banning on November 15th, 2020.

  • Demonic Tutor
  • Dig Through Time
  • Intuition
  • Mana Drain
  • Oath of Druids
  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Tainted Pact
  • Thassa's Oracle *new*
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Treasure Cruise
  • Underworld Breach


Cards from the following list are still banned but will be under testing for a potential unbanning on November 15th, 2020.


  • Skullclamp
  • Survival of the Fittest
  • True-Name Nemesis
  • Umezawa's Jitte


On the Ban watchlist:

Thassa's Oracle
In May this Year, Underworld Breach was introduced to the watchlist for enabling a new powerful combo deck that has been putting up good results in the Vienna community. On one hand, Oracle is used in the Breach Combo Deck as a finisher and an enabler of a second combo with tainted pact or demonic consultation. On the other hand, it has also made Hermit Druid a lot stronger than before. A powerful and resilient deck which is maybe flying a little under the radar at the moment. It is also very likely that Thassa's Oracle will enable a UB based combo deck by itself if Breach were to be banned in the future. Right now it 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.
To keep our options open we chose to add Thassa’s Oracle to the Watchlist, so that we can react accordingly to new developments.


Off the Ban watchlist:

Mana Drain
Mana Drain has been on the watchlist for a very long time. While it is still a very powerful and perceptively broken card, the number of times where Mana Drain is used to play game ending spells ahead of time has declined significantly with mana curves getting lower and lower.

The decks that can really abuse this spell to its fullest are mostly control decks which aren’t too well positioned right now. Getting rid of Mana Drain would hurt those a lot more than blue tempo decks, leaving them with only one unconditional hardcounter for two mana.

If we choose to weaken blue decks, our focus will be on the two delve spells Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time instead of Mana Drain. Thus we have decided to cut this card from the watchlist.


Off the Unban watchlist:

Survival of the Fittest
Survival of the Fittest, which has now been banned for 10 years, was put on the watchlist for a potential unban last year.
Back in October we wrote the following in our statement:

“Nowadays the meta looks quite different and it is doubtful if the powerful synergies of the past using Squee, Genesis or Reveillark are still viable in any way.”

Nothing has changed about this statement, as a slow and grindy game plan is under heavier attack than ever and probably not fast enough anymore to keep up with streamlined combo or tempo-oriented decks.
Though on the contrary, Survival of the Fittest would fit very neatly in these powerful creature combo shells like Hermit Druid or midrange green-based decks like Sultai or Temur. We think that, especially in combination with Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, the repeatable tutor function of Survival of the Fittest would push these already established deck types into even more powerful territories.
 
Having all of your silver bullet haymakers available while working as a combo enabler at the same time makes for too strong of an effect for the mere investment of 2 mana and could lead to frustrating games when playing against it.
Because power creep is especially evident with the printing of new creatures, the door has closed on a comeback of Survival of the Fittest into our format for now. We have thus decided to remove Survival from the watchlist.


True-Name Nemesis
True-Name Nemesis leaves the Watch list for now. The power level of this card is also a hot topic of discussion in the Council, but the trigger for this decision is rather questions like why a large part of the community is frustrated by this card and to what extent the current format would benefit from an unban. True-Name Nemesis showed us again that there can be many reasons for a ban. Nevertheless, we naturally try to keep the list as manageable as possible. Therefore we will reevaluate the topic around this card from time to time with you. Until then, we will focus on other format-dominant cards.


Other announcements:

Racism and card design

After intensive discussion, we decided to follow WotC's decision and not allow the following cards any longer:

  • Invoke Prejudice
  • Cleanse
  • Stone-Throwing Devils
  • Pradesh Gypsies
  • Jihad
  • Imprison
  • Crusade

We know about the bitter aftertaste that WotC's announcement brings with it due to the allegations that were raised against WotC itself. We want to emphasize that we do not see ourselves in the position to judge whether and which cards are perceived by someone as denouncing and hurtful, but we decide for the cards already listed that have been officially confirmed as cross-border and racially intoned to no longer recognize them as legal.

WotC's official statement, to which we hereby refer, can be viewed on the official website: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/depictions-racism-magic-2020-06-10


Council members

Thomas / Maqi has left a gap in the council that we are currently trying to fill. For this reason, we are in discussion with several potential candidates. Please note that we will take the time we need to make an informed selection in the best interest for the Highlander format instead of a rash decisions.

 4 
 on: 01-06-2020, 08:43:30 PM 
Started by Vazdru - Last post by Vazdru
the self-destruction of a flourishing singleton format ??

they banned 14 cards ... in less than 4 months
https://www.duelcommander.com/
 
at least a quite different approach to what happened in Highlander
dc community is partly quite irritated and frustrated
I wonder if they will have those 200+ touranments after corona-crisis again or if this line of action will lead to a shrinkage of the dc community

 5 
 on: 14-05-2020, 01:27:03 AM 
Started by SpielRaumThrias - Last post by SpielRaumThrias
This Friday May 15th 2020 is the official release date for Ikoria: Lair of Behemots and with it a lot of exciting new cards become available to play in Highlander.
A lot has been said already about future format staples, the Triomes, or potentially powerful cards like Fiend Artisan, the new Planeswalkers or Lurrus. I therefore won’t bother writing about these cards here because so much has been talked about them already and I don’t feel like I would be offering anything particularly new or interesting.
Instead I want to take a closer look at the Commons and Uncommons of the set that, in my opinion, will see Highlander play. They might not be as flashy as the Rares or Mythics but nonetheless will have an impact on our format.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 Ikoria Commons/Uncommons:

10.Ominous Sea
I am sure this card wouldn’t warrant an inclusion if it was just for the fact that you can make a big Kraken turn 11. Luckily, we have an abundance of card draw in this format and especially with cards like Time Twister or Wheel of Fortune Ominous Sea can unleash a sea monster rather quickly. The main reason to put this card on my list though is the interaction with Greater Good. If you happen to make one Kraken with Ominous Sea you will be able to draw your entire library and winning from there shouldn’t really be a problem.

9.Footfall Crater
This unassuming enchantment can speed up anything from reanimated fatties to Eldrazi that were put into play with Show and Tell or Oath of Druids. Personally, I will try Footfall Crater with Hermit Druid to win the same turn I play it.

8.Boon of the Wish-Giver
6 mana for sorcery speed draw 4 is on the lower end of mana-to-card output. Boon of the Wish-Giver has the huge advantage that unlike other late game card draw spells it is not being stuck in your hand early on because you can just cycle it for the very low price of one mana. It is also not vulnerable to graveyard hate or the diminishing returns of running multiple delve spells like Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise alongside Gurmag Angler and Tasigur. Quite the contrary, Boon can fuel these cards if you cycle it early and is therefore less of a burden on your gameplay.

7.Bastion of Remembrance
This is another nice payoff card for Aristocrats style decks. 3 mana for just one 1/1 is pretty expensive but the ability is not attached to the body which is quite convenient.
 
6.Memory Leak
3 mana is quite expensive for a discard spell but it has the added value of functioning as a piece of graveyard interaction and can cycle for just one mana if neither is needed. If you are up against a lot of combo and graveyard centred decks and want more interaction (and have already included Cling to Dust) Memory Leak might be the card for you.

5.Neutralize
Déjà vu. 3 mana. Quite expensive. Powerful effect. Cycling. Nice!

4.Migration Path
This is one of the better cards printed for ramp strategies like Scapeshift or Bant ramp.
How many more times are you comfortable with reading that cycling makes cards like this playable?

3.Easy Prey/Heartless Act/Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Okay, I am cheating a bit here because I am actually including 3 cards on place 3 but they are all removal spells so we are good right?

Easy Prey gets a nod because it is a removal spell that checks both the boxes for Deathrite Shaman as well as Scavenging Ooze. And you know, one last time: Cycling.

Heartless Act is certainly the one that will see most play out of the 3 cards. Although it sometimes will fail to kill Scavenging Ooze it is not limited by converted mana cost of its target and has a very neat interaction with your own Thing in the Ice!

Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor gives Blue Moon decks a nice removal spell that can take care of a resolved Planeswalker, something that can be troublesome to deal with right now. It is also a clean answer to cards like Kitchen Finks which is a nice bonus.

2.Call of the Death-Dweller
I am very excited for this card as it singlehandedly reanimates the Cephalid Illusionist + Nomads en-Kor combo. But even if you are not returning any combos (or you know, just Hermit Druid) it is a pretty powerful tool for any creature-based strategy as it provides card advantage and boosts your creature with a deathtouch and a menace counter!

1.Sprite Dragon
Even if this was a Top 10 Ikoria list with no rarity restriction Sprite Dragon would be on it. This is a cheap evasive creature that grows to epic proportions rather quick. I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing a LOT of this Faerie Dragon in the future!


With 7 out of 12 cards on my list having Cycling it is pretty clear that I rate this ability very high. Usually running situational cards can be a liability but when you have the opportunity to cash them in for a redraw their inclusion feels much safer.

Did I miss any major card you think is going to be viable in Highlander? Did I overrate something you think is not going to see the light of day in our format at all?
And last but not least: What are the Commons or Uncommons YOU are most excited about in Ikoria?

 6 
 on: 12-05-2020, 11:09:28 AM 
Started by Vazdru - Last post by EduardoBoxenhagen
Quote
Companions are explicitely not needing a sideboard according to WoC.

You got a source for that?

 7 
 on: 09-05-2020, 12:18:32 PM 
Started by Vazdru - Last post by Myras
I think you should delete the sentence "Companions require a sideboard". It's simply wrong information. Companions are explicitely not needing a sideboard according to WoC. It's Ok that you explicitely ban companions, even though I think it's just stupid to put something directely on the banlist and not on the watchlist. It forces player to move as they had to like when Planeswalkers were introduced.

I especially sticked to this format, because it was barely restricting anything and I strongly believe it being unhealthy blocking new mechanics in advance, even when they seem bad for a format. In my opinion companion (exception Lutri) are not a problem due to theire restrictions. And in addition they are a one time apperearance per game and are quite different from a commander.

I think it's only fear and lazyness driven to ban companions completely.


 8 
 on: 01-05-2020, 12:00:39 AM 
Started by Vazdru - Last post by Vazdru
Changes to the present banned list, effective 05/15/2020:

Banned:
                                              
No changes

Unbanned:
                                                  
No changes

Single card explanation (parenthesis -> voting result):

Although we ultimately voted for no changes this time around, there were 2 cards that came close to being banned and 2 cards that came close to being unbanned:

Tolarian Academy (Unban 3x / Ban 3x / Abstain 1x)

The artifact powered land has certainly been one of the most discussed cards for a banning for quite a while now. The deck this card lends its name to is capable of powerful starts and impressive turns where it sometimes draws multiple new hands of 7 cards and then wins with one of many different combos. We are aware that playing against this deck can lead to frustrating situations, where you sometimes have to sit and wait for several minutes while watching the Academy player do his thing before he finally finishes you off. At the same time we do want combo to be a viable archetype in our format and although the highest highs of the deck are indeed very impressive, we do acknowledge that Academy has its weaknesses. Especially blue based tempo decks, which are among the most popular archetyps at the moment, are one of the best tools to fight Academy.
We will continue to monitor the decks performance closely but for now Tolarian Academy stays unbanned!

Oath of Druids (Unban 4x / Ban 3x)

The second close contender for a ban this time is one of the most powerful enchantments in the format. Oath has always been good at cheating out big creatures for very little investment and sometimes you got that little extra value with cards like Life from the Loam. Now the best additional value you can get are flashback spells both printed last year from C19 and MH1: Sevinne's Reclamation and Echo of Eons. You now are able to put something like Fastbond and Crucible onto the battlefield while getting your Emrakul. Or you can draw a fresh hand of 7 cards on top of summoning your big creature.
Nevertheless Oath of Druids is not seing a lot of play at the moment, so we decided to keep it off the banned list for now.

Skullclamp (Unban 3x / Ban 4x)  

This card is the most discussed tool for pushing creature heavy decks, especially tribal decks like Elves or Goblins, into more playable territory. We decided to go with the community vote on this one and leave Skullclamp banned for now!

Umezawa's Jitte (Unban 3x / Ban 4x)

This card is also regularly brought up as a weapon for small creature strategies to go head to head with big creature decks like 4C Blood. Ultimately we think that Umezawa's Jitte will actually make creature-synergy decks even weaker by being able to pick off anything from mana accelerants to lords.


Current watchlists:

Ban watchlist:                                                    
• Demonic Tutor
• Dig Through Time
• Intuition *new*
• Mana Drain
• Oath of Druids
• Oko, Thief of Crowns *new*
• Tainted Pact
• Tolarian Academy
• Treasure Cruise
• Underworld Breach *new*
                                    
Unban watchlist:                                                    
• Skullclamp
• Survival of the Fittest
• True-Name Nemesis
• Umezawa's Jitte

Single cards explanations:

Underworld Breach

Underworld Breach is one of the fastest banned cards in Legacy ever and already making waves in Highlander as well. The powerful 2 mana enchantment is enabling a consistant combo deck that abuses Lion's Eye Diamond to cast Brainfreeze over and over again, first targeting yourself to fuel the escape costs and finally to finish off the opponent.
While the deck is very fast and consistant, we think that the current situation, with no high stakes tournaments being played, leaves us with more time to evaluate the powerlevel of the combo.
Furthermore we want to give people the option to adept and prepare for/against this strategy before taking any further steps.  

Intuition

Intuition has been a Highlander staple for many years now.
Cards like Snapcaster Mage, Eternal Witness and other regrowth effects always made sure that you got the card you really wanted.
Reanimate strategies abused the blue instant to put 2 fatties into the bin and control decks sometimes played the card for it's versatility.
While Intuition has always been a powerful card,the printing of Sevinne's Reclamation last year has pushed the card into new territory, essentially making it a one-card combo enabler.
We do want to watch it's development closer and have the possibility to take action against it if necessary.

Oko, Thief of Crowns:

During our last announcement we wrote the following about Oko:
Oko is one of the most powerful cards of 2019, probably the most powerful one and a mistake that Wizards has admitted they missed during testing. Therefore WOTC came to the conclussion it should be banned in various formats (Standard, Pioneer, Brawl). In Modern, Legacy and even Vintage, Oko makes regular appearances.
Meanwhile the planeswalker has certainly proven to also be impactful in our 100 card singleton format. A lot of people have risen concerns about his power especially against creature strategies. Though we think the card is currently fine for Highlander in terms of powerlevel, we are adding Oko, Thief of Crowns to the watchlist and will continue to closely monitor his performance in the future!


Statement regarding the Companion mechanic:

Companion is the most talked about ability from Ikoria and is creating a lot of buzz among players.

When the mechanic was first introduced, WotC announced that Commander, the biggest 100 card singleton format, would allow Companions even though Commander does not have a sideboard. Additionally, the card Lutri, the Spellchaser was preemptively banned because the singleton nature of Commander means, that every deck is meeting it's Companion criteria right away.

While we already leaned towards not following this example but rather stick to the official rules, which require the use of a sideboard for Companion to work, we wanted to see how the mechanic was dealt with in all kinds of different settings before drawing a final conclusion.
Unfortunately, the ability is already warping every competitive constructed format around itself, leading to repetitive gameplay and frustrated players calling for changes. A free 8th. card you have every single game apparently is way too powerful, even with some built-in restrictions.

We will thus follow our initial approach:

Highlander does not have a sideboard, which Companion requires. We are not going to make an exception to this rule, which means the Companion mechanic does not function in Highlander.
You are still allowed to play these cards in your regular deck, but not as a Companion that starts outside the game.


Changes to publication of Council Announcements

Due to the terms of use of Facebook we will no longer post the official announcements under the User "Highlander Council" but use private accounts of Council members for this again.


Leaving the Council
Thomas Stier, "Maqi", from Germany, Mannheim, is stepping down as a Council member, which he has been since the end of 2012.
We would like to thank Thomas for the dedication and the work he has put into our format for many years and wish him all the best for the future!

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