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15452 Posts in 1169 Topics- by 535 Members - Latest Member: OckhamsChainsaw
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
 on: 13-06-2022, 08:40:56 PM 
Started by OckhamsChainsaw - Last post by OckhamsChainsaw
Hi there,

So I'd be really interested in returning to Highlander FNM and working towards building a Storm/TPs deck. I have mostly been playing UR Tempo/Control and Mono Red up until this point but have some experience piloting ANT in Legacy, so I know the general archetype to some extent. While not exactly an easy deck to pilot in Legacy, the play patterns there are much more singular than they are in Highlander (combo either with Infernal Tutor + Past in Flames, a Tutor Chain or Ad Nauseam). Looking at Carsten K.'s TPS-list from 11/01/2020 on the main website and goldfishing for a bit on Tappedout, there are several cards in the deck where the general play pattern eludes me and no amount of googling could help me so far. Checking out the copious amounts of Canlander content online is also of very little help since they build around Black Lotus instead of Demonic Tutor leading to entirely different choices in deck construction. If anyone could help me out here, I'd be very grateful. So here are the cards:

Crop Rotation - Aside from fixing your mana in a pinch and essentially adding +1 to Storm count for free, the only interesting target in the list above appears to be Lake of the Dead, which generates BBBB if you sac two Swamps, which is fine, I guess, but also not always a given. Is there anything I'm overlooking here?

Oaths of Druids - So what I'm reading here is that you'd ideally slam it on Turn 2, bin half your library and put Griselbrand in play the next turn and then win by drawing 14 and using all those cards in your graveyard as a resource. Anything else?

Memory's Journey - I have a strong feeling that it interacts with Oaths of Druids in a sense I can't quite put my finger on, so if there was no Griselbrand, it'd be akin to Doomsday (getting to that later). But since Big Grizz is in the deck, what use is there to shuffle cards back in? Is it a way to get cards into your hand you can't cast from the graveyard when going off with Past in Flames instead of Yawgmoth's Will such as Lion's Eye Diamond? Or is there some line, where you bin your entire library and shuffle three cards back in, that leads to a deterministic victory?

Intuition - What are some common Intuition piles, i.e. combinations where your opponent has no real choice? I can see Demonic Tutor + Dark Petition + Grim Tutor to get an unconditional tutor to fetch Yawgmoth's Will or Lion's Eye Diamond. There is also the possibility of getting Silence + Abeyance + Orim's Chant for protection, but maybe there are other clever combinations involving e.g. the Flashback cards I'm not seeing.

Doomsday - This is the big one. I know that this card is notorious for its complexity and the incredible variety of piles it allows for to flexibly win the game in a deterministic manner. I also have no idea how it works in Highlander. Almost every primer and explanation online is for other formats and involves cards that are either banned outright (Treasure Cruise, Thassa's Oracle but Sensei's Divining Top really is the big one) or not played in the deck (Gush, Ideas Unbound, Laboratory Maniac). I literally could not find a single primer that wins the next turn with just the cards in Carsten K.'s list, so some help would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly some questions about new additions to the deck since a lot of time has passed since 11/01/2020.

  • Dread Fugue - A worse Inquisition of Kozilek 90% of the time but could maybe replace Thought Erasure?
  • Expressive Iteration - Just a generally good card, though it's maybe a bit hard on the manabase and doesn't find cards to cast consistently enough.
  • Lier, Disciple of the Drowned (maybe replacing Griselbrand?) - The upsides should be that if you bring him into play with Oaths of Druids, you can go off the turn he comes down if you mill enough cards and with effectively three Yawgmoth's Will in the deck, you could be guaranteed to find one with Intuition. Moreover, he is probably more useful against Aggro decks where you can't afford to pay 14 for fear of being burned to death in response. On the flipside, with most of your rituals being Sorcery speed, he is more susceptible to removal. What's the concensus here?
  • Peer into the Abyss - Seems hot, though it is maybe just too expensive and the deck doesn't run Behold the Beyond either.
  • Profane Tutor - Effectively a delayed Demonic Tutor. I can see it being either really useful if cast early or way too slow like Lotus Bloom. It's also entirely useless the turn you're going off, so you have either still find another Tutor or use it to go directly for Tendrils.
  • Ransack the Lab - Could be a good card selection spell, sometimes maybe even better than Expressive Iteration while being easier to cast consistently.
  • Solve the Equation - Seems incredibly strong since it finds many important combo pieces and is costed quite fairly at that.
  • Strike It Rich - Provides free Storm count, filtering and value in longer games where you might need to ramp more slowly.
I could also ask about some of the Canlander staples that are not played in the Germanlander version, such as Diabolic Revelation, Beseech the Queen and Cruel Tutor, Ill-Gotten Gains or ask why there are no basic Swamps in the deck but I have to draw the line somewhere. Thanks for any input!

 on: 01-05-2022, 12:02:12 AM 
Started by Rigero - Last post by Rigero
May 1st, 2022 - Ban and Watch List Changes

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

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

•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 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 (, Email (

Next scheduled Update: 1st August 2022 - Watchlist update

 on: 04-02-2022, 08:06:45 PM 
Started by DarkLight - Last post by DarkLight
To change the appearance of your cockatrice client in darkmode move the marked file into the marked folder

 on: 03-02-2022, 04:21:37 PM 
Started by DarkLight - Last post by r4nd0m1
A really nice Dark Theme

 on: 01-02-2022, 01:00:26 AM 
Started by Rigero - Last post by Rigero
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 (, Email (

Next scheduled Update: May 1st 2022 - Banlist update

 on: 01-11-2021, 01:00:54 AM 
Started by Rigero - Last post by Rigero
November 1st, 2021 - Ban and Watch List Changes

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

• Skullclamp


• 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.


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:

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:                                                  

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: 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 (, Email (

Next scheduled Update: 1st February 2022 - Watchlist update

 on: 06-10-2021, 02:27:20 PM 
Started by Rigero - Last post by Rigero
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 (, directly via PM or via mail (

Best Regards

Rigero - HL-Council

 on: 01-08-2021, 01:02:17 AM 
Started by Rigero - Last post by Rigero
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 (, Email (

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

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