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Author Topic: Tournament Highlander is dying slowly...    (Read 22368 times)
berlinballz
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« Reply #45 on: 04-10-2012, 02:00:13 PM »

I don't agree with you on quite a few things, so I will argue a little for the good of HL.

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

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

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 I think people are stuck on the perception of Aggro being dominant, but it's outdated.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

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

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

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

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

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

Please do return to playing Highlander.
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Kristian
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« Reply #46 on: 04-10-2012, 02:43:41 PM »

I don't agree with you on quite a few things, so I will argue a little for the good of HL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited for additional point about stagnant format and typo.
« Last Edit: 04-10-2012, 04:23:46 PM by Kristian » Logged

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tonytahiti
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« Reply #47 on: 05-10-2012, 12:04:45 AM »

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

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


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

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

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

« Last Edit: 05-10-2012, 12:11:54 AM by tonytahiti » Logged

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Kristian
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« Reply #48 on: 05-10-2012, 09:42:56 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Edited for typos.
« Last Edit: 05-10-2012, 10:56:44 AM by Kristian » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: 09-10-2012, 02:37:39 PM »

There are two points of view which I saw in last weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

Well, some of people do. Some dont...
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« Reply #50 on: 18-04-2013, 04:42:14 PM »

I think Highlander lacks diversity because 100 cards is just too much. It encourages goodstuff because many strategies lack the card pool to fill 66 nonland cards with singletons. Going 60/15 could diversify the format and probably attract more tournament players.
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« Reply #51 on: 18-04-2013, 05:54:58 PM »

 Huh I like Highlander BECAUSE of the diversity 100/1 has to offer. I personally have no problem to built a 100/1 deck with a very liniar power level. Certainly some cards are superior to others but there will be no big difference in a 60/1 deck either. 60/1+15 will be a complete new format which could also be interesting but I think it will even suffer diversity.
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« Reply #52 on: 22-11-2014, 11:18:56 AM »

@MMD
Do you think what you say is still true nowadays ? I'm a French guy willing to start in Highlander, but if you think the format is coming to an end, maybe it's not worth it...

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

Anyway when I came to a local store at Saarbr├╝cken, what they told me is that "Commander is for fun, Highlander is for competitive business". I also play Duel Commander (and don't see it as a "fun" format), and it's also difficult to have tournaments. When I see the list of upcoming tournaments here I think it's pretty good (even if most of the tournaments don't exceed 15 people)
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MMD
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« Reply #53 on: 23-11-2014, 08:11:40 AM »

At first I would like to thank you for your efforts to promote our format and your activity in this forum which still not very active beside the banning seasons. It would be great if Highlander would have a French Community in future as well.

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

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

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

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

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





« Last Edit: 23-11-2014, 08:18:04 AM by MMD » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: 25-11-2014, 12:51:56 PM »

I've been sent a link for the decklists from GP 1 & 2. They weren't lost and are now on mtgtop8 (just missing one list from GP2).

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

Do not hesitate if you have some wish on mtgtop8, usually the webmaster tries to improve his website when necessary.
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« Reply #55 on: 25-11-2014, 02:51:07 PM »

If you wanna test some decks and get a feeling for the format you can always play on cockatrice were a lot of players are available.

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