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2013 in Review: The Highlander Points List – Part 3. Moving Forward


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In my first post of the series, I covered the four categories a card featured on the points list could fall under. While the list by no means is perfect, it gives a good idea of where most of the pointed cards fall. Surprisingly, “Value” cards take up a majority of the list. Most of these cards aren’t atrociously overpowered, but there are certainly several that will never be leaving this list.

You know who you are…

Why should a card be pointed?

Personally, I feel like a format with fewer pointed cards is a better format. Traditionally, Banned & Restricted lists (for Eternal formats) have featured predominately three types of cards.

  • (Reliable) Fast Mana
  • Powerful Tutors
  • Cheap/Efficient Combos

This covers three out of the four categories I covered in my previous dissection of the list. That leaves us with just the “Value” category.

Ancestral Recall (6)
Balance (2)
Crucible of Worlds (1)
Fastbond (2)*
Jace, the Mind Sculptor (1)
Library of Alexandria (3)
Mana Drain (2)
Mind Twist (1)
Moat (1)
Price of Progress (3)
Recurring Nightmare (2)
Sensei’s Divining Top (2)
Skullclamp (4)
Stoneforge Mystic (1)
Strip Mine (4)
Time Walk (6)
Umezawa’s Jitte (2)
Wasteland (2)
Wheel of Fortune (1)
Winter Orb (1)

Again, there are certain cards on here that aren’t really worth touching. Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Fastbond all come to mind. I feel as though they are all appropriately pointed currently, and aren’t running amok in the format. The risk of lowering the points on these cards seems to out-weight any possible reward.

Having certain cards at one point also adds a sort of elegance to the deck design process. Sure, your decklist might not require you to use all 14 of your points, but when you’re sitting at 13, you might end up asking yourself whether or not your deck gets better with the inclusion of Mind Twist.

Heading into 2014, if our goal is to streamline Highlander to be the best possible format it can be, we must start by tackling the “Value” cards clogging up our guidebook. Again, I stress the fact that restricting players from slamming cards such as Mind Twist or Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a somewhat necessary limitation in developing an interesting and diverse format. That said, there are certainly certain cards that need not necessarily be included on our list (or so highly pointed). The guilty include:

Balance (2)
Library of Alexandria (3)
Mana Drain (2)
Moat (1)
Recurring Nightmare (2)
Sensei’s Divining Top (2)

Notice a theme? Yes, most of these cards seem quite at home in Control archetypes. Well, as 2013 has shown as, Aggro might be a bit too strong right now.


Always blame the Nacatls

Attacking Aggro

While I won’t go too deep into the subject (future article material), Aggro certainly has shown itself as the dominating strategy as of late. Frankly, this isn’t that surprising. In the past years, Wizards has cranked the power creep amp all the way up to 11. Power and toughness never looked so good. Creatures now deal more damage, have become much more difficult to deal with, and tend to favour proactive strategies.

Another strength of Aggro stems from the points list itself. While Control decks have a considerable amount of room as far as points customization goes, Aggro gets to dig their claws into nearly everything available within their colour.

Tutors? Find that equipment or situational creature you needed.

Fast Mana? 10+ Dorks available, as well as plenty of Moxen

Value? Hard to find a creature printed in the past three years that wasn’t all about ~V A L U E~

Combo? Have a chat with Melira and see what’s happening!

There’s a whole barrel of reasons as to why Control gets the shaft when it comes to pointed cards (cough cough, combo, cough cough)

Time Flies

Looking to the future of Highlander shows many great opportunities ahead. The community is more involved than ever, and tournaments are pulling in impressive numbers week after week. The main priority however is not points, or mulligan rules or format tweaking itself, but making sure everyone is on the same page. Keeping every play in-tune with what is going on to avoid any confusion or leaving anyone feeling left out.

Personally, I intend on carrying this project for the remainder of 2014, and would like to share our formats progression with the community every step of the way.