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The Highlander Accessibility Rule: Eight Points and You

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Hi, my name is Vi and I’m a grinder, ex-streamer, judge and currently an avid deck builder for Australian Highlander! I’ve been exploring the format and the restrictions and believe the possibilities with the Highlander Accessibility Rule have gone under the radar.

The majority of Highlander players (and those keen to enter the format) agree that format accessibility is an issue, so in the interests of longevity for Highlander, The Committee announced The Highlander Accessibility Rule. The Highlander Accessibility Rule, aka “No RL Bonus Point” states that:

“If your deck contains no cards on the Reserved List, you are entitled to an additional Point.”

On the surface level, it would appear that this rule only applies to newer players. Fortunately, this is not the case. While the rule is designed to encourage these players to try the format out, issues arise as “simply adding an 8th point” to an existing archetype, while removing core components like the deck’s dual land or lands and specific cards like Mox Diamond or Gaea’s Cradle will lead to suboptimal decks and lost games.

Realistically, finding a decklist for a 7 point deck you like and changing the manabase and adding your favourite pointed card will lead to gameplay issues and lost games. Unfortunately, the lack of exploration in this space by prominent deckbuilders of the format has lead to a lack of visibility of what IS possible when entering the format on a budget and without Legacy staples. This gave me two ideas on helping these players out and growing the community, only possible as a player and deckbuilder with a deep well of knowledge to draw from.

The first is to create a database of viable decklists on a budget, dedicated to new players who may own Modern or Commander cards already. These decks will all be under $200 USD at time of creation, under Moxfield’s “Use cheapest printing” filter. I will strive to build them to be as competitively viable and powerful as possible, and will play them regularly at locals with tournament reports to support my findings. Ideally, these will also be decks that may be buildable for seasoned players that can then be lent out more readily to their friends who may have an eye on the format. I encourage players to build any of these where possible for their friends, if just to let them try before they invest into the format. They could also be built as loaner decks by local game stores trying to grow their Highlander communities.

The second is to create powerful 8 point decks, with no budget restrictions. These will be full power decklists full of Modern and Pioneer staples to be buildable by enfranchised Magic Players getting into Highlander for the first time, and will fully utilise all 8 points on offer to gain equity against the 7 point lists they’ll be up against. In fact, I’ve already top 8’ed a Win-A-Mox event with an 8 point list (and shared that privilege with another sweet deckbuilder on 8p Jund!)
Hopefully I can encourage others to explore this area for themselves, as eventually this information and data will trickle down to the lower levels and actively promote the benefits of the rule. Over time, this will ideally make the “accessibility” part of the Highlander Accessibility Rule more pronounced, and we can all enjoy a larger community and its benefits.

My decklists will all be public and tagged appropriately at https://www.moxfield.com/users/SgtMcMuffins and feedback is always welcome. You can find me in the 7PH discord under @sgtmcmuffins and tag me for any discussions you’d like to have!

Vi

Melbourne based MtG grinder and content creator. Ex L2 Judge, ex Twitch streamer, multiple PT attendee and team member on team Australia for the World Magic Cup.