Dr Sarven McLinton

Sarven has been playing Magic the Gathering since Stronghold (1998) and is on The Highlander Points Committee. He is well-versed in a wide variety of deck archetypes but remains an avid student of the game. Sarven is a passionate writer and seeks to apply his extensive experience in research and statistics to gaming. By day, 'Dr McLinton' works as a Research Associate at the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX) managing various projects investigating psychosocial factors at work, as well as lecturing Psychology Honours and supervising PhD candidates. By night, 'McLinton Sensei' teaches traditional Japanese Karate in South Australia's premiere sporting centre, the ARC Campbelltown. He holds a 4th-degree black belt and is a gold medalist, competing both nationally and internationally in Karate and Open-style contact tournaments.

Announcement: The Highlander Accessibility Rule

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 is announcing 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.” This rule is effective as of July 1st 2022. Why this particular rule?  For established players who own and play with Reserved List cards, Highlander remains essentially the same. For those who do not (yet) own Reserved… Read More »Announcement: The Highlander Accessibility Rule

Level Up Your Tempo Game

5 Lessons to Level Up Your Tempo Game in Highlander

Welcome to my Op-Ed on Tempo level-ups! In this opinion piece I’ll be providing some insights into the principles that I use when playing Tempo decks in Highlander, and letting you in on a shortlist of my favourite rules-of-thumb when combining my two favourite groups of friends: Spell Pierces and Tarmogoyfs.   Tempo and Me  Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a very conservative player; the word ‘risk’ is barely in my Magic vocabulary. On the surface, this may seem diametrically opposed to Tempo, which often centres around fast starts and aggressive positions early in the game.… Read More »5 Lessons to Level Up Your Tempo Game in Highlander

The Creature-Based Ramp Archetype in Highlander

Welcome to the Creature-Based Ramp deck archetype for 7 Point Highlander! This is an introductory article, where you will find all the resources you need to start playing Creature-Based Ramp decks, and links for you to further explore its major variants in more detail. A Summary of the Creature-Based Ramp Archetype In this archetype, mana-producing creatures and other degenerate sources of green mana serve to ensure that Creature-Based Ramp decks are always ahead of the curve. This makes the biggest strength of Creature-Based Ramp decks their ability to dominate fair matchups, essentially by outclassing their opponent’s threats. Whatever a Highlander… Read More »The Creature-Based Ramp Archetype in Highlander

SA: Dual Land event @ Dragon’s Lair Adelaide (20 Players) 31/10/2021 | Deck Lists

The results and decklists for this 5 rounds of Swiss, cut to Top 8 win-a-dual land (Tropical Island) event are: Player’s Standing Player’s Name Player’s Deck List Link 1st Michael Hearn “Bot’s Bots” (Colourless Aggro-Ramp) 2nd Oli Oks “RUG Lord” (Temur Tempo-Control) 3rd-4th Rob Lark “4C” (wUBR Tempo-Control) 3rd-4th Sarven McLinton “GRUBby Thoracle” (4c Tempo-Combo) 5th-8th Russell Cutting “Grixis Thoracle” (UBR Combo) 5th-8th Shane Cutting “Golos’ World Adventure” (WURG Combo) 5th-8th Sean Purdey “Omnath in Moonlight” (WURG Midrange) 5th-8th Jack Biermann Thoracle (decklist incoming)

SA: Team Trios @ Good Games Adelaide (24 Players) 23/10/2021 | Deck Lists

Results from the Highlander portion of this Swiss + Cut event: Event Result Link and Finals are pictured here.   Player’s Standing Player’s Name Player’s Deck List Link 1st Sarven McLinton “Grubby Thoracle” (GRUB Tempo-Combo) 2nd Luke McGlaughlin “BR Bridesmaid” (Rakdos Aggro) 3rd-4th Rob Lark “4c Mentor” (WUBR Tempo-Control) 3rd-4th Liam Whelan “Wund” (wGBR Midrange) 5th-8th Lou Richard “Grixis Tempo” (UBR Tempo-Control) 5th-8th Drennen “Grixis Thoracle” (UBR Combo-Control) 5th-8th Nathan Simpson “Grixis Moon” (UBR Tempo-Control) 5th-8th Stuart Hodge “Black Mould Scratch” (GB Aggro)

SA: Good Games Adelaide (14 Players) Aug 2021 08/08/2021 | Deck Lists

Player’s Standing Player’s Name Player’s Deck List Link 1st Rob Lark “4-c Good Stuff” (WUBR Tempo) 2nd Riley Beck “Oath-nihilator Six” (RUG Combo-Control) 3-4th Nick Savidis “Time Vault” (UB Combo) 3-4th Torin Kelderman “Jund Haste” (BRG Aggro) 5-8th Reuben Buresti “Blue Moon” (UR Control) 5-8th Oli Oks “RUG Lord” (Temur Control) 5-8th Michael Hearn “TR 45” (Mono-U Ramp) 5-8th James Arthur “Omnath Pile” (WURG Midrange)

SA: Dragon’s Lair Salisbury Win-a-Dual (17 Players) 03/07/2021 | Deck Lists

A win-a-dual event by SA’s second Dragon’s Lair store in Salisbury. $30 entry with 17 players battling it out for a Plateau in 4 rounds of Swiss with cut to Top 8. Huge thanks to DLS for putting on an amazing prize pool and an awesome event! The Top 8 featured a swath of Ragavan decks (as expected), but most interesting was the prevalence of Jund… with not only 3 Jund in the Top 8 but the Finals was a Jund vs. Jund playoff! Check out the Top 8 lists below: Player’s Standing Player’s Name Player’s Deck List Link 1st… Read More »SA: Dragon’s Lair Salisbury Win-a-Dual (17 Players) 03/07/2021 | Deck Lists

SA: Highlander: Winter Solstice @SGC (23 Players) 13/06/2021 | Deck Lists & Tournament Report

The Winter Solstice This tournament report is a brief summary of the Highlander portion of the Winter Solstice, a weekend of eternal events in Adelaide that had attendance from interstaters too! Background For the last six months or so I’ve had to focus on work and other major life commitments, so AE event coordination and content creation has been (sadly) a lower priority (but I’m glad I’ve been able to jam the occasional highlander event and write a tourney report here and there). So when the question arose “with Vic Eternal Weekend cancelled due to COVID, are there any interests… Read More »SA: Highlander: Winter Solstice @SGC (23 Players) 13/06/2021 | Deck Lists & Tournament Report

SA: Social Gaming Club 7PH FNM May 2021 Adelaide | Deck Lists & Tournament Report

“Highlander for Friday Night Magic?” Sign me up! This week was one of the first events for the brand new store in Adelaide, the Social Gaming Club. The new store run by Charlie Ferwerda has been open for a few weeks and the Highlander scene has just started up, with 8 players popping in to compete and/or playtest in a very chill environment. These smaller ‘low stakes’ events are a brewer’s dream, since we all get the chance to try out off-kilter decks and exciting new cards in a relaxed atmosphere that, despite still having official pairings and store credit… Read More »SA: Social Gaming Club 7PH FNM May 2021 Adelaide | Deck Lists & Tournament Report

SA: Dragon’s Lair Win-a-Dual (21 Players) 16/05/2021 | Deck Lists

5 Rounds of Swiss, cut to Top 8 playoffs for a Revised Tundra, plus another half-a-grand in swag for 2nd through 8th thanks to Phil at Dragon’s Lair! Player’s Standing Player’s Name Player’s Deck List Link 1st Michael Hearn “TR45” (Mono-U Ramp) 2nd Rajdeep Tokhi “Junk” (GWB Midrange) 3rd-4th Sarven McLinton “Sedgemoor Fish” (BUG Tempo) 3rd-4th Russell Cutting “SProwess” (RUG Combo-Aggro) 5th-8th James Arthur “Nono Black” (WURG Aggro-Midrange) 5th-8th Socrates Stavropoulos “Aphid” (BUGw Combo) 5th-8th Luke McGlaughlin “Burn Hangover” (Mono-R Aggro) 5th-8th Ryan Hearing “Chadgeddon” (Mono-W Control) 9th Torin Kelderman “Jund Haste” (BRG Midrange) 10th Simon Hall Sultai (BUG Midrange)… Read More »SA: Dragon’s Lair Win-a-Dual (21 Players) 16/05/2021 | Deck Lists