- Time Spiral -1 (1 to 0)
- Protean Hulk -1 (2 to 1)
- Mana Drain-1 (1 to 0)
- Murktide Regent +1 (0 to 1)
- Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath +1 (1 to 2)
Since the last points announcement we’ve had the largest paper highlander event ever, with 2022 Highlander Masters, and a return to consistent paper play amongst most of the highlander scene, resulting in a significant uptick in event results and data. Overall we still believe 7 point Highlander is in an excellent spot, with a broad variety of archetypes and play styles seeing some success. However with some new members on the committee, we’ve taken a look at some of the historical points, with an eye to free up some cards that aren’t seeing play, and revitalise some struggling archetypes.
With that in mind, we’re making the following five changes:
Time Spiral -1 (1 to 0)
Time Spiral is an extremely powerful combo piece, but in recent years the setup cost in highlander has proven to be too high. Not only is it a 6 mana sorcery, in a world where decks are often stopping their curve at 4, but it’s vulnerable to a lot of the premier anti-combo interaction seeing play, like red blasts and Spell Pierces.
Add to this the requirement to actually cast it off lands, and not mana rocks, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Time Spiral make the big splash it once did. We don’t expect to see Time Spiral much outside of decks built around it, and the lack of play of those archetypes means it’s time for Time Spiral to come off the list.
Protean Hulk -1 (2 to 1)
Another combo powerhouse of the days of old, and a card that has changed its point value a number of times (along with it’s co-conspirator, Flash)
Back in 2020, flash picked up an extra point due in part to the power of the breakout ‘Fish-Flash’ combo deck at nationals that year, and the powerful combination of Thassa’s Oracle and Protean Hulk creating a 2 mana instant speed kill, that resisted most forms of interaction.
Since then it, like most other fast/pure combo decks, has been pushed out of the format by the power and resilience of the interactive combo decks like underworld breach and grixis oracle.
Now with oracle going to 4 in it’s own right, and the under-representation of pure combo in recent events, Flash Hulk is less of a threat than it once was, and can safely come down to a combined 3 points.
Uro +1 (1 to 2)
Uro is a powerful, hard to deal with threat that makes life very difficult for any deck that plans to gain incremental advantage to win the game. It has continually seen play in decks, ranging from aggressive RUG decks, through midrange and control decks. It’s become so ubiquitous that it’s defining what a top end can look like in the format, and it’s impossible to trade evenly with. We’re adding a point here with the hope that the midrange and control decks can have some success outside of UG.
Murktide Regent +1 (0 to 1)
The first half of a ‘point swap’ below, designed to shift the focus of blue decks slightly.
Murktide Regent has quickly become the defacto threat in every blue deck, and has shown itself to be a lot more powerful than simply the ‘blue tombstalker’ it was initially considered to be. It’s ability to come down early, resist most of the formats removal, and then quickly outrace basically any opposing board state has led to Murktide showing up everywhere in the format. We’d like to see blue decks attacking for 8 on turn 4 slightly less often.
Murktide however was one of the key ways for the ‘big’ blue control decks to continue competing, and so we’re giving those decks something back, that U/x tempo decks are less likely to benefit from:
Mana Drain -1 (1 to 0)
While Mana Drain at its best might be one of the most powerful 1 point cards, even in decks built around it, it’s rarely reaching those highs. Its status as a point in the UB/x decks of 2018 was often as a ‘2nd copy of Counterspell’, a card that in 2022 is often getting cut at 0 points.
The blue decks that are successful currently have very few ways to spend colourless mana at all, and we hope that by freeing up mana drain we can incentivise decks to go back up the curve a little, and look to play cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Mystic Confluence, to get a reward out of their mana drains.
- Umezawa’s Jitte -1 (1 to 0)
- Lim Dul’s Vault -1 (1 to 0)
- Ancient Tomb/City of Traitors +1 ( 0 to 1)
The fast mana has shown a great deal of success over recent tournaments, and we’re keeping an eye on the power level and impact that it has, both in the Mishra’s Workshop aggro decks, and in the RW prison decks that have had recent success. The sol lands, City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb have stood out as the powerful unpointed cards enabling the game to end on turn 1 and 2, but we want to give the format a chance to adapt before making any further changes.
Both Lim Dul’s Vault and Umezawa’s Jitte are long standing 1 point cards that have seen a significant down tick in play and format impact.
LDV suffers partly from fast combo being in a overall weak spot, and the prevelance of cheap interaction and powerful aggressive creatures combining to make it hard to justify spending life for a card next turn. While it’s broadly similar in power to the unpointed Grim Tutor, we wanted to wait for Flash and Time Spiral to settle into the format before looking at further tutors.
Jitte is still an extremely strong card in midrange mirrors, where one or two attacks can slam the door on a game, but with the uptick of 1 mana removal spells, new maindeck answers to artifacts, and an overall faster tempo game, 4 mana is becoming a much riskier investment. While we still that the high variance high impact nature of the card justifies it’s point, we’ll continue to look at it in the upcoming months, and welcome your opinions, either in person at your local events, or on the Facebook Page or Discord.