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Points Announcement: Murders at Karlov Manor

Effective as of the announcement (04/02/2024) (Please confirm with your tournament organisers that they are using the updated points)

  • Mana crypt (+1 to 5)
  • Spellseeker (+1 to 1)
  • Forth Eorlingas! (+1 to 1)
  • Orcish Bowmasters (+1 to 1)
  • Wrenn and Six (+1 to 2)
  • Goblin Recruiter (+1 to 1)
  • Caves of Chaos Adventurer (+1 to 1)

Watch List

  • Snapcaster Mage (-1 to 0)
  • Reanimate (+1 to 1)
  • Fury (+1 to 1)
  • The One Ring (+1 to 2)

Following our largest Highlander event ever at Highlander Nationals last week with 191 players, we have a clearer picture of the Highlander metagame than ever before. What stands out is that people are enjoying the format and that there’s a large variety of archetypes and decks supported, which we’re very happy about. Thank you to everyone who came and played, and to everyone who spoke to us about the format and shared their thoughts.

However, while there is a good amount of deck diversity, the majority of these archetypes are built around a few ‘cores’ be it UB tempo/control, RG midrange, or Mana Crypt and associated fast mana, and the games themselves have less diversity and more explosiveness than we’d like. Our goal with this update is to tone down all of the highest-performing decks slightly, both to encourage some other decks to flourish and to try and reduce the overall power level of the format slightly.

The Changes


Mana Crypt

Mana Crypt (+1 to 5)

Is Mana Crypt better than Black Lotus?… Discuss.

Mana Crypt was the 2nd most played point (behind force of will) at nationals and has been tearing up events consistently over the last year. Going beyond being just an initiative problem, Mana Crypt is showing up as the acceleration of choice for any deck looking to get onto the board early. We hope that Mana Crypt still has a presence in the format, but Mana Crypt doesn’t tend to lead towards interesting or diverse games, regardless of the strategy it’s employed in, and we hope to see it slightly less often.


Spellseeker

Spellseeker (+1 to 1)

Time Walk combo has been tearing it up for a while, with the combination of Spellseeker and Ephemerate allowing it to form a ‘1 card’ combo that takes all of the turns. Ephemerate and Spellseeker is also just an extremely powerful interaction to have at 0 points, given all the flexibility it offers, even without a Time Walk. Spellseeker is also one of the most powerful tutors in it’s own right, showing up in many of the formats premier combo decks as well, so we’re choosing to point it to address both factors.


Forth Eorlingas

Forth Eorlingas (+1 to 1)

Forth has immediately taken over the format, becoming a key card in the fast mana decks, the control finisher of choice and showing up in tempo and midrange decks as well. Forth can be powerful at every spot on the curve, is being splashed in decks that are otherwise not in it’s colours, and is contributing negatively to game diversity in a significant way.


Orcish Bowmasters

Orcish Bowmasters (+1 to 1)

Bowmasters is another card that we’ve seen starting to warp decks around itself. Several decks are leaning into black just to cast bowmasters. Bowmasters has an extremely high floor, the potential for large blowouts, and has a significant warping effect on the metagame. Importantly we’ve seen black-based midrange decks have an extremely strong resurgence in the past few months, taking over a significant part of the top metagame share, and this point aims in part to knock them down a little, while freeing up perhaps a little more space for small creatures and spells that draw cards.


Wrenn and Six (+1 to 2)

Wrenn and Six has been one of the best 1 point cards since the day it went to 1 point, and it continues to completely take over games on turn 2. Following our recent philosophy of pointing the most powerful fair cards, Wrenn’s impact on a game is too high from what we expect of a 1 point card, where it’s always excellent, and often game ending with very little investment or setup required. We aim to continue to take some power away from the RG midrange core that’s been the dominant fair deck, and encourage players to experiment with other options.


Goblin Recruiter

Goblin Recruiter (+1 to 1)

Goblin good, Goblin party time bad.

What’s better than tutoring a single goblin right where it needs to be for two mana? Doing it as many times as you like! We all knew that goblins were good and we think this year’s Cancon 7 Point Highlander event proved it. We saw quite a few members of the ‘Gobby Gang’ piloting their angry creatures to the top tables. Well done gang!

It is an incredibly niche yet cheap, tutor, that says ‘I win’ if you don’t have interaction. (see Conspicuous Snoop into Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo), potentially multiple pieces. It’s also another menace in tournament play, where simply putting a recruiter trigger on the stack approaches a slow play warning.

The most popular Goblin decks run a point configuration of Mana Crypt + Mox Ruby in their 3 colour deck. The addition of Mana Crypt and this pointing should make the points decision in goblins a strategic, and not financial one, while still allowing the deck to exist as a powerful metagame contender.


Caves of Chaos Adventurer

Caves of Chaos Adventurer (+1 to 1)

Caves of Chaos Adventurer is gaining an additional point to promote game diversity. This card has been on the watch list for the simple fact of being the next playable initiative creature. The play pattern of fast mana into initiative creature is still good. Notably this is the final of the initiative creatures that’s an efficient creature as well. If you want to play the initiative, you’ll need to pay a point, or play an otherwise below rate creature for it.

Following the explanation of Seasoned Dungeoneer. We still hope to see players selecting an initiative strategy, we are also increasing its ‘cost’ to play.

Watchlist


Snapcaster Mage

Snapcaster Mage (-1 to 0)

Perhaps the single most requested de-pointing in recent years. For years it’s been a card that hasn’t ‘felt worthwhile’ to a lot of people, while still being a powerful, highly played, successful card. In recent months both it’s playrate and success rate have gone down significantly, so we’re taking some time to look at it, in the light of this set of changes.


Reanimate

Reanimate (+1 to 1)

It seems like every deck is just picking up this package after the landcyclers from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth brought new creatures to reanimate.Troll of Khazad-dûm and Oliphaunt are the main targets. We are discussing options around keeping this as a reanimation spell rather than an inclusion in most decks. 1/4 of the decks were playing Reanimate at Cancon 2024.


Fury (+1 to 1)

This card (alongside Wrenn and Six, and also Orchish Bowmasters) seems to be making the Gaea’s Cradle creature-based decks, and general x/1 creatures unplayable in the format. The value this card can generate, the interaction this card brings for free we think is a little too good at 0. We expect this card to continue to be sleeved up heavily moving forward. We are watching this card closely as the format shifts after this recent update to the points list.


The One Ring

The One Ring (+1 to 2)

The One Ring is still a powerful card advantage engine in the format, just not present in every deck. We are aware that the ring is extremely powerful and one point might not be enough, so we are continuing to watchlist it to go to two points.

Next announcement

In order to allow time for players to adjust there decks between the next points announcement and the major highlander event scheduled at The Mana Clash, the points announcement for Outlaws at Thunder Junction will occur one week BEFORE the prelease, on Sunday 7/4/24

The Committee

The committee’s ultimate goal is to make Australian Highlander as enjoyable as possible. There are many factors which make this format enjoyable. We have identified some of those factors and assigned levels of importance to them based on our combined experience.