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Points Announcement: Outlaws at Thunder Junction

Effective as of the announcement (07/04/2024) (Please confirm with your tournament organisers that they are using the updated points)

  • Reanimate (+1 to 1)
  • Fastbond (-1 to 0)
  • Tinker (-1 to 1)
  • Umezawa’s Jitte (-1 to 0)

Watch List

  • Bolas’s Citadel (+1 to 1)
  • Channel (-1 to 1)
  • Fury (+1 to 1)

Welcome to the April 2024 edition of the 7 Point Highlander points update! Now that the format has had some time to settle down since Cancon and the previous update, we have had time to observe the performance of oft-discussed cards at the RC Win-a-Mox event in Melbourne and the Canbrawl event in Canberra over the past month.

Overall highlander continues to be an extremely popular format, and the changes from the last updated have settled out largely as intended. The black midrange decks are slightly over-performing, particularly as Grixis and Jund, and we’re looking to bring them slightly down a notch, while also bring back some oft-requested community favourites to encourage players to explore some historical archetypes. We look forward to seeing what you come up with.

The Changes


Reanimate

Reanimate (+1 to 1)

It seems like every deck is just picking up this package after the land-cyclers 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. Additionally, powerful evoke elementals continue to give powerful ways for players to exploit reanimate packages. As these packages becomes more and more popular, the prevailing solution has become to play your own Reanimate, causing games to become even swingier as players frequently reanimate 6 power creatures on turns 1 and 2.
As Reanimate is more powerful than all the other reanimation spells given its lower mana cost, we’re happy to point it on power level. People will continue to Animate Dead their trolls, but hopefully that will give players a bit more time, and a few more ways to interact.


Fastbond

Fastbond (-1 to 0)

Fastbond is a card that has a storied legacy in 7 point highlander, but sadly it has fallen out of favour in the past few years. We are aware that Fastbond is an easy include in expensive Timetwister-and-friends type decks, but a close eye will be kept on those decks if they emerge. We intend this to come as a benefit to lands archetypes who have fallen by the wayside owing to a lot of ‘collateral pointings’ it has had to endure.


Tinker

Tinker (-1 to 1)

Tinker is one of the most powerful cards in Magic as a whole, it is banned in EDH, Legacy and is restricted in Vintage. It has been a 2 point card for a long while now and it has seen very little play in the past few years.
Historically Tinker has been a part of various Artifact-based and Blue moon strategies which tutor out a singular game-ending threat such as Blightsteel Colossus, which by today’s standards is not as hard to deal with as it was a few years ago. Currently, Tinker is only played rarely and really mostly to fetch Bolas’ Citadel in storm decks. While that specific interaction remains powerful (see the watchlist), Tinker as a card is not the beast that it once was
We hope that with this de-point we can see some new combo and fair archetypes with Tinker at their core emerge in the future.


Umezawa’s Jitte (-1 to 0)

The card green mages love to hate is finally coming off the points list! Stoneforge Mystic packages have evolved to include a lot of tempo positive, self-sufficient equipment such as Cryptic Coat, Kaldra Compleat and the hot new thing: Pre-War Formal Wear. This has caused Jitte to be pushed out of most lists and we believe that it is in a safe enough spot to be depointed. In a world of super cheap or free removal spells, being able to spend 2 mana to put this into play and another 2 to equip seems like too big of an investment to a lot of players.
Jitte continues to be a card that will win the game if unanswered, but it’s vulnerability puts in more in line with other un-pointed 4 drops.


Watchlist


Bolas's Citadel

Bolas’s Citadel (+1 to 1)

The de-pointing of a powerful card such as Tinker calls for assessing the impact it will have on the format. Bolas’ Citadel is by far the best thing to Tinker for, and we expect Tinker storm decks to come to re-emerge. If this rises to have an unhealthy effect on the metagame, we’d like to look at pointing Bolas’s Citadel over repointing Tinker, as we want to preserve the option for ‘traditional’ Tinker decks if we can.


Snapcaster Mage

Snapcaster Mage (removed from watchlist)

Snapcaster mage was watchlisted in a move to look at helping some struggling archetypes, that are now struggling less. After having gone through steps trying to weaken the established combo decks post Cancon we felt it would be incorrect to immediately give those decks a free point in the next update. The rise of fair Grixis decks post Cancon only helped solidify this decision.


Fury

Fury (remains on the watchlist at +1 to 1)

Fury remains an extremely impactful and widely play card. However it shows up frequently in the BR midrange decks, where it’s power is exacerbated by the synergy with Reanimate. With Reanimate’s pointing we are going to hold off on pointing Fury as we would like to see how the play patterns with Fury evolve between now and the next update.

Mental Misstep (removed from watchlist)

Sometime ago we put Mental Misstep on the watchlist as the most ubiquitously played card in the meta. Unlike most cards of this ilk, Mental Misstep rarely ends a game by itself, but rather is a piece of powerful 1-for-1 interaction that due to it’s (not) mana cost, ends up being played everywhere.

We put it to the community to see if there was consensus as to if we want this card to be “free” in the format. There was no consensus. At this time we are removing it from the watchlist. There may come a time when Wizards forces us all to play only 1 mana cards and we look at it again, but that is not anytime in the near future.

Channel

Channel (-1 to 1)

Like Tinker, Channel is somewhat of a card out of it’s time, yet still remains one of the most powerful sorceries in Magic’s history. We think that the speed of the format and the increase in free interaction may have made Channel less of a boogeyman than it once was and therefore we are considering moving it to 1 point.

We are holding off this announcement as we are choosing to first de-point Tinker and we would prefer that the “putting large colourless permanents into play for cheap” deck gain 1 extra point to play with at a time. We also acknowledge that “turn 2 Channel, gotcha” games (or 10 minute Lich’s Mirror loops) don’t tend to offer as interactive a game experience as some Tinker games might, so we are also hoping to gather some community sentiment on this potential de-pointing.

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.