Effective as of the announcement (03/09/2023) (Please confirm with your tournament organisers that they are using the updated points)
- Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes (+1 to 2)
- The One Ring (+1 to 1) (Watchlist to 2)
- Seasoned Dungeoneer (+1 to 1)
- Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (+1 to 2)
- Mana Drain (+1 to 1)
- Mystic Sanctuary (-1 to 0)
- Mystical Tutor (-1 to 1)
- Caves of Chaos Adventurer (+1 to 1)
- Spellseeker (+1 to 1)
- Mental Misstep (+1 to 1)
- Beseech the Mirror (+1 to 1)
It’s been a long time since our last points update, and a lot has happened in our format in the intervening time. We’ve had a powerful new set, several large events, and some strong metagame movements that we as the committee would like to address. Currently the format is dominated by a few powerful cards, which we’ll talk about below, and red continues to overperform as a colour, particularly when paired with green. Overall the macro archetype balance is very healthy, outside of perhaps underperforming control decks, but a clear selection of top tier decks in each archetype are stifling diversity, so we’re taking aim at some of the most powerful tools to encourage those decks to branch out into other options.
Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes (+1 to 2)
Minsc & Boo continues to see a lot of play and is often game deciding when it is cast. It offers a resilient board presence and creates a ‘must answer’ threat the turn it is played giving the controller the choice of a 7/7 trampler or removal + 4 cards if it survives a turn, whilst also putting out damage and being a resilient threat. This card is very difficult to interact with profitably or even neutrally meaning your opponent has a very limited window to find (or be lucky enough to have already in hand) a specific set of answers. It is a powerful card, seeing play in a wide variety of decks and archetypes and we believe decks should and will still pay 2 points for the power it offers.
The One Ring (+1 to 1) (Watchlist to 2)
The One Ring has made a huge splash in nearly every format it is legal in since printing and 7ph is no exception. As a colourless spell it is usable by nearly any deck and archetype and threatens to offer game winning card advantage. Both its indestructibility and pseudo fog effect make this difficult to interact with and mitigate the regular risks of playing a 4 mana card advantage spell. Its drawback isn’t as easy to ignore in highlander, where you can’t leverage the legend rule to save yourself, but there are plenty of ways to offset or mitigate the life loss, and we expect The One Ring to still be a powerful card advantage engine in the format, just not one present in every deck. We are aware that the ring is extremely powerful and one point might not be enough to stop every deck playing the ring so we are also watch-listing it to go to two points.
Seasoned Dungeoneer (+1 to 1)
While the initiative has seen a modest decline in play since Cancon, it continues to be a powerful presence in the metagame. Some initiative cards are more powerful than others and therefore justify a point. White Plume Adventurer stood apart as the only 3 drop that granted the initiative. Seasoned Dungeoneer stands apart for its ability to bypass blocking in combat due to its ability to grant protection from creatures. This paired with the initiative being a mechanic that is controlled by combat creates a point worthy powerful combination. Other similarly costed cards such as Caves of Chaos Adventurer and Undermountain Adventurer will continue to be monitored, however, with the points to Ragavan, Minsc & Boo and Seasoned Dungeoneer we believe initiative focused decks should find a playable, powerful but not meta-warping place in the format.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (+1 to 2)
Red is currently the best performing colour in highlander and a part of that is that Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is so much better than every other one drop to the point that it is the most played pointed card by quite a lot at the moment. Every red deck is extremely happy to pay the 1 point for the power to snowball games off of a single creature that doesn’t fall off late in the game due to it’s dash ability. To attempt to limit the power of these red decks we have decided to give Ragavan another point.
Mana Drain (+1 to 1)
The original intent for Mana Drain to 0 was to offer some power to slower grindy blue decks in an effort to revive a flailing archetype. While we do believe that it did help the decks that we set out to help, Mana Drain has found more of a home in decks where we traditionally wouldn’t see 2 mana counterspells, particularly in the best performing combo decks. Mana Drain has lead to an increased number of swingy games, particularly with the printing of new powerful ways to spend colourless mana in The One Ring (and previously the initiative creatures). Mana Drain returns to 1 point, and we’ll attempt a more targeted way of helping out the decks looking to get a lot of islands in play…
Mystic Sanctuary (-1 to 0)
Mystic Sanctuary to 0 aims to achieve what the original Mana Drain de-pointing did not. Initially pointed to curb the power of a 3 point Time Walk, and 4 point Ancestral Recall, this card is currently not seeing much play, largely due to the deckbuilding restriction that requires the player to reliably have at least 3 islands in play.
As this card realises its power at 4+ lands, it should find its primary home in blue-based control and offer the most power in that archetype. Mystic Sanctuary gives you a powerful reward for playing high-impact spells, reducing the colours your deck plays, and for looking to extend the game past turn 5.
While their are many powerful decks that may be looking for this effect (breach, and walks), it is very difficult to support the high island requirements alongside their heavy 4c mana bases. We do expect this to slot into the expecting UR aggressive decks, but with the pointing of Ragavan in this update, it should negatively effect the power-level of those decks overall.
As with the mana drain depoint, we will monitor how this de-pointing impacts the format moving forward.
Mystical Tutor (-1 to 1)
Mystical Tutor has been 2 points for a long time, but has seen less and less play as Wizards continues to print powerful cards and combo decks become more diverse, often requiring creatures (such as Thassa’s Oracle) or enchantments (such as Underworld Breach) to go off rather than the classic High Tide or Tendrils storm decks.
Mystical tutor doesn’t fit into the currently performing top tier combo decks (either because they don’t have spare points, or it doesn’t find the right pieces), so we hope that this de-pointing can encourage some other combo decks to show up at the top tables. Mystical tutor has also seen fringe play as a tool for Terminus/Entreat the Angels control decks, which is something we’re happy to see people experiment with.
Caves of Chaos Adventurer (+1 to 1)
Following the explanation of Seasoned Dungeoneer. The committee sees Caves of Chaos Adventurer as a comparatively fair initiative creature as it doesn’t violate any norms of combat and is not obviously under costed. The other consideration is that the initiative deck is also going to be affected by the other pointing’s in this announcement so it there isn’t a clear justification for pointing Caves of Chaos of Adventurer at this time. Having said that, it is obviously quite powerful and will continue to be monitored for performance.
Spellseeker (+1 to 1)
Omnath Walks continues to post impressive results in large events and Spellseeker is its most powerful tutor both getting Ephemerate and Time Walk from the deck. However, it is not clear that the deck is problematically dominant and the pointing of both Mana Drain and Minsc & Boo should shave some power off the deck. We would like to see the impact of these changes first before making any decisions on Spellseeker.
Mental Misstep (+1 to 1)
Mental Misstep is perhaps the most commonly played spell in the format due to its nearly free mana cost, lack of colour restriction and broad playability across most matchups. The committee is considering pointing this card but would like to start a discussion in the community first to see what the broader experience of the player base is with Mental Misstep.
The case for:
Mental Misstep does not aid deck building diversity and does not lead to pleasant play experiences. It often provides a massive tempo advantage to one who is lucky enough to have it in their opening hand and is nearly impossible to play around in the early turns of the game (unless you happen to also have drawn your own Mental Misstep!)
The case against:
Ultimately Mental Misstep is a one for one exchange of resources with a relevant restriction of only countering 1 mana spells. It can be a punishing late game top deck and rarely ends games all by itself when played. A player can have their 1-drop countered and continue playing a regular game of magic. Additionally, it provides all decks access to some interaction against combo decks and other powerful 1-drop spells.
Beseech the Mirror (+1 to 1)
Beseech the Mirror is a card from Wilds of Eldraine that has obvious combo potential and could very well be worth 1 point. However, it could also end up being a similar power level to Dark Petition and we as the committee would like to see it’s impact on the format before rushing to point it.