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June 22nd, 2020 – Points Changes & Watch List Changes

Changes Effective June 22nd, 2020:

Spellseeker increased from 1 point to 2 points
Tainted Pact increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)

Flash decreased from 6 points to 5 points

In addition, several changes have been made to the Watch List, available here

Explanations and justifications for these changes will be posted shortly.

Rules Update: June 11th, 2020

June 11th, 2020 Rules Update

On June 10th, 2020, Wizards of the Coast released a statement on Depictions of Racism and Cultural Insensitivity in Magic (linked above), which included the banning of the following cards from constructed play:

Invoke Prejudice
Pradesh Gypsies
Stone-Throwing Devils

Efforts made to foster an inclusive environment are wholeheartedly supported by the council, and Canadian Highlander will be following suit with the bans effective immediately.

These changes have updated the Canadian Highlander banned list to include the following:

– Ante cards
– Cards depicting racism and cultural insensitivity
– Conspiracy cards
– Dexterity cards
– Silver-bordered cards
– Sub-game cards

For a detailed banned list, please reference the rules page linked here. Effectively, Canadian Highlander shares a banned list with Vintage, outside of “Lurrus the Dream-Den” remaining legal.

Rules Update: May 18th, 2020

May 18th, 2020 Rules Update

“Lurrus of the Dream-Den”, a new companion card from Ikoria, has been banned in Vintage.

Across the history of the format, we’ve used the Vintage banned list to help clarify format rules. Prior to today, “the Vintage banned list” was more or less a convenient way of consolidating:

– “Ante” cards
– “Conspiracy” cards
– “Dexterity” cards (Chaos Orb, Falling Star)
– “Silver-bordered” cards
– “Sub-game” Cards (Shahrazad)

Outside of unnecessary “um, actually” moments of pedantry, these aren’t “real” Magic cards. They’re illegal in every official constructed format, and in most community formats

Lurrus is not one of these cards. Lurrus is a real deal Magic card, and with Companion being a non-issue for Canadian Highlander, Lurrus will continue to be legal for play.

What this means is that Canadian Highlander will go through a slight rules change, albeit a change for the sake of cosmetics and clarification.


“Canadian Highlander follows the Vintage banned list.”


Canadian Highlander uses the following banned list:

– “Ante” cards
– “Conspiracy” cards
– “Dexterity” cards
– “Sub-game” Cards

This was a unanimous decision by the council, as well as a concern raised among MANY community members to maintain some amount of normalcy during the era of Ikoria.

If you’re concerned about structuring Magic Online matches (as most as previously been set as Vintage), please format your Canadian Highlander decks/matches as Freeform.

As always, if you have any questions/comments/concerns, please keep all discussion below.

March 2nd, 2020 – Points Changes

Changes Effective March 2nd, 2020:

Price of Progress increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)
Time Walk increased from 6 points to 7 points
Underworld Breach increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)
Wishclaw Talisman increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)
Yawgmoth’s Will increased from 1 points to 2 points

Stoneforge Mystic decreased from 1 point to 0 points (REMOVED)


A video featuring explanations and justifications for these changes will be posted within the days following this announcement.

December 16th, 2019 – Points Changes

Changes Effective December 16th, 2019:

Strip Mine increased from 2 points to 3 points
Time Vault increased from 6 points to 7 points
Yawgmoth’s Will increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)

Enlightened Tutor decreased from 1 point to 0 points (REMOVED)
Summoner’s Pact decreased from 2 points to 1 point
Tinker decreased from 4 points to 3 points


Justifications for these changes will be posted within the following day.

September 9th, 2019 – Points Changes & Justifications

Changes Effective September 9th, 2019:

Crop Rotation increased from 0 points to 1 point (ADDED)
Demonic Ttuor increased from 3 points to 4 points
Mana Crypt increased from 3 points to 4 points
Sol Ring increased from 3 points to 4 points


Before we dive into card specific justifications, I want to stress the amount of time dedicated community members put into both testing various pointed cards/archetypes, and harvesting data from their respective communities. It is because of those efforts, that we are able to promote these points decisions with the utmost confidence, and can assure players that these changes are made entirely with producing a better format. While four individual increases seemingly presents such a large power shift, I hope that over the course of the next months you’ll take it upon yourselves to experiment with various new points spreads, and experience a fresh take on your favourite archetypes. I think you’ll find it isn’t as drastic as you may think.

What I’m trying to say is we’re all still going to die to Medium decks pooping out monsters, get strip-locked into oblivion by our Wrenn & Six overlords, and have to stare at our Eggs opponent trying to remember if they PLAYED their Buried Ruin or if it entered play from one of their two Crop Rotations.

You know, the reasons why we love this format!


Below are the justifications for the following changes:


Crop Rotation– Increased from 0 to 1 (ADDED)

Watchlist post:

While all extremely powerful cards on their own, the potential increase behind this suite of mana producers & deniers is more or less tied with the potential decrease of Fastbond. More or less these cards are included as general format housekeeping, but the council has been tracking the activity and achievements of Strip Mine and Crop Rotation over the past year or so, and their status on the points list may be judged as standalone cards.

Crop Rotation being added to the points list has been a long time coming. It takes a lot for a card to be added to the points list, with Spellseeker being the next most recent addition approximately one year ago. Thankfully, Crop Rotation is up for the challenge! Rotation shares all the qualities of a pointed tutor; flexible, cheap, instant speed all within a colour poised to take advantage of potential new crops. Being a strong and flexible card however isn’t enough to land a card on the points list, but rather it’s the play patterns that Crop Rotation specifically sets up that push it over the edge. You’ll often find Rotation setting up Strip Mine (and Wasteland) locks, kicking a Tolarian Academy or Gaea’s Cradle into gear, or leaving an EoT Marit Lage on your opponents door step. While each of these are format defining lines of play, the speed and frequency that Crop Rotation allows for these lines is a bit too much to continue along free of charge.


Demonic Tutor– Increased from 3 to 4

Watchlist post: 

It was no secret that Black was unanimously the weakest colour in Canadian Highlander for quite some time, often being relegated to strictly combo strategies or as the supporting colour in Grixis Control. Our intention on reducing the points of Demonic Tutor and Tainted Pact during the previous year(s) was to increase the diversity and prevalence of Swamps in the format. While we believe we have successfully accomplished what we set out to change, we worry that the various changes put into place may have created more swing-games than hoped.

There’s no question that the combination of Black Lotus and Demonic Tutor was the single most ubiquitous combo spread available in the format. This iconic gruesome twosome were in fact so prevalent and strong, that any other combo spread (or deck for that matter) was often piloted to the detriment of a players win percentage. This isn’t to say that other combo decks were not viable, with Paradox Academy and Time Vault archetypes generating their fair share of groans, but the strength of Lotus/Tutor versus an unknown field cannot be ignored. This lead to a homogeneous collective of Storm shells masquerading as “unique” combo strategies, all of which tossed the diversity of deck construction and in-game strategic trajectory out the window.

It must be said that this change was not solely brought down by the monotony of combo spreads, but also those of midrange decks. While we believe it is important to have “points pillars” for our format, being a pillar does not leave a card exempt from change. The efficiency of DT lead to players having “the perfect answer at the right time” far too often, to the point in which it became the cornerstone of most midrange decks in the format. While it is important to allow players access to tools to reduce the variance in any given format (especially a one-hundred card singleton format), it can is a delicate balance that when unchecked can lead to uninspired gameplay and play patterns.

Also, come on, it’s Demonic Tutor. The granddaddy of all tutors will still be an excellent use of points for both combo decks and midrange decks alike, for many years to come.


Mana Crypt & Sol Ring – Increased from 3 to 4

Watchlist post: 

Mana Crypt will be increase to 3 points within the following weeks, and this should come as no surprise to anyone who has played the format in the past year. Mana Crypt based midrange and aggro decks have been sitting on the highlander throne for a bit longer than the council is comfortable with, and we believe that increasing Mana Crypt is a great start. The inclusion of Crypt of the watchlist is just a formality at this point.

Sol Ring on the other hand is something that we’re glad has seen an increase in “fair” gameplay, but it proved to be a bit warping in combination with the reduced Mana Crypt and Strip Mine. We’ll be seeing how these decks adapt to the increase of Crypt before addressing Sol Ring, but we’re well aware of the power behind one of the deck cards in the game.

This change may be the most predictable shift in our format’s history (aside from maybe the initial pointing of Birthing Pod or the first increase of Natural Order), and there’s not much to be said that hasn’t already been covered across various other platforms. Crypt & Ring provides fast mana like no other, and certainly find themselves in a rank above their moxen compatriots. Such an oppressive burst of speed, be it powering out dragons, Memory Jars or titans, lead to an uncomfortable amount of non-games, to such a frequency that the council has decided to increase both options.

Taking a mulligan on the Sorensen

As the result of a community referendum and then a unanimous council vote Canadian Highlander will no longer be played with the Sorensen Mulligan and will adopt the London Mulligan.

For a while now the council has wanted to try to align the format rules with those people are familiar with from other formats. This feeling combined with the resurgence of fast mana decks looking to push the limits of a second six mulligan led to the decision to adopt the London Mulligan over the Sorensen.

June 3rd Tournament Report – Goblins

Round 1 – Arlo – Abzan Good Stuff

Both mulligan to first 6, both scry to bottom. Arlo starts things off with Forest and Arbor Elf. I get a little cagey and play Chain Lightning off my Mountain on my first turn. I tend to favour this play on the draw when I feel like I could fall behind too quickly. Arlo played Skullclamp and a Ranumap Excavator on the next turn. I played a Sensation Gorger but it got hit by a Palace Jailer. My empty board looked pretty bad compared to his creatures. I got hit with the equipped Naga before landing a Goblin Warchief and a Stingscourger on the same turn. I bounced the Naga and attacked with Stingscourger to threaten becoming the Monarch. Arlo blocked, later allowing my Gorger to return and leaving my board looking okay. I had Goblins on top of my deck over the next two turns but Arlo had little to no cards each time; didn’t seem good to let him draw four. I think I got a bushwhacker of some sort and sealed it from there.

In game two Arlo had an early Smuggler’s Copter and cast an Anafenza, the Foremost to attack for three and loot. I was working on building my board with Goblin Wardriver and Goblin Rabblemaster (played in second main) and Arlo had played a Siege Rhino and got in for seven, pumping the tapped rhino at the same time. I made some attacks after playing Goblin Trashmaster but things didn’t look too too good. Arlo played a Palace Jailer and hastily targeted my Goblin Trashmaster. I sacrificed it in response to kill the copter. Arlo didn’t attack and it gave me the chance to take the win with hasty goblins. The game could have gone either way.

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