ELDER DRAGON HIGHLANDER UPDATE
Before Worlds, I wrote about the Elder Dragon Highlander format, complete with a deck competition and challenge at Worlds. Today I’ll be reporting some updates to the format, as well as issuing a new challenge.
The format remains fun and interesting and the subject of much debate in my local group. There have been calls for banning Beacon of Immortality (gaining 100 life for 6 mana is rather good, I must admit) as well as deep and emotional discussions of the strategy of killing players or letting them stay in the game. That being said, I noticed during our games at Worlds that there are a few cards that just need to go.
BANNED LIST UPDATE
Everyone who has played against Balance knows that it’s no fun, and at the cost is completely broken. Combined with artifact mana it borders on the ridiculous. Worldgorger Dragon is part of a two-card combo that can simply draw the game if no one can stop it. Adding any number of third cards can make an instant-win combo. Both of these cards are added to the banned list to promote more interactive play.
Ring of Ma’Ruf
These cards have been added back with a restriction. They may only be used to get cards from the Remove-from-Game Zone that have gone there during the game. Players will not be able to bring sideboards, binders, or collections to dip into. In a Highlander format, remove-from-the-game effects are more powerful than if a player has multiple copies of a card available. Removing the Wishes and Ring from the banned list brings back some balance.
Biorhythm remains on the Watch List due to its ability to knock out multiple players with a single spell regardless of their existing life totals. It will remain on the Watch List until someone proves it can be abused. Beacon of Immortality’s ability to double already-high life totals merits serious consideration, especially since it is shuffled back in when it resolves.
The player’s General will begin the game in the Removed From Game Zone. The first time a player plays his or her General, they may play it from that zone. For the purposes of playing the General from the Removed From Game Zone under this rule, if the converted mana cost of the General is lower than 6, the total cost to play it becomes 6. The original mana cost does not change.
This rule was added to give Generals a more profound impact on the game than just determining the color of a player’s spells. The General is now at the player’s command (at least initially) in every game. The cost addition was added to prevent the format from becoming about quickly-played, low-cost, single-color Legends. Rofellos, in particular would be rather powerful, because that player would be playing mono-green, and guaranteed at least six mana on turn three.
On a more personal note, I’m changing my General from Arcades Sabboth to Pheldagriff. It won’t change my colors from WUG, but I’ve grown a little weary of the rather worthless Arcades, and I want to start killing people with purple flying hippos. I’d change to Treva just to have a Dragon, but one of the players in my local group, Justin, has Treva already. I’ve also made considerable changes to the deck, so don’t think you
I’ll be running another Elder Dragon Highlander Challenge at the upcoming Pro Tour in Columbus (with date and time to be announced later). If you’d like to play, drop me an email at email@example.com to reserve your General. Please do so ONLY if you’re sure you’re going to play. Those who played in the previous event (or planned to play but couldn’t because they were working) have their Generals already reserved. A list of already-reserved Generals, from people who I already know are attending, follows:
Sol’Kanar the Swamp King (Duncan McGregor)
Late edit: Peter and Ingrid Jahn just contacted me, and they won’t be attending, so Nicol Bolas and Crosis are up for grabs–this time.
Other Generals are first-come, first served. Email me with who you’d like.
See you in Columbus.