MTG Wiki

DCI Sanctioned
Paper {Cross}
Magic Online {Cross}
Magic Arena {Cross}
Type Constructed
Multiplayer {Cross}
Add. rules Singleton deck

Highlander is a casual constructed variant of Magic which allows only one copy of each card in the deck, with the exception of basic lands.[1] It may also be a format modifier, where any other constructed format is modified by restricting it to also be Highlander. The name Highlander is a reference to the movie of the same name, whose tagline was "There can be only one".[2]

Rules[ | ]

  • Any card from Alpha up through the latest Magic set can be used (except for banned cards). Cards from the Portal sets, International Collector Editions, and World Championship Decks can be used provided you put all your cards in opaque sleeves and the International Collector Edition card edges are rounded.
  • Special mulligan rules: In some variants, the first time a player takes a mulligan, they draw a new hand of as many cards as they had before. Subsequent hands decrease by one card as normal. In other variants, a mulligan of 7-6-6-5-5... is used (i.e. a second mulligan of each size except 7).

Individual playgroups and regional variants often have their own house rules regarding many aspects of the game to suit their style and to make the game more fun. This often includes a more extensive banned list, or banning certain combinations (e.g. decks can include a Thopter Foundry or a Sword of the Meek, but not both) or modifying how interactions work (e.g. infinite loops only recur a set number of times to prevent infinite damage or mana loops that would otherwise win the game immediately) or replacing the banned list with a "points" list. In these cases, the objective is to lengthen the game and prevent good draws from being able to win or knock a player out of the game too soon. Given how big the card pool is, there are many plausible, if unlikely given the format, ways to deal infinite damage or otherwise win within a few turns and this is generally considered to not be in the spirit of the game and can be enforced with house rules if the group feels they need to.

Deck construction[ | ]

  • A deck may not contain two cards with the same English name except basic land cards.
  • In many variants, such as Canadian Highlander[3] (see below) or European Highlander[4], a deck must contain at least 100 cards. In Australian Highlander, decks follow standard magic construction limits (60 card main decks, 15 card sideboards)
  • Some cards are entirely banned in tournament formats. Since these are non-DCI-tournaments, they have individual ban lists.[5]
  • No sideboards are used.

Points list[ | ]

The most distinctive difference between Highlander and regular Singleton and constructed Magic is that many Highlander formats use a points list. As a format that normally uses a Vintage card pool but can't utilize the balancing methodology of restrictions, these formats need a different solution. As such, the most powerful cards in the format, such as Moxen, are designated a certain value of power points, and the deck can only contain a certain cap of points.

For example, in the Canadian Highlander system, the five original Moxen are three points apiece, and therefore a deck can only contain three. Ancestral Recall is the highest pointed card at 8, which means that it can't share a decklist with something like Demonic Tutor, which is rated at 3 points.

The system in place allows players to select from the greatest pool without outlawing cards based on power, but only is manageable due to the relatively small field of players: each registered deck has to be vetted for complicity with the list.

Singleton[ | ]

In the simplified Singleton version of Highlander players can use Standard, Modern, Legacy, or Vintage formats and Constructed deckbuilding rules. A deck has no 100-card minimum.

Australian[ | ]

Australian Highlander, or 7-point Highlander, is a primarily paper-based format that uses the Vintage banned list. It has a point list of seven points in a deck of sixty cards. Australian point system Highlander was first played in late 1996 or early 1997.

Canadian[ | ]

Canadian Highlander or Canlander is a paper- and online Vintage format with a point list, sharing most of the banlist of Vintage and the Restricted list evaluated per-card. The point limit is ten points in a hundred-card deck.[6][3][7][8][9] The community was grown in Victoria, Vancouver Island in 1999, and has become more well-known with publicity from Wizards. The point list council is drawn from the local players, and as such international players have developed their own councils and point lists based on their metagames.

European[ | ]

European Highlander (also known as German Highlander) is a 100-card, Singleton, 20-life, best-of-3 Vintage-based format without sideboards. Unlike other popular variants, European Highlander makes use of a banlist[10] instead of a points system. The format "watchlist" is maintained by the council, and visible on the European Highlander website. It uses the "London mulligan".

Historic Singleton[ | ]

Main article: Gladiator

In August 2020, MTG Arena featured an event known as "Super-Singleton", which was similar to a community format established in mid-2020 known as "Gladiator". The decks are 100-card, singleton, 20-life, with a card pool of the Historic format (aka the Arena card pool). As of 2022, the ban list for Gladiator is of five cards: Oko, Thief of Crowns, Nexus of Fate, Field of the Dead, Natural Order, and Teferi, Time Raveler. The format is "best of 3, no sideboards". Gladiator was featured under its name as a Community Spotlight in August 2022.[11]

Scandinavian[ | ]

Scandinavian Highlander or Scandilander is a Singleton Vintage format, originally based on Canadian Highlander, but spun off with its Denmark-based council.

Scandilander is a growing, but still fairly new format, as it was founded in the Spring of 2020, and it saw its first deviation from the Canadian Highlander format in the following Summer. Scandilander also has a very proxy-friendly policy both in casual and tournament settings to lessen the barrier to entry for newer players. You may also use up to 20 proxies in your hundred-card deck.

Commander[ | ]

Main article: Commander (format)

Commander, formerly known as Elder Dragon Highlander (usually abbreviated to EDH) is a Highlander variant format with specific rules centered around a legendary creature designated as a player's "commander". The format has grown to be the most popular structured format in Magic.

References[ | ]