As of June 10th, 2019, the Canadian Highlander Watchlist is as follows:
- Birthing Pod (From 2 to 3)
- Crop Rotation (From 0 to 1)
- Demonic Tutor (From 3 to 4)
- Fastbond (From 0 to 1)
- Flash (From 6 to 7)
- Mana Crypt (From 2 to 3)
- Sol Ring (From 3 to 4)
- Strip Mine (From 2 to 3)
- Tainted Pact (From 0 to 1)
- Tolarian Academy (From 1 to 2)
- Vampiric Tutor (From 2 to 3)
- Yawgmoth’s Will (From 0 to 1)
- Protean Hulk (From 3 to 2)
- Summoner’s Pact (From 2 to 1)
- Treasure Cruise (From 1 to 0)
- Umezawa’s Jitte (From 2 to 1)
Below are the justifications for their inclusion on the watchlist:
Birthing Pod (2):
One of the pointed cards that only gets better as time goes on, with more utility and combo-oriented creatures being printed each set. With new Pod builds popping up, and such a diverse suite of OTK’s available, Birthing Pod is a card we deem it necessary to always have a set of eyes on.
Crop Rotation (0) / Strip Mine (2) / Tolarian Academy (1):
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.
Demonic Tutor (3) / Tainted Pact (0) / Yawgmoth’s Will (0):
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.
Yawgmoth’s Will is adjacent to the tutor game, and has always been a discussion piece among council meetings, and it only seemed appropriate to include one of the most powerful cards of all time on our watchlist.
Mana Crypt (2) / Sol Ring (3):
Spoiler Alert: Mana Crypt is busted.
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.
Protean Hulk (3):
Tale as old as time, meat and eggs. We eat!
Modern day Flash-Hulk decks are a far cry from the boogieman of 2015/2016, especially when their points spreads come under examination. Three years is a long time in Magic, and since then we’ve seen points increases to the following:
Dig Through Time
The general feeling of the council is that making a change to one of these two former behemoths would not spark the total destruction of the format, but instead the biggest issue at hand is whether or more Flashs, Hulks and Flash-Hulks are conducive to a healthier format.
Summoner’s Pact (2):
Currently relegated exclusively CradleHoof, Summoner’s Pact still finds a home in the format, and will quite possibly see an uptick in play after the inevitable Mana Crypt increase. The council isn’t too keen on non-namesake cards (Time Vault, Flash, etc) being sectioned off into a singular archetype, and thus Summoner’s Pact is worthy of a slot on the watchlist.