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Promoting: Elder Dragon Highlander

May 14, 2009

Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite casual formats, Elder Dragon Highlander. For you who doesn’t know what Elder Dragon Highlander is (or EDH for short), it’s a highlander constructed format based around that you pick a general (a legendary creature) and then you build a 99-card deck to go along with the general. I recommend to check this site out for all the rules and banlist for the format. You can then play with your decks in many different set ups. It was originally designed to be a multiplayer free-for-all format, but I just really enjoy playing 1on1, Two Headed Giant or Emperor (a 3on3 team format).

At the moment I’m running a domain-control deck with Sliver Queen. I haven’t got a complete decklist, but it runs some classic domain cards, such as Collective Restraints and Global Ruin, and some blue card draw and counters, black removal and discard and green for mana fixing and enchantment/artifact removal. When I started off building the deck I had Kai Buddes old “Dark Domain” deck from GP London 2001 as a inspiration source. It’s not the most competitive deck, but I’m not trying to break the EDH format by any means. For EDH, I like to play with cards and strategies I like and having a good time.

And this leads me to why I like EDH. While I certainly love the competitive aspect of the game, trying to grind in on the PTQs, playing at Nationals, hoping to qualify for the Pro Tour and get a good finish etc. I also enjoy the more casual aspects of the game as well. Gather a couple of friends, draft and just hang out or play EDH for example. That just plain awesome in my book.

But, there is one thing that really needs an overhaul in EDH. The banlist. It is fine and playable as it now, but it could be improved in my opinion. I’m not having any problem with the specific bans, such as Karakas or Riftsweeper as they just breaks how the format functions with the generals. But here’s a list for what I think is wrongly on the banlist:

  • Sway of the Stars seems a bit underpowered to me to be on the banlist. It’s a 10-mana sorcery, that needs even more mana if you want to set it up. And even if you do “go off”, it’s hard to kill more than 1 or 2 people before the rest can recover. I kinda see it if you don’t want these global changing spells in the format, but Magister Sphinx and Obliterate is legal, so I don’t buy that.
  • Recurring Nightmare. I might miss something, but really?! I don’t see why this card would be overpowered. Is there a general or something really broke this card or what? Please en light me why this card is on the banlist, because I just don’t see it.

And now to the card that should be on the banlist:

  • Sol Ring/Mana Crypt. These are just overpowered mana artifacts that is on the same powerlevel as the moxen (if you ask me) but they are still legal. Unless there are at least 4 or more people in the game you play, 9 out of 10 times the guy who can lead with land, Sol Ring will win. I can almost guarantee that. So please, just make these card go away…
  • Strip Mine. When Crucible of Worlds was banned, I was okay with Strip Mine legal in EDH. But they allowed us to play with Crucible again and Strip Mine just bugs the hell out of me. It just breaks a fundamental part of the game to me when you don’t get a bonus for playing basic lands. Strip Mine just doesn’t care and can single handily win games and crush dreams. Wasteland or Dust Bowl I’m totally fine with, but Strip Mine…Come on!
  • Sundering Titan. I might be a bit bias since I’m playing a domain deck, but nevertheless, this card is a real beating. It’s currently on the “watch list” and I’m really hoping it gets the ‘hammer in July. If the effect was on a 6 mana sorcery or something, I would say fine. But reality is that the effect is doubled up on a 7/10 creature that every single freaking deck can play. I just think the format would be healthier without it.

Even if I think there are a couple of things that could be improved with the format, it’s still one hell of a format and if you haven’t get it a try, make sure you do. Grab a couple of friends, make them all make a deck for themselves, met up with a couple of nice beverages and have a good time. I really recommend you guys to give it a try. If you have any thoughts about the banlist or don’t agree with my lists, please let me know!

Next weekend there is a big Magic convention in Linköping, Lincon, where there will be Austin PTQ and other great events. I will probably give you a report from the convention, and for those planning on going there, make sure to say hi! Until next time…

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2009 15:16

    Recurring Nightmare is just very hard to deal with, you have to counter it or you are screwed. Plus once you cast it, you hardly want to cast anything else the rest of the game. It’s just that good.

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