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Author Topic: The future of highlander    (Read 276 times)
derStefan82
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« on: 09-07-2018, 10:12:31 PM »

Hey guys,

my feeling is that our beloved highlander format is slowly dying.

The first big hit for my local scene here was the creation of commander therefore a lot or more casual players moved on.

For our area (southern Germany) the major tournament organized by JK former known as GP went from a breething 1nce a year 150 player event
to a 8 person event largely because the organizer did not listen to the community and did events with hall entries and without "event" feeling
like artists lots of stores etc (hit the other formats there as well < 50 modern and legacy with hundreds before).

Now there is magic online duel commander out there as well and there is canadian highlander that got some popularity.

I think there should be a non commander competitive singleton format. But I doubt that there is room for multiple of those formats.
A couple of years ago I made the statement for the first time to try to unite the different singleton formats worldwide into 1 community driven format.

Personal I see the canadian version as the way to go because of various reasons:

- it allows any card which is why I and most of the long term highlander players I know love the format (nowhere else you see so many different cards out of the history of magic interact)
- most of the stupid discussions / conflict that we had in the european highlander format were about bannings / unbannings
  - my deck was banned
  - the card I invested in was banned
  - I have to fear my deck get's banned
  - card x should have stayed in the format
  - ...
- it also has no commander and 20 life

Someone / some of the european guy(s) may go into the canadian council and work in future on the global competitive highlander format
My recommendation is get together, start a online league / tournament to explore the format, survive.

Anyone sharing my feelings?
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Goblin-Diplomaten
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« Reply #1 on: 09-07-2018, 10:37:48 PM »

Quote
beloved highlander format is slowly dying.








Quote
because of various reasons:

It seems like you have like 2 reasons at max.

Do you really think JK will create more tournaments for canadian HL when there are none for european HL?
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Demppa
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« Reply #2 on: 09-07-2018, 11:04:15 PM »

I think the biggest difference is that over here people don't seem to put in effort to keep the format going, while over in Canada they do.

What we see over here: an inactive council with super questionable watchlistings that don't even get their own forum topic.
What we see over there: a streamlined website and an impressive vodcast backed by LRR.

For the longevity of the format I think it's important to polish up how the format appears to potential new players.
I think the two formats can co-exist. I also think suddenly switching to some other format is a hard sell over here and honestly will make more people quit highlander altogether rather than get new people in. I don't see how switching to Canlander suddenly makes the format more appealing over here. I think it's just the larger trend of eternal formats getting played less and less.
Rather than arguing bans, we'd be arguing points. And I suspect we'd have very little influence on those.

Gameplay wise I personally prefer our version. It seems like a North/South Korea situation: having One True Highlander format would be nice, but we both want it on our own terms.
I still see fixing our current problems is very possible (and not even that hard) and the preferred path.

edit: typo
« Last Edit: 09-07-2018, 11:36:12 PM by Demppa » Logged
Goblin-Diplomaten
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« Reply #3 on: 09-07-2018, 11:25:36 PM »

Quote
For the longevity of the format I think it's important to polish up how the format appears to potential new players.
I think the two formats can co-exist. I also think suddenly switching to some other format is a hard sell over here and honestly will make more people quit highlander altogether rather than get new people in. I don't see how switching to Canlander suddenly makes the format more appealing over here. I think it's just the larger trend of eternal formats getting played less and less.
Rather than arguing bands, we'd be arguing points. And I suspect we'd have very little influence on those.

+1
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DarkLight
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« Reply #4 on: 10-07-2018, 02:54:14 AM »

Hey guys,
my feeling is that our beloved highlander format is slowly dying.

This has necessarily nothing to do with our highlander format, but more with the rising prices for (reserve-listed) eternal relevant cards. The same reason why Vintage died years ago and Legacy is struggling and will die soon, too.
Since our highlander format became more and more competitive over the years many casual players switched to commander, because it gives them more chances to play cheaper decks without getting stomped every time they play. The only competitive "budget" deck our format has at the moment is RDW.

What this format possibly needs is something what makes the format more attractive for beginners or players with a budget (for example budget-prices at tournaments).

the major tournament organized by JK
In my opinion JK is a bad TO anyways, for example kinda high entry fee and compared to that, a bad prize payout.
MGM or The "The-One" Series were showing us it can work the other way around.

I think the biggest difference is that over here people don't seem to put in effort to keep the format going, while over in Canada they do.

What we see over here: an inactive council with super questionable watchlistings that don't even get their own forum topic.
In my eyes this is another reason after the price issue for cards, why this format is going down at the moment.

Another example the Online-Highlander Tournament/League was once free to sign up, now it has an entry fee like a normal tournament. For sure the problem was as the tournament was free to sign up, many players were just joining and didn't showed up to their matches.

My suggestion on this topic would be:
- A free to sign-up Tournament with 8 or 16 slots running over 1 or 2 month
- Players who don't show up to their match for the first time recieve a loss, second time they getting disqualified and will not be able to join the next tournament.
- Playdays would be Saturday and Sunday 5-11pm (players can make an arrengement to play on any day/time before Sunday 22pm)
- The winner of this tournament will get free entry into the Online-Highlander League.

For sure this will take some time for coordination and organisation but for fuck sake this is what the council is for and should do.

Would like to see some responses on this topic or any other suggestions from council members respective the future of this format.
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« Reply #5 on: 10-07-2018, 10:59:43 PM »


My opinion:
Our current format lacks a stepping stone to get into and has been lacking it for several years now. I was complaining about the very same issues for the scene in Hamburg a few years back people from southern Germany are complaining about now (player base seemingly disapearing). One possible solution could be a "modern" HL format that hopefully can attract players who will like playing singleton without a commander and some of those players might then later upgrade or further invest into their decks to turn them into decks of our current HL format. Other theoretical options could be proxies (makes torunaments support way harder, kills investment into format, didnt work for vintage at all in the US) or MASSIVE price related bannings (I dont see this as a realistic option at all).   

Obviously the communication this summer was lacking and I would like to ask for an apology on that on behalf for myself and my fellow council members. I understand this was a real bad timing of us to be so silent. In fact I have been lacking time personally to invest into my duties as a council member for some time now and my cards have been collecting dust as well. If there are players interested in working for the format and within the council or you know players that would be great fit please let me/the council know and we should start working on rejuvenating the format on that front as well.
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« Reply #6 on: 11-07-2018, 02:17:30 AM »

One possible solution could be a "modern" HL format that hopefully can attract players
The main reason why I chose to play highlander is because I can play so many fun cards from the history of magic which are too "bad" for vintage, legacy or modern. A drastic restriction of the cardpool would instantly kill the format for me.

Other theoretical options could be proxies
I was thinking about something like that, too. At the end I don't think this can be a real solution. Because it would be pretty unsatisfying for players who invested their money in real cards and losing against proxies in tournaments.

Obviously the communication this summer was lacking and I would like to ask for an apology on that on behalf for myself and my fellow council members. I understand this was a real bad timing of us to be so silent. In fact I have been lacking time personally to invest into my duties as a council member for some time now and my cards have been collecting dust as well.
At least the first council member admit that the communication with the community was not that good in the past few months. For sure I understand that council members having a job, friends and family who are demanding their time, too. What I don't understand is we have eight council members and for me it looks like some of them don't even do anything.

Just to show the forum activities of our coucil members ...

Vazdru: Last post 26-06-2018
Maqi: Last post 14-04-2018
Payron: Last post 06-07-2018
Dr. Opossum: Last post 08-07-2018
ChristophO: Last post 10-07-2018
pyyhttu: Last post 04-10-2017
Nastaboi: Last post 16-11-2016
Dalibor: Last post 21-09-2017

... by the way for sure this forum is kinda dead when not even some of the council members use it.

The finish part of our highlander community seem to have their own forum/messenger groups, the czech/slovakia part most likely have their own, too and it feels like every user of this forum is from germany/austria (and we still only post in english) ... for sure communication at all is lacking if we split up like this. Just let's hope for the sake of all who love this format we can make this better again, otherwise the future looks pretty grim.
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« Reply #7 on: 11-07-2018, 08:46:14 AM »

Quote
At least the first council member admit...

*the 3rd

There is a large discussion at the Highlander Magic Europe group on facebook which was originally about the watchlist. The players (including me) were wondering why the council came up with the list one week late and gave us no explanations about the changes. As more and more questions came up, I tagged Vazdru, Maqi, Payron and Dr. Opossum. (I only have these 4 as friends on FB) After half a day Payron and Dr. Opossum gave us each a wall of text, which I will post now. (none of the other members posted anything yet)

I would recommend to get yourself a facebook account (does not have to be your real name) and head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/HighlanderEurope/?ref=bookmarks to get all informations.

Payron:

Quote
Hi guys,

First of all I wanted to tell you, that I am sorry I can’t give your every answer you want at this point. I told already some people in my closer circle, that I can’t put to much energy into this discussion right now because I am in the end of my studies and therefore need to focus on myself first. For everybody which doesn’t know me I am a player from Erfurt and the newest member of the council. I read like every comment of the FB discussions after the banning seasons just you know.

First of all there where some pretty good points made here. Dion is right about the watchlist cards come on and off with every members votes and not every argument is will change the mind of another council member, therefore this list changes quite a bit and cards will be elected by 2 votes from 8. I see that this brings a lot of confusion to the people and we should discuss, if this makes sense for us in the future. In my mind the watchlist is a tool, that we can outline, which cards we should focus on for the next season. It makes it easier to focus for us and not to surprise everybody with a totally new unbanned / banned card. The argument was made quite often that we vote just on personal opinions and I got to tell you that this is a big part of it, but we can’t realy change this because of the lack of data. Wald Wolf wants to delete all the expensive cards for good reason. It’s to expensive for newcomers, but then you want to drop also HL for Canadian HL, which is by far even more expensive. I think HL is an eternal format and we need the old cards kind of, but we need to watch out if they are to strong in the meta right now. (obv)

I am totally on Jan Knarr’s side, if you guys want to discuss here we need a guideline, why we need to ban and unban cards. You guy’s are could be right about skullclamp, but I want to ask you: What will this change do for the meta and which problems does it fix? In my mind we should unban cards, if we have a healthy meta and can afford to try something. So the first question would be: Do we have a healthy meta right now? Some here say yes and some here say no? Again we have out major issue with gathering data. And at this point I want to thank Dion for his work (and I guess nobody realy knows how much work this is expect a few people) to upload so much decklists. Also a HUGE project was started by Jörn Franke, who started working on our Highlander Decks section on MKM and gathered a lot of datas to upload, them and I was happy to support him within this project. You guys can find here events, which are going back to 2005. So this would be a good source if you need data. Thank you guys so much for this work.

I am now about 1 year in the council and I don’t know if everything goes right (or everything goes wrong?), but there are people which put a lot of passion and effort in projects for the community. We are small and we do the best to evaluate Changes to the Meta, with the Data we got.

My personal opinion right now: I think we have a pretty healthy metagame right now, but it could be that some busted decks are over the top, which still fly under the radar. This Banning season was kind of bad for you guys and I am sorry for that. I had the feeling everybody thinks the metagame is healthy right now and therefore we don’t need any big explanations, I guess we were wrong in this point.
You guys want us to evaluate the Meta on data (which we realy try to gather, but we also need your help) or do you want us to say: We think entomb and Academy and Oath are over the top cards and we have no data that they have the consistency to win every event, but we ban them anyways?! I think that would be the opposite of good work.
In the end I want just to state skullclamp as an example, I could see this unbanned, but my question is also, what does it achieve in out meta. If there is a boogie man in the format right now It might be some combo deck or just reanimator. In this case skullclamp, will make the midrange fights more random and one sided and the boogie man just doesn’t care because they try to ignore the other side of the battlefield anyways.

Thanks again for everybody, which puts so much work in our format. The players, which travel miles to every event, people collecting and uploading events, people building up the local community and doing planning events for us and everybody who puts effort in a good discussion.

Greetings

Jan


Dr. Opossum:

Quote
At the same time I wrote a similar length of text parallel to Jan. However, I would describe a few things less embellished. So let's get it more spicy. ^^
a. The Council
All the anger of the last days about the changes, the participation, motivation, all the discontent about our work and displeasure on MPO, in the groups, etc. is deserved. The Council has this self-inflicted and no one wants to gloss over that. Not only you are dissatisfied. The lack of motivation in the community and in the council itself also disturbs the few active council members. With 100 excuses for inactivity, some members are clinging to a position that obviously and for a long time can not be filled. "I have a family." "We do not currently play Highlander in my area." "I write exams." "I actively participated 700 years ago." "That will surely change again soon." No, it will not. An exam should not be responsible for not making your votes within the deadline. Activity is measured by current engagement and collaboration and not by successes of x years ago. And if you are involved in other duties for a long time, the Council position is obviously not workable for you. With occasional posts in the forum activity is fooled where none is.
I am pleased to hear from our Finnish community members how active Juha and Toumas seem to be in their region. I am also surprised by Juha's post because the only part I can really confirm as a Council member is the "I could not find words" part. So many Finnish people are regularly posting decklists here, participating in the discussions, posting event links. The connection to the Finnish region is due to you, the Finnish community. Without this group, the rest of the council would have no idea what is actually happening in Finland. Do not get me wrong, I will not take me out there. EVERY individual Council member is, in my opinion, unable to perform his duties to the extent that is desirable.

b. Watchlist Changes
Why does the watchlist exist? WotC does not need a list, so why us? The big problem of the watchlist is not in their length or the cards on it. The big problem is the difference in definition. Our goal is not to pinpoint as many community members as possible, to confuse or to threaten with a ban / unban. WotC manages formats that have a much larger player base. Potential Bannings and Unbannings can be guessed on Pro tours or Grand Prix. We do not have this luxury here. Far too little "big tournaments" are just a sample of potentially problematic decks or cards. So, to prepare players for at least a little bit on POSSIBLE changes, the watchlist was invented. This does NOT mean that these cards are actually banned / unbaned. It just means that these cards have to be watched in the current format and have to be monitored and discussed more intensely by ALL Community and Council members. The watchlist is considered a "snapshot". So against this background, I see no reason to remove or shorten the watchlist. However, even within the Council, not all members share my definition and also the community repeatedly has different views on the watchlist formulated by us. Therefore, I understand the criticism of the list absolutely.

c. Transparency
The rules within the council forbid me to talk about the votes and opinions of other specific members. This should primarily protect individuals from fortunately FEW unnecessarily aggressive "wolves". It means that it is up to the Council Members themselves to publish their personal votes. I'm not very interested in whether other people like this rule. Personally, I find it really useful if hostility, incitement and over-emotionalism shape discussions instead of productive criticism. Although the Council is far from being innocent of the current situation, specific responses are inappropriate.
Nonetheless, the watch and ban list apparently reflects a common denominator. The Council members are people with strong beliefs and we all have a very stubborn view of the format. That does not seem to be much different among community members. At Scullclamp, Mystical Tutor and Co the minds part. A common denominator has the big problem that it does not really satisfy anyone. Everybody votes for his perfect outcome and at the end you have a list with the overlaps. In my opinion, a meaningful list can be achieved less with majorities of individual votings - OUTCOMES must be discussed. Common denominators are feasible only with the procedure and the basic rules (What do all of us want? What do we not want? for example: first-turn kills, etc.). But: Highlander consists of two very different groups. The first one wants a T2, Modern or Legacy comparable format and a most competitive atmosphere. The others want the broadest possible pool of cards to use in kitchen table rounds, play iconic old cards that they can not play in other formats and still attend a bigger tournament every now and then. Obviously, both groups are necessary and important for the continuation of the format, which has its roots in small playgroups.

d. Future
I still believe that a council is the most meaningful solution, as long as accessibility, voting guidelines, process, anonymity and protection against voting abuse are not clarified. However, I like to admit that the Council is not much more productive in the form in which it is. However, that will not change as long as inactive council members stick to their position.
I also do not think Canadian Highlander is the solution to the problem. Our format is shrinking because no proxies are allowed for small-scale tournaments. The most meaningful task of the Council would therefore be rather to establish the connection between tournament organizers and their region. If necessary, explain and initiate playgroups on how to host Highlander tournaments without Store Owner. The expensive entry into the format certainly will not be easier with the "Unban" of all cards.
On the other hand, a ban of the Reserved List is similarly problematic. The lack of duals would generate a completely new format, which also requires a completely new banned list. At worst, we end up with similar problem as the modern highlander attempt a few years earlier (limited choice of cards, decks can not/ rarely cope with more than 3 colors, splitting of the community).
However, if the community's desire for alternative formats grows and threatens to erode the current format, I agree and support it if this is what wanted. Overall, the mood in recent polls about the current banned list was very positive. Many of you would have noticed that everyone, like the Council, has their own ideas of the optimal format. "Somehow satisfied" is therefore a condition that I can personally live with. That's why I've put my votings for bannings (for example the tutors, specific cards) behind personal views.



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« Reply #8 on: 11-07-2018, 12:05:31 PM »

Quote
At least the first council member admit...

*the 3rd
Thanks for sharing the wall of text from those two.

I would recommend to get yourself a facebook account (does not have to be your real name) and head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/HighlanderEurope/?ref=bookmarks to get all informations.[url]

I left facebook for a good personal reason and I don't think it should be necessary to make an account anywhere to gather ALL public informations. This forum is free to read wether you have an account or not.


The post of Dr. Opossum was kinda interesting to read.

Quote
"We do not currently play Highlander in my area."
I personally don't have a community for years, mostly only playing online on cockatrice and from time to time some kitchetable-highlander magic. I still manage to participate as much as possible in discussions.

Quote
"I write exams."
Voting for Watch-/Banlist don't take too much time.

Quote
"I actively participated 700 years ago."
This sounds like someone is not interested in participating anymore because of his engagement in the past.

Quote
Activity is measured by current engagement and collaboration and not by successes of x years ago
Exactly


On Payrons post I can only reapeat what I wrote before, I can understand if council members have no time to participate in every discussion because of "real life" stuff.
If you think nothing problematic has happened since the last voting, you can just stick with your last voting. This don't take too much time but it should be done within the deadline.

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