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Presenting one of the most restrictive deck-building formats of all time.

Hi, Lander!

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Welcome to Mimic Week! All this week on magicthegathering.com, the regular columns will appear as usual… but with a twist. Your eight regular writers, plus at least two guest authors who've written for the site before, are hiding in the ten regular column slots—maybe even their own—under a clever pseudonym: The Mimic! Can you figure out who actually wrote each article? Tune in Monday, July 28 for the answers!


The letter T!here comes a time in every young man’s life when he asks, “Mom, have I gone through puberty yet?” And if your family is anything like my family, she’ll answer with a laugh. “Of course you have! And now that you’re a man, you have special new tasks around the house.” Then she stabbed me through the eye with a baking roller. So began one man’s journey into the Australian Outback. A lifelong obsession with wombats was born out of terrible fear and fury. Rabies shots ensued. It was all that, and a bag of chips.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I’m just tapping the words, so you don’t have to!

Did you know that I was recently offered employment with Wizards of the Coast? It’s true! (No, it’s not). Am I arguing with myself? (Yes, you are.) GET THEE GONE, VOICES IN MY HEAD! (No.) Evil parenthetical spirits. (1 ManaBlue ManaBlue Mana, 2/2. When Evil Parenthetical Spirits come into play, bracket target creature. It can’t split infinitives.)

Hark, the angels sing! These are not yon voices in mine head, no! It is the original Gathering, the time of the Quickening. It is not madness, but mass-decapitations in the name of childbirth. I speak of Highlander. There can only be one!

quicken For further reading about Highlander, you can enjoy these tasty tidbits from your local library:

Ron Vitale’s Highlander: A Singular Format
Ben Bleiweiss’s There Can Only Be Fun: Five-Color Highlander in Standard
Chris Millar’s Fat, Old and Firebreathing and Elf Employment
The Ferrett’s Mixing it Up
Kelly Digges’s The Colors of Magic

I loves me some Highlander, yes I do! (Yes, he does!) I also loves me a sammich! (Yes, he does!) Sandwiches have layers. HIghlander has layers. (Stretched analogy!) How many layers can we put on Highlander?

Layer One: Onesies!

Highlander decks only contain one copy of any given card, with the exception of basic lands. Take Stephen Menendian’s Vintage World Championship deck.

With just a nip here and a tuck there, we end up with this Highlander version of the deck:

Layer Two: Legacy Highlander!

Playing with all them Moxen leads to some very degenerate games, even as a Highlander deck. Me loves Legacy! Since this deck isn’t a viable Legacy deck, let’s choose one. I got it! Mono-Blue control!

Card drawing (cheese!). Stealing (cheese!). Countermagic (cheese!). Bounce (cheese!). I don’t feel like I’m restricted enough!

Layer Three: Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander!

Now we’re kicking it up a notch (BAM!) See, I made a cooking reference, ‘cause it’s alphabet soup time. Not only am I building with Legacy, and using Highlander rules, but now I must have exactly two cards that begin with each letter of the alphabet, plus eight basic Islands!

Sho’ ‘nuff, easy ‘nuff! But what happens when we go completely and utterly BANANAS?

Layer Four: Single-Set Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander!

Dip me in honey and call me your bear! This ain’t your grandpaw’s Highlander deck anymore. THIS IS SPARTA! No more than one of any card (except Island), no more than two of any letter (all 26 letters must be used exactly twice), Legacy format (multiple banned cards), and each Magic set can only appear a single time in the deck list. IS SUCH A DECK EVEN POSSIBLE? No cheating! If you choose to play with Tropical Island as your Alpha card, you better show up with an Alpha Tropical Island! (But remember, Alpha and Beta are one set!)

Revised: Underground Sea
Fourth: Nevinyrral’s Disk
Fifth: Jester’s Cap
Sixth: Island #1
Seventh: Island #2
Eighth: Island #3
Ninth: Quicksand
Tenth: Pithing Needle

Alliances: Force of Will
Alliances: Helm of Obedience
Alliances: Lat-Nam’s Legacy
FIGHT! Force of Will wins!

Alpha / Beta: Island #4

Antiquities: Yotian Soldier

Apocalypse: Yavimaya Coast

Arabian Nights: Desert

Betrayers of Kamigawa: Ninja of the Deep Hours
Betrayers of Kamigawa: Umezawa’s Jitte
FIGHT! Umezawa’s Jitte wins!

Champions of Kamigawa: Gifts Ungiven
Champions of Kamigawa: Hinder
Champions of Kamigawa: Jushi Apprentice
Champions of Kamigawa: Keiga, the Tide Star
Champions of Kamigawa: Sensei’s Divining Top
FIGHT! Sensei’s Divining Top wins!

Chronicles: Boomerang

Coldsnap: Counterbalance

Darksteel: Echoing Truth

Exodus: Ertai, Wizard Adept

Fifth Dawn: Vedalken Shackles

Guildpact: Repeal

Ice Age: Zuran Orb
Ice Age: Zuran Spellcaster
FIGHT! Zuran Spellcaster Wins!

Invasion: Fact or Fiction

Legends: Karakas

Lorwyn: Ponder
Lorwyn: Vivid Creek
FIGHT! Vivid Creek Wins!

Mercadian Masques: Dust Bowl

Mirage: Island #5

Mirrodin: Isochron Scepter
Mirrodin: Mindslaver
Mirrodin: Seat of the Synod
FIGHT! Isochron Scepter wins!

Odyssey: Island #6

Onslaught: Lonely Sandbar
Onslaught: Quicksilver Dragon
FIGHT! Quicksilver Dragon Wins!

Planeshift: Rushing River

Portal: Island #7

Portal Second Age: Island #8

Ravnica: City of Guilds: Watery Grave

Saviors of Kamigawa: Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

Scourge: Xantid Swarm

Starter 1999: Counterspell

Stronghold: Mana Leak

Tempest: Wasteland

Time Spiral: Academy Ruins
Time Spiral: Ancestral Vision
Time Spiral: Gemstone Mine
FIGHT! Academy Ruins wins!

Unlimited: Tropical Island

Urza’s Destiny: Treachery

Visions: Impulse

Weatherlight: Ophidian
Weatherlight: Xanthic Statue
Fight! Xanthic Statue wins!

Openings (by letter): A / 2xG / 2xH / J / K / 2xL / M / N / O / P / S / Z

Openings (by set): Dissension / Eventide / Fallen Empires / Future Sight / Homelands / Judgment / Legions / Morningtide / Nemesis / Planar Chaos / Portal Three Kingdoms / Prophecy / Shadowmoor / The Dark / Torment / Urza’s Legacy / Urza’s Saga

Filling in the blanks:

A: Ambassador Laquatus (Torment)
G: Ghastlord of Fugue (Shadowmoor)
G: Glen Elendra Archmage (Eventide)
H: Hallowed Fountain (Dissension)
H: High Tide (Fallen Empires)
J: Jolting Merfolk (Nemesis)
K: Karn, Silver Golem (Urza’s Saga)
L: Lost in Thought (Judgment)
L: Lu Xen, Scholar General (Portal Three Kingdoms)
M: Maze of Ith (The Dark)
N: Negate (Morningtide)
O: Opportunity (Urza’s Legacy)
P: Pongify (Planar Chaos)
S: Serrated Arrows (Homelands)
Z: Zoetic Cavern (Future Sight)

So in the end, we have the following Single-Set Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander Deck (say that with one breath)!

Here’s the full breakdown by set:

Revised: Underground Sea
Fourth: Nevinyrral’s Disk
Fifth: Jester’s Cap
Sixth: Island #1
Seventh: Island #2
Eighth: Island #3
Ninth: Quicksand
Tenth: Pithing Needle
Alliances: Force of Will
Alpha / Beta: Island #4
Antiquities: Yotian Soldier
Apocalypse: Yavimaya Coast
Arabian Nights: Desert
Betrayers of Kamigawa: Umezawa’s Jitte
Champions of Kamigawa: Sensei’s Divining Top
Chronicles: Boomerang
Coldsnap: Counterbalance
Darksteel: Echoing Truth
Dissension: Hallowed Fountain
Eventide: Glen Elendra Archmage
Exodus: Ertai, Wizard Adept
Fallen Empires: High Tide
Fifth Dawn: Vedalken Shackles
Future Sight: Zoetic Cavern
Guildpact: Repeal
Homelands: Serrated Arrows
Ice Age: Zuran Spellcaster
Invasion: Fact or Fiction
Judgment: Lost in Thought
Legends: Karakas
Lorwyn: Vivid Creek
Mercadian Masques: Dust Bowl
Mirage: Island #5
Mirrodin: Isochron Scepter
Morningtide: Negate
Nemesis: Jolting Merfolk
Odyssey: Island #6
Onslaught: Quicksilver Dragon
Planar Chaos: Pongify
Planeshift: Rushing River
Portal : Island #7
Portal Second Age: Island #8
Portal Three Kingdoms: Lu Xen, Scholar General
Ravnica: Watery Grave
Saviors of Kamigawa: Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
Scourge: Xantid Swarm
Shadowmoor: Ghastlord of Fugue
Starter 1999: Counterspell
Stronghold: Mana Leak
Tempest: Wasteland
The Dark: Maze of Ith
Time Spiral: Academy Ruins
Torment: Ambassador Laquatus
Unlimited: Tropical Island
Urza’s Destiny: Treachery
Urza’s Legacy: Opportunity
Urza’s Saga: Karn, Silver Golem
Visions: Impulse
Weatherlight: Xanthic Statue

Now go out there and fight against your friend’s Single-Set Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander Deck, you crazy kids!

Can You Build a Single-Set Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander Deck?

I’ve shown you my favorite Single-Set Alphabet Soup Legacy Highlander Deck (SSASLHD for short), but I want to know if you can build one as well. It’s harder than it looks!


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