The Highlander Problem

Updated: May 30, 2019


The Highlander Problem:

How to Properly Construct the Most Puzzling Deck in Standard


Written and Edited by

Rodney “Based Crit” Chan, Chad Leiske, and China Ross

With the release of EB05: Primary Melody, Bermuda Triangle represents a significant portion of the meta share. With the clan taking the most top cut spots in most major tournaments, it’s clear that Bermuda Triangle is a solid tier 1 pick. The Melody version of Bermuda Triangle in particular is finding the most success with the most tops in Standard. The most interesting build however isn't Melody, but the deck that makes the player use a limited number of copies of cards in their deck in order to satisfy the costs of extremely high power Grade 4 Vanguards. Called the "Highlander" build, this variant of the deck is fun but has it's flaws.

What is "Highlander"?

Highlander describes a deck construction methodology with one large constraint... The player is generally restricted to "one" copy of each card in a deck. The term "Highlander" originated sometime in the early 2000s as a format for another popular card game Magic the Gathering. Why exactly the word highlander? It actually comes from a 1978 movie with the tagline "There can only be one!".

Inconsistently Consistent.

Let’s break this down shall we. The most important thing to focus on when constructing a deck is to build around your win condition. For Highlander, the win condition is the clans Grade 4s and their powerful effects. Running a minimum of 1 of each Grade 4 is mandatory, you'll know once you resolve Anezka's effect even once.


Now it’s time to move onto the Grade 3 lineup. With only 8 options for the Grade 3 lineup, it’s important to focus on those that bring value to the deck as strong standalone cards. For this reason I’ve chose to include all of them except for Cute Obsession, Papalula.


When constructing the Grade 2 lineup, it’s important to focus on consistency and flexibility. We want to play as many different cards that allow us to draw or net field advantage to help out with the consistency such as Liselotte and Enes. We compliment those cards with flexible cards that are good in many situations to help the deck answer unforeseen threats. A combination of 10k walls and power gaining rearguards round out the grade 2 lineup.


The idea when constructing the Grade 1 lineup is similar to the Grade 2 lineup - we want to play as many consistent and flexible cards. Playing cards that help draw and filter your hand will help make the deck slightly more consistent. Cards such as Ourora, Isabella, Aest and Toria all fit this bill. To fill out the rest of the Grade 1 lineup, using cards that have strong stand alone effects are important. The remaining Grade 1’s all either gain power on their own, give power to another unit or provide an alternate resource.


By focusing on the deck's win condition and filling the deck out with cards that help bring consistency by drawing/filtering and rounding it off with strong stand alone cards, we have put together a strong foundation for the puzzle that is Highlander. These 33 cards along with the 16 triggers (8 Critical, 4 Heal and 4 Perfect Guard/Draw) and Starter, are the 50 cards in the right direction for optimizing the Highlander variant of Bermuda Triangle. The deck has an enormous ceiling and is a lot of fun to play.

This however is just one of the many builds that exist for Highlander. If you think you've cracked the code, feel free to contact me on any of my social media with your build and I'd love to chat with you!

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