The movie “Highlander – There can be only one” published in 1986 is not only name-giving, but also the basic idea. Like MacLeod, the films protagonist, who goes into battle against immortal warriors to emerge as the last and sole super human, it is the task of the player to lead their cards to victory, using only a single copy of each. The principle is nearly as old as magic itself and therefore the term “Highlander” was used for every deck, which plays each card exactly one time, independent of additional deck building rules, deck size or restrictions. Until today the only exception are basic lands.
What originally began as a term for deck building limits, nowadays is a format played/ known everywhere in the world. Indeed there are still local differences, but Highlander has undergone a great development concerning structure and organization.
The German community established itself as the center and main support of the format. But how did this develop?
Until 2002 players only understood Highlander as a term for a deck with the already described criteria: only one copy of each card is allowed per deck, except for basic lands. This basic rule was supplemented with different rules in local communities. While in some kitchen table rounds a deck minimum of 250 cards was common, the 100 card variant was already played in several places. In other playgroups cards with land destruction effects or the buyback ability were banned, for example.
Highlander was described as sub format for the first time in 2003. At first tournaments were officially announced by stores, but were based on different formats. So Standard-Highlander, Every-Set-Highlander or Rare-Only-Highlander was played to indicate the restrictions of the card pool. However these variants were often based on 60 card decks. First tournament reports were released.
2004 a report of the player Frank Topel on planetMTG caused an uproar. In his article Topel published the rules of the format mainly played in Dortmund. This article described the Highlander variant in great detail and certain fundamental rules were discussed together throughout Germany for the first time. Frank Topel tried to structure the format and enable the players to discuss the new format on a website. Magicplayer.org and the the Highlander Council were brought to life and the format enjoyed increasing popularity.
Finally in November 2005 the first ever German Highlander Cup was held in Dortmund with 92 participants.
Nowadays Highlander is on weekly schedule in many stores. Other big tournaments besides the Highlander Cup are hosted and are not limited to the Germany anymore. Especially in Finland and Slovakia the format enjoys great popularity.
Today the Highlander format even finds his way back to kitchen tables and nourishes a more competitive playstyle.
Here you see the successor to the website by Frank Topel, which started as a small, familiar meeting point for fans. We cordially invite you to explore this amazing format, this new homepage and to seek exchange with other enthusiastic players. We wish you as much fun with the format as we have and are looking forward to an encounter on the battlefield. In this sense: There can be only one! And it may be you.