Each Card is allowed only once
One of the axioms for the choice of cards in a Highlander deck is that each card is permitted only once, except basic lands and cards that override format imposed restrictions, e.g. Relentless Rats. The determining criterion is the English card name.
100 Card Minimum
The deck must consist of a minimum of 100 cards.
Essentially all printed, tournament legal Magic cards produced by Wizards of the Coast can be used in deck construction. The following exceptions and rules must be adhered to:
- Cards listed in the Highlander banned list are not permitted in the deck. The banned list is based roughly between the power levels of “eternal” formats Vintage and Legacy (previously known as Type 1 and Type 1.5 respectively), with Highlander specific changes.
All new Magic expansions become legal on the worldwide pre-release date of the edition.
“London” Mulligan rule
Each player draws a number of cards equal to their starting hand size, which is seven. A player who is dissatisfied with their initial hand may take a mulligan. First, the starting player declares whether they will take a mulligan. Then the other player does the same. Once both players have made a declaration, all players who decided to take mulligans do so at the same time. To take a mulligan, a player shuffles the cards in their hand back into their library, draws a new hand of cards equal to their starting hand size, then puts a number of those cards equal to the number of times that player has taken a mulligan on the bottom of their library in any order. Once a player chooses not to take a mulligan, the remaining cards become that player’s opening hand, and that player may not take any further mulligans. This process is then repeated until no player takes a mulligan. A player can take mulligans until their opening hand would be zero cards. (Comprehensive Rules, 103.4, also known as the “London” mulligan).
A Sideboard is not permitted.
The Highlander format takes, because of its inherent slower nature, often longer than other regular constructed formats. The 60 minute time allotment per round is often too short when the longer search and shuffle effects are taken into account. Allowing a sideboard would largely exceed the time limits.
In addition, it is a part of the excitement of deckbuilding to tune the deck for the expected metagame. It is a part of the decision making process which card answers are required for challenges the opponent could present. A card which is deadly against a certain type of deck, may prove all but useless against other decks. Games after sideboarding would be more dependent on the luck of drawing the first hoser card.
For rules purposes, the only cards a player owns during a tournament match are the ones contained in the deck they are currently playing.