What Does Highlander Mean in Card Games?

Photo of author

By Valerie Becker

Highlander is a term used in various card games, especially in collectible card games (CCGs). The term refers to a format of gameplay where players are limited to only one copy of any given card in their deck. This format is popular among players who enjoy a more diverse and unpredictable gaming experience.

What is the origin of the term Highlander?

The term Highlander comes from the 1986 American fantasy action-adventure film “Highlander,” which follows the story of immortal warriors fighting for survival. The movie’s tagline “There can be only one” became synonymous with the concept of having only one copy of each card in a player’s deck.

Why play Highlander?

Playing Highlander can be a refreshing change from traditional formats where players can use multiple copies of the same powerful cards. In Highlander, players must carefully consider their choices and create a deck that is both effective and efficient with limited resources.

Moreover, Highlander can be an excellent way to showcase your creativity and innovation skills as you have to think outside the box while building your deck. Players who are new to CCGs may find it easier to get into Highlander compared to other formats as they have access to a broader range of cards and strategies.

How does Highlander work?

Highlander gameplay typically involves constructing decks using only one copy of each card. However, some variations allow up to two copies of specific cards depending on the game’s rules and regulations.

Players must thoroughly analyze each card’s potential before selecting them, ensuring that they complement each other well enough to create an effective strategy. Decks usually consist of cards that can generate resources, draw additional cards, and control or eliminate opposing threats.

What are some popular CCGs with Highlander format?

Several popular CCGs feature Highlander format gameplay, including Magic: The Gathering (EDH or Commander), Hearthstone (Wild), and Yu-Gi-Oh! (Highlander).


Highlander format can be an exciting and challenging way to play your favourite CCGs. It requires you to think more critically about your card selections and overall strategy, making for a more engaging and rewarding gameplay experience. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to CCGs, Highlander is worth trying out at least once to see if it’s right for you.