Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Intrinsic benefits of fast proactive decks

Hey Guys,

Such a relief to start typing with an informal greeting. I'm applying for jobs at the moment; choosing appropriate words and not using bad grammar who is bad all of this time.

(By the way, if you're an employer looking for a graduate mechanical engineer, message me :P)

Had a small magic revelation the other day, it was a pretty obvious one but I'd never really thought about it; Basically, if I'm choosing which deck to play for a tournament and all my options are similar in strength, I will play the deck which will have the shortest games.
To elaborate:

(I like lists)

1. You expend less energy:
If your games are shorter, you're in that state of intense concentration for less time. Everyone is tired in round 8 of a Grand Prix. If your games were shorter throughout the day, you'll have more energy to play well.

2. Shorter games = more time to get food = less time spent hungry.

3. Towards the end of the tournament there may only be a handful of players in your bracket. If your games are shorter, you'll have a higher chance of being able to go scout their decks. Also, they'll have less chance of being able to scout yours.

4. Shorter games = less chance the round will go to a draw. This is huge, draws can be effectively loses and it stings so much when you know you were going to win that last game.

5. "no wrong questions, only wrong answers". There are rogue deck builders out there. It's very rare that there's a reactionary deck with answers to all the threats in the format. If your deck is proactive, you can score free wins against those rogue decks which need time to draw their combo/interaction.

6. More time to socialise with friends.

Those are the main points I came up with. I must throw a disclaimer in here though; If fast decks aren't your style then don't play fast decks. I find I'm exhausted after doing anything I didn't want to do. The extra energy spent going against your urges will outweigh the benefits of having fast rounds.

I can use this blog as a way of procrastinating from applying for jobs! I have heaps of time to burn so expect more bloggyboo in the near future. Just a short entry this time to build some momentum.



Sunday, 25 August 2013


'Sup guys. Blog time!


1. All same cards in your deck should be the same version: Same art, same foilarity, same language, no obvious condition differences. Say your opponent Boomerang's your Island and next turn you play an Island with different art. Your opponent now knows the card in your hand is an Island and not a counter-spell.

Hardmode: Bring your own set of conforming lands to limited tournaments.

2. Whenever you add a card to your hand, shuffle your hand. This will ensure your opponent never knows which card you just drew (unless of course you have zero cards in hand). A similar case to this; you play Lay of the Land to find a Swamp. Assuming you can cast anything regardless of which land you play, you should always shuffle your hand then play the Swamp. If you play any other land you're telling your opponent you have a Swamp in hand.

Sidenote: in the interest of saving time you should only shuffle your hand just enough so your opponent can't keep track of your hand. Any more than that is unintentional stalling.

3. When there are no 'on-board' decisions to be made, your ideal thinking time is zero seconds. Otherwise you're revealing information about your hand. For example, don't pause at the end of your opponent's turn deciding whether to Doomblade their creature. Those who know me are probably chuckling right now. I'm notorious for taking time trying to find the mathematically correct play whilst revealing information, thus making the incorrect play. This is something I'm working to improve. Also, don't touch your lands until you know exactly what play you're going to make. Tapping and untapping will hint at what's in your hand. Of course this swings both ways; you can pretend to think end of turn and pretend to tap your mana. Bluffing can get quite deep and go beyon the scope of this blog...and my sleep deprived mind.

4. When an effect causes both players to discard simultaneously e.g. Liliana of the Veil, discard your card face down and only reveal it once you're opponent has selected their card to discard. If they see your card first, they'll have more information when choosing their's.

5. Gifts Ungiven: reveal all the cards to your opponent at the same time. The cards you find first are more likely to be the cards you most want in your hand. If your opponent sees which cards you find first, they'll have a better idea of how to split the Gifts. Of course you can try double bluff and find your least wanted cards first...up to you, Gifts is a difficult card to play! Same goes for splitting your opponent's Fact or Fictions: reveal your split all at once. There are many other cards like this, you get the idea.

6. In any format where you can play cards with miracle, you should always 'miracle draw'. That is, look at the card you draw before putting it in your hand. This tells the opponent that you may be playing cards with Miracle rather than them being sure you're not.

7. When sideboarding, always dump most of your sideboard into your deck and then pull the cards out. This will eliminate any information your opponent may garner from watching you. You may even mislead them into thinking your deck has changed more than it actually has. On the same topic, with good preparation you'll be able to sideboard quickly and hopefully catch how your opponent is sideboarding.

Hard mode: Pro tip from Chris Cousens: in limited, have a matching set of lands sleeved up to board in and out at the end of games. This can mislead your opponent into thinking you've changed colours or something else drastic.

8. Keep all tokens and dice off the table until they're required. Otherwise you're just revealing that your deck utilizes them i.e. revealing information.

Don't be this guy
9. If someone asks about your deck and you believe they won't make useful suggestions to improve your deck, then you should not tell them anything. You may play that player during the tournament and they'll have a better idea of whether to mulligan or not. They may even tell other people what you're playing. I've personally won matches because my opponent mulliganed until they had a removal spell because they thought I was playing my Hermit Druid deck when I was actually playing Scapeshift. 
The thing I've just explained is a bit 'hard-mode' but I am obviously a big advocate of it. It really depends on your play group whether it's worth it. Some people will be offended that you won't share with them what you're playing, and maybe your rapport with that player is worth disadvantaging yourself during the tournament. In general I'm happy to tell people what I'm playing if I see the tournament as a testing exercise, in which case I want my opponents to play as well as possible. 
During bigger tournaments I am guilty of asking my friends if they know what my stranger opponent is playing. This makes me a bit hypocritical I guess.... judge me if you will.

Hard mode: If someone asks you what you're playing, lie to them. Tell them you're playing a deck which requires distinct mulligan decisions when playing against. This will give you an edge if you get paired against them. "Oh man, did that Planar Cleansing that I opened get to you?"..."nah, I took the 'X' instead, Cleansing didn't suit my deck, but now I wish I did take it, ha ha!" etc

10. Sam Loy special: Look at your opponent's scorepad at the start of each round. They may have been a lazy scrub and left information on it. If they've scribbled card names down, chances are they're playing Thoughtseize/Gitaxian Probe or the like. Some life total change patterns can give away deck styles too.
11. Scout. Once you've finished your match, immediately report the match result, deal with any hunger/thirst, then go straight to the tables in the same bracket as you. Hopefully you can get a scout on your likely opponents' decks for the next round. 'Fedora guy is mono green' 'hot chick is UB control' etc etc

12. Don't scoop. When you're almost certainly dead and going to game 2 or 3, play it out to gather as much info about their deck as possible. Also, you never know: your opponent may misread a card "What?! Rolling Earthquake is both players?!". They may make a rules infraction and the other four they made in previous rounds will add up to a game loss. Their partner may call them demanding sex immediately, so they concede to you and drop from the tournament. You never know...The only exception to 'don't scoop' is if you're 99% to lose the game and you think their won't be enough time in the round to win games 2 & 3.

Ok, there you have 12 strictly better tournament behaviours. If you weren't already doing all these, then I'm happy I improved your game :)

Until next time,


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Borrowing Commandments and Matty G's Shardless Tinker


Just a quick general topic this time, card borrowing etiquette:
1.    Give maximum notice to the person you want to borrow from.
2.    Ask them nicely.
3.    Travel to meet them, don't ask them to break their schedule to give you cards.
4.    Give them your phone number. Ask them for their's
5.    Arrange how you will return the cards to them BEFORE you even borrow the cards.
6.    Take a photo of the cards you are borrowing and message that photo to person you're borrowing from. Alternatively type a list in your phone and text that list to them. Do this even if they have their own list. Obviously make note if they are foil/foreign/stamped/slightly missprinted etc.
7.    If you have 4 goyfs in your deck but only borrowed 2 of them. The 2 best condition goyfs go to the person you borrowed from. This is good standard practice.
8.    Do not borrow cards if you aren't returning them 1st hand. Neutral parties care less than you do.
9.    If it is absolutely necessary to return cards by proxy, stash a list of the cards with the cards, along with your name, your phone number, the date you left them and the name of who's cards they are.
10. Thank the person you borrowed from and tell an anecdote of how good the cards were.
11.If you borrowed some pimp and someone complements it, tell that person who's cards they are and tell the person you borrowed from about the compliment.
12.I think it's acceptable to borrow the same card no more than twice. If you want to borrow that card again you should buy the card instead. You can always sell it once you stop playing it. If a card is >$150 I think you can ignore this rule.
13.If you fail at borrowing and return cards behind schedule, never borrow from that person again.

Did those rules sound bitter? :P I haven't been too badly stung by borrowers. I lost two shocks once, well before they were reprinted. Apparently I lost Ian Seet's Badlands by proxy, I wonder what he's doin. He's a great guy.

Alright, onto Matty G's deck! 

1 Drift of Phantasms 1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Baleful Strix 1 Pithing Needle
1 Shardless Agent 1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Coiling Oracle 1 Mox Diamond
1 Deathrite Shaman 1 Chrome Mox 
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Scavenging Ooze 1 Personal
1 Thragtusk 1 Mystical Tutor
1 Myr Battlesphere 1 Impulse
1 Wurmcoil Engine 1 Ancestral Vision
1 Inkwell Leviathan 1 Into the Roil
1 Disfigure
1 Underground Sea 1 Dimir Charm
1 Watery Grave 1 Go for the Throat
1 Bayou 1 Repeal
1 Tropical Island 1 Telling Time
1 Breeding Pool 1 Abrupt Decay
1 Overgrown Tomb 1 Putrefy
2 Swamp 1 Lim-Dul's Vault
2 Forest
5 Island 1 Tinker
1 Flooded Strand 1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Polluted Delta 1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Verdant Catacombs 1 Thoughtseize
1 Marsh Flats
1 Scalding Tarn 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Mishra's Factory 1 Garruk Relentless
1 Wasteland
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Vault of Whispers

I've thought of a few things to say and I'm just gonna spew them out in no particular order cause it's easier that way.

Matty's a relatively new highlander player which is a pretty tough gig to be honest. We play Thursday nights at Glab (which is tonight, yay!) and there are a bunch of dudes who have been playing the same decks for ages. Refining and tweeking, so their decks are really good and they are proficient with them. Also, those guys aren't going to change their decks anytime soon cause they keep having success with them, so it's up to everyone else to beat them! 2 players that come to mind are Karl Eyre (featured in my blog 2 weeks ago) and Ben Di Stephano, both with GWx equipment decks. Another consistent Highlanderer is Wilfy Horig with UBG Ancestral control, but he hasn't always played that deck.

So Matty G. One night he decided he wanted to try 60 card highlander so he grabbed his EDH deck and whittled it down to 60 cards. This process has been done before, mostly at the old nats events where people would be like "hmmm what're the side events tomorrow? oh look, highlander, I have Elder Dragon Highlander, how different can it be?" Very different! as Matty has found. His current build is far from what his EDH deck was I'm sure.
Anyway, Matt's taken a few loses and he's mixing up his strategy to try a new angle (I'm never sure whether to refer directly to the analysee "you" or indirectly "Matt", which would be better?). I imagine the reason Matt moved away from counterspells because they aren't his style.
Counterspells are a good compliment to Tinker because you can protect your artifacts from getting destroyed, but protecting your artifacts isn't a necessity if you add a few more to the deck, which Matt has done in his latest iteration. GWx equipment decks are also pretty big right now and they are good against counterspells. 

Matt wants to play Shardless Agent and I respect that, I love Shardy, but he does make deck construction quite tough as Matt mentioned. Only cards he's truly terrible with at the moment are Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond....Ol'Shardy, Shardonay, Smoke-a-shard, Charishard, Shardeeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!!!

So those things I was going to mention:
1.    Card suggestions:
·       Tarmogoyf, the man, get him in their.
·       You're playing plenty of tutors for Tinker, so protect it and win the game. Duress and Inquisition of Kozilek.
·       Vendilion Clique is another solid card which can protect your Tinker by putting their answer on the bottom and it's also a good beater.
·       You can add the 3 remaining on-colour fetch lands, play them over 1 of each basic. You really want to max out your fetchlands when you're playing Deathrite Shaman, Sensei's Divining Top, Brainstorm (will refer to this again soon) and Jace. Plus they make your mana better and increase your island count for Vedalken Shackles.
·       You're playing Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond because they're good with Tinker. To make the most of the speed boost and to regain the card disadvantage, you can add more draw spells. Phyrexian Arena and Thirst for Knowledge are two that come to mind.
So Telling Time is in this list, I suspect you may have cut it by now, as there are a bunch of cantrip spells which perform better like:
 Brainstorm (also great for putting your Tinker Targets and late drawn moxes back into your deck)·       Preordain, Ponder, Serum Visions etc. All these dig spells are great in decks which have varying card functions and cards which regain all the tempo lost whilst digging (e.g. Tinker, Vedalken Shackles, Thragtusk).

Some other sweet artifacts that Matt could add include:
·       Porcelain Legionnaire. Matt's already walking down the dude path. This guy is a serious wall for zoo decks and if Matt adds DITS (duress, inquisition, thoughtseize) he can protect it.
·       Trinket Mage. The trick with Trinket Mage is finding enough artifacts that are good by themselves. Too few and late game you'll draw Trinket Mage with no targets and he'll be shit. One artifact that doesn't see enough play is Cursed Scroll. When you're playing Shardless Agent all your cards are pretty proactive so you won't be banking cards in your hand and making Cursed Scroll shit. He also plays Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond to drop his hand size.

The only bad card in this deck is Coiling Oracle. Coiling Oracle is Elvish Visionary more than 50% of the time and Elvish Visionary is unplayable outside of Elves. Actually it's worse cause your opponent sees the card. When you do flip a land, you get a rampant growth and a 1/1. A 1/1 in Matt's deck isn't very useful. Most of the time it'll chump to gain ~4 life. Occasionally a 1/1 will let his planeswalkers live an extra turn. I know I played Coiling Oracle in Scapeshift. It has since been cut as it performed badly.

Into the Roil isn't bad but it can probably go. It's a good card if you have a lot of card advantage and will win the late game. Matty has a bit of card advantage in his current build but not compared to Ancestral Recall decks.
Good to see Matty trying out the new Dimir Charm. Don't know how this will perform. Will have to get some feedback on that one.

Having done a couple of these deck analyses, I'm getting conscientious of turning everyone's decks towards similar cards. With this in mind there is a chance I will break my '1st deck posted' rule if that deck is very similar to a deck that I've already analysed.

Think I'll have a Mango Milkshake and watch the movie 'Trainspotting'. I've heard it referenced a bunch but know nothing about it. Hope it's good.

Oh, and congrats to Sam Loy on winning the Adelaide PTQ, about time he got a big result, man I wanna win the Melbourne PTQ this weekend. Neems, Isaac, Sam...great travel crew.

Chao yo!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Scapeshift & Nick's BG midrange

Sup c*#@nts

More bloggy boo.

Thought I'd talk about my Scapeshift deck this blog post. Haven't had particular success with it, but I like it. Plays some funky cards, does stuff that other decks don't do and it has a good matchup Vs Zoo.

Heres is current list:
Diligent Farmhand
Coiled Oracle
Pernicious Deed
Wayfarer's Bauble
Demonic Tutor (3)
Thrun, the last troll
Search for Tomorrow
Shardless Agent
Seige-gang Commander
Nature's Lore
Grim Tutor (1)
Three Visits
Beseech the Queen
Primal Command
Rampant Growth
Eternal Witness
Inferno Titan
Bloodbraid Elf
Skeletal Vampire
Into the North
Grave Titan
Broodmate Dragon
Time Walk (3)
Clutch of the Undercity
Sakura Tribe-elder
Dimir Houseguard
Solemn Simulacrum
Maelstrom Wanderer
Wooded Foothills
Faerie Macabre
Misty Rainforest
Ravenous Trap
Verdant Catacombs
Mindbreak Trap
2 x Snow Covered Forest
2 x Snow covered swamp
Snow covered island
6 x Snow covered mountain

Volcanic Island
Flametongue Kavu


Rhystic Tutor

Overgrown Tomb

Gaea's Revenge

Akroma, Angel of Fury

Stomping Grounds
Scute Mob

Breeding Pool
Dragonmaster Outcast

Tropical Island

Treetop Village

Raging Ravine

Tranquil Thicket

Valakut the Molten Pinnacle

Polluted Delta

The plan is: ramp turn 2 & 3. Then slam bombs from turn 4 onwards.

The Ramp
To keep a hand with this deck, the hand needs to contain a 2-cost ramp spell (Although, there are fringe cases where I know what my opponents are playing and I can get away with a slow hand).
Because I play Timewalk, Demonic Tutor can act like a 2-cost ramp spell. Timewalk also turns Grim Tutor and Beseech the Queen into 3-cost explores.... How many explores?
Beseech the Queen less so because triple black isn't common, but it does happen.
Shardless Agent and Bloodbraid Elf are almost always ramp spells. Occasionally they'll hit Diligent Farmhand or Wayfarer's Bauble (that's bad), but occasionally they'll hit Timewalk or Demonic Tutor (that's good).

The control matchup is inherently bad. That's why the deck plays cascade guys and Thrun. Thrun crushes most control decks and I often transmute for him. Combining Thrun with the cascade guys and the two manlands is enough to make the control decks tap out. Which is when you Scapeshift them.

In case you're unfamiliar with Scapeshift, you need to have at least 7 lands in play. You sac them all and get 6 Mountains + Valakut, dealing 6 x 3 damage to their face. Most highlander decks will have paid a couple life or you may have nugged them with a cascade creature. If not, you just have to wait until you have more than 7 lands to get enough triggers to kill them. The deck plays Scapeshift and 6 other tutors for it (Primal Command finds Dimir Houseguard). You may also cascade into a tutor. So by the time you're at 7 lands you'll probably be able to pull the trigger.

The Bombs
The cards that I've catagorised as 'bombs' can take the game by themselves but most of the time they just keep me alive long enough to cast Scapeshift. I've chosen the bombs for their resilience against removal. I don't add much to the board turns 2 and 3, so whatever I play turn 4 is typically going to cop removal. That's why I'm not playing such bombs as Wurmcoil Engine and Primeval Titan. Those two are amazing if your opponent hasn't got removal, but I don't want to take that chance.

The mana base
Playing Scapeshift makes for a very challenging mana base. I've found that 11 mountains is the minimum. There have been several games that I've used every mountain in my deck to kill my opponent. As well as playing a minimum 11 mountains, I currently play 17 green sources, using trusty statrek, that's at least 1 green source in 90% of hands.

Other than the mountains and green sources, I also need 2 basic swamp and 1 basic island to find with my ramp spells so that I can cast all my black and blue spells.

Adding all those lands together gives me 28 lands, well over the general consensus of a sufficient land count, so the deck doesn't have the luxury of Wasteland or Underground Sea.

The sideboard
Scapeshift's counterspell matchup is very bad, hence the hilarious anti-counter sideboard. Quagnoth lol, anyone who drafted a lot of Future Sight can empathise with me here: you're sorting through a bunch of random rares in your collection! I didn't know I had 5 Tarmogoyfs!... awwww fuck you Quagnoth, got me again.

The sideboard also has a nice transmute suite: ravenous trap, mindbreak trap & massacre.

I know that me rambling about one of my tier 3 creations is not the most interesting topic but it's really easy for me to write about and I enjoy it ^^. At least if you're sick of losing to Zoo you can try it out...although getting a timewalk can be tough.

Ok, onto last posts' 1st posted list...

Nick Watson's GreenBlack midrange (not sure how comfortable people are about me typing their last names in my blog. I like to think that it improves communication, which makes up for any identity paranoia people may have. Nick aiming to become a public film figure, I'm sure wouldn't more revealing information)

Alright, here's his list!:
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Bloodghast
1 Mental Misstep
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Mind Twist
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Skullclamp
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Sol Ring
1 Eternal Witness
1 Thoughtseize
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Bitterblossom
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Skinrender
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Shriekmaw
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thragtusk
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Grave Titan
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Putrefy
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Snuff Out
1 Batterskull
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Bayou
1 Duress
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Guttural Response
4 Forest
1 Nature's Claim
1 Marsh Flats
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Pithing Needle
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Planar Void
1 Polluted Delta
1 Dark Confidant
7 Swamp
1 Shadow of Doubt
1 Twilight Mire
1 Victim of Night
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Choke
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Phyrexian Crusader
1 Wasteland
1 Tribute to Hunger
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Damnation
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Nekrataal

Nick has never played or made a highlander deck before, so this is an impressive first list.

I imagine this comes down to card familiarity, but Nick has managed to make a Recurring Nightmare deck without Recurring Nightmare! All its friends are here: Eternal Witness, Kitchen Finks, Skinrender, Shriekmaw, Wurmcoil Engine, Grave Titan, Thragtusk, Bloodghast. So that's the first card he should try out.

I'm naturally inclined to be more aggro with my card choices, so keep that in mind when taking my suggestions onboard. Aggro may not be your style. Currently Nick's playing Umezawa's Jitte but only ~6 creatures that wear a Jitte well (creatures that are likely to survive combat and cost <4). I think Nick should add more creatures that can wear Jitte rather than cut Jitte from the deck. A few suggestions:
Strangleroot Giest (would require a mana base change which I'll get to later)
Glissa, the Traitor (Karakas is now 1 point so she's very playable now)

Adding more creatures boosts you skullclamp & recurring nightmare too.

Mana base. Nick's a card choices are a little torn between Mox Jet and Sol Ring.
On team Mox Jet we have:
Hymn to Tourach
Vampire Nighthawk
Scavenging Ooze
Liliana of the Veil
Gatekeeper of Malkir
Sylvan Library
Sakura Tribe Elder

Then on team Sol Ring we have:
Garruk Relentless
Wurmcoil Engine
Grave Titan
Mind Twist

That's 10 for Jet and 7 for Sol Ring. If Nick can borrow/purchase a Jet he should play it instead of Sol Ring. It should be noted that both Mox Jet and Sol Ring are bad with Pernicious Deed, so are Sylvan Library, Tarmogoyf, Deathrite Shaman, Scavenging Ooze, Bitterblossom, equipment etc. Deed should probably be cut if Nick wants to go for the equipment and recurring nightmare route.

Nick's curve is pretty spread out so I think he can add Treetop Village without the tempo loss hurting him too often. He can also play the 7th fetch land, windswept heath. 6 forests is enough to not run out of lands to fetch. He can even play scrubland to find with windswept heath or cast kitchen finks with. I'd also add Llanowar Wastes, Nick has a lot of double colour spell and even gatekeeper of malakir and beseech the queen which can be triple colour. Having said that, I'd also consider cutting Volrath's Stronghold.

4th: Miscellaneous card choices.
·        Play Dark Confidant main. If he lives, you win the game if he dies he only cost 2 mana so ~the same cost as a counter or removal spell.
·        If you add Recurring Nightmare you'll find that Acidic Slime will be good. Green Sun's Zenith finds it, you can add that too. So versatile.
·        Thrun, the last troll should be considered.
·        Phyrexian Metamorph is an ok card which can be cut. It is very reactionary. I suspect Andrew Atkinson may have recommended this card to Nick, as Andrew loves it.
·        Skinrender and Shriekmaw are also very reactionary but much more powerful. Playing cards that are good against some decks but bad against others is a personal preference thing. These guys will be awesome vs creature decks yet trash against control. At the moment I'd say maindeck Skinrender and Shriekmaw are a great metagame choice. GWx creature equipment decks are coming out on top and being played a lot.
·        Try out Vraska :P I haven't seen anyone play her yet and this is the deck you'd play her in if any. Let us know if she's good.

5th: Sideboard.
·        You can play better graveyard hate than Planarvoid. Planarvoid doesn't actually stop much stuff. Flash decks that go off instant speed will kill you with the Planarvoid trigger on the stack. Hermit Druid combp can respond to the trigger with Memory's Journey. I think surgical extraction would be better.
·        Guttural Response is a too narrow. The spell types of highlander decks are actually quite diverse. If you want something extra against U, try Thrun and/or Great Sable Stag.
·        I like that you have Duress in the board. Lots of people really overload on discard effects which can be really bad against aggro decks
·        I love Shadow of Doubt, but not in your deck. To play Shadow of Doubt, you have to be holding up 2 mana every turn to catch that search effect. Your deck taps out sorcery speed 99% of the time.
·        Get Mindbreak trap in your board, amazing against Storm. There's typically one Storm or two storm decks in the bigger tournaments and you don't want to be caught out without any hate.

Ok, that about sums it up. I know I've taken a while to respond and there's a good chance you might have changed the list a couple times since you posted it.
I like to mention everything I think of and I only type up this blog on my daily train rides to work so it can take me a while.
It's hard for me to tell how my critique comes across. I hope I don't sound too critical, but it is the nature of this article. If I mentioned everything that was good, these posts would be even longer!