Welcome to How to Play Seven Kings Highlander (SKH)! In this article, we will introduce you to a new and fun format for the Force of Will TCG. SKH is designed to be a casual, social, multi-player game that will allow players to experience FoW like they never have before. The Highlander format is used in many other Trading Card Games most notably in Magic the Gathering as the popular Commander (EDH) style. Highlander uses Singleton rules meaning only one instance of each card in the deck and comes from a saying in the movie The Highlander.
This concept is the main driving force behind the format. The limitation of only being able to have one copy of each card in your deck makes you consider cards that you might not normally include in a standard constructed deck or also let’s you play that card that you really love but couldn’t make work in any other deck. It also tests your deck building skills to still be able to construct a viable deck with single cards and more slots to fill with Main Decks being comprised of 64 cards instead of 40.
The other main concept of Seven Kings Highlander is that it is designed to be a multi-player game. Including more than 2 players makes the game play situations and interactions different from the usual one vs one experience. SKH is a meant to be played casually and more socially than a normal Force of Will match. Who and how will you attack knowing that there are another turn or two before it would be yours again? Will you strike up an alliance to take out a bigger threat? Will you have to defend yourself against other such alliances? Each game of Seven Kings Highlander could be entirely different from the previous with 64 cards and only one of each card, who knows what cards you will see (or won’t see)!
Please be sure to review the Seven Kings Highlander Rules as we will touch on them here in the article but the full list is located at the link above.
Introduction to SKH Deck Building
We will start with deck construction as you will need to have a Deck built before you can play. We have some SKH Deck List Examples available to help jump start your own creations. The basic principle of the format is that, other than basic Magic Stones, your deck can only contain one copy of each card. Each copy is defined by having a unique full English name on the card. So, for example, there are two different resonators that each bear the name of Alice or Pricia but you can only include one of each version. Your Main Deck must contain a combination of resonators, spell chants, spell chant instants, chant standbys, regalia, etc. that total 64 cards (no more, no less).
Your choice of J/Ruler, as with any other deck, is very important. You want to choose a J/Ruler who has abilities that will help your Main Deck. Also, your J/Ruler determines the Color Identity for your deck. All of the stones in your Magic Stone deck must be able to produce Will that corresponds to the deck’s Color Identity. The Color Identity is defined by any attribute of Will that appears anywhere on the J/Ruler card, front and back. The main colors are notated by the Will symbols in the bottom right of the card and supplemental colors can be found in the text of the card. J/Rulers that have Void as part of their Color Identity can use any stone as Void can be paid by any attribute.
For example, Bahamut only features the Fire Will symbol and so each Magic Stone must produce at least Fire. The stones can produce any other attributes of Will (such as Ruler’s Memoria or Magic Stone of Blasting Waves) alongside Fire. Sylvia features Fire as her main Will attribute but her Judgment ability includes Wind, which becomes her supplemental color. So, Magic Stones must be able to produce either Fire or Wind. This means you could include Magic Stone of Gusting Skies in a Sylvia deck but not the Bahamut deck. J/Rulers like Alice, the Drifter in the World (who features all five attributes of Will) or Machina, the Machine Lord (who features Void) can include any Magic Stone in the stone deck.
The Magic Stone deck must contain a total of 15 stones. The stone deck is subject to the Singleton rule as well for any stones beyond the basic Fire, Water, Wind, Darkness and Light stones. There cannot be two copies of any Special Magic Stone or True Magic Stone in the Magic Stone deck. The stones included must relate to the Color Identity of the J/Ruler. If a Magic Stone is put into play that does not match the Color Identity, the stone must be banished. So, make sure you choose stones that match the colors of your J/Ruler and that you pick a J/Ruler that has the color(s) that you want to play the most. Also, remember that Moon is a characteristic of Will and not an attribute so J/Rulers like Gill Lapis and Kaguya 3.0 do not gain you any additional bonuses for having Moon in their text.
So, now that you know what to put into your deck, let’s see how you play SKH differs from other constructed formats.
Introduction to SKH Game Play
There are several game play mechanics, in order facilitate the multi-player format, that change how to play Seven Kings Highlander compared to other modes of Force of Will. Players will each start the game with 8000 life instead of the normal 4000. There are more players and more damage will be dealt so the life totals are raised to accommodate. The opening hand for each game is also raised to 6 to start and each player will draw a card during his or her turn. This includes the player who is determined to go first (whether by highest die roll, Rochambeau or whatever method you decide). Mulligan follow the normal partial mulligan rules.
The turns will go clockwise so the person to the left of the starting player will go next and so on. Players can attack and target any opponent or card in the game. Players can also respond to any spell or ability played by any opponent, even if the spell or ability targets another player or a card not owned by him or her as long as they are legally able to do so. A big difference from the normal constructed version of Force of Will and SKH is how spells and abilities interact with your opponents. Since Force of Will was not constructed with a multi-player format in mind, there must be a distinction made with the spells and abilities that concern your opponents.
Spells or Abilities that are added to the Chase when cast or activated must target a specific opponent. Continuous or blanket abilities will affect all opponents. Abilities or Spells that say all players or each player do not target and affect all players. Cards like Flame King’s Shout and Spiral of Despair must target a specific opponent; while, cards like Deathscythe, the Life Reaper and Barrier of Shadows will apply to all opponents.
Another addition to game play in Seven Kings Highlander is a change to the Astral Ruler mechanic. If a J-Ruler would be destroyed rather than becoming an Astral Ruler, it is returned to the Ruler area on it’s Ruler side with an Astral Counter for each time it has been returned in this manner. Any Ruler with one or more Astral Counters on it loses all of its abilities other than Judgment. For each Astral Counter on a Ruler, the player must pay an additional 3 Will of any attribute in addition to the printed Judgment cost to activate the ability again.
When a Ruler with one or more Astral Counters is J-Activated, the Astral Counters remain in play but do not remove abilities on the J-Ruler side. Astral Counters are a continuous effect and cannot be removed or reduced. If a J-Ruler is returned to its Ruler side through an ability like Imperishable while there are Astral Counters in the players field, the Ruler still loses all abilities except Judgment but does not gain an additional Astral Counter as it was not destroyed.
For example, a Snow White that has been destroyed twice and has two Astral Counters can do Judgment a third time for either a cost of 1 Light, 1 Fire and 8 Will of any attribute or a cost of 7 Will of any attribute and discarding Poison Apple. Girl in Twilight Garb with one Astral Counter will cost 3 Will to do Judgment again as well as needing to meet the condition of having removed 3 or more cards with her ability. Reflect, Child of Potential (if somehow destroyed) would have to pay 3 times the number of Astral Counters each time it did Judgment but can use the ability on it’s J-Ruler side to flip back to the Ruler side without additional cost. Any effects that would reduce the cost of Judgement such a Ruler specific Regalia abilities or The Observer’s ability would apply and reduce the additional cost added by Astral Counters.
A players loses the game by either: having their life total reach equal or less than 0; taking 4100 damage from any specific J-Ruler; not having a card to draw during his or her draw phase; or any ability or spell that dictates the player loses the game. J-Ruler damage is counted per J-Ruler and does not combine. J-Ruler damage must be tracked separately f0r each opponent’s J-Ruler. It is up to the controller of the J-Ruler to make sure that the damage to his or her opponent is accounted for by the damaged opponent. Failure to track does not penalize the opponent, so you may want to keep record of this yourself. Don’t underestimate the J-Ruler damage win condition as it is an easy one to overlook.
In order to keep the games from going to long, there is a condition built into the rules to make sure the game ends in a reasonable amount of time. This condition is called NIGHTMARE and is triggered when two players have called all of their stones from their Magic Stone deck. NIGHTMARE is a blanket effect that doubles any damage done by J/Resonators, spells and abilities. The effect remains in play until the game is over, even if a player with an empty stone deck is eliminated and the original trigger is no longer met.
When a player loses the game, all cards that the player owns are removed from the game. So, if you used Valentina, the Puppet Monarch to steal a resonator of a player who is later eliminated, you will lose control of said resonator when the card is returned to its owner, who is no longer part of the game. Any continuous, blanket effects controlled by the eliminated player are also removed from the game.
Introduction to SKH Strategy
Seven Kings Highlander is a social version of Force of Will. So, you are encourage to engage your opponents in ways that you would not normally in a one-on-one match. Alliances are often formed between opponents as a way to keep the board state equal or take out a stronger opponent. However, be careful as the aim of the game is still to win and alliances can be ended quickly when an opponent gains an advantage. In the same vein, don’t be afraid to negotiate plays with other players if it will help you at the moment. Don’t feel tied to continue the assistance once the initial situation is resolved. Examples of an alliance would be teaming up with another player to attack or otherwise remove resonators from a third player’s playground because of impending threat from that third player’s building army. Use your best judgment when to align yourself with other players and when to continue on your own. Winning is your only priority and, in SKH, other players can be resources to help you achieve that goal. Seven Kings Highlander is a social, casual game you will most likely play with your friends, so try not to go to Machiavellian, either way.
How to Play Seven Kings Highlander (SKH) Conclusion
Well, this has been an introduction on How to Play Seven Kings Highlander (SKH). We will be updating and adding to this article as we deem necessary and as the game grows. So, be sure to check back and use this article as a resource. We hope you enjoy playing SKH as much as we do. The aim is to have fun playing with a group of people and getting to use Force of Will cards that would not otherwise see play. Expand your deck building and innovate outside of the competitive meta!