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 Post subject: BANNED LIST ANNOUNCEMENT: September 2011
AgePosted: 2011-Sep-19 8:45 pm 
EDH Rules Committee
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Joined: 2006-May-09 4:17 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary, AB
We've got something for everyone today, including one relatively straight-forward change and two updates which may be more surprising.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant should not be played as a General
The exemption making Shahrazad acceptable for play is removed.

Lion's Eye Diamond is unbanned.


Starting with the least contentious issue: Shahrazad. Historically, the {W}{W} sorcery was allowed as an example of an interesting, crazy card. It provided a potent tool for aggressive decks such as white-weenie, but most importantly it highlighted the fact that the Commander games (and rules) can differ significantly from "tournament stable" formats.

Unfortunately, Shahrazad was instead used almost exclusively to troll other players by forking it, recurring it, and otherwise drawing out the game in byzantine ways. While there are lots of cards which can be used to do the same thing, Shahrazad was only allowed because of a special exemption to the rules. Since one of our aims is to keep the rules lean, and this extra rule was a net negative for most groups, it has been removed. We don't think many tears will be spread for its loss but, as always, if your group doesn't mind the occasional subgame, feel free to keep playing it!

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant

Listing Erayo as the third example of a legendary creature unwelcome in the commander role is likely to raise more questions. Some people will argue that other legends are more deserving of hate, but we feel that Erayo is a flagship example of a general whose sole purpose is to decrease interactivity. We don't think she's ever used to make games more interesting: the deck (and Erayo decks are pretty much identical) plays the same every game, requires fairly narrow answers to disrupt, and when it wins does so very early in the game.

Worse, it's not always obvious to newer players that the game is over when Erayo flips, and they suffer through many turns of waiting to "actually die". Strategies like this, which win in confounding and non-obvious ways, often cause poor play experiences because they exacerbate the difference between players' understanding of the game.

Is Erayo the most powerful early game mono-blue commander? It doesn't really matter.. what matters is that adding her to the banned list sends the clearest message that generals *like this* shouldn't be played... they make for boring games.

Lion's Eye Diamond

Unbanning Lion's Eye Diamond is also likely to cause some hue and cry. There is a small but vocal segment of the commander player base who say that all fast mana like Sol Ring and Mana Crypt should be banned to balance the format... a complaint which rather misses the point. Our aim is not to make commander an unbreakable tournament format... it continues to be (and hopefully always will be) chock full of crazy powerful plays which you, the players, are trusted to explore rather than exploit. The rules page and list of unwelcome cards is there to help players avoid *accidentally* ruining games... and LED's presence on the list wasn't accomplishing that.

LED was originally banned as an example of a two-card infinite mana combo (with Auriok Salvagers), but like Worldgorger Dragon its presence on the list is increasingly incongruous. There are many two-card combos which actually kill multiple players in a single turn, and most players new to the format don't see LED and think "Ah, inifinite mana combos are kind scummy." Additionally, there are interesting ways to use LED and, consistent with our philosophy on blacklisting cards, most of the boring uses of LED are easy to distinguish from its interesting applications. It enables commanders late in the game, and expensive commanders in particular because they tend to be played later when hands are smaller.

One possible source of problems with LED is its synergy with various tutors, which may be a good or bad thing. As with any change to the list, we'll keep a weather eye out and if it turns out to be a signficant force for degeneracy or repetitive games, we have no problems admitting we're wrong and sending it back into exile. Honestly, we don't think taking it off the list will have much impact other than makes the list one card shorter.


Remember: Most legendary creatures have a gender, and most non-legendary ones don't! Use proper pronouns! ;)

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