RC Statement on Companion Change

You’ve seen the changes to companion (you can check them out here). As far as Commander goes, we find no additional changes necessary before our next regular update, scheduled on 29 June. Companion will operate in Commander similarly to other formats (meaning you’ll have to pay the 3, etc.), save that it will not come from a sideboard.

95 thoughts on “RC Statement on Companion Change”

  1. How about instead of keeping a good card (not overpowered) banned we just take the companion rules as they stand and it will not work for the lack of sideboards.

    #FreeLutri

      1. I’m confused dies this mean that we have to pay the 3 to put it in hand in commander??? this post is a Ltitle unclear

      2. But it is. The new errata specifically says pull from your sideboard to your hand. Just let the errata stay as stated, let companion not work in edh, and unban Lutri. Why are you trying to jump through hoops to make this mechanic work? Its just a mechanic not designed for edh and thats fine.

        1. The rule does not specifically say that. Check the Comp Rules (702.138). There is no mention of sideboards.

        2. Agreed, why are we following what WotC says on a failed design card? I want to use Lutri as a Commander or part of the 99. And people having 2 partners and a Companion is dumb..

      3. Let me get this straight. So the “sideboard” referred to in the companion rules isn’t really a real sideboard but simply “outside the game.” Now is that the same “outside the game” that you said DIDN’T EXIST when Karn, the Great Creator came out?

    1. I think this is the better way; as there is no sideboards on EDH, then companions cannot start the game in there.

      EDH must say no to the 101th card.

      #FreeLutri

  2. Commander doesn’t and shouldn’t have a sideboard. I don’t believe this new ruling allows for companion in our format. It still allows the cards to be apart of the 99. Please consider announcing a change and return commander back to a 100-card format.

    1. You are correct. Doesn’t and won’t have a sideboard and companions can still work. “Sideboard” is shorthand for “outside the game in a tournament setting.” Sideboards existing is not a requirement for companions to work in any format.

      1. So is the Companion part of the 99, which can be moved into our hand for 3 generic mana at sorcery speed? Or is it an additional card to the 99 and our Commander?

        1. @Halley: Because Rule 11 of commander was changed so that wish effects still don’t work, but companions do. Only cards that bring *other* cards from outside the game do not work.

      2. I don’t believe that is correct; sideboard is a subset of what ‘exists outside the game’, the only subset available in organized play, but not equivalent. The sideboard IS a requirement because the (amended) rules specifically refer to a sideboard, not a companion-board. Arguing that a side-board means something other than sideboard when you have rules that specifically address sideboards confuses everyone. PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS.

        1. “The sideboard IS a requirement because the (amended) rules specifically refer to a sideboard, not a companion-board.”

          Incorrect:

          “702.138a Companion is a keyword ability that functions outside the game. It’s written as “Companion—[Condition].” Before the game begins, you may reveal one card you own from outside the game with a companion ability whose condition is fulfilled by your starting deck. (See rule 103.1b.) Once during the game, any time you have priority and the stack is empty, but only during a main phase of your turn, you may pay {3} and put that card into your hand. This is a special action that doesn’t use the stack (see rule 116.2g). This is a change from previous rules.”

          1. There is no mention of a sideboard in the rule, and it was written intentionally so.

  3. If the rc is willing to deviate from the rules as written in this case allowing a mechanic that uses the side board but now doesn’t. Then why not bring back banned as commander or add banned as companion?

      1. Then why are wishes that say from out side the game not allowed if companion sideboard is short hand for outside the game

        1. They’re not the same. Companions reference only themselves, while Wishes are open-ended.

      2. I think is the fact that any companion is the 101th card in the deck.

        Companion is flawed mechanic in any format, the committee sure see this with Lutri, who was a freebie to any deck with UR in its identity. But Lutri as a 99th card, isn’t OP, it is powerful and with many combo potential, but not more than any other creature with an ETB effect.

        My two cents: Ban Companion mechanic.

      3. I think many commander player have the feeling that the existence of a sideboard (which is required for companions to work) is a deviation from the established rules. Also 101 sized commander decks are just plain weird.

        My personal preference would be that Companion rule does not work in Commander and an unbanning of Lutri.

        This way the Companions would just be 10 cool Commanders, and the whole deck construction baggage can be handled in formats which do not already have so strict deck construction rules.

    1. No, because the problem with Lutri isn’t raw power level but rather format warping potential. Having to pay 6 mana total to use Lutri wouldn’t change the fact that every EDH deck that is not already using a different companion and can run Lutri should absolutely 100% use Lutri as their companion (at least, in terms of “is this card worth including in my deck”) for the simple reason of starting the game with access to an additional card compared to not running a companion otherwise.

    1. Odds are lutri will stay banned because they’re afraid it will be the next prophet of krupix and all blue red capable decks will run it, but as a non competitive player I only found 1 deck in my 30 that I’d use it as a companion in, a Kess, dissonnent mage deck, and even then didn’t think it needed lutri. So I personally feel like it was more about the competitive players and not your average casual players.

  4. great, way ruin a fun new mechanic before it was around long enough to actually be tried. there should be one rules change for EDH companions. That is use the old companion rule.

    1. Well, it’s not the rule’s committee’s decision to make mechanic changes. You’ll notice that they say “No need for additional changes”. The companion rules change needed to be made as they are running over formats a lot. (I don’t know if you’ve seen Enchantress Pharika EDH with the ooze companion, but it’s so amazingly good)
      The rules committee is following a mechanical change. It’d probably make more sense to just pitch the mechanic as it is very counterintuitive to the base rules of commander (No cards outside the game, no sideboard, 99 cards and a commander), but the change in the mechanic isn’t their call to make honestly.

    2. blame wizards for their shitty design with these companions, not the RC for acting in the interest of the game

    3. Fully agree there was zero reason to nerf these cards in edh to. Just destroyed a ton of diversity that could have been put into the format. The complete opposite of what the great format stands for.

    1. This is not correct. “Sideboard” is shorthand for “outside the game in a tournament setting.” Sideboards existing is not a requirement for companions to work IN ANY FORMAT.

      1. By this logic wouldn’t all ‘wish’ cards be commander playable without having to house rule it?

        1. No. The rule was changed to allow for the companion mechanic to function while still leaving wish abilities nonfunctional.

        2. No, wishes still don’t (and shouldn’t) work in EDH.
          Yes, companions do.
          No, Lutri can’t be unbanned due to ubiquity.

      2. Can you please clarify – it’s difficult for many to understand how companion still functions in commander.

      3. “Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.”

        Already existed.

      4. So does that mean wish cards can grab the companion? So does that mean wish cards are legal and can grab cards that are outside the game?

        1. No, Rule 11 is pretty clear on this: Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.

          1. The rule in Commander states:

            “Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.”

            The new companion rule still works in spite of this wording because the action to pay 3 to bring the companion to your hand isn’t an ability or an effect of anything, but rather a special action (like playing a land).

            But yeah, we need to clarify this to players who normally wouldn’t want things brought from outside the game.

      5. So why do Wish cards not work but Companion does? They refer to the same zone and I see no difference between 1 Companion and X Wish targets.
        Very confusing and unintuitive for sure…

        1. Rule 11 only prevents abilities that grab OTHER cards from outside the game from functioning. Cards with Companion bring themselves in from outside the game (which is fine by the current rules), whereas Wishes bring other cards in from outside the game (which is what Rule 11 stops).

      6. Not to be belligerent with you on this, Mr. Menery, but if everyone is confused by the “sideboard” reference then perhaps Wizards or the RC has not defined the meaning of the “shorthand”.

        Why is the word “sideboard” a shorthand in reference to companions but not shorthand in reference to wish cards?

        Is it because companions exist in some new zone in Magic that is not a sideboard?

        1. It seems weird that you can’t build a Yorion companion commander deck because the deck can only have 100 cards but then you can build other companions decks that effectively have 101 cards.

          1. Key word “effectively”
            Does not mean “actually”
            The deck still has 100 cards
            Yorion wants the deck to have 120 cards BEFORE he is even considered a companion

            That’s a huge difference

            8 available cards that have the “effectiveness” of 101
            Is far different from
            ACTUALLY having 120 cards to get effectively 121… and if they suddenly allowed for 120 card decks then the battle of the wits players would insist on having no deck limit

            Stop trying to use companion as a reason to get a no deck size matters format… if you want that then build a deck then ask your friends/playgroup/meta if you can play it from time to time… this is a social format

    2. The rule is that “Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.”

      Companion doesn’t bring an “other card” it brings itself so it does not go against the rule. There is an earlier post addressing the mechanic itself that talks more on it.

  5. Recently I’ve wanted to buy a Mayael Zidra deck but, Zidra pretty much getting an errata makes me iffy to buy the deck. Not only because I have to readjust the list now to account for the pay 3 mana but, also what if they change the mechanic yet again. Commander should be safe from standard power balances but, this sets a scary precesdent.

    1. It’s not a standard power balance they errated the ability companion as a whole… if the ability gets a second coming or a reprint then they will say that “pay 3” right in it

      So the rule isn’t specifically changed the ability is changed as a whole… RC has no control over that

  6. Sheldon, if wishes don’t function under the standard Commander rules, why would companions function? Seems like an inconsistency.

  7. Given the new “cost” of moving your companion from it’s “out of game” zone into your hand, does the RC still believe that Lutri would remain too ubiquitous amongst URx decks to consider unbanning?

    1. Yes, it will literally go in *every single one of them*. There would be no reason not to run it, at worst it would be a 6 mana 3/2 that doesn’t cost a card slot in your hand *or* deck that you can play when you’re empty-handed and top-decking nothing but land *at flash speed*. Even if it’s never used, why wouldn’t you put it there just in case?

  8. So rule 11 on your own website is not true? You guys have a rule against outside the game cards as well. Can we please get some clarification as to what works and what doesn’t? I’d love to grab whatever i want with Karn.

    1. Rule 11 stops a card’s ability from bringing in a different card from outside the game (i.e. Wishes). It does not stop a card’s ability from bringing itself in from outside the game (i.e. Companions).

      A hypothetical example of a card that would technically function under Rule 11 would be something like this:

      Volcanic Explosion
      4RRR
      Sorcery

      You may cast Volcanic Explosion from outside the game as long as you control five or more Mountains and you haven’t cast another spell named Volcanic Explosion this game.

      Sacrifice a Mountain you control. When you do, Volcanic Explosion deals 5 damage to each creature and each player.

  9. With these changes will Lutri get considered for testing to see if it’ll be fine now despite not having a deck building restriction?

    That is a pretty huge change to how companions previously worked. Sure Lutri still has no deck building restrictions but that change to the mechanic does greatly tax it by having to be sorcery speed and 3 mana.

  10. Is it up for consideration that it will work as initially intended and be castable from outside the game in edh?

  11. So Wishboards when then? Because IIRC it was stated Companion worked without sideboards because it went straight to your hand but now it has to exist outside the game in a special spot that isn’t a sideboard, isn’t the command zone?

  12. I don’t understand. So a companion card “can exist outside the game in a tournament setting” and be brought into play yet “abilities that reference cards you own from outside the game do not function in commander” (rule #11 on THIS VERY SITE).

    1. It seems you’re not up-to-date on the new Rule #11. It was changed to accomodate companions by saying “abilities that move OTHER cards from outside the game do not function”

  13. Why make a rules change for this but not for wish effects then. Like you stated “Sideboard” is shorthand for “outside the game in a tournament setting.”” So why is a companion in that zone allowed but not cards that could be wished for ?

  14. So, Companions are outside the game (Sideboard) but isn’t a requirement so they can be used. What’s stopping Wish cards exactly? Can figure out a rule change/balance for those just as easily since many do the exact same thing as Companions in terms of the conditions to get the cards into the hand. Some are more costly than Companions by that comparison and require an additional card to do so.

    Still mostly new to the game but based off of previous cards I’ve looked into, one being an instant that shuffles cards into the deck, you can figure out ways to balance mechanics such as: limited sideboard amount (could include Companions into the amount), color restrictions for chosen cards, part of deck count, chosen cards can only add up to a specific CMC.

    Pretty much just more brainstorming before ultimately deciding on a ban if there’s no way it can’t be broken.

  15. Considering the RC’s interpretation of the word sideboard that is mentioned in the new companion rules, will this also affect the sideboard that is assumed not to exist for wish cards?

  16. I feel this a very bad decision for Commander, fine, any other format whatever, but in EDH where you have to pay 3 generic to just only get it into your hand? That’s telegraphed and slow, which is all kinds of not good with wheeling/etc. I already bought a bunch of the companions for this just to happen.. this isn’t fun, makes me feel I wasted money. Should of put your foot down on this Companion tax. My group won’t follow this ruling.

  17. I’m confused? Can you get stuff from outside the game now?

    11. Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.

    1. It mentions “other cards”. Companions bring themselves, so they work, but wishes bring other cards, so they don’t work.

  18. Not trying to be confrontational, i appreciate all the thankless work you guys do for the format, but to avoid confusion and mixed messages you might want to re-word your statement in the FAQ on wishes to remove the statement that “It also violates the exactly-100-cards premise of Commander…” since that statement/stance has seemingly changed with the new companion rules and the board being OK with a companion being a 101st card

  19. From what I understand (from WOTC), the Companion is concidered to be part of the sideboard and thus exists outside of the game.

    “Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your SIDEBOARD into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can’t be responded to. It can’t be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker”

    1. The wording WotC gave in the announcement is not the actual text as defined in the newly-updated comprehensive rules:

      “702.138a Companion is a keyword ability that functions outside the game. It’s written as “Companion—[Condition].” Before the game begins, you may reveal one card you own from outside the game with a companion ability whose condition is fulfilled by your starting deck. (See rule 103.1b.) Once during the game, any time you have priority and the stack is empty, but only during a main phase of your turn, you may pay {3} and put that card into your hand. This is a special action that doesn’t use the stack (see rule 116.2g). This is a change from previous rules.”

      Companions as defined by the rules still exist outside the game, which is defined in a tournament setting by a player’s sideboard.

  20. So if sideboard is shorthand for “outside of the game in a tournament setting” and WOTC has stated that the Companion is part of the sideboard, than it should only be allowed in a tournament setting, given that is the only place the mechanic can work?

  21. Companions didn’t need a nerf in commander today. They encourage creative deckbuilding, and shouldnt be taxed with the extra 3 mana in our format. I had a lot of fun building Ayli/Lurrus, and it certainly wasn’t a broken deck. Playing it again today with the rule change makes me feel like I should just get rid of the companion, as it is so much worse now considering the deck building restriction. It was good the way it was before the change. Please reconsider, for the sake of homebrewed creativity.

  22. Absolutely baffled buy the RCs willingness to crush the creativity these cards could have added to our format? I need some explanation on this? Blows my mind!

  23. Poor Sheldon having to explain that the word sideboard doesn’t mean anything to how companions work even after it was discussed the first time after their release. I currently have a Muldortha even cmc tribal using Gyruda as a companion, and this rule change doesn’t do too much to affect my gameplay except tell me to do what green does best more and ramp so that one time payment of 3 means nothing lol.

  24. Did you guys consider a simply “companion cards are part of the 99” approach?
    This would enable Lutri to be unbanned and we wouldn’t have to follow this nonsense rule that you have to pay whatever to draw your companion.

  25. I’m quite curious as to why the default stance from the RC is to follow these rules.

    I’d argue that the deck building restrictions put on us, from all but two of these, is enough of a punishment in EDH.
    I would honestly love to refer to it as incentive, but adding a flat 3 cmc to the cost of any of these discourages me from even bothering with the mechanic.

    As i have ordered many of these and not yet received them this, to me, feels the same as getting a card banned from under me and is the EXACT reason i stopped playing Modern and Standard.

    I was initially hesitant to join the “Free Lutri” bandwagon, but at this point you might aswell up and ban the companion mechanic and unban the little fella or deviate altogether from the rules announcement and disown the cost increase rule.

    1. Agreed 100%. I hope this gets erratad for us otherwise what is the point. Am I supposed to also invest in mana crypt, LED, and mox diamond now to negate the tax and make companions borderline playable? This is the opposite of the spirit of EDH.

  26. The only sensible way to do this is to have them work as originally intended in EDH and have Lutri “banned as companion” instead of “banned.” Following Wizards as they try to hastily erase their mistakes just ruins companions in our format altogether. How many people bought these cards so they could make some really interesting and unique decks only to get that swept out from under them I wonder. The EDH rules and banlist are to encourage the spirit of fun gameplay, which the companion mechanic adds to. Please tell me you guys will errata this for EDH on June 22..

  27. Unless I misunderstand the cards, you can still play companions in your deck as part of the 99 or as your commander. In these cases, neither the deckbuilding restriction nor the three generic mana tax would apply.

    I don’t understand the “It stifles creativity in deckbuilding” argument. If you use a companion as the commander or in the 99, you can still use the restriction if you want. Or not–It doesn’t matter, and that’s the beauty of it! There is absolutely no loss in creativity; in fact, there may be even more because you decide how you want to build the deck.

    Finally, it’s not the sideboard issue that makes the companion mechanic incompatible with Commander for me–It’s the 100 card deck rule. I dislike the idea of making an exception to that rule about as much as I disliked giving people the option to play an extra card at any time.

    1. Yep.. I blame Wizards for “rewriting” physical cards that are already released, and I truly hope the EDH RC takes a stand against that kind of poor behavior by not following them in this rule. If you print a card that is too good, then ban it like you did with Oko. This whole thing is stupid and Im gonna talk to my play group about ignoring this rule change in commander. As like you said it makes the companions useless if they cost double mana.

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