The Card “Wish”

There’s a new card in D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms called Wish. The short version is that the card doesn’t work in Commander.

Here’s a link to the card.

Rule 11 applies to this card, so it doesn’t work any differently than other outside-the-game cards which attempt to bring other cards in from outside the game.

23 thoughts on “The Card “Wish””

  1. I disagree with the logic for rule 11’s exclusion of wishes. Effectively, it maintains a soft “ban” on the effect, but since the cards aren’t actually banned, it’s more complicated to explain to newer players (who often come from formats which include sideboards) why the cards just don’t work. I believe the committee has mentioned before that the reason for the rule is for simplicity of play, among other things, but in my experience it only serves to make deck building and gameplay more complicated. Another reason given was for power balance, but I don’t believe for a single moment that cards like Death Wish are more powerful than cards like Vampiric Tutor. Finally, the committee said that there was only a small set of applicable cards, but that would also justify banning them all moreso so-as to eliminate confusion by eliminating cards from the eligible pool which might serve to perform problematic functions. Just so we’re clear, I don’t agree with banning any of the cards, yet I also believe that banning them would be a better solution than rule 11, which prevents them from working correctly even though they aren’t banned.
    Now there is one reason I somewhat agree with, that the wish cards (while not overpowered) provide more “toys” for blue, black, and/or green to play with, and are disproportionately better for those colors than for others. Blue is the most competitive color from a number of metrics, so I can agree that it doesn’t need to get more added to its list of abilities than it already has. Even so, there are only a couple of viable blue wishes, and only about one black wish I would really consider running, and none of them are more powerful than the tutors which already exist throughout the format. Instead, they are all currently more budget friendly than tutors, so the people disenfranchised most by this rule are those who would want to play budget Magic – I saw one player disappointed that they couldn’t use Vivien to wish for creatures, or Karn to wish for artifacts, when overall it didn’t make their deck any more powerful than mine or anyone else’s at the table.
    As for how to implement sideboards so we wouldn’t need rule 11, I would suggest that they could be utilized by way of having each player announcing their commanders at the beginning of the game, followed by a few minutes of adjustments to the deck from the sideboards, in order to swap out cards which are unlikely to be functional against certain commanders. Otherwise, the sideboard might simply serve as a resource to draw from using Wish effects, even if the rule doesn’t directly allow for sideboarding cards in and out. You could even add a portion where this is an optional rule, so players can discuss it with their group, but so that there would be an authoritative word on the matter.

    1. I would note that you’re trying to argue that a particular change simplifies the rules and the game, but your comment is around 500 words long (490 to be exact)

      That kind of… self-defeats the argument you’re trying to make. Proposing a rule change that is a simplification, on the surface, should be quick to justify. An involved argument demonstrates to the reader that it might not be as you’re claiming.

      1. That’s rather disingenuous.

        I would say more but I don’t dare make my post too complex.

      2. Your take is not a logical one. Most people know that you should brush your teeth now and then. Brushing your teeth is simple – a child can do it (And should). The arguments in favor of brushing your teeth are more complex and scientific in nature. And while those arguments can be simplified, the complexity of the argument does nothing to alter the complexity of the solution. Brushing your teeth remains a simple task, regardless of how the reasons are explained.

    2. The point of having ruling in place of bans is to avoid having the committee to have to go through the process of banning every new wish like card that appears on the horizon.

  2. Hi RC,

    I would like the rules council to reconsider its stance on “wish boards”

    One of my favorite things about commander is finding a home for cool cards from throughout the history of magic. Some of these cool cards are the various wish cards. I was very surprised when I first learned that these cards were effectively banned years ago.

    Speaking of “learned” it seams that cards out side your deck is a space magic is exploring more and more every set. Having a small wish board for cards like lessons, companions, wish targets, and future mechanics to exist in feels very in spirit to the exploration and individual expression of commander.

    Not every deck will utilize wish boards if they are implemented. I don’t think the RC changing their stance will force people who don’t want wish boards to change their decks or suffer game loss after game loss. If you allow a supplemental deck for these side board cards, it would not only give a place for companions, lessons and future cards that utilize the sideboard in 60 card formats, it would also be a wish come true for thousands of players like me.

    Thanks for making and tending a cool format for me to play with my friends, Jordan Betz

  3. Why not a one card sideboard? That way wishes work and as a plus we can get rid of annoying “Companion Zone”.

  4. I’m thoroughly confused about the entire matter. Just getting back into MTG (for the fourth? time) and the mechanics of “outside the game” have me completely confused. After carefully reading the Comprehensive Rules, I thought Companions and Lessons (i.e. “outside the game”) have nothing to do with sideboards – sideboards are just also outside the game. Yet reading this seems to say that they’re not legal, despite being listed as legal in the Commander format. Huh? Are the committee and WOTC not seeing eye to eye? Either it’s legal or it’s banned… “Doesn’t work” er, doesn’t work.

    Rule 11, as stated now, is ambiguous and an invitation to arguments. One person’s “tradition” is another person’s straitjacket.

    1. @Charlie D.
      I believe you are missing some information of how outside-of-the-game tutors work. Check ruling for cards like Coax from the Blind Eternities. The thing is that all rules have to operate under the assumption that you are playing in competitive event to ensure internal consistiency. Due to this “wish” cards according to rules can fetch only cards from sideboard and since there is no sideboard in edh… they “don’t work” as in they don’t do anything. Compare this to cards like Cogwork Liblarian. It’s legal but it’s abilities don’t do anything in EDH.
      The only ambiguity I see is the term “traditional” which I would gladly see explained in more details.

      1. Companions live in the sideboard in constructed formats, yet are granted special status in EDH. Because reasons. This is what drives people crazy.

    2. The committee just doesn’t like wishes, but they can’t go against WotC on companions and lessons. That’s why we have the disparity.

  5. Why not re-work “wish” mechanics in a way that works in Commander. “Exile” evolved from “Removed from the Game.” Why not allow wishes, but with the restriction that they can only be used to retrieve cards you own from “exile”?

    1. @ Eric B.

      I tried and agree; they are even worded synonymously pre errata and you used to be able to get cards that were removed with “Swords to Plowshares” since it removed creatures from the game. The original intent of the wishes was to allow for this kind of interaction.

      The current definition they use actually functionally bans companion rules but they are making exceptions because companions are outside the game in the companion zone.

  6. As always Rule 0, if your play group wants wish boards, your play group can allow wish boards. The general rule against wish boards are for random pick up games at LGS.

    1. Why not just allow an official 5 card wish board and be done with it. This fixes Lessons, Companions AND wishes. Wishes are no stronger than regular tutors. The hatred from commander rules committee towards wishes makes no sense. They allow 1 mana ultra strong tutors…

  7. I spend $400 a month on Commander and if you ever ban Mana Crypt/Vault/Monolith I’m going to burn a big pile of duals

    1. Back in 2009, WotC changed the definition of “Remove from the Game” to “Exile”, and created the Exile zone. See point 2C in this article for details:

      One side-effect of that is that cards which have been exiled are in a Zone, and hence are not “outside the game”, so they can’t be retrieved by Wishes. This is true for all MTG formats, not just Commander. You can check the Comp Rules for the definition of “Outside the game” for further details.

      1. Yes, and it would be very easy for the RC to say, “Cards that refer to other cards which are “outside the game” treat Exiled cards as “outside the game.” Very simple, and allows for the use of the wish cards.

        Most of that stuff is in Red, and Red could use the love.

  8. I just wish wishes worked. Even with something like a limit of 10 outside the game cards. This is neither a power level issue or a complexity issue. Sadly RC is adamant on keeping it banned for weak reasons.

  9. I run fifteen card sideboards with many of my edh decks. Most of the time they’re just new cards I’ve bought for the deck but haven’t gotten around to swapping in. Never knew this was a ‘rule’. (they’re more like guidelines than actual rules).

    There’s plenty of cards besides wishes that interact with cards outside the game in fun, non broken ways. I’m extremely disappointed to see that the RC dissuades creative uses like these.

    In addition, they’re deterring the use of any cards which are only usable versus specific colours. Circle of protection, red mana blast, and dark betrayal all could see play as sideboard cards, but run the risk of being utterly worthless in many games.

    More important is a sideboard’s ability to modify power levels, to better balance a match up.

    Remove a helm of the host to bring your power level down in a Boros deck. Take that mystic remora or mana crypt out of a blue deck. House rules have a ban on winter orb? Swap it out instead of packing up your deck and going home.

    I’ve even toyed with the idea of simply keeping pauper lands as a sideboard for my favourite decks, to bring their power levels down, when necessary, without heavy tuning. This keeps the decks functioning, but slows them down a little.

    Simply put: thanks but no thanks Rules Committee. You exist to provide consistency in casual play, but you can’t do that when no one in my many play groups knew this rule existed.

  10. After pulling a wish and looking this up I can’t believe a format dedicated to putting the fun back in magic would go this far to have this much of a no-fun-allowed rule. Not even just wishes, but also Ulamog, one of the most jaw-dropping-ly fun and exciting cards in the game.
    At least everyone sensible ignores it. But if anyone ever tells me I can’t use a wish to pull that singular damn off-color gorgon I couldn’t put in my deck I might do something drastic.

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