Category Archives: Announcements

Low-traffic category containing changes to the rules, banned list, official site, etc.



No changes


No changes, but here are some helpful tips regarding specific cards and mechanics in the set:

Hakbal is one of the face commanders of the new Lost Caverns of Ixalan preconstructed Commander decks.

Hakbal of the Surging Soul

Remember when you’re playing it that you choose the order for each creature to explore, but they all explore during the resolution of the trigger – no player gets priority in between each creature exploring!

Some creatures in this set also utilize finality counters.

Uchbenbak, the Great Mistake

If your Commander somehow gets a finality counter on it and it would die, it will be sent to exile instead. Once it’s there, you’ll have a choice to send it to the command zone as outlined in Rule 7:

If a commander is in a graveyard or in exile and that card was put into that zone since the last time state-based actions were checked, its owner may put it into the command zone. If a commander would be put into its owner’s hand or library from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead. This replacement effect may apply more than once to the same event. 

General Commentary

The format continues to be in a pretty good place overall, and LCI/LCC don’t appear to contain any cards that challenge or detract from our vision for the format.

Although this will be our final quarterly update for 2023, we’re planning on continuing Sheldon’s annual tradition of a STATE OF THE FORMAT article in early January, prior to the release of Murders at Karlov Manor in February 2024. Typically Sheldon released these on StarCity Games, but going forward we’ll be releasing them here on


We have four preview cards for you today. When I first opened them, my immediate reaction was “I have to explain Trenzalore?” Yikes. The Matt Smith era was definitely high on the timey-wimey stuff. But more on that later. We’ll start with… relatively easier stuff and go “chronologically.”

The first card we have today is a phenomenon, which is a special kind of Planechase card that acts like a triggered ability. You walk to it, something happens, then you walk away.

We’re seeing a significant event late in the Tenth Doctor’s run. Donna Noble (his companion at the time) has, in desperation, touched the severed hand of the Doctor, which is at the time filled with regeneration energy (which is itself all a long story).

But as a result of that, Donna changes. She gains all the knowledge of a Time Lord (and, as we’ll learn later, gets her DNA rewritten some, too.) This is actually a gigantic problem as she can’t actually contain all that knowledge, but for a brief while she’s superpowered and saves the day.

The phenomenon essentially creates DoctorDonna, the merger of the two.

The second card is from a beloved episode of the series titled “The Doctor’s Wife,” written by Neil Gaiman himself. It’s a standalone in which the TARDIS’ consciousness (yeah, it’s sentient) is trapped in a mortal vessel. Yes, it’s so that another being can drain all the life from it, but while the Doctor has to figure out how to save it, it’s an opportunity for the Eleventh Doctor to have a heart to heart with his longtime travelling companion.

The card represents Idris, who had her mind wiped for the purpose, hosting the TARDIS for a brief period. Warning: it doesn’t end well for Idris.

Lake Silencio is the location that kicks off the main plot of the second season of the Eleventh Doctor’s run with a mystery that will last the season.

The Doctor meets with his companions (Rory, Amy and kind of River at that point) and an astronaut rises out of the lake. The Doctor orders them not to intervene and goes to talk to the astronaut who he seems to know and, a moment later, the astronaut shoots him. He’s dead, for real (and they even burn the body for good measure.)

But then the doctor steps out of a back room in a local diner and the mystery commences. And there’s time travel involved, of course. Learning the identity of the astronaut and why this is all happening occurs over the course of the season, and by the time we return to Lake Silencio with all the details… I won’t spoil it all here.

But, part of that mystery requires that Lake Silencio be a fixed point in time, which you can’t change with time travel. And the plane reflects that perfectly by giving everything split second. No putting things on the stack to retroactively alter events that have already happened!

And then there’s Trenzalore. I’m not even going to try to explain Trenzalore to you; it’s the culmination of the entire Eleventh Doctor run, tying together plot threads from the whole series. We’d be here all day.

But the design of this card is beautiful, so let’s try to give you enough context to understand why. The Doctor essentially retires to Trenzalore and lives there for 900 years, fighting off a series of alien invaders (the planet is the last link to Gallifrey, where Time Lords hail from) until he’s no longer capable of doing so.

But he’s out of regenerations. And old. And the final enemy, is, of course, the Daleks. So he goes to the top of the clock tower to do what he can to stave them off. But before he does, he is given a poem that, in part, reads:

Eleven’s hour is over now,
The clock is striking twelve’s.

In the final confrontation, he makes a connection to Gallifrey and the Time Lords grant him a new cycle of regenerations (and thus the strength to defeat the Daleks). And this card reflects that, giving you a new hand to help your Time Lord defeat their enemies as the clock ends the eleventh hour and strikes twelve.

Thus far, Doctor Who looks like a design slam dunk, and we’re excited to see the rest of the cards. If you haven’t had the chance to play Planechase with Commander, give it a try. It will certainly add to the chaos!


Sheldon passed away last night after a seven-year battle with cancer.

We all strive to leave behind a lasting legacy. It is a measure of Sheldon that he did it twice.

He first picked up the judge program and instilled a vision of fairness and proper behavior in competitive Magic that carries on to this day. Until his retirement from judging in 2011 he was the face of the program; the judge that all the other judges aspired to be.

And then, there’s Commander. Though he was always quick to credit Adam Staley as the creator, without his efforts we would not have Commander. He saw the potential of the format as a vessel for social play and tirelessly advocated for it as a way to make and spend time with friends. Along the way, he picked up many of them and unlocked a tidal wave of a community that had often been ignored. He championed that diversity, always looking for a way to raise up underserved voices in the community.

He faced down the challenges of his cancer with the relentless verve of one of his beloved Shakespearean characters, refusing to let it stop him living life to the fullest for as long as he could. Even a week ago, he refused to rule out getting to Las Vegas for MagicFest because he so wanted another chance to make his fans, friends, and everyone else happy as they celebrated the game together.

Sheldon always said a great leader planned for a future without them, and took the steps to ensure that the RC and CAG could continue after he was gone. We will deeply miss his wisdom, but look forward to honoring his mission.

Goodbye, friend. Safe travels.



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Wilds of Eldraine brings with it two Adventure commanders. Here’s how this card type interacts with the rules of Commander!

Commander Tax
Refer to Rule 6:
Commanders begin the game in the Command Zone. While a commander is in the command zone, it may be cast, subject to the normal timing restrictions for casting creatures. Its owner must pay {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone; this is an additional cost.

If Beluna Grandsquall is your commander, you have the option to cast it or Seek Thrills from your command zone. In either case, you must pay commander tax according to how many times it has been cast from the command zone so far in the current game. If you choose to cast Seek Thrills, exile it as it resolves and you have the option to cast it later from exile without paying commander tax.

Colour Identity
The colour identity of a legendary creature with adventure includes the colour(s) of any mana symbols in the adventure’s casting cost. Kellan, the Fae-Blooded has a colour identity of WR.

General Commentary

In our June update, we singled out two cards – Orcish Bowmasters and Mirkwood Bats. In the last 2 months, players have started to play with them and against them. Orcish Bowmasters in particular appears to be very strong. From what we’ve seen and from what people have told us, it doesn’t appear to be making as big of a splash as many had anticipated. This aligns with our initial expectations, and unless something changes we don’t foresee either card causing problems that warrant immediate action.

We’ll be back with our next update on November 10 in advance of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan!

June 2023 Quarterly Update

No changes

The ring tempts you – This is a mechanic that – on the surface – looks a lot like venturing into the dungeon. In the past we’ve had to make changes to Rule 10 (Cards from outside the game) to accommodate these mechanics. Unlike Dungeons, though, this mechanic is tracked on an emblem! The rules today already accommodate emblems, so no changes are necessary for this to function as it does in other formats.

General Commentary
We’ve been following the community’s discussions and concerns surrounding Orcish Bowmasters, and – to a lesser extent – Mirkwood Bats. With the help of the Commander Advisory Group, we’ll be observing how and if those discussions change over time as people play and play against these cards.

We’ve also seen a ton of excitement! The idea of a fully fleshed-out set with deep lore really closely aligns with our goals in managing the format. In this set, Wizards has delivered a ton of tools to players who want to tell stories through their deckbuilding and gameplay. A property as deep as Lord of the Rings has a ton of stories to tell.

We’ll be back with our next update on August 28 in advance of Wilds of Eldraine!

May 2023 Quarterly Update

No changes.

We’re generally very happy with the state of Commander at the moment. We wanted to wait for the release of Aftermath to make sure there wasn’t anything of concern in it, but it looks good and we’re excited for all the new toys that March of the Machine has provided.

We’re particularly interested in seeing how Battles play out in Commander, where the multiplayer dynamics should have some interesting impact on their usage. Throw them in decks and let us know how it goes.

Poison was raised as a concern after all the new Toxic and Proliferate cards in All Will Be One, so we kept an eye on it for a bit, We don’t feel that it significantly altered the landscape for poison and don’t have plans to make any adjustments. It remains a mechanic that is sometimes good at taking out one person, but struggles to take down an entire table. 

We will have an announcement day with The Lord of the Rings. Traditionally we’ve made announcements the week before the release of Standard-legal sets, and LotR isn’t one, but it’s a significant set in the calendar cycle (with an accompanying MagicCon) which leads to an expectation that there’ll be one, so we’ll be back in mid-June with another update. Until then, enjoy March of the Machine!

Delayed Quarterly Update

Hey everyone. You might normally be expecting a quarterly update today (the Monday before the pre-release), but given the proximity of Phyrexia: All Will Be One and the upcoming Aftermath, we figured we’d cool jets until 8 May, the Monday before the release. We’ll have a full quarterly update then. Enjoy yourselves at the Pre-Release. These cards are going to be wild! May all your battles be glorious (and battered down).

A Note on Battles

Like other DFCs, the color identity of a Battle considers both sides of the card. For example, the CI of Invasion of Theros is white/blue. Also, please remember that for a DFC to qualify as a commander, its front face must be a legendary creature (or have text on its front face otherwise identifying it as a legal commander). There are currently no plans to change this rule. Enjoy the remainder of the #MTGMOM preview season. If you’d like to chat about all the saucy new cards, pop on over to the RC Discord server and join a bunch of friends already doing so!