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!
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).
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!
Lots of new toys, Phyrexian and otherwise, to play with, and we aren’t seeing anything that’s currently threatening our goals for the Commander experience.
Some folks have been asking about the number of poison counters in the wake of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. We’ll obviously keep an eye out, but at the moment we don’t see a need to raise it; the mechanic has not historically been all that strong due to the need to go it alone in killing people. Once everyone has had a chance to play with the new cards and mechanics and the immediate enthusiasm for the current set has faded a bit, we’ll see if action is needed.
While Sheldon’s article may have raised some eyebrows about Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, the RC has had no discussions about banning it. Some of us had concerns about the design: stapling a casual-popular mechanic onto a casual-dangerous mechanic comes with some risks that are unrelated to power level, but there’s absolutely no way that would lead to a zero-day ban, and we doubt any action will be needed in the future.
We’ve publicly had our eye on Dockside Extortionist for a while now, and have ultimately concluded that, unless there’s a sudden surge into more casual spaces – where it hasn’t really thrived due to the lower density of cheap, fast mana – we don’t anticipate taking action on it. It’s a ridiculously powerful card, but scales with the rest of the table, and at the point it becomes broken, plenty of other broken stuff is already happening.
We’ll be back with our next update on April 10th, with March of the Machine. Until then, come hang out with all the great people in the MTGCommander.net discord to talk about the format!
We understand that the new toxic ability from Phyrexia: All Will Be One has folks asking about raising the number of poison counters in Commander. We’ll keep an eye on how it goes, but don’t see a need to take action before we’ve experienced the cards out in the wild. Back when he was a member of the Commander Advisory Group, Jim did a great video on the topic, which pretty much still encapsulates how we feel.
As always, if you’d like to discuss this (or any other
topic), head over to the RC Discord,
where there are specific channels to do just that.
The asterisk on Administrative Changes is a reminder that we added two folks, Olivia Gobert-Hicks and Jim Lapage, to the Rules Committee. Then all six of us descended on Magic 30 in Las Vegas. We embraced the opportunity to get out into the crowd and not just play, but talk Commander with a fairly large number of people.
The overwhelming sentiment that we found at M30 is that Commander is in a pretty healthy space. There are still a few anxieties, like how to make the best of playing in games with strangers. We continue to work internally on brainstorming just how we might help relieve those fears. We also continue to encourage you to have good pregame conversations with folks who you have just met. The best games are the ones in which everyone is on the same page.
As far as cards are concerned, nothing has crossed the line into being dangerous enough across the broad spectrum of the format to warrant a ban. We’ll continue to keep our eye on hot-button cards, like Dockside Extortionist. If it or any other card creeps out of the corners of the format to have a large-scale negative impact, we’ll take action.
As always, please drop by the RC Discord server if you’d like to talk about format philosophy or any of the myriad topics we have there. It’s the place you’re most likely to catch one of us, just hanging out and ready to chat.
We’ll see you in January for Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Until such a time, let The Brothers’ War begin!
Thanks to our friends from Wizards of the Coast, we get to share with you this most excellent free preview from The Brothers’ War, which we revealed last evening on the Commander RC stream. Behold Slagstone Refinery:
May you make many Powerstones and enjoy them in good health!
We promised an update on Unfinity, because of all the crazy new things that have been introduced in the set.
In short: There are no rules changes. What this means is:
Cards from Unfinity without acorn stamps are legal to play by default in Commander. Cards with acorn stamps are not.
Stickers can be played; if you don’t have any, our understanding is that there will be an online tool to let you generate some sheets. A reminder that you can only sticker your own cards (or sleeves, in most cases).
Attractions are legal. This caused the most internal debate, as attractions really play in some spaces we are wary of in Commander. However, attractions are not defined as traditional cards, and don’t live outside the game, so they do work within the rules framework we have. Making them illegal would have required changing the rules quite substantially (or banning the entire class of cards), and we don’t think they are problematic enough to justify a change.