Here’s the sweet preview that our friends from Wizards of the Coast sent us:
The cards from Secret Lair: Stranger Things will be legal in Commander. Like with any cards, they’ll be judged on their individual merits. If any of them demonstrate that they’re unhealthy for the format, we’ll take appropriate action.
To clarify, Friends Forever is a limited-scope, partner-like ability. Any two creatures with Friends Forever can be your commanders. They do not interact with creatures that have the normal partner ability (Rule 702.124a).
Although we’re not the biggest fans of mechanically-unique, limited-availability cards, the folks at Wizards of the Coast have improved their processes, making the Secret Lair drops more available to more people for longer–especially since the cards will be getting Magic IP equivalents starting in Streets of New Capenna. We strongly encourage them to continue this trend.
If you’d like to talk about any of this further, we’re happy to invite you to the RC Discord server’s #format-philosophy channel for good faith discussions.
Rule 10 is removed. Rule 11 is renumbered to Rule 10.
Worldfire is Unbanned
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is Banned
Rule 10, which stated that commanders were subject to the legend rule, was created in the days when the legend rule was less stable; the rule remained as an artifact of that time. It’s not a Commander-specific rule, but simply existed as a clarification. Since it’s redundant, we chose to eliminate it. This change is administrative only and will have no impact on how games are played. Rule 11 bumps up to Rule 10.
Worldfire was once banned due to the problematic interaction with floating mana and having access to your Commander. We want to foster a Commander environment where 8- and 9-mana spells are viable and likely to show up in a game, so we evaluate the expensive ones in that context. Unlike Coalition Victory and Biorhythm, which we continue to believe are problematic in that environment, the level of effort needed to make Worldfire effective is sufficient that we suspect it will not be as much of an issue. There are already cheaper ways to do similar things in the format. We believe the social contract and robust pregame discussions will keep Worldfire out of games in which it doesn’t belong.
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim has been a much-discussed card that is both popular to play with and unpopular to play against. There are many problems with the card, but the greatest is that in the low-to-middle tiers where we focus the banlist, Golos is simply a better choice of leader for all but the most commander-centric decks. Its presence crushes the kind of diversity in commander choice which we want to promote. You can drop in Golos and a few 5-color lands into a random deck and get all the ramp and card advantage you would ever want from a commander, with no worries about your mana base. Golos’ ability effectively reduces the commander tax to one and once you hit seven mana (with Golos assuring that you have WUBRG and helping you get there quickly), you don’t need to do anything for the rest of the game except cast spells for free—something we always want to be careful about. We’ve talked to the folks in Studio X and they understand the problems created by generically-powerful five-color commanders that don’t have WUBRG in their mana cost. We don’t expect similar cards to come from them in the future, so a surgical strike now makes sense. We understand that many players love Golos, so we don’t take this action lightly. In the end, the health of the format is our primary concern and we find Golos unhealthy. While Kenrith, the Returned King is a similarly flexible and popular commander for good stuff five color decks, we see it as a clear step down from Golos.
Welcome to the RC Monday Morning Check-In for August 30, 2021.
Yesterday we held the quarterly joint RC/CAG meeting. What happens at that meeting is the RC offers to the CAG the directions we’re considering heading with the upcoming announcement, based on the joint conversations we’ve had since the previous announcement. They offer their individual recommendations, agreement or dissention, and ideas on how to implement and/or message our decisions. Remember that the CAG is about twelve unique perspectives, not any unified stance, so there are bound to be some thought-provoking sparks. The RC then meets before announcement date to put the finishing touches how we’ll proceed.
You’ll see our final result for this quarter on Monday, 13 September. Until then, enjoy the opening of preview season for Innistrad: Mightnight Hunt!
Welcome to the Commander RC Monday Morning Check-In for the week of 16 August, 2021.
The first of the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt previews have dropped and we’re excited already. Wrenn and Seven has created quite some buzz; we suspect it won’t be the only one.
This Thursday the RC will premiere our first Adventures in the Forgotten Realms games, in which we each have a different preconstructed deck which we’ve been allowed a ten-card upgrade. Gavin will be piloting Draconic Rage, Toby Planar Portal, Scott Aura of Courage, and Sheldon Dungeons of Death. Tune in for all the action starting at 8ET on twitch.tv/commanderRC.
You can keep abreast of all the things we’re doing on the RC Discord server. As always, we’re frequently available for chats about all aspects of Commander, whether that’s in the #format-philosophy channel, #deck-brewing, #rulings-and-questions, or any of another dozen or so dedicated areas. We look forward to seeing you there.
Welcome to the Commander RC Monday Morning Check-In for the week of 9 August, 2021.
We’re happy to report that more and more streamers and video creators are having their pregame discussions on camera. While Rule 0 chats are an important element to a positive Commander experience, so we’re pleased to see folks normalizing them.
The RC will have a special guest this week on stream: the one and only Ben Wheeler. The action gets underway at 8 ET on twitch.tv/commanderRC. In upcoming weeks, we’ve decided that each of the four RC members will play an upgraded Forgotten Realms Commander deck for the stream. We’ve each picked a different one and we’re allowed to swap out ten nonland cards of our choice as well as do a little tinkering with the mana base (without going too far). Sheldon’s article from yesterday features his; we’ll have to see what the other three come up with.
As always, if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the format or just hang out with some excellent people, head over to the RC Discord server at https://discord.gg/x5Q5PVg and jump into the conversation. We’re there quite often, so it’s one of the best ways to get a direct line into having a chat with us.
Welcome to the Commander RC Monday Morning Check-In for the week of 2 August, 2021.
There’s been some colorful discussion on Wishes and outside-the-game cards in the Discord. If you’d like to join in, head over to https://discord.gg/x5Q5PVg and jump into the #format-philosophy channel. The short version for us is that we haven’t heard any new arguments on the benefits of changing Rule 11; if you have something on the topic that hasn’t been brought up before, we’d love to hear it. We have talked about the possibility that Rule 10 is no longer required (it’s a holdover from the early days when such things were less clear), so look for some thoughts on that in the September update.
RC streaming is back on this week, as we welcome one of our Discord friends, Grant Mongin, to join us for Game 2. The action starts at 8ET on Thursday at twitch.tv/commanderRC. We’d also love to work on some version of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms constructed for streaming in the near future. There are a few sets that seem D&D-adjacent enough to make a block out of, but haven’t settled on anything yet that resonates.
The September update will be on us faster than you know; the way the schedules work out, we’ll have our quarterly joint RC/CAG meeting later this month. If there’s something think is important for us to discuss, hit us up on an appropriate channel on the Discord server, or if it’s short, a ping on social media.
Appointments to the Commander Advisory Group (CAG): Kristen Gregory and Elizabeth Rice.
Welcoming Kristen and Ellie to the Commander Advisory Group
Kristen and Ellie are both deeply invested in Commander and possess excellent Magic minds. You may have seen them on recent episodes of the Commander Rules Committee (RC) Twitch stream and elsewhere, or checked out some of their other work, so you’ll know how much they love the format. They bring the kinds of complementary and diverse voices which will make them outstanding additions to the CAG. You can check out their full bios here.
Slight modification to Rule 11 to clarify dungeon legality.
Dungeons are a little wonky from a rules perspective since they’re more like emblems than other cards. Once they’re ventured into, they even live in the command zone; they then leave the zone when they’re completed. They have to be considered cards so that other rules can work, but they’re not otherwise cards in the traditional sense. They can’t go into your deck; their main function is as a specialized process marker. To that end, Rule 11 is now worded like this:
Parts of abilities which bring other traditional 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.
Hullbreacher is BANNED.
Hullbreacher has been a problem card since its release. Its ostensible defensive use against extra card draw has been dwarfed by offensively combining it with mass-draw effects to easily strip players hands while accelerating the controller. That play pattern isn’t something we want prevalent in casual play (see the Leovold ban), and we have seen a lot of evidence that it is too tempting even there, as it combines with wheels and other popular casual staples. The case against the card was overwhelming.
There remain a few similar cards that are still permitted, notably Notion Thief and Narset, Parter of Veils. The additional hoops required (an additional color pip for Notion Thief, and sorcery speed for Narset) appear to be keeping them to the appropriate level of play, though we’ll continue to keep an eye on them.
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.
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.
Dungeons aren’t cards in the traditional sense. They can’t go into your deck, and their main function is as a specialized progress marker. That’s fine in Commander and they’ll work as normal.