Slight modification in how RC and CAG will structure future quarterly meetings.
It’s new year and Commander continues to grow in every context: more players, more games, more content, and more cards. All of those are good things, but each comes with challenges. Each applies pressure to the format and to play groups in various ways. We’ll have some articles coming out this season talking about how you can recognize stress fractures in your group.
There are several cards which are popular topics of concern on the internet (such as Tergrid, God of Fright, Dockside Extortionist, and Thassa’s Oracle), but none of them have reached problematic levels of play in our target demographic (games governed by a strong social contract). The RC feels that all of them can be handled via discussion among the players before a game, and that it’s not too difficult to draw a line between reasonable and unreasonable uses. For groups where no social contract exists this is more challenging, but building trust via communication continues to be the best tool players have to create enjoyable games.
We’ve added a couple of new entries to the FAQ page, clarifying what we think of as the difference between Rule Zero and the social contract of the format, as well as our suggestion for how to handle Commander events at local game stores.
Finally, the RC is making some small internal adjustments to the way we interact with CAG members to ensure everyone on the advisory group has clear channels to express their opinions and relay their observations. The short version is that we’ll be meeting with them formally in smaller groups as we approach the quarterly announcements. It’s nothing drastic, we’re just putting more time into gathering information from trusted sources.
As always, you’re welcome to come over the RC Discord server to chat with us about this update, which has its own thread.
After a few sneak peeks a few weeks back, later this week we’ll see the first deep dive Kamigawa: Neon Destiny previews. While you’re waiting, you can review the State of the Format 2022 article.
The joint RC/CAG meeting is coming up on 30 January, so if there’s anything you want to bring up, now’s the time. We generally bring some closure to topics we’ve discussed over the previous quarter, but if there’s something you think deserves last-minute consideration, we’re listening. Head on over to the RC Discord server’s #format-philosophy channel and join the already-lively discussion.
Welcome back to the feature that we’re rebooting on the RC website, a brief Monday morning check-in from one of our members.
Today it’s two simple reminders. First, our next Quarterly Update, always scheduled the Monday before the Pre-Release, will be on 7 February. We look forward to the Kamigawa: Neon Destiny previews starting in earnest next week.
Second, for those of you who are budding Commander content creators, there’s space for you to share the links for your work on the Commander RC Discord server, in the channel self-promotion. We know that breaking into the content creation game can be difficult. Here’s our way of providing a bit of help, getting new folks’ content in front of more eyes.
We’re always active over on the Discord server, so if there’s any topic you want to chat about, just drop on by!
We’ve just hit 5,000 subscribers to the RC Discord, so we want to say thanks to everyone who has joined us and taken part in the many good faith discussions we’ve had in the various channels.
We promised that the 5,000th subscriber would get the choice of two signed Sheldon Menery tokens (one from SCG, one from Inklin Customs) or the ritual burning of said tokens. The winner, @Tokee, a rabid Krark fan, asked instead if we could ritually burn two Krark cards. We’ll be making that happen in an upcoming tweet.
Here’s to the sky being the limit for the RC Discord server. We’ll see you over there soon. Next stop, 10,000!
Today’s Unfinity announcement included the introduction of the acorn watermark as the new method to distinguish what were previously silver-bordered cards.
We will be updating the rules for card legality to make the acorn symbol equivalent to silver-borders; they’re not allowed by default (but should be encouraged among playgroups!)
We considered allowing them – Commander is not a tournament format, so philosophically it aligns with Mark Rosewater’s points about un-cards – but while some of the classes of cards that get an acorn symbol would be fine (art-based abilities, for example) others are not (physical dexterity cards) and further trying to split would descend to specific card lists. Those might be viable as an optional addition, but not something we would look to make default.
Set looks like a ton of fun, though. Looking forward to it! As always, you’re welcome to join us on the RC Discord server to chat about it.
The back-to-back nature of the two Innistrad releases made for a very short announcement window and not one we want to take action in. We’re pretty happy with where things are and look forward to the influx of cards from Crimson Vow.
Our next announcement will be for the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty release, on February 7.
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.