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
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.
Commander is in a pretty good place right now, considering waves hands at everything, and we don’t feel the need to take any action.
We do have our eyes on some cards, but want to wait until we have more in-person play to get a sense for how they would impact the format. While webcams have been amazing for getting through the pandemic, the online environment isn’t the same as traditional paper play. As it looks like things will start to reopen over the coming months, it makes sense to take a wait-and-see approach.
While there are no rules changes, we do want to highlight a couple of features that Strixhaven brings and how they interact with the Commander rules.
1) Any card that has a legendary creature on its front face can be your commander, but in the case of Modal Double-Face Cards, you can cast either side. Both sides are subject to the same Commander Tax; it looks at how many times you have cast the card, regardless of which side you chose to cast. Strixhaven introduces Legendary creatures with sorceries on the back side. For example, you may cast Search for Blex, but it’ll cost two more mana if you cast Blex, Vexing Pest earlier in the game. Perhaps you shouldn’t have lost him the first time!
2) Learn cards cannot retrieve Lesson cards when they are cast. We are not interested in introducing sideboards into Commander, and are not comfortable with defining outside the game as all cards you own (it was defined this way years ago and led to a lot of problems and arguments.) However, the alternate mode of discard and draw works fine, as the restriction is limited to the part of the card the looks for a Lesson. Playgroups that want to make Lessons work are encouraged to define a set of rules that works for them.
We’ll be back for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. In the meantime, we’ll continue to stream twice weekly on the RC Twitch channel (http://twitch.com/CommanderRC) on Thursdays at 8PM EDT and Sundays at 2PM EDT. Come hang out!
We’ve had some questions about Karn, the Great Creator’s -2 ability and whether the parts of it that don’t refer to outside the game work. They do, so we added a couple of words to remove any ambiguity from the rule. The goal is to set the default space for outside the game to empty and let playgroups choose amongst themselves if they want to fill it with anything.
Expansion of the Commander Advisory Group.
The Commander Advisory Group continues to be the best idea we’ve ever had. The passionate and insightful advice we’ve gotten from them on a broad range of Commander-related topics has been invaluable. We’d like more of that.
To that end, we will be expanding the size of the CAG. For now, we’re adding four people who represent some of the marvelous voices filling out the Commander chorus. Jim LaPage (@JimTSF) is well known for his community-building and keen Magic mind. Another sharp Magic brain, Rachel Weeks (@wachelreeks) is also co-host of The Commander Sphere podcast and graphic artist who has been a frequent guest on the Commander RC Twitch stream. DeQuan Watson (@powrdragn) is a long-time Magic community advocate and activist who hosts the Color of Magic podcast. US Army Major Greg Sablan (@gregorysablan), who we’ve been chatting with for more than a year now, represents the vast global military Commander community. You can read everyone’s full bios here. We’re excited to have them on board and happy to have their help taking the format into the future.
There’s still work to be done and room for a few more seats on the CAG. We’re aware that we still have underrepresented demographics and locations. You can expect our efforts to search for, find, and amplify great voices around the world to continue, both for CAG consideration and to further foster the values of our great Commander community.