Duel Commander

The official website and your best resource for MTG duel Commander games. Rules, French banlists, news, blog posts and announcements from the committee.

Nov

25

NOVEMBER 2019 RULES – BANNED/RESTRICTED UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

You know what? We’re happy, over here! Over the last quarter, we saw a real, tremendous raise in quality and attendance of Duel Commander events. The growth of new and existing tournament leagues in the Czech Republic, France, the Philippines, Germany, Denmark and other new places shows great interest from players for your formats. We received new sources for tournament results from all around the world, which is why we reinforced our team with four new members. Regarding experimental changes, it seems like the whole community understood and welcomed this more agile way of warning about changes that are subject to special surveyance and quick withdrawals. We plan to use this approach again in the future. Also, despite the appearance of a new commander that needs regulation, the experimental changes we made seemed to align with our thoughts on the future of the format, so we’re happy to announce the following:

Changes:

👉 Rules changes:
No changes.

👉 Individual card changes:
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is now banned as a commander only.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest is now banned as a commander only.
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is now legal.
Scapeshift is now banned.

👉 Experimental changes:
Zur the Enchanter is now (still) legal.

👉 Other changes:
No changes.

👉 Don’t forget to check out our Current Lists for a recap of all the currently banned cards.

These changes apply on November 29, 2019.
The next announcement will be published on February 24, 2020 (applying on February 28, 2020).

Until then, we wish you all many good games! :)

-Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Needless to say, Emry, Lurker of the Loch strongly echoes the recently banned Urza, Lord High Artificer, the once banned Arcum Dagsson, and even older cards that display a recurring theme in the history of Magic: The old tale of broken blue and artifact cards.

“Affinity for artifacts” is infamous for being one of the most busted mechanics in magic and is single-handedly responsible for multiple other cards being banned in Standard and Modern, where Emry, Lurker of the Loch is already mentioned as one of the best recent additions to the format.

Her static ability works against the Commander Tax rule, as much as Tasigur, the Golden Fang does, which already proved problematic and reasoned a ban.

All in all, an almost infinite replayability at almost no cost, along with graveyard synergies and card advantage are way too many arguments to keep Emry, Lurker of the Loch legal any longer.

-Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Unfortunately, we had to revise our hopes about Edric, Spymaster of Trest as a legal commander as of today.

We expected it to be strong, but the magnitude of its power was the reason why it was not legal for the longest time and also, what brought it back on the list in the end.

In less than a quarter, Edric, Spymaster of Trest proved this decision to be the right one and made for an overpowering comeback to the field.

Decklists were very soon optimized and started consistently showing impressive results in events around the world. This deck broke many local leagues -too many, actually- to safely keep it legal as a commander, which is why Edric, Spymaster of Trest is once again banned as a commander only, after being experimentally unbanned for a few months of field testing.

The deck quickly evolved to being too oppressive, and the fact that it got many new additions since the last time it was legal, proved that it earned its place on the ban list.

-Erayo, Soratami Ascendant

After being unbanned as an experiment for three months one of the older cards that once was added to the B&R list, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is now made clearly, unconditionally legal.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant decks proved that they can still do amazing starts, and turn two flipping ability triggers, as rare as they are can still de devastating but many players also reported that they were able to win through Erayo’s Essence static ability, which was one of the few fears players once had about decklists revolving around this commander.

Judging by the results and global feedback we received, it seems that there is no more reason to think Erayo, Soratami Ascendant will be an oppressive part of the metagame, it proved to be beatable, interactive and still interesting for some players to build. So… Here we are, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, welcome back!

-Scapeshift

Scapeshift always was a staple in Modern, and recently in Standard as well, even in some other formats where it would be less expected. Despite its long affinity with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, it never really was a serious problem in Duel Commander. Until recently, where many players began drawing some advantage from the singleton construction rule that Duel Commander follows. The recent print of many new mountain-typed lands, the addition of Field of the Dead to the serious dangers linked to Scapeshift made it a one-card kill (or close to it), as well as many new cards that have triggered abilities whenever lands enter battlefields.

In general, fetching/tutoring effects also strongly go against the 100-cards and the singleton rules, which is why many of them are considered too powerful and are currently banned, only keeping the more acceptable ones.
All those reasons quickly made Scapeshift a danger towards our favourite format health, and made it banned.

-Zur the Enchanter

Three Commanders were experimentally unbanned three months ago. We wrote about Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Erayo, Soratami Ascendant but what about Zur the Enchanter?

Zur the Enchanter proved to be a major force in the format, reaching many Top Xs. But the dominance of Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Edric, Spymaster of Trest prevented the safe and meaningful gathering of reliable data, so as to confirm or not its oppression. Because of that, we cannot take a definitive good decision about it.

Zur the Enchanter therefore remains experimentally unbanned until our next regular announcement (“experimentally unbanned” meaning that the card is legal but has a strong probability to be banned again). Invest as your own risk!

Aug

26

AUGUST 2019 RULES – BANNED/RESTRICTED UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Since our last announcement, many very interesting things happened to Duel Commander: a new mulligan rule, the new largest Duel Commander event attendance ever (233 players for the impressive tournament at Palaiseau, France, mastered by the ZAP Team), three new editions (Modern Horizons, Core Set 2020 and Commander 2019), many new players and noticeable communities from around the world and a very changing metagame. Usually, the Commander sets, printed for this sole purpose by Wizards of The Coast, induce drastic changes and a lot of worries and excitement for the whole Duel Commander universe, often with brand new mechanics. Which is not the case this time.This time we were given the opportunity to focus on background work. This is also why, in addition to undoubted and carefully thought changes, we are making another attempt at proposing experimental changes. Pretty much like we did for Fastbond a few months ago, we are giving their chances to close-to-forgotten cards (back up to 2010 this time!) as explained below.

Changes:

👉 Rules changes: No changes.
👉 Individual card changes:
Urza, Lord High Artificer is now banned as a commander only.
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow is now banned as a commander only.
Arahbo, Roar of the World is now banned as a commander only.
Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is now banned as a commander only.
Teferi, Temporal Archmage is now banned as a commander only.
Timetwister is now banned.
👉 Experimental changes:
Zur the Enchanter is now legal.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest is now legal.
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is now legal.
👉 Other changes:No changes.

These changes apply on August 31, 2019. The next announcement will be published on November 25, 2019 (applying on November 30, 2019). Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Further individual explanations:

Urza, Lord High Artificer Among the commanders that have been printed so far, it seems like Urza, Lord High Artificer is one of the most powerful ever. It cumulates many major advantages: it generates fast colored mana, has a four-point strength body, generates card advantage, works with artifacts, it’s easy to defend (as it is blue), and it is totally recastable. Many of these similarities have already left the vast pool of legal cards a long time ago. This strongly echoes to Tolarian Academy, for instance, like all the fast mana accelerators, and all of the strongest commanders ever printed.Rarely in the history of Duel Commander did we face such raw power in one emblematic card. There’s no doubt why Urza, Lord High Artificer gets played in Modern and Legacy as well. For all those reasons, after crushing the largest Duel Commander event ever, Urza, Lord High Artificer is no longer legal in Duel Commander.

Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow It’s been exactly a year and a handful of days that Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow was first printed, in a commander-centric edition. Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow is yet another card that ignores or abuses core Commander effects, such as the commander tax. Though some of those cards are still acceptable, for they aren’t overpowered, Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow was already extremely powerful the day it was out.

Nevertheless, it didn’t stop here. The usual winning decklists gained more and more unblockable cheap attackers, structural additions, either being a ninja or being a turn one/two attacker with any evasive ability. In the end, the deck gained too many good cards, especially with the addition of the awesome Modern Horizons edition. The fact that it still gained power that fast after only a year made the deck too toxic for a diverse metagame, adding way too much pressure and insane damage over too many opponent decks, often very early.

Arahbo, Roar of the World Alike the aforementioned Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, the rare cards that do turn around the command zone effects are always problematic, especially when designed for multiplayer games. Arahbo, Roar of the World does not make an exception to this problem. Though it does not ignore the command tax, like Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow or Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, though it does not have an independent trigger like Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, it does have a perpetual tribal boost like Edgar Markov does.Such tribal dependency used to be tolerable, up to a certain point. Arahbo, Roar of the World was always a constant pressure, junk creature, cheap creatures-dependent deck archetype. But as more and more replacements, if not strict upgrades came to the rescue, the constant need for opponents to have a perpetual answer, though delayed from one turn, became too much now to allow this commander any more.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom The archetype that Najeela, the Blade-Blossom usually allows to build is quite unique in its genre: most players usually build it as a tribal warrior five-color deck, which contains the ultimate best of them, along with regular format staples. Though Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is less played than the other newly banned commanders in this announcement, it still shows a recurring field presence in all tournaments.The toxicity of Najeela, the Blade-Blossom as a commander can be not so easy to deceive at first, but the overly aggressive deck that it is -despite the fact that it requires a very expensive manabase, which can be segregating-, along with the very finest choices of creatures, in any color, and having to face the additional tokens from the attack phases makes it a very oppressive commander, that most decks have too much of a hard time to deal with. Therefore is the card now banned.

Teferi, Temporal ArchmageThere have always been a fistful of decks revolving around spell-avalanche, High Tide close-to-combo strategies. Along Duel Commander history, most mono-blue decks have tried such a strategy, often combining the permanent suppression of a blue-based control deck and a few cards dedicated to a game-ending combo. Albeit relying on affinity key cards like The Chain Veil, Rings of Brighthearth abuses or Stasis locks, decklists showed to be very well performing, almost always transforming tournament metagame presence into top X results.Teferi, Temporal Archmage kept gaining very few key cards since then. But the pressure of such a blue deck that can answer most of the current threats combined with a fast, surprising winning combo, and a non-creature commander showed why this commander now had to be banned, despite requiring some skills to successfully resolve. Answering the combo is unfortunately usually useless, even if opponents have answers to it.

Timetwister Being the Duel Commander Rules Committee, we value metagame balance but we also do value spectacular and cheesy plays. We need solid basis but we also want the format to give outstanding games. Some cards, sometimes obviously overly strong like Skullclamp or Demonic Tutor are legal for that reason. Timetwister was legal since the origins of the format for this reason as well. But it does not succeed anymore, as it turned out to a speculation tool. It became insanely hard to get one copy now, for there are fewer and fewer of them available and its colossal financial value makes it almost impossible to be borrowed.Having no more of a fun value anymore makes Timetwister be only considered for its power level. As a Power Nine card, it does not deserve to be legal in Duel Commander anymore.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant,
Zur the Enchanter,
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Those three cards share a few things in common. They were all banned as commanders (in 2010, 2012 and 2014), which made them quite famous for being dangerous a few years ago. But the world has changed since then, and Duel Commander now has a completely new metagame, a new B&R list and a very different set of rules.Be warned though: those commanders are made legal as of this announcement, but they are under a very special curse: they are back to the fields as an experimental set of changes. Since there is no large-scale data regarding how they could perform in this new world, they do deserve a chance. Making them legal again offers very interesting possibilities for players, and new building opportunities. We need the community experience, creativity and work in tournament situations to figure out if they deserve to be legal or not.Keep an eye on how they perform, though, for we will truly do such a thing, and that could end up with one or several of them, if not all of them being banned again during the next announcements. Should they crush the format, or never be fair decks, they will go back to oblivion.

May

27

MAY 2019 RULES – BANNED/RESTRICTED UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Since our last update, no major or unpleasant change has been seen, neither in the results nor in the metagame, top X decks, most played cards, archetypes, etc. It seems like the winds of diversity kept blowing on everyone’s minds. A few new archetypes appeared, adding even more possibilities to the format, so did some new commanders, some really older ones, and the result is a healthy and still very competitive format. With Modern Horizons ready to storm the format we stated as follows:

Changes:

👉 Individual card changes: No changes.
👉 Rules changes: No changes.
👉 Other changes: No changes.

The next announcements will be published on August 30, 2019 (applying on August 31, 2019).
Until then, we wish you all many good games! :)

Feb

25

FEBRUARY 2019 RULES – BANNED/RESTRICTED UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Over the last three months, the metagame kept stabilizing for the first weeks, and it globally kept being very diversified. But then, a few changes polarized the results towards a growing trend that confirmed that some unbalanced archetypes started to perform too frequently and too regularly. Which leads us to the changes below.

Changes:

👉 Individual card changes:

👉 Don’t forget to check out our page for a recap of all the currently banned cards.

These changes apply on March 1, 2019. The next announcements will be published on May 27, 2019 (applying on May 31, 2019). Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Further individual explanations:

It is true that banning cards from the format too early can be disappointing for many players, but so does the opposite. Which sometimes requires action.Prime Speaker Vannifar proved to be a very high level card. It is even now played in Modern, a faster format than Duel Commander, that doesn’t use the command zone, doesn’t have eternal cards, doesn’t use the singleton construction rule, has 60 cards instead of 99, etc. Despite all those factors, the card is still played in that format, and so was it in Duel Commander, allowing overly fast combo wins that could even sometimes show a high resilience against spot removals, a lack of interaction that goes against the general philosophy of a healthy metagame.

Baral, Chief of Compliance has been around for two years now, and actually never ceased to be played. It constantly made good results, but has seen a slight decrease in play, until a few months ago, where it became a recurring top-performing deck again. Though the builds are often quite different from its echoing alter ego Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, that was banned in 2015 as a commander, too, it stayed for a while, but keeps pumping the “extra turns” archetypes, and High Tide-based decks.Regarding those archetypes, “extra turns” decks with Baral, Chief of Compliance as a commander seem more toxic to us than non-Baral, Chief of ComplianceHigh Tide-based decks.We also think banning a commander often solves problems more than banning a problematic card out of the other 99.

Nov

30

NOVEMBER 2018 RULES – BANNED/RESTRICTED UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Last announcement was already filled with findings of a very healthy and diverse format. Over the last three months, metagame goes even further in terms of diversity. All colors, new decks, new commanders from the last editions going to the top 8, players demonstrating a lot of creativity, ingenuity. Recent results from major and minor tournaments show different winners and top X decks almost all the time, which is exactly the root of a creative format, opening to new ideas and tests. Most impacting cards and decks still prove to be beatable, many different archetypes coexist: aggressive strategies, combos, control decks, land-based decks, midrange decks, commander-based decks, etc.
We hope for the best that this trend will go on over the year to come.
Changes:
👉 No changes

The next announcements will be published on February 25, 2019 (applying on March 1, 2019).

Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Aug

27

AUGUST 2018 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

There hasn’t been any particular change since the last announcement in the metagame. It is changing, new decks have emerged, with different mechanics, no one seems to be taking the lead nor to crush the others at a level that would require change. The arrival of new editions with lots of legendary creatures and the newest Commander editions added some interesting cards that are already played by many people. Recent tournament results show great diversity.
Changes:

👉 No changes

👉 Don’t forget to check out our Current Lists for a recap of all the currently banned cards.

The next announcements will be published on November 26, 2018 (applying on November 30, 2018).

Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

May

28

[CLASSIC] MAY 2018 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

During the last quarter, many decks, ideas, archetypes and changes have affected the results in tournaments, both in top ranked decks and in general, when observing the metagame, that latter really spread out and it seems more and more decks are being played, rogue decks or meta decks, which creates more diversity (recent tournament results show a broader scattering in decks, which is a proof of health).
This is exactly what we could qualify as a healthy situation, except for one dissonance among this whole satisfying and balanced environment, which goes along with a slight improvement we’re adding (see below).

Changes:
👉 Individual card changes:
Zurgo Bellstriker is now banned as a commander only.
👉 Gameplay rules changes: Commander Swap rule.
Players can now swap their commanders between each game of the same round.
Swapping commanders means: exchanging previous commander(s) with one or more eligible cards from their decks.

In detail, as of the date this announcement applies, the following rules updates will apply:

400.6. Sideboards
DC doesn’t use sideboards. Players can’t have sideboard cards. The only cards of a DC deck are the 100 cards from the main (and only) deck. The only time allowed to players between rounds is for swapping commanders (see section 400.7 of this document).

400.7. Swapping commanders
400.7.1. Players are allowed to swap commander(s) after each game of the same round. This means that after the first game is played each round only, each player may shuffle his or her commander(s) into his or her deck and present either the same one(s) or new commander(s) from the same deck before each following game begins during each round.
400.7.2. For the first game each round, each player puts their commander(s) from their deck face up into the Command zone before shuffling (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 103.1b).
400.7.3. After the first game, each player reveals their commanders simultaneously by putting them willingly face up in the Command zone after making choices, or by putting them face down in the Command zone, then having both players turning them face up at the same time before shuffling (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 101.4a). This action can only be done once per game.
400.7.4. Commanders must remain legal before each game begins. Players can’t change color identity in between games (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 903.4a), and the choice of Commander(s) has to follow other construction rules defined in section 400.4 of this document (for example: players can’t choose a banned Commander).
400.7.5. Only Commanders that are part of the original deck are legal. If the tournament uses registration deck lists, the commanders must be listed within the deck.
400.7.6. Players are expected to take a decent and short time to choose Commanders in between games.
400.7.7. Players may change the number of Commanders by swapping Commanders with Partner ability and a single Commander without this ability (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 702.123).

👉 Don’t forget to check out our Current Lists for a recap of all the currently banned cards.

These changes apply on June 1st, 2018. The next announcements will be published on August 27, 2018 (applying on August 31, 2018).
Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Feb

26

[CLASSIC] FEB 2018 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Since our last announcement, despite some changes in the metagame, no current threat nor major change has been perturbing the format nor seen as a potential need of change, therefore, let’s jump right now to the obvious conclusion for an acceptable state:
Changes:
👉 No changes.

The next announcements will be published on May 28, 2018 (applying on June 1, 2018).

Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Nov

27

[CLASSIC] NOV 2017 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Over the past few months, the format has been shifting from a battle of polarizing commanders (such as Edgar Markov vs anti-Edgar games, for example) to a battle of strategies (aggressive vs. burn vs. control vs. combo decks). While it is true that burn is still one major form of aggression in the format, Saskia the Unyielding or Akiri, Line-Slinger have been putting up better results lately. Fast, tempo-oriented or disruptive partner-ability commander lists are also growing in terms of popularity. Looking at the most recent metagame, the results show quite a balance among top performing decks, with many different strategies, despite one adjustment that nevertheless has to be done.
Changes:
👉 Individual card changes:

Fastbond is now banned.

These changes apply on December 1, 2017. The next announcements will be published on February 26, 2018 (applying on March 2nd, 2018).

Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂

Further individual explanations:

Fastbond
Fastbond is a very strong card, but not a broken card in singleton, as you need to build around it and assemble a particular sequence of cards to make it great. This is why we chose to unban it. Nevertheless Fastbond has two major flaws.
It can make broken things too early. Despite the fact that such events are statistically very rare, sometimes do they happen. When an opponent casts Titania, Protector of Argoth (or The Gitrog Monster) on turn 1, saying that it is a statistically rare event will not solve frustration.
Fastbond’s impact on the metagame wasn’t positive. It is a weak card against strong strategies and a strong card against “tier 2 or less” decks.
Unfortunately, for all those reasons, the field testing of Fastbond did not prove the card worth staying out of the banned/restricted list.

Oct

9

[WOTC] October 2017 Commander 1v1 Banned Announcement

By The Duel Commander rules committee

MTGO Commander 1v1 Banned Announcement
Announcement Date: October 9, 2017
Effective Date: October 11, 2017 (with the downtime)

The current Commander 1v1 league will expire (as already scheduled) on October 11 during the downtime. A new equivalent league will be created after the downtime with the banned list in place.

Cards Added to Banned List:

Baral, Chief of Compliance
Demonic Tutor
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Enlightened Tutor
Imperial Seal
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor

Cards Removed from Banned List

Arcum Dagsson
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Below, Magic R&D’s Brian Hawley explains the reasoning behind the changes.

Bans

Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Enlightened Tutor
Imperial Seal

Efficient tutors were one of the big question marks on the initial ban list. Over time, decks have gotten more and more consistent and brutal in a way that we’ve clearly heard players are not enjoying. Our hope is that by lowering the consistency with which the interactive decks can find the perfect answer to the situation, and the combo decks can kill, the format will open up more and decks will play out more differently from game to game.

Baral, Chief of Compliance

Baral is a Commander who comes down extremely early in the game and warps the game around him in a significant way. The cost reduction he offers covers one of the main drawbacks of counterspell-heavy decks because it cuts off the avenue of overloading the Baral deck with multiple spells in the same turn. He also covers one of the primary weaknesses of counterspells in 100-card singleton formats by filtering away the powerful but situational counterspells you’re forced to play. The overall package has shown to be overly strong and not enjoyable.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul has shown her influence in this format the same as she has in many formats over time. Primarily used in Polymorph combo decks, and also providing an “I win” option for heavy green ramp decks, Emrakul is too reliable an avenue to ending the game without recourse for the opponent. While the simultaneous removal of Baral removes the currently predominant use for the card, any cheap blue Commander would easily fill that role, and opening up more late-game interaction still means Emrakul warrants a ban.

Unban

Arcum Dagsson
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

We’re still seeking to be somewhat conservative with unbanning cards and would like to see how the format adapts before adding a slew of cards to the format, but neither of these Commanders are obviously superior to existing options. Arcum in particular stood out as weak, and we hope that this unban may open up some additional space.

More information about MTGO Commander 1v1 : https://magic.wizards.com/en/game-info/gameplay/rules-and-formats/banned-restricted/magic-online-commander