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

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

Oct

3

[CLASSIC] SEPT 2017 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Sorry for the delay !

Since our last announcement, the major concern regarding Duel Commander was the addition of Commander 2017. This great edition, along with its quite unique abilities, challenged how people build their decks.
Despite all this, the metagame is currently unfair. The first problem, which is easy to solve, is that Edgar Markov has no place in competitive Duel Commander. The second one is more subtle: burn decks bypass the singleton rule and must be weakened for that reason. We chose to weaken them by banning irreplaceable, unconventional and singular cards rather than core cards.
Changes:
👉 Individual card changes:

Edgar Markov is now banned as as commander only.
Fireblast is now banned.
Eidolon of the Great Revel is now banned.
Sulfuric Vortex is now banned.
Price of Progress is now banned.

These changes apply on September 29, 2017. The next announcements will be published on November 27, 2017 (applying on December 1st, 2017).

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

Further individual explanations:

Edgar Markov
Before “Eminence” got released in Commander 2017, two commanders got abilities that somehow worked from the command zone: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic and, to a lesser extend, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Both of them are banned in Duel Commander. Having abilities on cards that actually work from the command zone negates the concept of casting commanders, and are very easily overpowered when played in duel.
Edgar Markov clearly offers the ability to build a very solid, overly intense tribal deck revolving around vampires. The flavor is cool, but the taste is not. For 4 weeks already the card dominated most tournaments it got in, polarizing the next ones to “Edgar VS anti-Edgar” strategies only. Which is the very definition of “going against diversity”. Which also demonstrates the expected and found power of the card. Which easily explains why Edgar Markov is now banned as a commander.

Fireblast
Once most burn decks reach a certain amount of lands, they don’t require any further use of them. As there’s usually no way to excel at drawing cards and refilling their owners’ hands. So, additional lands aren’t needed and therefore Fireblast becomes totally free, without any drawback. The tempo of the card is also obviously very good.
If Fireblast has a very rich past in this archetype in other formats it is even stronger in singleton. As a singleton card your opponent cannot “play around” it as you play only one with no tutor. In a singleton game one will never draw two of them and two Fireblast is not that great as you play nonbasic lands and as you don’t always reach 4 mountains. Too many reasons why, actually, Fireblast needs to be banned in Duel Commander.

Eidolon of the Great Revel
Close to Pyrostatic Pillar as a creature, which makes it easier to handle in exchange for having it do more damage by attacking. Eidolon of the Great Revel is included in 100% red/burn decklists and usually does between 6 and 10 damage by itself on a regular basis.
Eidolon of the Great Revel is also an “always win” card. If it survives it deals massive damage. If it dies it will have dealt at least two damage to the opponent (and made him/her spend a card and mana).
Now, Duel Commander the average converted mana cost of spells is lower as the format is getting more and more competitive. Needless to say how much of a pressure this card is for opponents, this card, a key one in burn decks, is not authorized anymore in Duel Commander.

Sulfuric Vortex
Sulfuric Vortex creates a specific problem in Duel Commander as it totally wrecks some strategies. Lots of decks cannot handle it and cannot win because of it. This is a major problem for the concept of the format.
Sulfuric Vortex is also a great card against other decks, as it’s an enchantment (therefore harder to remove), it generates a great clock (quicker than most control decks) and prevents gaining life (burn archetypes’ nemesis). Sulfuric Vortex is also widely played in burn decks in all formats.
Another worrying issue is that Sulfuric Vortex punishes people who build against burn decks as it makes their metagame cards almost useless. Negating deckbuilding and adaptation is not what we want to see. For all these reasons, Sulfuric Vortex is not allowed in Duel Commander anymore.

Price of Progress
Price of Progress is also enhanced by the singleton aspect of Duel Commander. As you cannot play as many fetchlands (that can protect you from Price of Progress) you have to play more dual/nonbasic lands than you usually would in regular formats. This is especially true for two-colored decks.
The singleton aspect also strengthens Price of Progress as a “not worth building or playing to prepare against it” card, as it is played in decks with no tutoring effects.
Among the key “burn” cards that exist and that get played a lot in Duel Commander, this one is really unique in terms of damage range. For allowing many cheap, immediate ends in too many games, Price of Progress is now banned in Duel Commander.

Jul

17

[CLASSIC] JULY 2017 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

The last 3 months were quite interesting for our beloved format, with lots of great tournaments and a large affluence at those tournaments. With such a large data and a careful study of the Magic Online 1vs1 Commander updates, we found that the following changes would improve Duel Commander tournaments.
Changes:
👉 Individual card changes:

Geist of Saint Traft is now banned as a commander only.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is now banned as a commander only.
Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is now banned as a commander only.

Polymorph is now banned.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is now banned.

Ancient Tomb is now legal.
Mind Twist is now legal.
Fastbond is now legal.

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

These changes apply on July 21, 2017. The next announcements will be published on September 25, 2017 (applying on September 29, 2017).

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

Further individual explanations:

Geist of Saint Traft
It’s always hard to remove a historical commander. The true, recurring, solid outs that Geist of Saint Traft provides were already a strong problem when facing a higher starting life total, which they proved to be even more efficient at blowing up now, several months after they even got lowered back to normal.

Geist of Saint Traft is one of the rare handfuls of commanders which have the evil hexproof ability, and the cheapest of them. The absolute lack of interactions it offers, the immediate pressure it gives -despite the absence of moxen- and the killing clock it gives, as much as its position in the format, forbidding many building strategies to exist or annihilating them makes Geist of Saint Traft too toxic to remain in the command zone.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Among all the available commanders for control decks, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is without a doubt the most proactive one. It enters the battlefield very early, it sculpts its owner’s hand efficiently, up to the point that player can compose his or her deck with very “metagame” cards, like Hydroblast, or Mind Harness. During the game, it favours blue’s favourite weapons, like instants and sorceries, abilities like flashback or delve, and generates card advantage easily. At some point, it allows setting up degenerate synergies that will quickly end games, with cards like Intuition, functional copycats of Time Walk, or High Tide.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy definitely has too many elements in its favor to remain eligible to the Command zone. In order to open the diversity of the format, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy is now banned as a commander.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder
Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is a strong card. But most problematically: it’s a toxic card. It shaped the metagame by removing all fair aggressive decks and most midrange decks. It is focusing the format by losing against mono-blue decks and beating mono-blue decks predators. Banning Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder also allows keeping the very interesting Partner keyword which favours original and exotic deckbuilding. So it’s unfortunately time for Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder to leave us.

Polymorph
Having a gigantic creature entering the battlefield at a reduced cost is a dreadful strategy that should be subject to reasonable constraints. The interaction between Polymorph and the Command zone makes it unfair. Indeed, in Duel Commander, Polymorph is definitely freed from its initial constraint: producing a creature without playing creature cards. We’re reaching the breaking point of those reasonable constraints when Polymorph is paired with highly synergic commanders like Baral, Chief of Compliance (that allows it to happen on turn 3) or Vendilion Clique (which controls possible answers). Because of the danger it represents in Duel Commander, Polymorph is now banned.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is most of the time the end of any strategic approach of a game. Being nearly impossible to kill and having Annihilator 6 makes it overwhelming. If Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was only cast during the later parts of games, it wouldn’t be a problem. But with cards like Synthetic Destiny or even Through the Breach it can enter the battlefield way too early. The card is also very (very) rarely cast for {15}. Adding no value to format and causing some trouble, we choose to ban Emrakul, the Aeons Torn from Duel Commander.

Ancient Tomb
The ban of Ancient Tomb is mostly an archaism of the 30 starting life totals era. Without any playable aggressive strategy, it was a flawless 2-mana land. This is not true today anymore! Ancient Tomb is still a great card, but a very risky one. Bringing back Ancient Tomb also promotes strategic complexity of the format by offering more versatility in mana development. So… Welcome back Ancient Tomb! But beware: the world has changed…

Mind Twist
Mind Twist is one of the first cards to be banned in Magic, back in 1994. Even if there are many combinations one could dream of with Mind Twist (with fast mana elves or Dark Ritual, for example) most of the time it ends up being an expensive Hymn to Tourach. Also, fast mana is now getting harder to produce in Duel Commander. The pro-active metagame also means more active decks and Mind Twisting an opponent’s hand by turn 4 is not such a good deal now. The command zone also reduces the impact of mass discard. This is why we think it’s the right time to bring back this iconic card in Duel Commander.

Fastbond
Fastbond is explosive in most early games (with many more conditions than it looks, though) and often forsaken in the late game state, despite the presence of Crucible of Worlds or The Gitrog Monster, or Ramunap Excavator. Despite the fact that it has led to aberrant starts in the past, the drawback is now far more problematic. Fastbond still holds a high potential, yet it is tamed by the pace of the format we’ve had for a few months now. We also think Duel Commander is more spectacular with that kind of broken cards than when played with four copies. Therefore, Fastbond is worth a come back.

May

3

[WotC] MTGO 1v1 Commander Starts May 10

By Tournament announcement

Check WotC’s announcement here !

WotC’s first look at 1v1 Commander (30 life) is promising ! Here are the differences with the ‘Duel Commander rules committee’ Banlist :

Generals :

Banned by the Duel Commander rules committee, but not by WotC :
Breya, Etherium Shaper
Marath, Will of the Wild
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Vial Smasher the Fierce

Banned by WotC, but not by the Duel Commander rules committee :
Arcum Dagsson
Braids, Cabal Minion
Griselbrand
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Cards :

Banned by the Duel Commander rules committee, but not by WotC :
Ancient Tomb
Chrome Mox
Dig Through Time
Grim Monolith
Imperial Seal
Loyal Retainers
Mox Diamond
Mystical Tutor
Necrotic Ooze
Strip Mine
Treasure Cruise
Vampiric Tutor

Banned by WotC, but not by the Duel Commander rules committee :
Bazaar of Baghdad
Doomsday
Survival of the Fittest
Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Moat
Necropotence
Serra Ascendant

Apr

20

[CLASSIC] APRIL 2017 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Since our last update in January quite a lot of things have changed for Duel Commander. The metagame kept evolving and rotating slightly towards Partner commanders, playing all colours and deck types. Aggressive decks also became top tier strategies, with mono-red or red-white decks taking over. Control decks continue to be powerful as well. Wizards also recently announced support for 1v1 Commander games on MTGO. While it is not officially support as Duel Commander, everyone is excited for their future announcements to see how Duel games will be supported by WOTC going forward.
Changes:

Individual card changes:

Breya, Etherium Shaper is now banned as as commander only.
Vial Smasher the Fierce is now banned as as commander only.
Yisan, The Wanderer Bard is now legal.
Chrome Mox is now banned.
Mox Diamond is now banned.

These changes apply on April 21, 2017. The next announcements will be published on July 17, 2017 (applying on July 21, 2017).

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

Further individual explanations:

Breya, Etherium Shaper
Among the control decks currently running in Duel Commander, the dominant archetypes rely on removal spells (UX) and archetypes that revolve around combos, backed up by counterspells (mostly mono-blue ones). The arrival of Breya, Etherium Shaper quickly shut down the first category as being an absolute better offer. Her colour identity offers little weakness, her abilities crush opposing board presence and she even has opportunities to integrate “instant-win” combinations. Breya, Etherium Shaper outclasses all other available commanders in terms of versatility and power.
Such a superiority is highly problematic: in order to prevent uniform control strategies that end up being particularly oppressive for aggressive decks, Breya, Etherium Shaper is now banned as a commander.

Vial Smasher the Fierce
The format which Vial Smasher the Fierce was made for (40 starting life totals, multiplayer games) is very different from Duel Commander. The current structure in Duel Commander favours her a lot, mostly by dodging the “random opponent” effect due to the fact that there is only one opponent.
This commander also abuses most cost reduction effects (“pitch cards”, delve ability, or any alternative cost). This could almost be acceptable if that card didn’t also have the “partner” keyword, that opens access for the decks that play it to too many other alternative cost cards, especially when using blue along with it.
Partner ability requires reasonable commanders, where Vial Smasher the Fierce is actually a brutal and resilient win condition. Not being adapted to Duel Commander, Vial Smasher the Fierce is now banned as a commander.

Yisan, The Wanderer Bard
When we banned Yisan, The Wanderer Bard, almost no quick spot removal spells were played as the 30 starting life totals format was an endless battle of Control Vs Combo with few competitive aggressive strategies at all. Within such a metagame, Yisan, The Wanderer Bard was quite problematic as he could create board presence from nothing if left unchecked. This is clearly not true nowadays with Lightning Bolt being the most played coloured card along with Swords to Plowshares, Go for the Throat, Fatal Push being widely played as well.
Therefore it’s time for our favorite Bard to come back to Duel Commander tables!

Chrome Mox / Mox Diamond
Obviously, those two cards differ and the construction constraints they require are not the same. However, their nuisance potential to Duel Commander is close to the same.
The balance of those two Moxen relies on the sacrifice of active resources at games starts. However, in Duel Commander, the fact that there is a commander highly raises the amount of available active resources. The constraints mentioned above are therefore reduced. The recent “partner” keyword ability stressed that reduction even more.
The combination of the unique characteristics of those two Moxen (the cheapest permanent mana accelerators still available on the first turn) along with Duel Commander specifics (singleton and Commander as a repeatable resource) creates a very undesirable variance.
Moreover, such a variance currently boosts up two major decks: Baral, Chief of Compliance and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, that can then be cast on turn one, or where they can be recycled later in the games.
For creating an lack of balance in the games and for determining the outcome of games too many times in Duel Commander, those two cards, Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond are now banned.

Jan

16

[CLASSIC] JANUARY 2017 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Changes:

No changes.

For this update, we have chosen to not make any changes to the format. The format is still adapting to the 20 life total change that was officially instituted in the last update. This update happened at the same time as powerful and popular new Commanders from Commander 2016 were released in addition to the new “Partner” mechanic.
We feel that none of these new Commanders warrant being banned at the current time but we will continue to keep an eye on their performance going forward. Regarding unbans, we still need to watch on the newly developing metagame before choosing to unban more potentially dangerous and powerful cards. We would like to foresee as much as possible that unbans will only create new possibilities for decks without creating format-dominating decks from just one card.

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

This update applies on January 20, 2016. The next announcements will be published on April 24, 2017 (applying on April 28-, 2017).

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

Nov

8

[LEVIATHAN] ANNOUNCING LEVIATHAN COMMANDER

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Dear players of Commander,

I’m Pierre-Jean. For the ones who doesn’t know me, I organize, with Mimicherie whom you know doubtless better, the Demonic Tournament Commander, the biggest Commander event around the World. The reason why I organize this tournament since few years is beacause I really love this format, and I love too the player’s community. So I have a few things to say.
1/ my point of view about Commander
2/ Leviathan Commander
3/ What about the next DTC
1/ As you know, Dual Commander is now played with 20HP instead of 30. It divide the Community between players who are pleased about this decision or just follow it, and players who prefer stay with 30HP because they are used to play in this way for years. Firstly, I want to clarify a point which will avoid misanderstanding for the rest of my announcement. I’m not either for or against each of these formats. I think that each of them have reasons to exist, and I think each side is stupid when it fight against the other format. Let’s your neighbor plays what he want. So what I call for is the coexistence of the 2 formats.
I also think that players do make a format to live. Dualcommander’s players officially use the 20HP rule. Does it mean that other players have to play 30HP “illegally”, as a secret guild who make dark rituals? I don’t think so. They Made a choice. The choice of playing what they like. But to make a choice, its necessary to have the choice.
2/ To allow the players to make this choice, to get out of “clandestinity” and then to play 30HP without shame, a group of Italians are building a new Commitee which manage a new format : the Leviathan Commander. To be quick, It’s exactly the DualCommander you have known, with 30HP, with a quite similar banlist. I’m personnaly engaged with them to help them with the launching of this “new” format. My work will be to survey that decisions are taken for the greater good. One more time for illiterate people : I’m not working against the French Comitee or against the 20HP format. Just, I’m working for what I think to be the greater good, in this case, having a choice.
So if you are a 30HP player, I’m proud to inform you that you are now playing on Leviathan Commander. I suggest you to visit this page for more informations. Obviously, you can visit it just for curiosity, even if you prefer 20HP.
https://www.facebook.com/LeviathanCommander/
3/ So, what about the upcoming DTC ? Surprise everybody : the DTC will take place on 29th, 30th of April and 1st of May. Both formats will be played.Sundays and First of May are often off days in major countries. There will be a Main Event in Leviathan Commander and a Side Event in Dual Commander, and the inverse the other day. On Saturday, we will propose you Trials in both formats for the Main events of the week-end and for Side events too.
We still encourage shops and associations to organize trials, in the format of their choice. For us, organizing a such an event while letting people free to choose is quite a challenge, also quite a risk, but we are ready to take up challenges to ensure stability of our community.

Nov

8

[CLASSIC] NOVEMBER 2016 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

By The Duel Commander rules committee

Before we delve into a minor rule change and individual card explanations we need to discuss the overall idea around this wave of unbans. Even with preliminary 20 life testing, blue and green continue to have powerful decks in the format, as we expected. Part of the initial change to 20 life was to promote players using white/black/red as base colors for decks instead of blue or green. With 20 life, red gained a visible advantage but black and white could benefit some help from unbans. Additionally, no blue or green cards were made legal in this update, so that we can see how the format grows from here. It is possible and likely that some blue/green cards might be unbanned at some point but we want to be especially careful not to shift back into a total blue/green dominance.

Changes:
👉 First, regarding individual card changes:

Yawgmoth’s Bargain is now legal.
Serra Ascendant is now legal.
Grindstone is now legal.
Necropotence is now legal.
Balance is now legal.

👉 Second change, now, about the players’ starting life totals. As a reminder of our last announcement, Duel Commander is now to be played with 20 starting life totals for players. This is a change from previous rules. This change is now effective, and playing with 30 starting life totals are not supported anymore, as opposed to what was the case during the last two months of transition.
👉 The third change for this announcement is the removal of the 21 commander-damage rule removal. Starting this day, this rule does not exist in Duel Commander anymore. Official documents have been updated accordingly.
Playing with 20 starting life totals raised questions about the relevance and the maintenance of the 21 commander-damage rule. The new “partner” ability from Commander 2016 made this concern more important, recently. Indeed, this new ability comes with a few practical concerns, for it would now be necessary to individually note each and all of the separate commanders cumulated damages, as well as increasing or decreasing life totals, which could make up to six points totals to note.
We deeply regret the removal of this rule, which contributed to the spirit of the game and of the Commander format (and therefore, formerly, Duel Commander from its birth to this day). Please also note this update enhances life-gain strategies, which is a secondary, yet positive consequence, especially in a metagame where extremely aggressive decks could arise.
Balancing the format as well as making it more playable prevails on a certain nostalgy. Therefore, the 21 commander-damage rule is now removed from Duel Commander.

These changes apply on November 11, 2016. The next announcements will be published on January 16, 2017 (applying on January 20, 2017).

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

Further individual explanations:

Yawgmoth’s Bargain
If Yawgmoth’s Bargain remains without a doubt an awesome card advantage engine, it is true that in can also evolve into an amazing combo engine, when contextual format construction rules allow to do so. Such an abuse of Yawgmoth’s Bargain is unlikely in Duel Commander. The singleton construction rule, along with the high number of cards in the players’ libraries are close to being almost insurmountable constraints when it comes to building a system-based deck (like storm or eggs), for they drastically diminish the means of redundancy. On the other side, limiting mana acceleration resources and life totals at the start of games contributed in reasonably calibrating the power of this enchantment.
In fine, Duel Commander helps finding again the initial purpose of Yawgmoth’s Bargain: a card advantage engine, both resisting and prolific for decks that aim at controlling games. Such a use is absolutely acceptable in the current Duel Commander environment and Yawgmoth’s Bargain is therefore legal again.

Serra Ascendant
The adjustment on the number of life points at the start of the game made the restriction on Serra Ascendant perfectly obsolete. This card is now legal again in Duel Commander.

Grindstone
When Grindstone was banned, the combo (along with Painter’s Servant) could be set up very quickly (for cards like Ancient Tomb or Grim Monolith were still legal) and removal spells were little played (as aggro was weak with 30 life totals). Now, this combo is less toxic, slower and easily disrupted by any color (unlike the ones that use Necrotic Ooze). Those constraints therefore require creating a new archetype for Duel Commander, a classic combo deck, coming from eternal formats, open to all colors, offering a high number of building possibilities.
The new dynamics of Duel Commander induce that combo decks do not prevail anymore. We choose to include Grindstone back in the format.

Necropotence
Reducing the starting life totals widely “framed” the potential of Necropotence. It was obvious that 30 starting life points as a basic game mechanic fully justified its sidelining so far. Moreover, the specific construction rules of Duel Commander (singleton decks along with the number of cards in libraries) are very hostile to such a structuring card that Necropotence is. It is then a golden opportunity for Duel Commander to reconnect with an emblematic eternal-formats card, that is able to reinforce the interest of people in a misrepresented colour. The famous black enchantment is now back on the Duel Commander tables.

Balance
Balance is a degenerate card when played proactively (i.e. emptying one’s hand then playing Balance very early, with no creature on the battlefield and almost no cards in hand). Balance is also a reactive card, kind of a “panic button” when the situation is turning bad, but wiping out the battlefield with Balance is often at the cost of your hand. In Duel Commander, proactively setting up Balance can rarely be done (a few moxes, few low cost tutor effects, only one copy of Balance) and therefore, the card will mostly be played as a reactive – and reasonable – answer.
Following our will to make the format more spectacular, as opposed to the morose dynamics of formats like Modern or Standard, we chose to make Balance legal again in Duel Commander.

Oct

8

Dear Duel Commander fans

By The Duel Commander rules committee

We would like to thank you all for your feedback regarding the starting life points change. We truly understand your fears from this change, possibly resulting in a domination of aggressive decks. If we refer to the plenty of intensive tests we’ve been doing over the past six months, this fear is vastly unjustified. We expect tournaments that show a new metagame that won’t be dominated by aggressive decks.

Following the observations from Tournament Organizers around the world, we took the decision to move the 11th November announcement to Tuesday, 8th November.

We would also like to clarify that none of the 5 (or more) announced unbanned cards will be a Legendary Creature. This, of course, doesn’t mean Commander unbans could not be announced later on, but we wish to evaluate the new metagame, along with Commander 2016 and this new life totals rule first.

Once again, we want to thank you all for your feedback, interest, opinions and involvement.