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août

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.

mai

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! :)

févr.

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! 🙂

août

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! 🙂

mai

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! 🙂

févr.

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

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.