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[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
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
Survival of the Fittest
Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Serra Ascendant




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.

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.




By The Duel Commander rules committee


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! 🙂




By The Duel Commander rules committee

Chers joueurs et joueuses de Commander,

Je suis Pierre-Jean. Pour ceux qui ne me connaissent pas, j’organise, avec Mimicherie que vous connaissez sans doute mieux, le Démonic Tournament Commander, qui est actuellement le plus gros tournoi Commander mondial. Si j’organise ce tournoi depuis des années, c’est parce que j’aime le format et surtout j’aime la communauté de joueurs que représente le Commander. Dans ce cadre, j’ai plusieurs annonces à vous faire.
1/ mon point de vue sur le Commander
2/ Le Leviathan Commander
3/ Le prochain DTC dans tout ça.
1/ Comme vous le savez, le Dual Commander que nous connaissions est passé à 20PV récemment. Cela divise un peu la Communauté en ce moment. Certains joueurs suivent cette décision ou l’accueillent avec plaisir. D’autres préfèrent continuer à 30PV, malgré le changement, car ils préfèrent jouer de la même manière qu’ils le font depuis des années. Afin de clarifier la suite de mon propos et pour éviter tout malentendu, je tiens à préciser que je ne suis ni pour ni contre aucun de ces 2 formats. Je pense que les 2 formats ont chacun leurs raisons d’exister et je trouve stupide que chaque format veuille absolument la mort de l’autre. Ce que je prône est la co-existence des 2.
Je pense également que ce sont les joueurs qui font vivre un format. Les joueurs de Dual Commander jouent officiellement à 20PV. Doit-on dire que les joueurs qui continuent à jouer à 30PV le font « clandestinement », comme une Guilde secrète avec des pratiques occultes? Non, je ne pense pas. Ils ont fait un choix. Ils choisissent de jouer ce qu’ils aiment. Mais pour qu’ils puissent choisir, il faut qu’ils aient un choix possible.
2/ Afin de permettre aux joueurs de faire ce choix, de les sortir de l’ombre dans lesquels on les a mis et de jouer 30PV sans avoir honte, des Italiens ont créé un nouveau Comité qui gère un nouveau format : le Leviathan Commander. Pour faire simple, il s’agit exactement du Dual Commander à 30PV, avec une banlist assez similaire. Je me suis personnellement engagé avec eux pour les aider dans la mise en place du format et mon rôle est de m’assurer que les décisions de ce Comité ne dérapent pas pour nuire aux joueurs. Je répète une fois de plus pour ceux qui ne savent pas lire : cet engagement n’est pas une critique du Comité Français ni du format à 20PV. C’est juste une volonté d’agir pour ce que je pense être le bien de la Communauté, c’est à dire avoir le choix.
Si vous voulez continuer à jouer à 30PV, je suis fier de vous informer que vous jouez maintenant en Leviathan Commander, et je vous invite à visiter cette page pour avoir plus d’informations sur le format. Vous pouvez évidemment visiter également juste pour la curiosité, même si vous préférez le 20PV.
3/ Et au prochain DTC, il se passe quoi? Scoop pour tout le monde, le prochain sera le week-end du 29 – 30 avril et 1er mai. Les 2 formats y seront représentés. Le dimanche et le 1er mai sont des jours pendant lesquels la plupart des pays ne travaillent pas. Nous ferons donc un Main Event en Leviathan avec Side Event Dual Commander un des 2 jours, et l’inverse l’autre jour. Et le samedi, nous proposerons des Trials dans les 2 formats pour les tournois principaux du week-end et aussi pour les side events.
Nous proposons toujours aux boutiques et associations d’organiser des trials, et ils pourront le faire dans le format de leur choix. Pour nous, organiser un tournoi de cette taille en laissant autant de liberté de choix aux gens représente un énorme challenge, y compris un fort risque de se planter, mais nous sommes prêts à relever ces défis pour assurer la cohésion de la communauté.




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.

👉 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.

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.

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 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.



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.




By The Duel Commander rules committee

Duel Commander players, before we go into more details, here is the banlist update for September:

No card changes.

The Committee, with feedback from our Regional Coordinators and Consultants, and most important players (from local players, Duel Commander fanatics and even a former World Champion) have come to the conclusion that the current banlist philosophy isn’t efficient.
The attempt to lower the power level and dominance of Blue-based control and Green-based Elf decks in the current 30 life environment hasn’t been successful. Decks structured by Red, Black or White continue to fail to perform consistently. It is clear that solving this problem would require many bans and will greatly denature the format. The Committee has come to the conclusion that a major rules change is necessary to alleviate the inherent imbalance in the format.

Starting with the Commander 2016 update (on November 11th, 2016), Duel Commander will be played with 20 life points instead of 30.

First, to address the timing of the announcement.
The Committee wants to make sure that all players have time to adapt to the upcoming change. It would be unfair and disruptive to make such a large change without prior announcement. Tournaments run between now and the November update can choose to run at either 30 or 20 life points in the interim. However, 30 starting life points will no longer be supported after the Commander 2016 update.
Second, about the rules change itself. A higher than 20 life total is a relic from the original multiplayer EDH format. However, Magic: The Gathering cards are designed for 20 total life points games being played in duel, the most played variant of the game. A healthy format is about a balance between aggressive and control strategies, along with a few combos. So far, in Duel Commander there are few powerful aggressive decks – the most played decks are a split between control and combo. Starting with 20 life will change that. Aggressive decks will now be able to enter the format. These life totals will also help keeping decent rounds lengths and, therefore, more enjoyable tournaments.
Third, the switch to 20 life will come with card unbans. Many cards that are overpowered in the 30 life format have the possibility to be unbanned in the 20 life format going forward. Not everything will be unbanned at once as some testing and data are still required. However, there will be at least five card unbans in the Commander 2016 update alongside the 20 life points update.

Thanks again to the community for your fantastic feedback. We hope that you continue to enjoy Duel Commander in the future!

These changes apply on September 26, 2016. The next announcements will be published on November 11, 2016 (applying on November 12, 2016).

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




By The Duel Commander rules committee

Since our last announcement, we were able to observe a slight expansion in the current metagame, driven by a growing representation of active archetypes (like Abzan/mono white/mono red/Rakdos/Gruul/Selesnya/etc.).
We are still far away from reaching a proper balance in the archetypes statistics. Yet, this is a first step towards the expected diversity we want for our favourite game format.
We still noticed that the proportions of control and combo decks are still way too high. The various communities (Italy, France, USA, Russia, etc.) gave us a lot of worried feedback about the dominance of blue-based decks in the current format as those lines are being written.
The present announcement therefore aims at continuing the movement we startled during the April 2016 update, with the banishment of commanders and non-commander cards that favoured the oppressing “Control/Combo/Elves” triptych.


Regarding lists
The concept of watchlist is no more. We once introduced it so as for us to be transparent, and also in order to avoid the bitter sensation of having one’s commander banned on a Monday while having a tournament to play with it on a Saturday to anyone.
The anxiety that comes out of this list, as well as impulsive reactions and sterile controversies it generates are the reasons why we are actually removing this list.
Please, just note that Jenara players shouldn’t be scared about having their commander banned, for we were actually removing this card from the watchlist (if it still was published).

These changes apply on July 22, 2016. The next announcements will be published on September 26, 2016 (applying on September 30, 2016).

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

Further individual explanations:

Marath, Will of the Wild
Marath, Will of the Wild is especially oppressive towards creature-based decks, by design. Its ability allows it to eliminate other creatures without even fighting them.
Its low casting cost, along with its colours allow it to hit the battlefield on turn 2. Yet, as games last, it remains very powerful. Marath, Will of the Wild is part of lots of cards affinities/combos like Earthcraft, Skullclamp, Basilisk Collar, etc. Decks that are based on this commander also include other combos, like the ones based on Kiki-Jiki, The Mirror Breaker, that also reinforce the strength of the whole deck.
Marath, Will of the Wild really threatens the diversity we wish to see in the format and is therefore banned as a commander in Duel Commander games.

Necrotic Ooze
Necrotic Ooze is the key element of a combo that is available to many great decks in the format (Sidisi, Undead Vizier and GBx decks). The fact that this particular combo can’t even be disrupted by almost any removal spell makes it so oppressive that we decided to ban Necrotic Ooze.

Dig Through Time
Doing more than drawing two cards for a total mana cost of 3 is not a thing that should be tolerated already, regarding the format. Yet, doing so among a choice of seven cards, at instant speed, makes this card even less acceptable. Even when played in decks where allowing the 6-mana delve alternative casting cost payment is quite hard, doing so for 3-5 mana still ain’t really acceptable. Dig Through Time is therefore banned.

Treasure Cruise
Doing more than drawing two cards for a total mana cost of 3 is not a thing that should be tolerated already.
Drawing three cards for 1 mana cost in a late game shouldn’t be tolerated either and generates an imbalance as it resolves.
For those reasons, Treasure Cruise is now banned.
One last word regarding the old watchlist, though: this card was never added to the watchlist, for this is not a commander card. Removing it from legal cards in the format doesn’t break any archetype, plus the card does not require money investment for anyone.

(article cover art © Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved )




By The Duel Commander rules committee

Duel Commander kept looking the same over the last months. That is: a barren confrontation between two main archetypes: blue decks, which are mostly based on “counterspell”-like cards and effects as a defensive barrier, and green decks, filled with “mana dorks” (cheap mana-producing creatures) and commander interactions in order to generate a resource gap between players.
We’ve let the format go that way for a long time, hoping for it to regulate naturally. Unfortunately, over the last months, that phenomenon intensified, crystallizing the format and revolving it around those two basic archetypes.

(stats based on the last months, according to major events results)

Such a freeze of the metagame could be linked to several factors. The quality of the most played cards that belong to those colors, the important redundancy of their core effects, or even the game format rules are often blamed. On the other side, we noted that the duality of the current format is significantly stressed by an element that we cherish within the format: the disparity of commander cards.
Indeed, those two archetypes dominate the format thanks to a bunch of overpowered commanders that threaten the diversity of the format.
The reasons behind this hegemony often cumulate:

  • They make use of some abilities that provide an unbalanced advantage over several strategies or threat-handling means.
  • Their abilities abuse structural benefits and overpowered cards that their colors give access to.
  • Their raw statistics make them better than most other substitutes within the same archetypes.
  • The changes from today’s rules and bans updates aim at partially correcting this problem, so as to reverse the “immobilism trend” that our favourite format is now going through.


  • Tasigur, the Golden Fang is now banned as a commander only.
  • Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is now banned as a commander only.
  • Gaea’s Cradle is now banned.
  • Marath, Will of the Wild is added to the watchlist.
  • Animar, Soul of Elements is added to the watchlist.
  • Narset, Enlightened Master is added to the watchlist.
  • Jenara, Asura of War is added to the watchlist.
  • Cataclysm is removed from the watchlist.
  • Reminders:

    The watchlist is made for dangerous cards that could end up being banned (this is a change from previous listing systems, see below).
    Before this update, Cataclysm was on the watchlist.
    Necrotic Ooze and Dig through time remain on the watchlist.

    Regarding lists
    We chose to unify the previously existing Orange and Red watchlists. The information they provided was complex and was all in all irrelevant. This double watchlist system didn’t bring a lot of positive things to us, although it never got annoying when we had to take decisions. A commander should still, except in some cases, end up on the watchlist before it gets eventually banned.
    A note regarding colored mana and mana pools
    Previously, the rule regarding the producing of colored mana was as follows: “If a player would add colored mana to his or her mana pool that is outside the color identity of his or her commander, that player adds colorless mana instead.”.
    This rule is now removed, as stated in the (upcoming) Duel Commander comprehensive rules:

    500.5. Colored mana in pools
    While DC used to follow a different rule for colored mana into mana pools, no additional rule modifies the official Magic The Gathering rules when regarding colored mana. Please note this is not the case anymore since April 8th, 2016. All the texts that are printed on cards apply. If a player would add colored mana to his or her mana pool that is not in his or her commander’s color identity, the players effectively adds the mana to his or her mana pool, like in any other game, and may spend it like in any other game.

    These changes apply on April 8, 2016. Of course, you can still contact us via our Facebook page. The next announcements will be published on July 18, 2016 (applying on July 22, 2016).

    Until then, we wish you all many good games!

    Further individual explanations:
    Tasigur, the Golden Fang
    Tasigur, the Golden Fang makes all other control commanders look ridiculous, when compared to it, mostly thanks to its ridiculous casting cost ({B} + delve casting cost payment mechanic). Such a quality allows it to exhaust all possible answers from opponents, as well as to winning a “counterspell battle”, even though being the card that settles such battles. The rest of the decks can solely be made of “reaction” cards (spot/mass removals, for example), for Tasigur, the Golden Fang is an oppressive threat whatsoever. Last but not the least, this card interacts strongly with other cards like Life from the loam or Upheaval. For all those reasons, Tasigur, the Golden Fang is now banned as a commander only.

    Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
    Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is a green commander that has a huge impact on the battlefield, that only costs three mana and that can therefore enter the battlefield on turn two very often, via a turn one/two accelerator. We are deeply persuaded that such commanders harm the format. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is de facto a quick card advantage source that grows quickly, and that therefore produces fantastically responsive and explosive games. It is so dangerous for the format that its mere presence forces opponents to make very costly adaptations. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is therefore banned as a commander only, so as to maintain more balance in the format.

    Gaea’s Cradle
    Gaea’s cradle allows players to develop their deck strategies roughly and suddenly. Being particularly hard to stop when playing active decklists, its presence in the metagame reinforces control decks, which end up being the only decks that are able to handle a wide number of opponent creatures. It also amplifies the existing cleavage between active, green-based decks and other non-explosive decks. For having a very negative impact on the format, Gaea’s cradle is now banned.

    Narset, Enlightened Master
    If Tasigur, the Golden Fang is clearly the best commander for a “draw-go” strategy, Narset, Enlightened Master is the best commander for a “tapped out” strategy. Having considered this major strategic alternative, that Narset/Tasigur duet also covers the whole spectrum of colors and outmatches all other legendary blue creatures. In order to maintain the format balance and its diversity, we chose to add Narset, Enlightened Master to the watchlist.

    Marath, Will of the Wild
    As a commander that takes some advantage from the commander casting tax, Marath, Will of the Wild is a commander that scales its power as the games go on. It is very hostile to all creature-based decks and therefore cleans up the format for blue control decks.
    Since its metagame presence remains a leash to all agressive strategies, we are adding Marath, Will of the Wild to the watchlist.

    Animar, Soul of Elements
    Animar, Soul of Elements is a green commander with a very high impact, that only costs three mana and can therefore enter the battlefield on turn two for the same reasons we already mentionned regarding other cards alike. We have long waited before adding Animar, Soul of Elements to a watchlist, for decklists built around it remain very original and unique. Despite all that waiting time, the explosiveness of the deck and the lack of interactions with opponents (mostly due to its protection effects) forced us to add this card to the watchlist.

    Jenara, Asura of War
    Jenara, Asura of War is another green commander with a high impact on games, that costs three mana, and can also enter the battlefield on turn two for the same reasons we already mentionned regarding other cards alike. Jenara, Asura of War is another case of commander that is very well adapted to play a large amount of counterspell-like cards. It belongs therefore to the two categories we described up above: blue decks and green decks. We decided to add this card to the watchlist for those reasons.

    Cataclysm is a spectacular card that allows a player who is being strangled in an adapted situation to annihilate almost any opposing force. Yet, its impact depends a lot on the situation and alternates between a risky move (most of the time) and a determining move (rarely). Such a card is not truly unbalanced and accessing it is quite limited. White is the fourth most played color in Duel Commander. We think it would be a mistake from us to deprive this color of such an attractive card. Plus, it is already integrated in most of the decks that need it. For all those reasons, we removed Cataclysm from the watchlist.

    The following two cards remain in the watchlist:
    Dig Through Time
    Dig through time remains watched, yet still legal, for all the reasons we described earlier when it was added to the watchlist.

    Necrotic Ooze
    Regarding Necrotic Ooze, we keep an eye on this card, which is the core of an extremely non-interactive combo. We chose to balance the format using commander cards rather than specific, individual, non-commander cards (which would require an overly high amount of banned cards).




    By The Duel Commander rules committee

    Duel Commander gets played more and more in the world, and regional coordinators have joined the committee to help us take the worldwide community into account.
    We want to thank the coordinators for their help and we also want to thank all of you who participate in the expansion of Duel Commander.



    • The Orange List is made for the dangerous cards that could end up being banned.
    • The Red List is for the most threatening cards, that are very likely to end up being banned in the upcoming months.
    • Before this update, no cards were on the Red List.
    • Gaea’s cradle and Dig through time remain on the Orange List.

    About the Oath of The Gatewatch additions and mechanics:

    New cards from the latest edition and their new symbol for colorless mana.
    The commander rules indicate that adding mana of any color to your mana pool that is not part of your Commander’s color identity gives colorless mana instead. Colorless mana obtained this way can be used to cast spells and use abilities that require « true colorless » mana (the new “◇” symbol replacing the ① for costs). Cards which generate mana of any color (for example: City of Brass, Coalition Relic, Birds of paradise, …) allow their controllers to use cards that require « true colorless » mana if your commander doesn’t have a 5-color identity, for example.
    These changes apply on January 22, 2016. Of course, you can still contact us via our email or Facebook page. The next announcements will be published on April 4, 2016 (applying on April 8, 2016).
    Until then, we wish you all many good games!

    Further indivudual explanations:

    Cataclysm: Cataclysm is a card with a very high power level and that requires a specific setup to really shine. That was relatively easy to set up when Mystical Tutor was legal, since it allowed players to either find a necessary piece of disruption or a perfectly-timed Cataclysm. Now that Mystical Tutor is banned, the card should be less regularly backbreaking than it used to be. Besides, the decks that will benefit the most from that unban aren’t the best positionned in the format (Abzan Disrupt / Geist of Saint Traft / Grand Arbiter Augustin IV).
    Tasigur, the Golden Fang: When considered as a commander, Tasigur, the Golden Fang exploits all of its characteristics. First, the Delve ability will interact with the « commander tax« . If the Delve capacity was originally designed to apply to a fixed proportion of the mana cost of a spell (eg. 75% for Dig through time and 83% for Tasigur, the Golden Fang), the interaction between the Delve capacity and the « commander tax » breaks this balance (defined by the design of the card). Thus, with the first two commander taxes additional costs payments, the Delve capacity stretches from 83% to 87.5% of the final cost. This percentage increases with each and every new time one will pay the commander casting cost. The effect goes against the spirit of the « commander tax » rule. Another special feature of this very problematic card that Tasigur, the Golden Fang is, is the set of commander qualities that allow games based on this card to occupy a dominant position in Duel Commander. The commander’s color identity rule assigns one of the most possible versatile color combinations with blue, black and green. Its power / toughness design is very impacting for the games. It allows offering a strong and quick defense against the most aggressive decks while being a very good striker. Finally, Tasigur, the Golden Fang‘s activated ability brings additional critical resources on the long sides. Tasigur, the Golden Fang is a versatile Commander that can act on four zones of the game: the battlefield, the library, the graveyard and the hand, thanks to the extremely steady Delve ability and gives access to three dominant colors. Fate Reforged appeared a year ago, during which the card was temporarily placed in orange list (March-July 2015), the first tests demonstrated an enormous potential as a commander card and therefore a big pressure on other game formats. The superiority of Tasigur, the Golden Fang gets confirmed when it comes to driving a control strategy (which is traditionally powerful in singleton formats) and the results pulled from recent tournaments actually betray alarming performance as well as a threat for the balance of the format. This is the only commander which representativeness in top 8’s exceeded 10% since the adoption of the Vancouver mulligan, and several important tournaments resulted in Tasigur, the Golden Fang decks finals. Players from different communities have expressed their difficulties to stop such a progress and their fears regarding the diversity of the Duel commander format. This now leads us to add Tasigur, the Golden Fang (when considered as a commander) on the red list. This indicates, with very high probability, that it will end up being banned from Duel Commander as a commander for the next « Shadows over Innistrad » update, on April 2016.
    Necrotic Ooze: Necrotic Ooze is the key element of a combo that is available to many great decks in the format (Sidisi, Undead Vizier and GBx decks). The fact that this particular combo can’t be disrupted by a removal spell makes it quite oppressive.
    Yisan, the Wanderer Bard : Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is a commander that has the ability to search for a specific kind of card each turn, which places him in the same group as Zur, the Enchanter (currently banned from Duel Commander). Having access to cards like Quirion Ranger or Wirewood Symbiote turns it into a massive source of card advantage, a repetitive toolbox that is able to deal with almost any kind of permanent, and at a fast pace, without even having to play any other card from one’s hand.
    Dig through time: Control/blue remains one of the major archetype generators in the metagame. Dig through time is one of the weapons that allow to make cheap card advantage while continuing to control the middle game state and the late game state. Digging seven cards also allows it to regularly be a sort of « tutor » as well as a source of card advantage at a lower cost. Since the latest announcement, this card gave no reason to be moved further towards being banned, but we continue to keep an eye on it.
    Gaea’s cradle: Gaea’s cradle very quickly adds large amounts of mana in the game and is quite complicated to handle, since it’s a land card. This mana benefit is only effectively handled by playing mass creature-removal cards (or many spot-removal cards) and leaves almost no chances to aggressive strategies, which can be problematic for the balance of the format.