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OATH OF THE GATEWATCH / JANUARY 2016 RULES / BANLIST UPDATE

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.

Changes:

Reminders:

  • 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.