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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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 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.
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.
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