December 2010 Commander Bannings

Editor’s Note: While I haven’t written on here since the big change in the format, it will be addressed. I have talked about it over on ManaNation, and eventually they will be linked over here. But now is not the time nor the place for that discussion.

Good news, everyone!

The scourge of all that is unfun in EDH/Commander is finally over. Yes, let’s take a look at the announcement and bask in all of it’s glory:

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

This is one on which we listened heavily to what the community was saying, and nearly without exception, everyone hates Emrakul. It’s a card that makes the game devolve into a war over a single card whenever it hits the table. Add to that the fact that its combination of abilities made is seriously unfun to play against. We had already had our eye on it, and when the community spoke, we listened.

Ding dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead.

Alright, seriously. For the two of you that are crying about this move (don’t worry, you’ll like the other announcement then), Emrakul was a bad card for EDH. It’s unfun and it was practically the only card you had to prepare yourself against in any metagame. “But there are ways to get rid of it!” Yes, But with the culmination of all of it’s abilities, it was just too unfun for 99.9% of EDH players. It could go in any deck, which made it worse. For my GDS2 entry, it was that one card I said shouldn’t have been printed because it was unfun. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Be glad it’s gone so we can focus on the next bit of news:

Color Identity (which will be added to the Magic Comprehensive Rules)

Rule #2 is amended as follows:
When building a Commander deck, the mana symbols in the text box are just as important as those in the cost of a card. The Commander’s color identity restricts what cards may appear in the deck.

* The color identity of a card is the colors of all mana symbols on the card, along with any color defined by a characteristic-defining ability (CDA) in the card’s rules text.

* Cards in your deck may not have any colors in their color identity not shared by your Commander.

* Mana you produce of colors that are not in your Commander’s color identity is colorless instead.

* Mana symbols in reminder text are not part of color identity.

The major impact here is that there are a few Legendary Creatures who no longer invalidate themselves as Commanders: Memnarch, Bosh, Iron Golem, Thelon of Havenwood, Daughter of Autumn, and Rhys, the Exiled. It means that you can have these creatures as Commanders, and you can generate mana of their color identity (so if you’re playing Memnarch, you can generate blue mana, or if you’re playing Thelon, you can generate black and green).

The RC spends quite some time considering the needs of the format itself and the voices of the format’s player base, making an effort to strike the balance that while keep the format strong and healthy for a long, long time.

While it’s great that they’re finally listening to us, here’s the big deal: Finally you can play with the Generals/Commanders he mentioned (All of the ones are in the picture above). So, while you players lose Emrakul, you can now play with Memnarch (I’m finally glad that Tolarian Academy is banned). Basically all of the other rules are the same, only that color now applies to mana symbols in the entire card. Some other changes:

  • Transguild Courior is now only legal in 5 color decks (it also means it’s now a 5 color Pauper Commander).
  • The Kobolds are now Red decks only (if you really wanted to put them in a deck for a combo or something).

Apparently color identity doesn’t mean the card is changing colors, but just the overall feel of it. I got a little excited with some of my ideas, but was cooled down by the Twitter crowd. Make note of this people.

Putting on my MTGCP Magic designer cap, what this means can be very exciting in the future. If you noticed, there hasn’t been too many Legendary Creatures that have been printed off-color recently. Why? Because they couldn’t be used as Generals/Commanders and a large part of WotC guys play EDH/Commander. Why print something if players couldn’t use them in that format? So, I guarantee that in the future there will be off-color Legends that will be printed. Why? No idea, but that opens up a whole lot of design space to play around in.

So, tell all your friends about this change. Knowledge is power. These rules take effect December 20th. The EDH/Commander Banned List has been updated.

4 responses to “December 2010 Commander Bannings

  • Mike

    Though, i agree that Emrakul is always a pain to play against. It does seem a little over the top to ban… Yes, It’s ridiculous but there are more than enough artifact mass removal spells that anyone can play. Depending on the Meta where ever you are, it easy to adjust to just one card.

    Just for the record, no i don’t play Emrakul, never have, never will. I must say I love annihilating the bastard. (yes, pun intended)

  • Dominik

    I as a fellow blogger who wrote about the “Eldrazi Matter” last week, totally agree with you on that….
    (still I don’t understand your off-colored legends comment? What are off colored legends for you, are you just talking about creatures which have different activation costs color than they have casting cost color?)

  • Dominik

    I believe it is not only about not having enough answers at hand, but rather about the way how much everybody hates to play against him.

    When there is one DEFINITVE best creature ever that wins you the game, there is not much choice involved when you choos which one creature you want to play in your deck.
    So as soon as you built a deck where you are going to cheat some extreamly good creature into play, or accelerate to a certain point, allways there is only one ANSWER with Emrakul in the mix.

    This leads to an environment where oyu have to face him all the time… meaning that everybody will get fed up to seeing him… or loosing against him.
    I beleive it is more a matter that was mainly needed to make the community of EDH more “happy” instead of just solving something that is too powerful…
    and isn’t that the first banning principle in EDH! IT’s all about making the game fun!

  • Auroch

    I think the Emrakul banning is overkill. Several people I play with owned Emrakul. None of them played it, for a very simple reason: Bribery.
    The blue players would have loved to play against decks packing Emrakul; instead they had to settle for Ulamog or Kozilek. And Bribery is an auto-include in any Blue list anyway, so it didn’t warp the format at all.

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