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Not the Banlist Update We Expected

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We were eagerly awaiting the updates to the EDH banlist (some of us) and while some thought Deadeye Navigator was on the chopping block and others predicted the demise of Prophet of Kruphix, what we got was something no one expected.

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Wow. A scant two weeks after I ribbed @Time_Elemental for tweeting about how foil Hindering Touch was "almost gone" in an article and one week after we got together on Money Draught to talk about how Hinder would be "good forever" in EDH, the rules committee drops a bomb. Commanders can go in the Command Zone any time they would be assigned to the deck, hand or graveyard. Hinder is a run-of-the-mill counterspell now. Chaos Warp is a mildly effective way to deal with non-commander permanents. Cyclonic Rift.... is still totally unfair and a ridiculous blowout, don't worry about that.

So what are we doing? There's no money in dumping Hinder and Chaos Warp right now since no one is buying (though it looks attractive when those cards bottom out). What are you targeting as a pickup now that we need a new class of removal to deal with pesky commanders? Leave it below.

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on Gatheringmagic.com. He is also the Community Manager at BrainstormBrewery.com and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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5 thoughts on “Not the Banlist Update We Expected

  1. There has been a motion of no confidence regarding this issue and the RC’s ability to further govern “their format”.

    I expect this issue to birth another format. Maybe it will be known simply as EDH or vanilla commander but it would basically be a version of EDH as it was originally intended.

    Long story short. I would hold onto everything that was good in commander/EDH because one way or another it will be good again.

  2. Tuck effects were fun ways to thwart decks that relied on their generals. Tucking a combo general (Animar, Krenko) shut down lots of abusive decks. In the extreme case, there are three generals who enjoy being in the Command Zone (Prosh, Wanderer, and Oloro) where tucking was really the only way to stop them from doing exactly what they wanted to do.

    Now, tucking is gone. People will be seeking a replacement. Exile, bounce, and destroy effects might be a fine enough replacement if your goal is to block the general temporarily so that you can win. This might be enough against garden variety combo generals. But, players need some more permanent solution for the generals who actively WANT to be in the Command zone.

    There’s really just 3 options: control changing effects, arrest affects, and meddling effects. They’re all vulnerable to enchantment hate, so I won’t talk about that much; it’s a common weakness.

    Control effects, largely in Blue but also in a few Black, White, and Red cards, are a high-risk, high-reward answer. If it works, you get yourself a big baddie to use AND you deny them their general. The problem is that everyone can run Homeward Path, a very cheap way to invalidate control effects. Also, other than in Blue, control effects are either expensive (Enslave, non-specific (Preacher), temporary (Threaten) or non-existent (Green in general). So, unless you’re playing Blue, I don’t think control changing effects really fill the void.

    Arrest effects are available in White, Green, and Blue, and these might be a little better since at least they can’t be invalidated by a land tapping. The best one here might be Vanishing, since you can keep phasing the creature out if they try to sacrifice it to get away from the effect, or Darksteel Mutation, because they can’t attack a friendly opponent to kill it off and get the creature back. Song of the Dryads similarly makes saccing or attacking to get rid of the enchantment difficult. Other than these, though, every Arrest-style affect I can think of can be avoided by a sac effect. Generals who want to live in the Command zone are probably running sac effects… so… yeah.

    Finally, we have the meddling effects; cards that let you ban another card while they’re in play. I like Meddling Mage and Declaration of Naught, since they’re cheap and have legs. I like Exclusion Ritual because it’s a Desert Twister in addition to banning a card. I like Voidmage Gargoyle and Council of the Absolute because they do other things in addition to banning cards. If you want a GENERAL purpose answer that can still hose problematic combo generals and those who want to be in the Command Zone, I think these effects are the best bet.

    Finally, whatever style of removal replaces tuck, most of them rely on enchantments. That means that Heloid’s Pilgrim, Sterling Grove, and Idyllic Tutor might also see increased demand.

    That’s my two cents.

  3. another rule change… This will take years for people to get used to that.
    I’m still explaining people that it’s OK to have two players with the same commander.

    They want to focus on the casual aspect, well, changing rules is not helping. If I explain changes in formats to casual players, they feel like that format is not casual because it demands continuous updates on banlists and rules.

    Only a few people in my area really know how partial mulligan works, why did they introduced that in the first place?
    Now I have to teach people that it’s not OK to do a partial mulligan in tiny leaders to 7 cards again.

    1. I would call it a rules simplification: if your Commander permanently moves to a different zone it can now be moved to your Command Zone, while originally that only happened for a few specific zones. I believe this will make the format easier to explain to someone new to it (though granted, those familiar with the format may not like keeping track of changes / bans).

      Agree with you on the Partial Paris.

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