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Commander (format)

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Commander, as officially titled by Wizards of the Coast, more commonly known as Elder Dragon Highlander (usually abbreviated to EDH) is a Highlander variant format with specific rules centered around a legendary creature called General or Commander. [1]

Overview[edit]

Created and popularized by fans, the Commander variant is usually played in casual Free-for-All multiplayer games, although two-player games are also popular. Each player starts at 40 life, and each player's deck is headed by a legendary creature designated as that deck's commander. A player's choice of commander determines which other cards can be played in the deck.

A recommended banned list for the Commander format is maintained by the rules committee at MTGCommander.net, not by Wizards of the Coast. On Magic Online, the Commander format follows that banned list. [2]

Deckbuilding Rules[edit]

  • Each player chooses a legendary creature which is called their General. Decks may use other legendary creatures as well.
  • No cards in the deck of any player may have a Color identity that is not a subset of the color identity of his or her general. The color identity of a card is composed of every colored mana symbol that appears on that card—whether in the mana cost or the rules text. (Hybrid mana symbols count as both of their component symbols for this purpose, e.g. if a player uses Isamaru, Hound of Konda as a general, he or she can not use Kitchen Finks. Also, a player who uses Bosh, Iron Golem as a general may play Lightning Bolt.)
  • Except for basic lands, player may not use more than one copy of any given card.
  • Each deck must contain exactly 100 cards including the General.
  • Normally, Sideboards are not allowed. Optionally, players may have a 10 card sideboard that they may use before the match after Generals are declared.

Play Rules[edit]

  • Before play begins, each player's general is placed in the command zone.
  • Players start at 40 life.
  • So-called "Partial Paris" mulligans are used. Players may exile any amount of cards in their hands face down, then draw that many cards minus one from their deck. They may repeat the process as many times as they want, then shuffle all the exiled cards back into their deck.
  • If a player would produce mana of colors that are not one of their General card's colors, they instead get that much colorless mana.
  • Players may cast the General card from the command zone. However, the general costs Mana2.gif more to cast for each time it has been cast this way. (If a General ends up in a player's hand, they may cast it as normal, and it neither costs more nor affects the cost to play it later.)
  • If a General would be put into a graveyard from anywhere or exiled, its owner may put it in the command zone instead.
  • If a player is dealt a total of 21 combat damage by any single General, he or she loses the game. The General does not have to be continuously in play. This is an additional state-based effect. Note that gaining life won't affect this total in any way.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Khans of Tarkir)

  • 903 Commander
    • 903.1. In the Commander variant, each deck is led by a legendary creature designated as that deck’s commander. The Commander variant was created and popularized by fans; an independent rules committee maintains additional resources at MTGCommander.net. The Commander variant uses all the normal rules for a Magic game, with the following additions.
    • 903.2. A Commander game may be a two-player game or a multiplayer game. The default multiplayer setup is the Free-for-All variant with the attack multiple players option and without the limited range of influence option. See rule 806, "Free-for-All Variant."
    • 903.3. Each deck has a legendary creature card designated as its commander. This designation is not a characteristic of the object represented by the card; rather, it is an attribute of the card itself. The card retains this designation even when it changes zones.
      Example: A commander that’s been turned face down (due to Ixidron’s effect, for example) is still a commander. A commander that’s copying another card (due to Cytoshape’s effect, for example) is still a commander. A permanent that’s copying a commander (such as a Body Double, for example, copying a commander in a player’s graveyard) is not a commander.
    • 903.4. The Commander variant uses color identity to determine what cards can be in a deck with a certain commander. The color identity of a card is the color or colors of any mana symbols in that card’s mana cost or rules text, plus any colors defined by its characteristic-defining abilities (see rule 604.3) or color indicator (see rule 204).
      Example: Bosh, Iron Golem is a legendary artifact creature with mana cost {8} and the ability “{3}{R}, Sacrifice an artifact: Bosh, Iron Golem deals damage equal to the sacrificed artifact's converted mana cost to target creature or player.” Bosh’s color identity is red.
      • 903.4a Color identity is established before the game begins.
      • 903.4b Reminder text is ignored when determining a card’s color identity. See rule 207.2.
      • 903.4c The back face of a double-faced card (see rule 711) is included when determining a card’s color identity.
        Example: Civilized Scholar is the front face of a double-faced card with mana cost {2}{U}. Homicidal Brute is the back face of that double-faced card and has a red color indicator. The card’s color identity is blue and red.
    • 903.5. Each Commander deck is subject to the following deck construction rules.
      • 903.5a Each deck must contain exactly 100 cards, including its commander.
      • 903.5b Other than basic lands, each card in a Commander deck must have a different English name.
      • 903.5c A card can be included in a Commander deck only if every color in its color identity is also found in the color identity of the deck’s commander.
        Example: Wort, the Raidmother is a legendary creature with mana cost {4}{R/G}{R/G}. Wort’s color identity is red and green. Each card in a Wort Commander deck must be only red, only green, both red and green, or have no color. Each mana symbol in the mana cost or rules text of a card in this deck must be only red, only green, both red and green, or have no color.
      • 903.5d A card with a basic land type may be included in a Commander deck only if each color of mana it could produce is included in the commander’s color identity.
        Example: Wort, the Raidmother's color identity is red and green. A Wort Commander deck may include land cards with the basic land types Mountain and/or Forest. It can’t include any land cards with the basic land types Plains, Island, or Swamp.
    • 903.6. At the start of the game, each player puts his or her commander from his or her deck face up into the command zone. Then each player shuffles the remaining 99 cards of his or her deck so that the cards are in a random order. Those cards become the player’s library.
    • 903.7. Once the starting player has been determined, each player sets his or her life total to 40 and draws a hand of seven cards.
    • 903.8. The Commander variant uses an alternate mulligan rule. Each time a player takes a mulligan, rather than shuffling his or her entire hand of cards into his or her library, that player exiles any number of cards from his or her hand face down. Then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the number of cards he or she exiled this way. That player may look at all cards exiled this way while taking mulligans. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.
    • 903.9. If mana would be added to a player’s mana pool of a color that isn’t in the color identity of that player’s commander, that amount of colorless mana is added to that player’s mana pool instead.
    • 903.10. A player may cast a commander he or she owns from the command zone. A commander cast from the command zone costs an additional {2} for each previous time the player casting it has cast it from the command zone that game.
    • 903.11. If a commander would be put into its owner’s graveyard from anywhere, that player may put it into the command zone instead.
    • 903.12. If a commander would be put into the exile zone from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead.
    • 903.13. If a card is put into the exile zone face down from anywhere, and a player is allowed to look at that card in exile, the player must immediately do so. If it’s a commander owned by another player, the player that looked at it turns it face up and puts it into the command zone.
    • 903.14. The Commander variant includes the following specification for winning and losing the game. All other rules for ending the game also apply. (See rule 104.)
      • 903.14a A player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)

Banned List[edit]

Usually all Vintage legal cards are allowed for tournament play. While cards may be banned by specific playgroups or tournament organizers. In most games, the mtgcommander.net version's banned list is used as it is considered as the most standard ban list of this format. Such list was used by WoTC in their Commander related products (including Magic Online), through they are considered unofficial and specific playgroups or tournament organizers may include/remove cards from the banlist.

The mtgcommander version's banlist contains the following cards (as September, 12):

In the past, there was a separated list for banned from being used as a general (but allowed to be included in the deck). such rule was abolished by mtgcommander.net in September 12, 2014.

Shahrazad was once legal in Elder Dragon Highlander despite being banned in Vintage, it was later lifted.

External Links[edit]

Official Elder Dragon Highlander Page

References[edit]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2011.) "Word of Commander", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast. (October 22, 2013.) "Commander 2013 Edition Release Notes", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.


Commander
Commander series
Commander (2011) Heavenly Inferno (Manaw.gifManab.gifManar.gif) Mirror Mastery (Manau.gifManar.gifManag.gif) Counterpunch (Manab.gifManag.gifManaw.gif) Political Puppets (Manar.gifManaw.gifManau.gif) Devour for Power (Manag.gifManau.gifManab.gif)
Commander 2013 Evasive Maneuvers (Manag.gifManaw.gifManau.gif) Eternal Bargain (Manaw.gifManau.gifManab.gif) Mind Seize (Manau.gifManab.gifManar.gif) Power Hungry (Manab.gifManar.gifManag.gif) Nature of the Beast (Manar.gifManag.gifManaw.gif)
Commander 2014 (Manaw.gif) Peer Through Time (Manau.gif) (Manab.gif) (Manar.gif) (Manag.gif)
Additional products
Commander Theme Decks | Commander's Arsenal
Concepts
The Format | The Commander | Command zone | Color identity
Miscellaneous
Sheldon Menery | Group Hug | Voltron | Pillowfort