Commander Rules Changes Announced

Posted at 9:13am on MTGCommander.net forums, the Rules Committee have issued a new banned card, and a major change to the rules for commander selection. These changes will take effect on Dec. 20, 2010.

Banned: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

On the banning, Sheldon posted the following:

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.

And then the big news is that Commanders no longer invalidate themselves if they contain colored mana outside their casting cost. Now those colors are included into the deck's identity.

RULES UPDATE
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.