Commander, as officially titled by Wizards of the Coast (also known as Elder Dragon Highlander or EDH) is a casual multiplayer format for Magic: the Gathering. It is a Highlander variant format with specific rules centered around a legendary creature called General or Commander.  
Description[edit | edit source]
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 (while except for basic lands, each card in the deck must have a different name).
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. 
Appropriately enough for a format named after the legendary creature that's leading your team, your commander works differently from other cards in the game. Before the game begins, each player sets his or her commander aside in a special zone, the command zone. You may play your commander from the command zone for its normal costs plus an additional for each previous time it has been played this way. If your commander would go to a graveyard, hand, library or exile from anywhere, you may instead put it in the command zone; this is a replacement effect. In addition to the normal Magic loss conditions, if a player is dealt 21 points of combat damage from a single commander over the course of the game, that player loses the game.
This larger-than-life format was invented up in the wilds of Alaska, and its originators used commanders only from the Legends set, especially including the Elder Dragons such as Chromium and Nicol Bolas. Over time, the format spread. It became popular among judges, who would play it following a day's officiating at a Pro Tour or Grand Prix event. It soon reached the mainstream and has become a favorite format in casual playgroups everywhere, from the kitchen table down the street to Magic Online to the Wizards of the Coast headquarters! 
Deckbuilding Rules[edit | edit source]
- Each player chooses either a legendary creature, a pair of legendary creatures which both having the Partner ability, or Planeswalker with the ability to be commander. The chosen card or pair is called the Commander or General of the deck. 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(s). The color identity of a card is composed of its color plus the color of every colored mana symbol that appears on that card—whether in the mana cost or the rules text, though not in reminder 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, the player may not use more than one copy of any given card.
- Each deck must contain exactly 100 cards including the General(s).
- Normally, sideboards are not allowed. Optionally, players may have a 10 card sideboard that they may use before the match after Generals are declared.
Rules[edit | edit source]
Summary[edit | edit source]
- Before play begins, each player's general is placed in the command zone.
- Players start at 40 life.
- Players may cast the General card from the command zone. However, the general costs 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, library, hand, or exile from anywhere, 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 on the battlefield. This is an additional state-based effect. Note that gaining life won't affect this total in any way.
Banned List[edit | edit source]
Usually all Vintage legal cards are allowed for tournament play. While cards may be banned or allowed 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), though 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 of January, 2016):
- Ancestral Recall
- Black Lotus
- Braids, Cabal Minion
- Coalition Victory
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
- Gifts Ungiven
- Library of Alexandria
- Limited Resources
- Mox Emerald
- Mox Jet
- Mox Pearl
- Mox Ruby
- Mox Sapphire
- Painter's Servant
- Panoptic Mirror
- Primeval Titan
- Prophet of Kruphix
- Protean Hulk
- Recurring Nightmare
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
- Sundering Titan
- Sway of the Stars
- Sylvan Primordial
- Time Vault
- Time Walk
- Tolarian Academy
- Trade Secrets
- Yawgmoth's Bargain
In the past, there was a separated list for banned from being used as a general (but allowed to be included in the deck). This rule was abolished by mtgcommander.net in September 12, 2014.
Shahrazad was once legal in Elder Dragon Highlander despite being banned in Vintage; this was later corrected and it is now banned.
External Links[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Ferrett. (December 11, 2007.) “Mixing It Up”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2011.) “Word of Commander”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall. (February 23, 2016.) “The Godfathers of Casual”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (October 22, 2013.) “Commander 2013 Edition Release Notes”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 11, 2008.) “Casual Formats”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.