Duel Commander

The official website and your best resource for MTG duel Commander games. Rules, French banlists, news, blog posts and announcements from the committee.

Sep

22

Khans of Tarkir banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

No changes.

The metagame has evolved quite a bit since we’ve removed the three most unfair commanders this year. Blue is no longer the color most frequently seen in top 8 decks. While it’s not a goal in itself, and we’re certainly not trying to prevent people from playing blue, it’s a welcome change that gives opportunities to new strategies.

A few words about Commander 2014. As it’s been revealed, each of the five decks is going to be led by a planeswalker that can be played as a commander. Contrary to what we’ve read in several places, this does not mean that any planeswalker can be used – only those with the ability “[this] can be your commander”. So it’s not as big a change as some predicted, but it should still introduce some interesting gameplay and we certainly are very excited about that.

As for every special product, we’re going to make a small announcement as it comes out, but just in case something devastating comes out – no bannings outside the new product are to be expected, and we won’t ban any commanders on this first announcement (we can still do so in the annoucements tied with the regular Magic sets).

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE. The next announcement is expected to be on November 3rd, 2014.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Jul

14

Magic 2015 banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

The scrutiny of Commander 2013 continues. With a few more months of observation and several large events confirming a trend we were suspecting, we’ve come to the conclusion it was time to axe yet another unfair commander.

These changes take effect on July 18th, 2014.

More explanations can be found HERE.

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE. The next announcement is expected to be on September 22nd, 2014.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Jun

9

Conspiracy update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

No changes.

Conspiracy is out, several cards are quite interesting to play in Duel Commander, but nothing prompted us to pull any emergency ban.

As a reminder, the cards with type “Conspiracy” are not legal cards in Constructed formats, that includes Duel Commander.

See you all on July 14th, 2014 for the Magic 2015 announcement!

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Apr

28

Journey into Nyx banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

No changes to the banlist.

The last banlist announcement shook up the format significantly, ridding it of two quite dominant commanders. The result has been a renewal of diversity, with less players afraid of losing very early in the game. Many different decks now appear in top8s and new, unexpected strategies pop up regularly. Only Geist of Saint Traft has kept posting consistently good results; however it’s not present in every top 8 and remains quite beatable. Overall, it feels like the metagame is still trying to stabilize. We are thus making no changes to the banlist this time.

A multiplayer draft expansion called Conspiracy is set to come out on June 6th, 2014. While this set is geared at multiplayer draft play, it will contain 65 new cards usable in Eternal formats, among which Duel Commander. Excited about the idea of playing with Dack Fayden? We are too! As such, because there is always the potential for format-imbalancing cards to be printed, we’ll make a small announcement on June 9th, 2014 – just in case we think anything is too good for Duel Commander. We don’t expect any banning, but one never knows.

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE. The next announcement is expected to be on June 9th, 2014.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Apr

5

A bit of history

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Ever wondered what the banlist looked like a year ago? Two years ago?

This page recaps all changes since the birth of this website in 2011.

Enjoy!

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Jan

27

Born of the Gods banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

Wizards has just announced that the banlists for the official formats will be posted only next week, a departure from the usual schedule. Ours is ready already, so we see no point in letting you wait more than what we announced previously. So here we go.

After a few rather quiet months with only small adjustments but several large events, we feel it’s time to address some long-term problems in the format.

These changes take effect on February 7th, 2014.

Wow, what a change!

More explanations can be found HERE.

We’d like to heartily thank our consultants for their awesome input and support:

  • “DON”
  • “LaPince”
  • “Mars”
  • “MarsVolta”

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE. The next announcement is expected to be on April 28th, 2014.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Oct

28

Commander 2013 banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everybody,

Commander 2013 is about to be out and hasn’t failed to deliver. Several new commanders are playable in the Duel format. Some cards in the extension are bound to become format staples, but none are worringly powerful or unadapted to one-on-one play. While some new commanders are very strong and might shift the format significantly, as we promised we aren’t banning any of them and will watch how the format evolves and shapes around newcomers. In short, nothing needs to be addressed urgently from the new extension and any changes to the format will wait until at least January 27th, 2014.

Now for some news about the committee. The format is undergoing significant growth this year which we’re very happy about. This growth in numbers has encouraged tournaments with bigger prizes. The more competitive players are very keen deckbuilders and will find many ways to break the format. While we are fortunate that the format stays diverse and that it’s uncommon that a single commander takes three spots or more in the top 8 of a tournament, it’s increasingly common that a group of players will find a particularly strong build that several of those will pilot to a great finish. While this phenomenon is not new, it shows that the rewards of building correctly are very high in Duel Commander. In particular, we’ve noticed that a player who’s playing a deck they’re familiar with and know well will almost invariably do better than if they were given a netdecked copy of a deck they don’t know. As a result, even if top 8 spots are often taken by a small group of decks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those are the only ones that are viable and that one can do well with. Many times dedicated tuning of a “weaker” commander has given great results and rewarded their pilots.

This is however where we need your help. In order to develop the best banlist we can, there’s a few principles we can follow and that are rather easy to follow, but also a component of format balance that is harder to figure out without loads of data. In order to evaluate which cards enable regular early combo kills, a small amount of data is usually required, namely building a couple variants of a deck and playing a couple dozen games. But when it comes to determining whether a particular commander is too strong in the metagame, or whether banning a certain card tips the scales enough to restore the balance we’d like to see, a much bigger set of data is required, ranging from top 8s, field reports, interviews, test games, deck building, and so on. This process is both very time-consuming and linger on the availability of a very limited number of people.

As you may have heard recently, the committee is currently composed of four people. While we do our best to test a lot and to be present on as many large tournaments as our personal schedules enable us, days have only 24 hours. That’s why, in order to improve our visiblity and understanding of the format, we’d like to invite a small number of chosen players (builders above all), all regulars and recognized by the community, to our discussions (on our private forum), who would help us determine whether any potential future changes or newly-printed cards have the impact we think they have. Furthermore, some people more involved in tournament organization are likely to be contacted as well. As we have determined in the past couple of years, when the committee suddenly grew in numbers and then shrunk again, taking decisions with lots of people is not easy at all. As such, we probably won’t be growing the numbers of the committee itself, but we are going to involve some people as special consultants about the format. The names of these consultants will be publicized when they are known and if they wish so.

As always we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE.

The Duel Commander rules committee.

Oct

20

Changes within the committee

By Daniel Kitachewsky

The sad news has spread on the forums. Since we don’t want to leave questions unanswered and to let rumors evolve into something very different from reality, here’s what happened.

Olivier’s activity in the committee had been valuable over the two years he spent with us. In the last few months, his activity has been dwindling and almost reduced to the point where he participated only for a few days before each banlist publishing. When questioned about it, his reaction was mostly hostile. Olivier started participating again, but without taking into account recent discussions (which Olivier had access to) and wished to backpedal on some decisions. This backpedaling would have been against all the work and thinking done by the other members. It would also have been against our policy of being as consistent and transparent as we can, even if this is not easy. Worse, it would have been against some recent public announcements made by the committee, thus penalizing players preparing the biggest events of the year, namely Bazaar of Moxen and the French Cup.

When this was pointed out to Olivier he wasn’t willing to make any concessions, in defiance of other members’ opinions and work. This led to disagreements and tensions such that it soon appeared that the committee couldn’t continue to function in an atmosphere of trust. The decision was thus taken not to maintain Olivier in the committee.

Aside from this, we’re reading lots of worried posts on forums about the small number of members in the committee (4 as of today). Some of you consider this number to be too small. We will clarify this in the October 28 announcement, but be assured that the committee functioning is currently undergoing some changes in order to better serve the format.

Sep

18

About the November update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Hello everyone,

We have carefully followed your reactions on the Commander boards after our announcement on September, 16th. We could not miss many of you were worried and had questions about the potential announcement we could make right before the release of the new Commander packs, due in November. Therefore, so as to allow all players to anticipate the autumn/winter season with serenity and to better prepare the two big incoming events (Bazaar of Moxen and the Commander French Cup), we would like to make it clear that:

  • We will not ban any cards that are not printed in these new packs.
  • We will not ban any commander (Prossh).
  • We simply want to be able to perform one/several bans if the new Commander packs were to contain one/several cards we deem too powerful because they are without a doubt very similar to some we have already banned. We especially have in mind the strong mana accelerators with too small drawbacks (such as Sol Ring or Ancient Tomb), or unbalanced cards (such as Ancestral Recall or Time Walk).

Please be certain we do not wish to ban anything, but we also can’t afford to see the two major events of the end of this year damaged by this release.

We really hope this message will allow you to focus on testing your decks rather than worrying whether your deck will be legal.

Sincerely,

The Committee

Sep

16

Theros banlist update

By Daniel Kitachewsky

Theros banlist update

Hello everybody,

The format is now more varied than ever: the Saint-Nazaire tournament had no less than 40 different commanders played! While not much needs to change in the format, we still feel something needed to be addressed.

This change takes effect on September 27th, 2013.

Loyal Retainers is the center of a combo which enables reanimating crushing threats as early as turn 3. Survival of the Fittest enables tutoring for both the threat and the reanimator. This makes Loyal Retainers quite unique and a full two mana cheaper than other enablers such as Karmic Guide. Most aggro decks don’t stand a chance against Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite; many control or ramp decks will fold to an early Griselbrand; and mono-colored decks are heavily hit by Iona, Shield of Emeria. We ban the more specialized half of this combo, leaving Survival of the Fittest in the format as it enables many interesting strategies.

More explanations can be found HERE.

In addition, this fall has something quite exciting for us Duel Commander players: a new Commander product! The last one brought many interesting new decks so this one should be an instant hit as well. The new cards in this product will be legal on November 1st, 2013. Because some new cards might have a significant impact on the format (who said Edric?), we will make an exceptional banlist announcement on October 28th, 2013. Mark your calendars!

As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE.

The Duel Commander rules committee.