The Rules Committee for the community-owned EDH format has made some rules announcements today. I wasn’t intending to write back to back posts about Magic: The Gathering, but sometimes big things happen moment to moment and talking about it while it’s fresh and relevant is the way to go. So let’s dive into it.
Companion is a new mechanic that comes out in Ikoria, and I’ve already spoken about how one of those companion cards was banned pre-release. The Rules Committee commented on the fact that companion can work within the rules of commander, and that they could change wording on one rule in order to make it so. Essentially this means that wish cards that were already not allowed are still not, but that companions can exist within the command zone as long as they fit within the commander’s color identity and the deck used the companion’s building restrictions. This is fine by me but I don’t see any of them I’m interested in building at this point in time. The RC also confirmed that Lutri from this cycle would be banned in commander, because it’s too easy to build around and is basically a free (and powerful) effect in any decks that can use blue and red. I see their reasoning here as well, and don’t have any further opinion on their decision here.
Added to the ban list –Flash:
The other big announcement was that the card Flash was added to the ban list. This wasn’t anticipated, but it has been hotly debated in the community for a while, but that is almost solely the cEDH crowd. As someone who enjoys the hell out of cEDH myself, I am not shocked by the banning, because this card in combination with Protean Hulk (who also used to be banned, but was unbanned not too long ago) can result in turn 1 wins under the right circumstances. This is mostly due to the printing of another card that interacts with the Flash/Hulk combo, Thassa’s Oracle. I suppose the combo was still pretty broken prior to the latter card’s printing, but it took more effort with Jace or Lab Man. The argument now, is that it shouldn’t be banned just because it has taken over the cEDH meta, with most decks able to play the combo doing so; that casual players should still have access to the card. I’ve also seen the argument that if Flash was banned, that Demonic Consultation decks would be the next boogeyman as they already are a considerable chunk of the meta. Also that stax would come back with a vengeance because Fish Hulk builds wouldn’t be around to win anyway.
My opinion is that despite the fact that there are significantly less people who play cEDH exclusively as compared to casuals (as is the case in most hobby debates), I believe this was a good move by the RC. I only regret never having built my Flash/Hulk Chulane build in time. I do think Thassa’s Oracle and Demonic Consultation builds are worthy contenders for top spots, but I also know that other cards will be printed and a new normal will be set. Commander still evolves over time just like all the other formats of the game, so the new meta could be something else if they finally find a way to dethrone the partner commanders. Power creep is also a hot topic, and many people in the community think its on the rise, so its undoubtedly going to happen in the future.