What mechanics should return for Commander 2018?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Feb. 8, 2018, 2:39 a.m. by HangDoll

Many people are talking about reprints or themes for the next product. But I feel mechanics could be a really interesting topic to discuss. Since new colors could get mechanics they previously didn't have access to or just a stronger selection of of cards with that mechanic that are also higher quality. There are some mechanics I'll exclude from my personal list since I feel some mechanics would be better served in a future set rather than a supplemental product. Such as Flash back or Split second which I feel would be far better in constructed.

With that said, I'll give you my 10 mechanics I'd love to see and after you tell me yours. Do you share some of mine? do you have other's you'd like to see? let me know.

  1. Populate: This mechanic I personally feel gets forgotten a bit too often. I haven't seen anyone use the mechanic in years and considering how great it combos with mechanics like embalm and eternalize its a real shame that the pool of cards for this mechanic is so limited. This is partly the fault of the way Return to Ravnica was set up but its still been a long while since we've seen this mechanic. I'd love to see an artifact that populates or it even being given to another color. Even if it stays firmly in that is fine by me. But this mechanic defiantly needs some more love.

  2. Suspend: Time Spiral was one of those blocks that just made me fall back in love with magic. its a hard set to explain to new players, since it was just such a weird one. And suspend isn't exactly the most friendly of mechanics to new players. But it is a very good tool to teach players how the phases work. And it does teach them how to sequence their plays. I would love to see more cards with suspend as the delayed play it gives is extremely engaging for the player and a play group who is just sitting there watching the time counters tick down.

  3. Dredge: Okay okay! I get that this mechanic is just absolute filth in any format its allowed in. But this is a mechanic that I love. I have run dredge cards in multiple decks and seeing new cards would make me rather happy. Especially if we got this mechanic shifted to in the color pie. I feel that one or two cards with this mechanic in a commander product would be great to add new life to the play style since they sure as hell aren't going to ever print dredge in standard ever again.

  4. Exploit: Another mechanic that is under represented. Exploit has a grand total of 10 cards associated with it but has some great game play involved. Although most the time the right choice is to exploit a creature there are times when it isn't. The versatility and choice makes this mechanic a fun one to use and one I could see the Orzhov taking full advantage off. Although a few of them are played, most notably Sidisi, Undead Vizier it is a great mechanic that would be a fun inclusion in the 2018 precons.

  5. Embalm/Eternalize: I know that these two mechanics are fairly recent inclusions in the game. And I am cheating a bit by including them both as one. But i don't feel their different enough to take up 2 slots on my list and they're honestly interchangeable for me. I really love being able to get a second use out of something. And commander thrives on mechanics like these. This mechanic is pretty much the creature version of one of many player's favorite mechanic, Flashback. And I feel that these two mechanics deserve more spot light. If one is picked over the other I don't mind. More Embalm or more Eternalize, Great! I love this mechanic and want to see more of it.

  6. Landfall: I like playing lands. I really like lands as a whole. And having abilities trigger on lands entering the battlefield has made flooding out an experience that can actually be enjoyable rather than disheartening. Its a mechanic that deserves more spotlight than it already has gotten.

  7. Overload: Yes yes Cyclonic Rift... I know. But you have to admit that this mechanic is fun to use. Overload is one of those mechanics that I feel needs to bleed into other colors. A Path to Exile to exile all creatures and possible fix mana, a Black Edict with overload or a green +3/+3 to target creature you control as a potential over run would be really fun to see. Maybe I'm just a filthy degenerate, But I personally would like to see a overload version of Duress... I feel its honestly a mechanic that should be available to more colors.

  8. Myriad: This was a mechanic I didn't get to play with much, but I do love the idea of it. I'd like to see it return in the new product with more new cards. I feel experiencing it could be a lot of fun.

  9. Experience: Meren of Clan Nel Toth is one of the most popular commanders I have ever seen. Of the people I know I've seen probably at least 20 different decks with her in it. And who can blame them? Experience was a cool mechanic. One that I'd like to see more of and on new cards.

  10. Partner: And the last mechanic I'd like to see is the Partner mechanic. I don't think we need the commanders to be partner commanders this time around, but I would enjoy seeing some mono colored partners that maybe have really specific niches. The first partner commanders are cool, but they were really watered down for the most part. Aside from some notable acceptations. I feel with mono color partners we could see something a bit more interesting.

Anyway. Tell me what you think. Do you want to see these to? Have others I didn't list? Want to see flash back in Dominaria, the new core set, commander, and just everywhere? let me know.

SteelSentry says... #2

Banding.

I know it's far out there, but we did see a card with phasing in the last Commander set, which people would have called me crazy for saying. Maybe something like Defensive Formation.

February 8, 2018 2:50 a.m.

HangDoll says... #3

Thats why i put dredge on my list. I want blue dredge cards.

February 8, 2018 2:55 a.m.

Cybersix says... #4

I'd like to see:1. Suspend2. Processing: I remove your card from exile to..to..er..get some +1/+1 counters..?3. Ninjutsu, even if under another name.

In general, I'd love to see ways to manipulate out of game counters like experience, infect, etc, especially ways to reduce or transfer/steal them i.e. "pay X, remove X infect counters", or "pay cost: remove X target experience counters from target player, for each of those counters removed, McGuffin the Magnificent gains an Experience Counter."

Fun Idea for a Mechanic: Brags. Similar to Elbruz, the Binding Blade's ability to give you something everytime you kill a player, a 'Brag' would work like this.

Card Type: Instant. Pay cost. If you win the game this turn, in your next game of Magic the Gathering, when facing the same opponent/opponents, put into play a (one CMC enchantment token) named (Brag-spell's name goes here, something suitably boastful) at the start of your first turn. The 'Brag' spell has some extremely limited effect depending on where it falls in the colour pie, example Green sacrifice this token to put a +1/+1 counter on target creature til end of turn or something similarly weak. The idea being that if you actually have to sac and use your BRAG, the LOSS OF FACE is immeasurable :)

February 8, 2018 4:22 a.m.

Constellation. It was such a good idea for a mechanic that just doesn't have enough support to be played - basically only Doomwake Giant and Eidolon of Blossoms were really good, with a handful of ok secondaries like Grim Guardian and Agent of Erebos.

February 8, 2018 4:29 a.m.

BS-T says... #6

I'd like to see more Emerge, there were too few of these in SOI and its got lovely flavour.

Very much agree with you on numbers 5-10, an overloaded Duress would rock!

February 8, 2018 5:33 a.m.

lukas96 says... #7

some pretty fun ideas. But you have to keep in Mind that those cards will become legacy and vintage legal. Im pretty sure Blue dredge cards will make those formats go absolutely crazy.

February 8, 2018 5:44 a.m.

cdkime says... #8

I agree with SteelSentry's suggestion of banding, though I know it is a bit of an unpopular one (most people I've talked to about my desire for banding's return either roll their eyes, complain about how wordy the rules text is, or ask "what the heck is banding?").

Currently, there are two legendary creatures with Banding-based abilities, neither of which is viable in commander. Ayesha Tanaka is a measly 2/2 with an extremely poor ability (especially in multiplayer), which still costs you 4 coloured mana. Soraya the Falconer's ability to give others banding is nice, but mono-white birds are a terrible tribe--the vast majority of them are older cards, and are incredibly poorly costed for what you receive. Further, very few, if any, of these creatures really benefit from banding.

Now, why banding?

On defense, banding is extremely powerful, and provides a hard stop to creatures with trample (if the defending player blocks a creature with banding, they can choose to assign all damage to their creature, rather than have some trample over. A 1/1 with banding can block the totality of a 500/500 trample creature's damage).

But on offense is where it gets fun. For example: Breaker of Armies + Banding gifted to it by the commander + Stuffy Doll = all your other creatures successfully do damage; you assign all their blocker's damage to an indestructible creature; you reflect the blocker's damage back on target player.

February 8, 2018 9:05 a.m.

Mj3913 says... #9

I agree that partners/experience could be explored more. Also Eminence even though they just did it. Flashback is also useful in EDH being a singleton format.

February 8, 2018 9:38 a.m.

Gleeock says... #10

Some good ideas, but I can't agree on "dredge" - that mechanic is already a multi-format cancer. WoTC is already trying a concentrated effort to not make blue the best at everything, an idea that they are finally embracing. I think giving blue more dredge would really crumble any attempt at color parity that WoTC has finally refocused on establishing.

LOVE "myriad" & love "partner" though. They should probably keep focusing on underutilized mechanics this time around instead of spitballing a bunch of new stuff.

For me.... "Cipher". That mechanic ruled! I love Stolen Identity

The other is "Council's dilemma" Selvala's Stampede

February 8, 2018 9:42 a.m.

11hrr says... #11

vehicles that give creatures horsemanship

February 8, 2018 10:10 a.m.

I absolutely want more partners. I feel like it was an interesting mechanic that was only hindered by limited selection. Just a handful of additional Partner cards would dramatically increase the selection options for existing Partner cards.

As it stands we have an unequal number of partners in each color combination, with 2 of each opposed 2-color combination, and only 1 of each allied color combination. Even if we just got 1 additional of each allied combination, putting us at 2 of each 2-color, that'd be 20 total Partners, and way more options for Partnering and netting various color combinations.

February 8, 2018 3:42 p.m.

(Too late to edit post, gah)

To put some math to that, with our current 15 Partner cards, there are 105 possible combinations. With just 5 more added in to equalize the colors, that number jumps to 190 possible combinations.

February 8, 2018 3:49 p.m.

K34 says... #14

I'd like to see threshold make a comeback. Paired with madness in a graveyard oriented precon.

February 8, 2018 4:07 p.m.

HangDoll says... #15

I'm going to defend Dredge.

So dredge isn't that threatening in commander. Its good, but its not what breaks the dredge decks. Hermit Druid is. The dredge cards are good, but without the druid those decks couldn't combo off nearly as easily. Plus a blue dredge card wouldn't be that bad at dredge 2-3. Especially if it wasn't a creature card. So would it really break Legacy? Not likely. The dredge decks of those formats don't use all dredgers just to use dredgers. I mean, how often do you see Grave-Shell Scarab getting used?

February 8, 2018 6:56 p.m.

HangDoll says... #16

Actually.. I'm more surprised people aren't objecting to Overload since that is far more of a problematic mechanic in Commander than Dredge.

February 8, 2018 6:59 p.m.

Suns_Champion says... #17

Overload is fine if you have the right balance. The only overload card I ever really see is Cyclonic Rift so as long as they keep it under that "oh hey I win the game now" status it'll be fine.

I want to see more partner and eminence. Also Battalion, my fav boros mechanic, but suited for multiplayer.

February 8, 2018 7:33 p.m.

HangDoll says... #18

Partner is great. We need mono Partners. I think they'd be fun.

Overload Duress though.. Would that be too much? I personally want this in my life.

February 8, 2018 8:57 p.m.

SteelSentry says... #19

The way Duress is worded, you would take one card from each person's hand, which doesn't seem terribly broken depending on mana cost. It would be irrelevant in 1v1 as well, so they wouldn't have to test for legacy or vintage either.

February 8, 2018 9:04 p.m.

SteelSentry That's actually perfect imo. Commander is designed around multiplayer, and being able to Duress everybody else at the table at once would be hella value.

February 8, 2018 9:35 p.m.

HangDoll says... #21

Oh, honey.

I know how it's worded. But duress gives you a lot of information. And seeing everyone's hand and usually taking their best thing? That's pretty brutal. I feel 2 mana for its normal cost and 5 for overload cost would he reasonable.

As for a blue dredge card? I would say 2 mana, counter target activated or triggered ability. Dredge 3. I feel there isn't enough ways to deal with triggered and activated abilities so having something like this would be good. It would also be a staple in dralnu. There are blue effects that should never be on dredge though. Counter target spell, draw a card and bounce target permanent are bad things to put on dredge since those would either combo with itself or be degenerate like capsize or forbid is. Potentially worse. But say a little 1/1 flying faerie with flash and dredge 4? Would that he too much? Of course I'd like at least one good one like a dredge clone... But that might be too good. Especially if it was body double with dredge... I'm sorry I started salivating from the idea...

February 8, 2018 11:56 p.m.

SteelSentry says... #22

I don't know if we need more ways to counter abilities, least of all in who should be getting rid of the permanent before it hits the field (aside from cast triggers, which I also have a problem with). I feel like those effects bog down the game and make it complex in a bad way. I would argue that draw and dredge might be cool, I like the idea of a spell that is 1 or 2 cmc that just cantrips and has dredge.

Overload would be cool to bring back, especially seeing it in other colors, but I was wondering how interesting a card with overload that becomes symmetrical would be rather than only hitting things you don't control, like a black kill spell that becomes a wrath when overloaded. It might also help the power level considerations when designing it (ex. if Cyclonic Rift was a panic button that gave you an advantage rather than just being an "I win" button)

February 9, 2018 1:11 a.m.

HangDoll says... #23

I like counter ability spells but they're often too much of a disadvantage. Counter target ability means you get a 0 for 1 with is just a feel bad moment. But if it's repeatable it gets a lot better. Cantrips are dangerous. Those can trigger a dredge chain. I know because I use them to do just that. I think scrying on dredge would be okay though. Scry 3 dredge 2. Attach it to the flash faerie. :p

February 9, 2018 2:01 a.m.

lukas96 says... #24

Counter activated ability with dredge?

Well that one would defenitely destroy legacacy.

Blue is already a very powerfull color in old formats and you defenitely dont want it to have dredge.

Cantrip with dredge?Sure give reanimator decks a way to fill there graveyards. They would even loose their drawdtep because its a cantrip.

Counter activated abilities?Sure by by fethlands and wasteland, that would be rediculous sorry guys.

You simply dont want to give blue more cardadvantage as it already has.

Dredge is a 10 at the stormscale idicating that rnd hates it. They will never print it again. For good reasons the mechanic is too brocken.

February 9, 2018 4:36 a.m.

MagicalHacker says... #25

For me, commanders based on Storm, World Enchantments, Clash, Cipher, Miracle, Manifest, Living Weapon, Overload, Bestow, and Curses could be cool considering the low likelihood of those mechanics being used in future sets.

A few abilities for commanders:


When ~ enters the battlefield, the next spell you cast this turn gains storm as you cast it.


At the beginning of your upkeep, you may return a World Enchantment from your graveyard to the battlefield.


At the beginning of your upkeep, clash with an opponent. If you win, you may cast the card you revealed this way without paying its mana cost.


As you cast the first spell you cast each turn, if its an instant or sorcery card, it gains cipher.


When ~ enters the battlefield, name an instant or sorcery card.

Cards you own with the chosen name have Miracle .


Whenever you cast a spell, manifest the top card of your library.


Equipped Germ creatures you control have +1/+1.

Equipment you control have Living Weapon.


Instants and Sorcery cards you own have Overload. The Overload costs are equal to twice the mana cost of the card. (Mana costs include color.)


Creature cards you own have Bestow. The Bestow costs are equal to twice the mana cost of the card. (Mana costs include color.)

As Auras with Bestow enter the battlefield, they lose all abilities, enchanted creature gains all those abilities, and enchanted creature has +X/+Y, where X is the aura's power and Y is the aura's toughness.


When ~ enters the battlefield, reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal X curses, where X is the number of opponents you have. Enchant a different opponent with each curse revealed this way.

February 9, 2018 7:36 a.m.

lukas96 says... #26

Dude that overload ability would be way to strong.

Vandalblast two mana destroy all artifacts you dont control

Cyclonic Rift for 4 mana?

But even Path to Exile two mana exile all creatures.

It wouldnt even work with all instants and sorceries because not all of them have targets.

However I like the idea with world enchantments.

February 9, 2018 8:05 a.m.

HangDoll says... #27

Well. Phasing is a 9 on the storm scale and we got one card with that last time. Honestly, I only think its a problem if its in a set. A supplemental product? No. Suspend is also an 8 on the storm scale. And these abilities have been put into supplemental products, even if it wasn't new cards. And Looking over legacy decks I don't see how it would negatively impact the format. Sure, stopping a delver flip or Jace activation. But are they really going to continually mill themselves out to stop a single ability? Is Stifle played outside of fringe decks? would buyback or dredge really over power stifle? Honestly. It doesn't matter to me. If its a problem they can always ban it. But the commander cards that show up in legacy haven't broken the format yet, so I doubt new dredge cards can do it.

February 9, 2018 8:18 a.m.

HangDoll says... #28

Giving everything Overload makes me think of Vindicate and how unfun that would be.

February 9, 2018 8:23 a.m.

HangDoll says... #29

Also. Wording problem. Cackling Counterpart with overload. Create a token that's a copy of each creature. LOL! its an amalgamated mess!

February 9, 2018 8:31 a.m.

MagicalHacker says... #30

lukas96, there are a few knobs to tweak, like the multiplier for the overload cost (three times, four times, etc.), the mana cost for the commander, turning the ability into an activated ability, changing the cost for said activated ability, giving it only to the first/next spell cast, etc.

That kind of thing could be balanced, so the ability itself is not impossibly over-powered.

HangDoll, I wonder if they would change the wording to something like "Choose target creature. Create a token copy of it." if something gave that spell Overload...

OR I'd be fine with some kind of amalgamation. If they created another spell that said "Create a token that's a copy of up to two target creatures you control. (Permanents that are copies of multiple other permanents have all text of all permanents copied this way, adding when necessary, such as for mana cost, power, toughness, and loyalty.)", that would also provide an explanation for how it would work...

February 9, 2018 8:53 a.m.

Vindicate overload for like 3x cost I don't feel like would be unfun. It'd just be Planar Cleansing and Armageddon at once for which is a preposterous cost. At I could see that being a bit crazy, but even then, not entirely oppressive.

Thing is, a lot of cards are not written for Overload, which would actually keep the mechanic in check. The actual Overload cards that were printed, like Mizzium Mortars specify "creature you don't control", or vice versa. Overload Murder would not be Plague Wind, it would be Day of Judgment.

Now, some cards might be silly or heavily exploitable due to their restrictions, depending on the cost. Like say, Go for the Throat or Doom Blade. And this is just on the topic of Removal, but for "Destroy all nonblack creatures" or "destroy all nonartifact creatures" would be a bit crazy.

February 9, 2018 2:51 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #32

I am super interested in more cards like Cackling Counterpart that don't actually mix well with Overload.

The main reason I'm not too worried about the interaction of Vindicate-like effects with it is because the ability would likely be put on a commander that is not white, black, or green, but rather just izzet. That said, I would be worried about Chaos Warp. That does not sound like a fun card.

February 9, 2018 4:57 p.m.

Well an Overloaded Chaos Warp would basically just be Warp World, and last I checked that's EDH legal. If it was triple cost, it'd just be an overpriced version at that.

February 9, 2018 6:08 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #34

Except each player only reveals 1 card.

February 9, 2018 6:15 p.m.

HangDoll says... #35

So even at 3x, Boomerang would still be a Upheaval at instant speed which is banned from the format. I personally feel that giving everything overload would be a bad idea. I'd like to just see the mechanic on new cards without having a card give it to everything. Overload isn't really a safe mechanic to just hand out to everything.

An overloaded Rise from the Grave would be fun to use. Normally reanimates a creature but overload you get each creature and they're all zombies. Zombie decks would enjoy that.

Personally, I want Overload Duress and or Blightning. Those types of cards that tend to do poorly in our format as opposed to spells that do really well.

February 9, 2018 6:22 p.m.

Oh yeah actually that's true. My bad. I guess that'd be fucky then. I'm still not sure that'd be hideously broken, especially if it's 9 mana. Exploitable? Yeah for sure. Broken? I'd have to give it extensive playtesting to know for sure.

February 9, 2018 6:22 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #37

Yes, 3x costing Boomerang/Eye of Nowhere/AEther Tradewinds/Capsize/Consign to Dream/Crosis's Charm/Grixis Charm/Recoil/Regress/Rescind/Resounding Wave/Wipe Away mean that either the ability is too powerful or can't go on a commander with blue. But that's not even the worst of it, as there are more wording problems... How would Aether Gale even work with overload?!

February 10, 2018 9:56 a.m.

lukas96 says... #38

Even if its not on a blue commanderBut that thing into a 5color deck and play cromat as general.

Color doesnt balance a card like this.

February 10, 2018 11:15 a.m.

cdkime says... #39

I think the ability to make any spell overloaded creates far too many issues due to the wording of many spells. Rather, I think an overload-based deck should contain a number of new overload spells, and a commander that plays well with them.

Something like:

Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, put a charge counter on ~.

Remove X charge counters from ~. For each charge counter removed, add one mana of any colour to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast instant or sorcery spells. If five or more counters are removed, that spell cannot be countered.

(This has some balancing issues, but was just a quick example).

February 10, 2018 12:17 p.m.

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