Alternate Ban List

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on April 11, 2023, 1:01 p.m. by DrukenReaps

I've never really been a fan of the ban list used for commander. I don't think it addresses potential problem cards the right way. There's always going to be a new problem card printed. I also think there's cards stuck on there that use to be scary and just aren't now. Like when Worldfire came off and no one really cared lol. So I wanted to just go through the mental exercise of designing a new ban list. First thing is I wanted to bring back the old "banned as commander" and therefore have 2 ban lists. The argument I heard most against this is that it's complicated but we play the most complex deck design game in MTG. I think people can handle 2 ban lists. For the banned from the 99 part of the list I was thinking I'd focus on fast tutors and fast mana. Like I said there will always be more problem cards. Many that aren't banned are arguably stronger than banned ones currently. For example Godo, Bandit Warlord + Helm of the Host is arguably easier and more consistent than Cromat + Coalition Victory.

So here are the 2 lists, they do not contain everything. Just wanted to start the idea and see people's thoughts.

Banned as Commander- Braids, Cabal Minion Emrakul, the Aeons Torn Griselbrand Iona, Shield of Emeria Leovold, Emissary of Trest

Banned from the 99- Mox Emerald Mox Jet Mox Pearl Mox Ruby Mox Sapphire Black Lotus Channel Sol Ring Mana Crypt Mana Vault Worldly Tutor Enlightened Tutor Personal Tutor Vampiric Tutor Demonic Tutor Mystical Tutor

I would also simply declare that Companion doesn't work in Commander. So you can play your Lutri, the Spellchaser if you so desire. I think this mechanic as a whole was poorly thought out and poorly tested, hence the changes and bans across multiple formats.

Tsukimi says... #2

Listen I love Prophet of Kruphix maybe more than any mtg another mtg card ever, but she should be banned lol.

April 11, 2023 1:52 p.m.

Griselbrand's power level doesn't just come from its potential as a commander; rather, it's just a value card that can come down at any moment, usually in reanimator decks, and draw out to a wincon consistently.

It does interest me how you banned Personal Tutor, given its relative weakness to even tutors like Gamble or Imperial Seal.

April 11, 2023 2:14 p.m.

Abaques says... #4

I agree with your overall philosophy as being better for the format. I do think that 'banned as commander' as a concept will end up being overly complicated so I'd just maintain one ban list as I think that's a lot better for new players.

April 11, 2023 2:40 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #5

TheOfficialCreator and sean360 the idea here is to remove the consistency and speed of problem cards as I think there is always another problem card that is easier and stronger than the last one. Not so much to remove the problem cards themselves.

I would add gamble and imperial seal among others to the list.

April 11, 2023 2:53 p.m. Edited.

Tsukimi says... #6

DrukenReaps Gotcha. As someone who plays more mid power level decks, this looks more like a cEDH banlist to me? But maybe that's just because of my power level

April 11, 2023 2:56 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #7

Abaques I suppose I could go either way with banned as commander. It was part of the rules when I started and I thought one of the simpler parts tbh. Allows the removal of things that would be too consistent and too strong without their complete removal from the game. Though I can see where it's yet another rule on top of a mountain of rules lol.

sean360 My table is pretty casual but we see a number of these cards too. I think the ones here that show up on a casual table are worse there than when at a competitive table. Like everyone has Sol Ring but when you're the only player that didn't play it in the first few turns... that can be pretty ugh xD or vice versa lol.

The Iona, Shield of Emeria and Leovold, Emissary of Trest when they weren't banned showed up for a bit too at my table. I think they are in that area where I don't want to see them every game but seeing them is fine. Like are they actually worse than me pulling out one of my two card combos on turn 5/6? (Which with a ban list like this those combos are slowed down, maybe turn 8.)

I do wonder if there's potential for this philosophy for bannings to weaken certain colors too much? Like this nails my best ramp for Kozilek, the Great Distortion and should neuter black in general, given that color has many of the strongest tutors. The question also comes to my mind about cards in green like Rampant Growth. If fast mana is going, does that count?

April 11, 2023 3:26 p.m.

Abaques says... #8

Regarding fast mana, I think that removing 0 and 1 mana cost ramp that sticks around (nobody's complaining about Lotus Petal) and that can be used the turn it was played (without using some other effect) and that doesn't require expending another significant resource (such as Mox Diamond) is probably the best and possibly the only realistic way to scope fast mana out of the format. That would leave Llanowar Elves and Nature's Lore intake but the impact of those forms of ramp is much less than Sol Ring. You'd also need a much larger list with much more complicated criteria if you wanted to expand the fast mana ban beyond that. So in essence, I think that you've got just about all the cards that should be banned already listed.

April 11, 2023 3:56 p.m.

legendofa says... #9

For "fast mana," the best division I've seen is mana-positive, which immediately and repeatedly provides more resources than what was used to cast it by itself (Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, etc.) and mana-neutral and mana-negative, which is either single use (Lotus Petal), delayed (Rampant Growth), doesn't produce more mana than was spent to cast it (Chromatic Lantern), or some combination of the above (Llanowar Elves). Of course, all this assumes that the cards are being used individually, and not as part of a combo.

April 11, 2023 5:40 p.m.

Yisan says... #10

You had me right up till you banned sol ring...... that being said sol ring is a small price to pay to be able to play with rofellos and primeval titan so I'm in

April 11, 2023 8:33 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #11

Reintroducing Banned as Commander would be a solid addition to the game. They also should utilise “Banned as Companion” since that is a more elegant fix than simply declaring an entire ability does not work.

Your “banned in the 99” discussion, however, betrays a lack of knowledge of how the current banlist operates - something that is pretty important to both understand and address if you are proposing something new.

The Rules Committee has two primary reasons for banning a card - the card does not function well with the rules of Commander (usually cards that do not work well in multiplayer or interact weirdly with colour identity) or the card provides such value it would appear in every single deck which could run it. Coalition Victory, for example, falls into the former category, not the latter - it is not banned for its power, but because of how it interacts with the rules of the specific format.

Ignoring that first category is a massive failing in your proposed banlist. It means you miss out on Iona, Shield of Emeria (which can lock entire players out of the game due to colour identity restrictions), Hullbreacher (which functions poorly with multiplayer and the prevalence of wheels), Trade Secrets (which, in multiplayer, allows two players to conspire in a way that leaves the others at an incredible disadvantage), etc.

Now, the argument can be made that fast mana and tutors fall into the second category of “are an auto include in any decks that run them” (or would be if price was not a factor). But that discussion only has value if you also realise there are other format-specific reasons to ban cards, and it is rather difficult to take your proposal seriously when it seems to exhibit lack of knowledge on format design.

April 12, 2023 8:38 a.m.

shadow63 says... #12

Emrakul being banned as a commander but ok in the 99 is kinda funny to me. It seems much more problematic in the 99 then at the helm of a deck. But I do wish they would bring back banned as commander. I never understood the argument of it being too complex or confusing. Magic is a confusing and complex game.

April 12, 2023 2:09 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #13

Caerwyn A number of these things is why I'm just spitballing the idea of this here. Obviously Falling Star and Chaos Orb need to be on my list and they aren't xD There are cards which just don't belong in a game like this. Looking at you Ante...

For Coalition Victory I see little reason for confusion over it referencing a creature's colors rather than identity. We have many cards that reference color all over the place with Bloom Tender and Sisay, Weatherlight Captain to name a few. All the devotion gods. To add to that we also have cards referencing identity with Commander's Plate. These are cards which often see play and I've never once seen anyone confuse a card's colors with the card's color identity.

Iona in the 99 doesn't feel like any more of a major issue to me than Void Winnower. I've played with and against Void Winnower and it has the same result more often than not of Iona. Frankly Void Winnower can be meaner, since it always hits every opponent. There are a number of these hefty lock pieces that come down and then everyone at the table groans or people even concede. I played against Iona when she was legal and I do see with Painter's Servant she has even more potential. I just see other cards that are just as effective and "unfun" not banned.

April 12, 2023 4:05 p.m. Edited.

Caerwyn says... #14

Starting with the easier question, you are simply wrong about Iona, Shield of Emeria versus Void Winnower. Void Winnower is a symmetrical effect which hits everyone on the battlefield. Iona, on the other hand, has a really, really problematic interaction with the Colour Identity rules--you can play an Iona and basically force a mono-colored player into "Draw, Pass" for the rest of the game.

It has nothing to do with how "unfun" she is as a card. Rather, the specific rules of Commander interact poorly with Iona--Iona becomes a problem regardless of what zone she is in because a player can use her to weaponize Commander's rules in a way no other card really allows.

Coalition Victory is a bit of a holdover case, but the same basic idea--you can weaponize "always have 5 colors worth of permanents ready to be cast" to eliminate the challenge of fulfilling one element of the card's victory condition. Unlike other combos, where you have to still combine abilities, all Coalition Victory cares about is "hey, did you happen to play a five color commander? If you do, no reason not to include this card also."

That is the problem you ignored and are still ignoring--Commander has fundamentally different rules which create fundamentally different problems other formats lack. That is something that should be taken into account when making a banlist--and is something you simply did not.

April 12, 2023 4:22 p.m.

Niko9 says... #15

I really think these list look great, and the best part of it is the consistency. The banlist has been done piecewise over a long period of time and doesn't have a very well rounded perspective (which is totally to be expected) but your list looks much more cohesive. Mana Crypt in particular always kind of bugs me, because it's one of those, the price is the only reason to not play it cards, and that's always kind of a gross space to play in.

I don't know, I'd play it : )

April 13, 2023 7:20 p.m.

hejtmane says... #16

You are flat out wrong about Griselbrand no one runs him as the commander if you want to ever understand how broken he is watch some no ban list EDH they fight over reanimating him you just Entomb him reanimate him win game this is a 40 life format

April 15, 2023 5:43 a.m.

Please login to comment