How to make new 2-color partner commanders without expanding the number of 4-color pairings.

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Sept. 2, 2021, 11:37 p.m. by StopShot

The Problem

Commander Legends brought us single color commanders increasing the number of 2-color and 3-color partner pairings in the format; it was a move to expand upon a popular mechanic without increasing the number of 4-color pairings. 4-color pairings being problematic when you have two commanders with access to nearly every card in the game due to a lenient 4-color restriction.

While 1-color partners worked well for 2-color pairings, this solution is not nearly desirable for 3-color pairings as any new 3-color pairing must include a dual color commander from the Commander 2016 product, a small set of 15 cards which can restrict creativity behind the otherwise creativity-inspiring mechanic Partner.

Of course, adding more 2-color partner commanders would help expand upon the number of 3-color pairings, but it would also expand upon the number of 4-color pairings as well, so some sort of change needs to be made in order for new dual-color partners to be made. I believe I have a solution by proposing a new Partner variation if there would ever be a Commander Legends II.

My Solution

"Partners with {{Color}} and {{Color}}." (You can have a second commander with Partner if either listed color is matched. Matched listings will include that color in this card's color identity.) - More on that last sentence later but for now disregard it.

In other words, each new dual-color partner commander can partner with another partner commander so long as that second partner either matches with a color that's listed on the first one, or if both partner commanders list the same color that they can partner with. It's easier to understand by example.

Let's say I have a Red-White Partner commander. This Red-White Partner commander is going to have the text, "Partners with Red and White." This means my Red-White Partner commander can only be paired with another Partner commander that has either Red or White in its color identity or if the other Partner commander states it Partners with either Red or White (or both). So if I wanted to build a Red-White-Blue pairing I would want to find a Partner commander that has Blue and Red in its color identity or Blue and White in its color identity. Additionally, any Mono-Blue Partner commander that states, "Partners with White" or "Partners with Red" could also form the desired 3-color pairing as both cards would fulfill the other ones requirements by only needing to match a single color listing.

It should be noted that if a Mono-Blue partner commander with, "Partners with Red" is paired with our Red-White Commander, then the color Red will be added to the Mono-Blue commander's color identity and likewise with White if the Mono-Blue Partner commander has, "Partners with White." (As noted in the reminder text - "Matched listings will include that color in this card's color identity.")

But does this still allow 4-color pairings?

Yes, if you allow any mono-color or dual-color partner commander to partner with any possible combination of colors you would end up with possible 4-color pairings, but that's only if you don't set limitations when designing the cards in the first place. So can limits be set in the card design stage to disallow 4-color pairings while still leaving 3-color pairings on the table? Yes.

Here are all the possible partner color-restrictions for Mono-Colored and Dual-Colored Partner commanders: (20)

Mono-White - Partners with Green and Blue

Mono-White - Partners with Black and Red

Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

Mono-Black - Partners with Blue and Red

Mono-Black - Partners with Green and White

Mono-Red - Partners with Black and Green

Mono-Red - Partners with White and Blue

Mono-Green - Partners with Red and White

Mono-Green - Partners with Blue and Black

White-Blue - Partners with White and Blue

White-Black - Partners with White and Black

Blue-Black - Partners with Blue and Black

Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red

Black-Red - Partners with Black and Red

Black-Green - Partners with Black and Green

Red-Green - Partners with Red and Green

Red-White - Partners with Red and White

Green-White - Partners with Green and White

Green-Blue - Partners with Green and Blue

So long as the card design sticks to these parameters it is impossible for any two of these cards listed to form a legal 4-color pairing. The same is true if any one of these cards is paired with another partner commander that doesn't contain any color restrictions such as if paired with any of the Commander 2016 Partner commanders.

How flexible is the 3-color pairing customization?

3-color pairings are highly flexible even under the selection of 20 listed above. All the possible ways you can build a 3-color pairing might not seem obvious at first, so in order to reveal the scope of interchangeability I'll be presenting all the different card combinations that can form a given shard color-pairing and a given wedge color-pairing using Esper () and Temur () as examples.


Possible Esper Partner Pairings - (12)

1.) White-Blue - Partners with White and Blue

+ White-Black - Partners with White and Black

2.) White-Blue - Partners with White and Blue

+ Blue-Black - Partners with Blue and Black

3.) White-Black - Partners with White and Black

+ Blue-Black - Partners with Blue and Black

4.) Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

+ White-Black - Partners with White and Black

5.) Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

+ Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

6.) Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

+ Mono-White - Partners with Black and Red

7.) Mono-Blue - Partners with White and Black

+ Mono-Black - Partners with Green and White

8.) Mono-White - Partners with Green and Blue

+ Mono-Black - Partners with Blue and Red

9.) White-Blue - Partners with White and Blue

+ Mono-Black - Partners with Blue and Red

10.) White-Blue - Partners with White and Blue

+ Mono-Black - Partners with Green and White

11.) Blue-Black - Partners with Blue and Black

+ Mono-White - Partners with Green and Blue

12.) Blue-Black - Partners with Blue and Black

+ Mono-White - Partners with Black and Red


Possible Temur Partner Pairings - (12)

1.) Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red

+ Red-Green - Partners with Red and Green

2.) Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red

+ Green-Blue - Partners with Green and Blue

3.) Red-Green - Partners with Red and Green

+ Green-Blue - Partners with Green and Blue

4.) Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

+ Red-Green - Partners with Red and Green

5.) Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

+ Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

6.) Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

+ Mono-Red - Partners with Black and Green

7.) Mono-Blue - Partners with Red and Green

+ Mono-Green - Partners with Red and White

8.) Mono-Red - Partners with White and Blue

+ Mono-Green - Partners with Blue and Black

9.) Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red

+ Mono-Green - Partners with Red and White

10.) Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red

+ Mono-Green - Partners with Blue and Black

11.) Green-Blue - Partners with Green and Blue

+ Mono-Red - Partners with Black and Green

12.) Green-Blue - Partners with Green and Blue

+ Mono-Red - Partners with White and Blue

As you can see these set color limitations still provide high flexibility in terms of partner commander combinations for any given 3-color deck you'd like to build. Personally, I think its better than sticking to mono-colored partner commanders that need to use one of the Commander 2016 Partner commanders to build your 3-color commander deck.

These limitations make drafting more inconsistent!

In terms of drafting your own commander deck you don't need to use hard math or calculate probability odds to know drafting a specific 3-color combination will be much more inconsistent than if you were drafting a 2-color deck in Commander Legends. And if you were to draft from my initial set of 20 you could even run the possibility of drafting two incompatible partner commanders such as "Blue-Red - Partners with Blue and Red" with "Mono-Black - Partners with Green and White" if you were incredibly unlucky.

But when it came to improving the drafting inconsistencies of Commander Legends the design team made The Prismatic Piper and gave it an abnormally high pull rate so that players could feel more confident making draft picks in certain colors even if they lacked a better partner commander for it. Unfortunately The Prismatic Piper wouldn't be able to fix the 3-color inconsistency problems in this draft environment, but that's not to say a similar solution could be introduced to remedy the drafting problems.

My drafting solution is to take The Prismatic Piper and split it into 5 separate cards to fill in its own high draw rate. The following colors would read just like the white variant with their own color substituting wherever white is referenced. "CMC: 3W - Legendary Creature - If {{this creature}} is your commander, choose a color before the game begins, {{this creature}} is white and the chosen color. - Partners with white and the chosen color." Because the commander has one color always attached to it you could even give it some keyword abilities related to that color as well to make it feel less like a placeholder commander. Most importantly these cards would also prevent 4-color partner combinations and can be used with each other to make 3-color commander identities if needed by having the shared chosen color be whichever of the three colors is missing.

If these extra five card variants were added to the initial set of 20 then the number of combinations needed to run any 3-color combination would increase from 12 to 34 providing even more flexibility in a limited draft environment.

Conclusion? Way too much to read!

If this was a heavy read, I apologize. The concept itself is simple, stick to the listed color limitations in the card design stage and all the player needs to worry about is just matching a single color between two commanders. That sentence alone explains how it would be designed and how it would work. It's the why it should be designed that way and the why it really works that way that makes up the long and droning ramble. Players only care about how to play the cards more than why the cards are as they are. The why is the thesis paper but the how is a simple tweak to the partner mechanic that only demands the player to know how to match colors.

And the premise - to provide better flexibility on making 3-color combinations with partner commanders without ever expanding the pool of 4-color partner combinations to do so. Does my solution meet up to that? Short answer: What I have does that. Long answer: Forcing 2-color pairs to only be compatible if they share a color in common means the greatest number of colors you can be left with is 3, but if you make that restriction too tight you reduce the number of card combinations that can make up any given color-combination. So I designed this concept to be loose enough to provide a high interchangeability of partner options while making it just tight enough from allowing 4-color pairings. Its why my pairing options list 12 instead of 3 for any triple-color combination, because Partner as a mechanic is beloved for its high interchangeability and that was an aspect I wanted to maintain while providing a fix to its current problem. The 15 Partner cards printed in Commander 2016 shouldn't be a restricting force to making 3-color partner combinations and we can solve this problem without adding more 4-color partner pairings with my idea.

Edit: Wrote down the wrong magic product in a sentence. Edited for clarity.

As interesting as this concept is, I don't think it's necessary. A 2C partner isn't innately broken by having that virtue--if that were the case, all the C16 partners would be busted.

All Wizards needs to do for future 2C partners is be cautious; as we've seen with CMR's 1C partners, an abundance of mediocrity is enough to keep the balance.

Now, I know it's still quite dangerous to make 2C partners--the more there are, the even more dangerous they are--but since we already have "partners with [name]", adding "partners with [color(s)]" would just seem to dilute the mechanic.

September 2, 2021 11:49 p.m.

StopShot says... #3

@Omniscience_is_life, but that's the problem - being cautious. The fact that C16 Partner commanders exist means new dual-color commanders have to be mediocre. And if you accidentally make one not mediocre enough you suddenly have a massive problem in the power balance of the format - particularly with cEDH.

"Partners with {{name}}" was a solution to try to fix the problem but sacrificed the mechanic's most desirable feature, interchangeability. It's in my opinion if a better variation came along WotC would probably drop "Partners with {{name}}" all entirely for it.

I'd like it if a change could be made so that we don't have to tip-toe around mediocrity going forward. 3-color pairings shouldn't have to suffer for the sins of 4-color pairings in my opinion and they don't have to either if a fix is made.

September 3, 2021 12:10 a.m.

IMO, mediocrity is fine. It allows for more creativity in partnering, and I'm all for fewer Thrasiosesque-you-need-to-play-this partners.

September 3, 2021 1:52 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #5

I never understood the purpose of Piper. Let's say I drafted a total of seven Commanders with Partner, not including Piper. Then, let's add Piper in as an 8th draft. And I'm going to literally pick seven at random. HERE WE GOOOO

In this case, I didn't draft a single Commander, so if I desperately wanted to play , I could run Piper, I suppose. However, why would I intentionally nerf myself when I can run so many other options?

For example, you don't need a Pirate-tribal deck to run Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator. You only need 1 Pirate (Your Commander) to deal damage. As long as you deal damage with at minimum 1 Pirate, you get the trigger which then looks at who all was dealt damage. For example, running with Tana, the Bloodsower could yield a Temur Stompy deck that ramps relatively hard. And technically it isn't combat damage you need, just any sort of damage.

You could run Dimir Artifact Salvage if you drafted a handful of synergy for use between Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor and Silas Renn, Seeker Adept.

Obvious Alena, Kessig Trapper and Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood if you drafted bombs.

Esior, Wardwing Familiar and Alena, Kessig Trapper for some huge spells.

Literally a ton of options. Why would anyone intentionally nerf themselves playing Piper and losing out on some strong synergy between abilities? It literally makes zero sense to me. And if the excuse is that you drafted a few white cards but no white Commanders but you REALLY want to play white, then you need to reassess your situation because it ain't gonna happen.

September 3, 2021 1:53 a.m. Edited.

StopShot says... #6

@TypicalTimmy I believe one big reason for The Prismatic Piper is to protect poor drafters from themselves. Like, say you actually drafted those commanders minus The Prismatic Piper, but all your other cards are white and you literally don't have enough non-white cards to make a draft commander deck. You basically have to forfeit every game you play while your opponent sits awkwardly for everyone in the current round to finish.

Another thing to note is the Commander Legends draft rules state you can have The Prismatic Piper be your commander even if you never drafted it. Its basically a protection policy so that you can build a deck even if you draft horribly such as not drafting any legendary creatures in the first place.

I believe my version for this made-up set is a bit better as you can use it to give certain commanders two extra colors as opposed to the one The Prismatic Piper gives.

September 3, 2021 2:35 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #7

StopShot, that's why I "draft" differently. When I "draft", I buy a bundle of my choice and my friend(s) buy a bundle of their choice. Then you get 10 full packs to build with. None of this 6-pack nonsense from splitting a box, or this garbage-tier 1-card rotation nonsense.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but I really dislike Draft. It's my most hated "format". You can literally lose every single game the entire night because you had bad luck with packs. I once drafted and was forced into Jund because I had like maybe 6 or 7 cards of red, green and black. Not enough to make a Gruul / Rakdos deck and zero reanimation for Golgari. I also had zero removal. Blue held zero synergy and white made a couple of tokens and that was all, and I didn't want to splash a 4th color. Lost every single game. Some games I'd get 1 creature out and it'd die to immediate removal because that's all I fucking had and nothing else.

On the way out of the LGS I threw the entire stack of cards, with their sleeves, in the garbage can. I seriously can not stress enough how much I hate draft.

One of the single worst experiences I've had in all of Magic was when we were sitting down to draft Modern Horizons. Some lady to my right was there, not to play the game, but to finance buying packs. So, what she would do is log onto the TCG Player app and snap photos of EVERY SINGLE CARD to see what the most expensive card was that was given to her. That's what she picked. So in a 15 card pack, she'd snap a pic of 13 cards (minus basic land, minus token). Even if something was like $1.17 as a bulk rare, that's what she drafted. When that same pack gets back to her and she has to go through, idk maybe 9 cards now or whatever, she'd resnap the pics to find the $0.44 cent card. I was drafting Slivers, because of course I was, and the table was moving faster than she was. Eventually she had about six or seven piles of cards waiting for her to go through.

And INSTEAD of the table calling her out for this bullshit, they ARGUED WITH ME on how it was inappropriate of me to set the stack of cards aside.


God I hate draft.

Ugh. Tirade over. As for your design, with the partner-color restrictions, I happen to like this idea quite a lot. It does make sense, to a degree, but my concern is that it "locks" players into specific deck archetypes that they may not have the cards for. I think it creates another Piper situation, albeit the opposite.

In my example, I didn't have a single Commander. So if I drafted 15 white cards, thinking I'd eventually get a Commander later and it just never happened, I'm pretty much F-'ed. But if I draft a bunch of Commanders and none say that I can partner with , I'm equally screwed. Similarly, what if I get a bunch of Commanders who allow me to partner with or , but my cards are pretty heavy into Mardu? Now I have Commanders that don't actually allow me to play my deck.

I think the benefit of not having a color restriction is that it allows players to pull out of ruts they got dug into, literally by sheer bad luck. Because you can do all of the meta analysis and pre-game brewing and watching leaderboards and whatever, but the packs are randomized and nothing you do will change that. So if you go in absolutely certain Golgari Reanimator will be the #1 winning deck and you pull ZERO reanimation, you're not going to play Golgari Reanimator. Period.

I feel like the removal of the color restrictions opens the system up enough that players aren't forced into a situation where they literally can't play the game.

  • By the way, the champion of our Modern Horizons draft was a guy who drafted three Deep Forest Hermit and like two Astral Drift with a playset of Regrowth. Come to think of it, he may have been cheating. There's also far too much cheating in Draft. I can not tell you how many times I'll see players walk around from table to table trading cards to get playsets of something.

Bro. You play with the cards you picked or opened. Stop!

September 3, 2021 3:06 a.m.

StopShot says... #8

@TypicalTimmy I agree with what you mean about having a partner restriction in a draft environment would cause problems, but as you have definitely laid out, the problem belies in the draft format itself. Commander is in essence a color restricting format and when you throw in the unpredictable probability of getting opposite colors to your potential commander colors you're just in for a bad time. If your best draft picks are in Mardu, 10 out of the 20 cards at least contain two of Mardu's three colors and of course the variants of The Prismatic Piper like Commander Lengends draft rules would also apply, so if you don't pull any of the Pipers you're free to include one or two anyway. If your closest Mardu commander is "Mono-Green - Partners with Red and White" you could run the Red-Piper, name White as its chosen color (or vice versa) and run a Naya deck with 2/3's of your card pool or if you're really adamant about running pure Mardu you could run the White-Piper with the Red Piper and name Black for the chosen color joining the two. Neither is a particularly ideal, but I think removing randomness is an aspect that you can't ever entirely remove from a draft environment. Perhaps it would be better if the Pipers had more themes/abilties tied to them to make them feel worth playing if you have to run one or two. It would give you something to build towards if you're expecting the worst case scenario.

September 3, 2021 6:09 a.m.

RambIe says... #9

Idk, is it really a problem to have access to nearly every card in the game?
I mean it used to be problem, and a deck needed atleast 3 colors to hit a full function spectrum.
But with the new releases functions are nolonger restricted by color. As a result the old rule of 3 no longer exists. It now only requires 2 colors in order to hit the full function spectrum. So running 3+ colors may give access to more cards but its also taking away card slots to met color demands with out unlocking any primary functions.

September 3, 2021 7:31 a.m.

Grubbernaut says... #10

I understand the idea, but it's a mouthful.

I think it's easier and better to just sunset partner commanders. The idea isn't inline with the format overall and the design balance is extremely hard to get right.

September 3, 2021 11:31 a.m.

1empyrean says... #11

You focus too much on "How to fix the problem," presuppose your solution needs a lengthy explanation, and completely fail to prove yor thesis.

Personally, I'm all for new 4 color options of any kind.

September 3, 2021 11:33 a.m.

RambIe says... #12

Idk, I still fail to see why 4 color acess is the problem with partner commanders
Currently in the format 2 colors is dominant. 3 colors have lost there advantage, 4 and 5 color decks have the same struggle they always had meaning you do get more access to cards but you get less slots to use becouse you have to compensate for color correction and in the end your not getting any extra function that you can't have in 2 colors

The problem with partner commanders has always been probabilities. 1in99 becomes 1in98 putting you 1 card ahead of everyone else at turn 0. Doesn't seem like much but it scales every turn not to mention multiple it by 7 possible mulligans. It's a massive advantage

September 3, 2021 12:13 p.m.

RambIe the more competitive a deck is, the less restrictive having to fix your colors is. With a full set of OG duals/shocks/fetches/bondlands etc., commanders like Kenrith and yes, T&T are overpowered largely because of how many cards their colors allow them to have access to.

September 3, 2021 12:58 p.m.

RambIe says... #14

Omni what's up!! It's been a while

I have to disagree, even with full unrestricted access to play full 4+ colors requires you to make color correction a priority (even if the color correction is in the form of fetch land). These cards slots could be used for better functions. Most players realize that which is why the competive 4+ decks like Kenny focus on 2 maybe 3 colors and only splash into other colors.

The advantage of this was to pick up access to functions that you couldn't get in your main colors, well the past couple years magic stopped caring about that and printed access to functions regardless of color restriction, so what ever card you needed to splash a color to get access to you will probably find a similar function in your current colors, which is why 2 color decks partner decks have all the advantage right now

September 3, 2021 1:52 p.m.

Rambie! So it has!

Even with WotC's full disregard of the color pie, some effects just don't come in every color.

Just having the option to splash makes for a more powerful commander, and hyperstaples like Mox Diamond etc. already happen to fix colors--making it absurdly easy to get away with 4+, especially with several of your colors being splashed, as you said.

September 3, 2021 2:19 p.m.

Grubbernaut says... #16

Is there info to back up that 2 color decks are outcompeting 4-color? Ramble

September 3, 2021 2:35 p.m.

StopShot says... #17

@RambIe, "So running 3+ colors may give access to more cards but its also taking away card slots to met color demands with out unlocking any primary functions."

I actually disagree with this as it presumes you want to use your colors in equal amounts when really your third and/or fourth color is there to splash in a few select cards. Most of these decks choose one of their main colors as green given the color has great efficiency in color-fixing and they don't need to dedicate much just to splash in enough black to fit the all the decks tutors or white to run a few specific hate pieces. Sometimes the splash is just to fit a few select combo pieces that are either reanimated in or cast without paying the cost which can bypass the need for fixing. In essence these decks still run like 2-color decks with considerable upsides for minimum fixing. And then you have partner commanders where one of them only really exists for the color-splash and the other one is the main force you dedicate to that you can cast consistently whereas singular 4+ color commanders require more extensive fixing before they're even able to cast their general.

September 3, 2021 2:57 p.m.

RambIe says... #18

Omniscience_is_life great card and I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying only way it can be done is by making it a priority. Not only in building but also in piloting. T1 fetch land - dual don't think about colors just focus on game or t1 fetch - dual ok I got w and x colors next turn I have to grab y into z

Grubbernaut Google is a wonderful resource my friend. Outside of searching for cedh lists you can also goto to see decks people are building and playing. You will notice a trend that the number new of 3+ color decks are declining and the number of mono and 2 color edh decks are gaining popularity

StopShot I already covered splashing in my first response to Omni. But even in splashing one of your partner commanders is dead in zone unless you priotize colors

September 3, 2021 4:19 p.m.

RambIe it does take a good player to know how to fetch correctly, but being a good player is almost a prerequisite for all the line-based play that is cEDH.

Having access to other colors doesn't even mean you need to run lands of those colors--just being able to run FoW, Guardianship, Pact, Swat, FoV, etc. is a massive boon that doesn't hurt your manabase whatsoever.

September 3, 2021 4:25 p.m.

StopShot says... #20

@1empyrean, My bad, I felt like it was redundant to rattle on about something I thought there was a consensus on, but I'll take your comment as asking, "what's so bad about having 4-color partner pairings?"

I have my own negative opinions about the subject, but one of the two things I can point to outside of my own views is that dual-color partner commanders can be found on the upper tiers of any given commander tier lists which I believe says a lot about the community's perception of them.

Its rather hard to find dual-color partner commanders such as Thrasios, Triton Hero, Tymna the Weaver and Vial Smasher the Fierce on the bottom of any list if at all and most of the time they're placed so highly because they have the capacity to become stronger over time than most other commanders. If you have a low tier commander and a new card is printed that really boosts that commander's potential, it likely won't be enough to boost them to the next tier because that new card is put into a deck of 99 cards where it likely won't be drawn most of the time. In order to make it to the next tier bracket a considerable number of effective cards have to be printed to change out any particular general's standard decklist. It also should be stated that if a new commander is printed that outperforms the older commander that can instantaneously lower its standing on the tier list, because why would you run that commander if a better one exists? Partner commanders are different in that the number of cards needed to reach the next bracket is one, that being if a new partner commander is printed that increases the potential of all the others, and since that new card is being put in your commander slot you can expect to see it every game and having a better commander in slot can make the rest of your cards in the 98 also synergize better with it than before or provide alternatives card switches that you wouldn't be able to make before. And of course a better partner commander can make another inferior, but unlike the last example it makes the other half of your commander all the better unlike making the whole thing a waste. And of course you can argue that's a problem with the Partner mechanic itself and has nothing to do with running a 4+ color deck, but I would argue it does because if you're running a 4+ color pairing it becomes much more difficult to replace one of your commanders if only single color partners are being printed to contest one of them. You could have a single color general actually be a decent upgrade to one of your dual-color ones, but then you'd also have to consider slotting out all the cards that make up the color you would be losing for possibly more inferior cards in return which results in a much higher barrier of entry and is a big reason why color, especially running +4 color matters a lot regarding power with the Partner mechanic.

And my second point further backs up that notion. C16 came out November 11th, 2016 and since then Wizards has not been eager at all to expand upon the mechanic itself as I think they even know +4 color partners pairings are too strong. Battlebond came out June 8th, 2018 where they introduced "Partners with" which is a straight downgrade to the Partner mechanic where EDH is concerned. You could give any of the "Partners with" commanders Partner and it wouldn't hurt their ability to perform together in an EDH environment as the tutor effect is meaningless if both of them are your commander, but perhaps you could say this wasn't a downgrade caused by 4+color partner commanders but that Battlebond was meant to be a two-headed giant set and not an EDH set. I would even agree with that, if not for Commander 2020 which was scheduled for release April 24th, 2020. As an EDH centered product we again returned with the "Partners with" mechanic as if Partner itself had become a taboo keyword yet the concept itself was still worth pulling up again. To me it feels obvious Wizards is behaving as if they made something busted and was trying to dial it back. ~2 years after C16 they test dual-color partners-with and then after reviewing the power level they inch it up ~2 years later with tricolor partners-with commanders almost as if the two-commander mechanic was something they really wanted to work with, but the number of colors was the inherent problem that needed balancing.

Commander Legends came out half a year after Commander 2020, November 20th 2020, 4 years and a week later after C16 before deciding to return back to Partner itself in a draft environment in probably the most awkward fashion possible if you think about it. In Battlebond's draft environment they made it so if a pack would contain one of the Partners-with commanders it would always contain the other and that your team would pick two cards at once before passing the packs. The exact same thing could have been implemented in Commander Legends, every pack would have a dual or triple color pairing of partners-with and you could pull them both before passing the pack. But if not Partners-with surely it would have been better to make dual-color partners in a drafting environment. If you needed a color you'd be more likely to find it on a wide selection of dual-color partners than would be the case for the number of mono-colored ones and it would be far less punishing if you ended up drafting too many cards away from your main two colors as well given how color-restricting the EDH format can be. Surely mono-colored partners and the time it took to revisit the mechanic after numerous watered down attempts paints a pretty clear picture. Heck the C16 partners have 2 cycles for enemy color partners and 1 cycle of allied color partners, so at bare minimum there would be an incentive to make an extra allied set to balance off that difference and it seems like even that was too questionable to put in Commander Legends despite embracing the Partner mechanic heavily in that set. Perhaps Wizards felt like they already printed that second cycle of allied partners in Commander 2020, but I don't think any of the players feel the same way about that. Clearly all the mono-colored partners wouldn't have been printed if Wizards felt the new 3-color pairings they would have made with the C16 commanders would have been a problem as they could have just given the set the Battlebond treatment by making them all partners-with and having the drafting rules be just like how they had it in the recent Double Masters that had came out a few months before it.

I personally would love to see more dual-color partner commanders, but it seems to me that they might be too much of a good thing and that they can easily drive out other non-partner commanders from being viable in most circles given how their power level can scale much more rapidly than other commanders over time if we ever see more dual-color partner commanders. I'm proposing this idea because I don't think we ever will and I don't want to feel chained to a product that's 5 years old if I ever want to build three-color partner pairings moving forward. If new 4-color pairings are dead and they aren't going to be returned to then I think my idea should be what takes place moving forward.

September 3, 2021 4:32 p.m.

RambIe says... #21

I never said they would hit bottom of the list, that's just crazy talk
I'm saying 4 color partner commanders don't have an over powered advantage over 2 and 3 color partner commanders that anyone has to worrie about.

September 3, 2021 5:03 p.m.

1empyrean says... #22

RambIe - I think someone needs to borrow your username.

StopShot - I'll summarize for anyone who doesn't feel like reading that.


  • 3 color commander draft would have been fun.

  • More 2 color partners could screw with cEDH power levels.

  • We likely won't get new 4 color options, and being stuck the old commander options forever is frustrating.

  • This idea for new 3 color partner options is good and should be used.

By the way, "Partner With" is great, even if it comes at the expense of mixing and matching.

September 3, 2021 5:04 p.m.

StopShot says... #23

@1empyrean, Of course, I'm not saying "partners with" is bad. I'm just saying compared to partner its inferior or a down-grade. Down-grades in of themselves can be good too, they're just not as preferable if given the chance to choose between one or the other.

September 3, 2021 6:57 p.m.

RambIe says... #24

reply :1empyrean "StopShot - summary"
I would agree with and support all 5 points.
Partner > Partner with > no Partner

September 4, 2021 8:09 a.m.

1empyrean says... #25

A bit of a tangent, but I've been exploring different partner options among the many unused pairings and I am working on a Prava/Kraum deck at the moment. Not being cEDH viable doesn't bother me at all.

Stagnation in the command zone doesn't have to mean stagnation in the 98.

September 4, 2021 8:31 a.m.

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