What ONE card would you unban in Commander?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on June 21, 2022, 1:38 a.m. by TypicalTimmy

Saw this question posted on YouTube and thought it'd be an interesting question.

While I am sure we could all say Black Lotus, let's just set that one aside as an honorary mention. (RIP Golos t-t)


So what ONE card would you unban, and why?

TypicalTimmy says... #2

My vote is for Iona, Shield of Emeria. I'd say go ahead and keep her banned in 1v1, but in multiplayer games she's perfectly fine. If you want to spend 9 mana and lock yourself in mono-white as a Commander and draw the ire of the table, that's perfectly fine by me.

Sure she can become problematic if you find a way to copy her a bunch of times and name all five colors (Helm of the Host), but honestly the table with self-correct. They may be salty the first time it happens, but you'll quickly become the Archenemy the subsequent games.

If you are personally fine drawing that much hate, and you thrive in that sort of a 1v3 challenge, by all means go for it! :D

June 21, 2022 1:50 a.m.

griffstick says... #3

Ban Island

June 21, 2022 2:12 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #4

Unfortunately, griffstick, Island is not currently on the banlist and this is the unban forum (:

June 21, 2022 2:16 a.m.

Megalomania says... #5

Paradox Engine. Not sure if it would affect the meta but I think it’s worth considering.

June 21, 2022 2:35 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #6

Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary seems not that busted anymore with Dockside Extortionist running rampant through the format. I have a Marwyn, the Nurturer deck that would probably outspeed Rofellos in mana generation, as low mana elves are easier to bring into play early than actual lands with the forest type.

June 21, 2022 3:20 a.m.

BadLuke says... #7

Primeval Titan or Gifts Ungiven seem to be ok powerlevel wise, considering all the powercreep happening in the past years

June 21, 2022 4:12 a.m.

Biorhythm it doesn’t seem super busted and I’d love to play it

June 21, 2022 6:28 a.m.

Unlife says... #9

It may be just my playgroup, but based on how we play, there's a lot of cards I could see being unbanned and not warping the format. I agree that Iona, Shield of Emeria could easily be unbanned, Hullbreacher, Upheaval and Trade Secrets as well. Out of those 4, I think I would choose to unban Iona, Shield of Emeria because I'm most likely going to play her in a couple of my decks.

June 21, 2022 6:53 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #10

Unlife What tables do you play at that Trade Secrets would not be broken beyond belief?

June 21, 2022 8:37 a.m.

Niko9 says... #11

I definitely agree on Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary In an elf deck, I'm not even sure if he'd make the cut. There is just so much mana generation at this point that a green creature that ramps would have to be nuts, absolutely nuts, to actually be broken.

Honestly, I think they just need to reset the banlist at some point. The way that things have been added and taken off over time leaves it in a disjointed state. If everyone sat down, had a set criteria, and came up with a new list every few years, it would be a much more cohesive list.

June 21, 2022 9:18 a.m.

Massacar says... #12

For me it's honestly easier to say which cards I would keep banned than it is for me to say what I would unban, since I generally like my EDH to be pretty wide open.

And that list is pretty much Erayo, Soratami Ascendant  Flip and Leovold, Emissary of Trest for similar reasons. I would pretty much unban the rest of the lot and generally just leave it to Rule 0 for playgroups who wanted a more selective list.

I totally recognize others will disagree, but this is just me.

June 21, 2022 9:41 a.m.

Massacar says... #13

If I only had to choose one to unban, it would probably be Recurring Nightmare, but that's just because I like graveyard stuff.

June 21, 2022 9:44 a.m.

legendofa says... #14

Panoptic Mirror. On one hand, it's potentially extremely powerful, potentially extremely unfun, and can go into any deck. On the other hand, it does nothing by itself, it needs other, truly powerful and/or unfun cards to be problematic, and it has no self-protection or resistance to removal.

It might become a staple more or less immediately, but no worse than Sol Ring. I suspect that more people will use it for random jank than for Time Stretching or Armageddoning every turn. It's not like there's a shortage of multi- or infinite-turn combos.

June 21, 2022 11:19 a.m.

Epidilius says... #15

I want to see them go back to having two ban lists:

  • Banned
  • Banned as commander
June 21, 2022 11:21 a.m.

shadow63 says... #16

Coalition Victory if you manage to have all that out and have the spell resolved you deserve the W.

Sway of the Stars would also be one I'd like to see come off. Seems like a less miserable Worldfire

June 21, 2022 12:34 p.m.

RiotRunner789 says... #17

Coalition victory tends to be broken in the age of triomes and 5 color commanders.

June 21, 2022 1:01 p.m.

Unlife says... #18

plakjekaas A ton of aggro decks, no one runs too many combos, basically no Laboratory Maniac/Jace, Wielder of Mysteries wincons. It's an annoying spell that only lets 2 players draw cards, but thats it.

June 21, 2022 1:06 p.m.

Profet93 says... #19


Shahrazad because....

  1. I'm persian and it speaks to me
  2. I want to mess with people
  3. I want an auto-win condition

If not Shahrezard, then Ante cards. Give me your Blue Eyes White Dragon Yugi!

June 21, 2022 1:50 p.m.

AstroAA says... #20

I would unban Iona, Shield of Emeria because angels are my favorite tribe, and I have both the Iona, Shield of Emeria and the Iona, Shield of Emeria versions and I need an excuse to run them.

If I couldn't get Iona, Shield of Emeria unbanned, I'd go Paradox Engine because I still have my foil one from back in the day and it's banning killed my Karametra, God of Harvests storm deck.

June 21, 2022 2:36 p.m. Edited.

vishnarg says... #21

#freeParadox Engine #justiceforParadox Engine

June 21, 2022 3:34 p.m.

rshistorysmuf says... #22

Just for fun Shahrazad

You play magic, well this card will let you play magic whilst playing magic.

June 21, 2022 4:17 p.m.

Niko9 says... #23

A little out there, but how about they reprint the original dual lands in a commander set? Because the price tag creates a pseudo-ban, especially for newer players. The reprint of Mishra's Factory didn't tank prices of the old cards, but made it available, and they've even printed it into the ground now.

And while we are at it, maybe reprint a bunch of reserve list jank. Serious players won't use them and casual players won't buy them, so while they're not banned cards, they sit unplayed just the same.

: ) I mostly just want to make a Master of the Hunt deck, but can't wrap my head around making an expensive janky oldschool casual deck.

June 21, 2022 4:40 p.m.

SpammyV says... #24

Gifts is banned? I guess that could come off. If you're willing to go that far for a Gifts combo then go for it, I guess.

Looking at the Commander banlist I mostly just realize I don't really have any strong feelings about it.

June 21, 2022 5:26 p.m.

Grubbernaut says... #25

As a cEDH-only player: coalition victory is one of the strangest bans there is.

June 21, 2022 8:09 p.m.

Demonic Attorney.

Give me your cards, nerd.

June 22, 2022 2:43 a.m.

tonylomas says... #27

TypicalTimmy i would actually unban Golos, i used to miss him and the ban reasons were kinda...."hes everywhere we dont wanna see him anymore"...but now that i play Kenrith...hes the one that should be banned , Kenny fits in everything in a more savage-toolbox way than Golos.

June 22, 2022 7:20 a.m.

Niko9 says... #28

Coalition Victory is definitely a very weird ban. I get it, wins out of no where, but it's also just a bad card. The "every color" clause makes your 8 mana win the game button fizzle to Unsummon or any spot removal. It gets hit by counterpells, removal, on board effects like forcing sacs, or Strip Mine. There are just better and more reliable alternate win conditions. Coalition victory would literally replace 0 Thassa's Oracles in EDH decks.

June 22, 2022 7:58 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #29

Strip Mine wouldn't do it, with Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and if you make your 5-color creature Child of Alara, single target removal also feels very bad :p

It's hard to make "I win the game, just like that" fun, it negates everything everyone has contributed to the game so far, and I feel the only reason people want it, is because they're not allowed to. Although they did unban Worldfire, and that does feel very similar. Not that unbanning that broke anything, I'm the only one I've ever seen resolve one '^^

That's the worst thing about the EDH banlist, the logic and consistency are very vague.

June 22, 2022 10:39 a.m.

shadow63 says... #30

plakjekaas yeah the inconsistency is really bothersome. Like Tooth and Nail is ok? But Coalition Victory isn't? The one requires you to have a two card combo in your deck the other you need to have a very specific board state

June 22, 2022 10:48 a.m.

abby315 says... #31

Griselbrand give me a way to play him in every format

June 22, 2022 12:30 p.m.

Niko9 says... #32

Ha, yep Child of Alara can make things tough : ) The thing about Coalition Victory that I like is that it just wins or gets countered in some way. It's not Omniscience that goes on forever. It's not Narset who probably will hit extra turns but might not. It's not Approach of the Second Sun that sits there waiting to get a second draw. I'll definitely take a card that just wins over a card that just wins but doesn't quite win right away.

June 22, 2022 12:45 p.m.

sean360 says... #33

Prophet of Kruphix because I love the card and enjoy chaos.

June 22, 2022 12:58 p.m.

Id unban Emrakul, the Aeons Torn Cuz I like big guys and I mean.. He costs 15 mana so he wouldn't see much play in cEDH tables unless its a Yuriko deck.

June 22, 2022 1:37 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #35

tonylomas, when Epicurus and I were playing last weekend, we did a 3 player pod and the 3rd person is an MTG Judge. He wouldn't go into specifics, but he was insisting that the "Golos is too ubiquitous and detracts from other 5C Commanders as there is no reason to not just run Golos" was apparently a cover story. That there is a much different reason he was banned.

But again, this guy wouldn't go into details. So take it with a grain of salt. But honestly, it makes sense. All of the 5C builds bring something unique to the table, whether it is Kenrith's toolbox versatility, Najeela's combat loops, the ability to very easily go infinite with Ramos, Ur-Dragons insane Timmy builds, etc.

All of these, plus more, each bring a unique style of play and have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. So for people to make the claim that there's "no reason to not just run Golos" is, objectively, a very weak argument. Because of that, this Judge may have actually been telling the truth.

June 22, 2022 2:09 p.m. Edited.

legendofa says... #36

TypicalTimmy Assuming your judge was telling the truth (not doubting, just wondering about "wouldn't go into details"), I'm envisioning a scenario where he got a bit of information or even third-hand rumor that came from the Rules Committee.

If the RC had advanced knowledge of a set, let's say Baldur's Gate, and realized/worried that Golos Gates or whatever was going to be a problem, I can see them preemptively banning Golos. Since this information would be heavily NDA'ed, they made up a cover story. Somehow, a tiny wisp of information slips out, or someone notices that banning Golos doesn't make much sense, and the rumor mills start.

Unless your guy is privy to some insider information, my guess is that he didn't have the details. (I assume he wouldn't share them even if he did.) If the problem was Golos Gates, then everyone knows everything now. If my speculation is right, but the problem isn't Golos Gates, I have no idea. It was banned a little under a year ago, so if a land-centric set comes out in the next 3-5 years...

But I'm falling into speculation and rumor-mongering myself at this point.

June 22, 2022 2:49 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #37

Would gates be an issue though? Sure you get to pick a color when it ETB, but how is that any different from just running things such as City of Brass or Command Tower or Mana Confluence to get those colors?

June 22, 2022 3:09 p.m.

legendofa says... #38

I would guess it's more about the quantity of Gates and ease of access alongside Maze's End. I'm just spitballing, though.

June 22, 2022 3:24 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #39

I always forget about Maze.

June 22, 2022 3:31 p.m.

tonylomas says... #40

yes and no i mean forget about his activated ability, just the fetch one...you dont really need it tho, there are MANY other cheaper ways to fetch what u need. Thats why i said Golos is like a "meh" ban really, to me xd. But if theres another reason for that ban...i wanna know , thats some x-files material there lol. And a land-centered set...please do. <3

June 22, 2022 5:12 p.m.

Niko9 says... #41

If we are going into conspiracy territory (let's do it!) then I'd say that rather than gates, the Golos ban could have been a way for the RC to hit a big card in the format and set a precedent that bans can come down despite how popular a card may be. That way when they want to ban something else that will make people upset they can say, hey, this isn't the first time we've done this, we banned the most popular commander too. I think if anything, the Golos ban was just a way to crack that door open. Because strictly speaking, Golos is not that bad. No one thinks that he's that bad. He can be stacked with a no-fun 99, but anything can. You could make Phelddagrif ramp-stacks that would be just as bad to play against.

Bans, honestly, just don't make a lot of sense in commander. And I know this has been talked about, so sorry to repeat, but it's a casual format, so how do you even do that? For Modern or something they can look at actual data from tournaments and see how a card is in the format, but there is no numbers, no arbitrary way to evaluate. It's a small group of people who make up a speck of the total commander games who decide what is banned, based on their perspective. It's a system that won't work, ever, really.

And in the end, everything is playgroups anyways. I say, ban the power 9 and everything else is open discussion for your group. That's the only way that players will get the games in that they want to play. It's a format that's meant to evolve within your group, and not necessarily to evolve as a format.

June 22, 2022 6:13 p.m.

Niko9 says... #42

Sorry to double post : ) But more specifically I think that they probably want to ban wheels, and are trying to warm up to it. Golos was a fairly inexpensive card, but still made a lot of people have to remake their decks. It's the small start to scale up to a place where they could ban things that players have spent tons of money on.

Heh, maybe at least : ) That would be my grand conspiracy in it. But no matter what, just play your deck with your friends, bans be, well, unbanned.

June 22, 2022 6:22 p.m.

Yisan says... #43

Rofellos, primeval titan, biorythm are 3 I'd love to see get unbanned.

June 22, 2022 6:39 p.m.

tonylomas says... #44

Karakas oh wait..nvm xd

June 22, 2022 7 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #45

Have any of you actually played with Golos in the command zone? It's just boring. "Generic 5-color commander, you could literally go any direction building your deck, what do you mean boring?" Well, no matter the cards in your deck, the play pattern is always the same: race to get Golos out, then use the activated ability as many times as you can. It doesn't matter what cards are in your deck, if you're Shrine tribal, Chair tribal or Scout tribal, just ramp out Golos and go and play the top three cards of your deck as many times as you can. There's no creativity with it, and if you try to combat the strategy with removing the commander as much as you can: oh look, he fetches Ancient Tomb on etb, that's the commander tax accounted for, he'll be back next turn. "Cool mono black deck you built there, but have you considered Golos as your commander? It can find Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth or Cabal Coffers when you need it, and if you just include Cascading Cataracts you will still be able to activate him without rigorously changing your mana base."

Golos is horribly homogenizing, and despite its open-endedness, the most boring commander I've ever had the pleasure of playing. I'm not sad it's gone.

June 22, 2022 9:51 p.m.

Last_Laugh says... #46

Recurring Nightmare 100%. With todays power creep I'm not even sure it'd get banned if they printed it today... that and I REALLY want to run it in Muldrotha lol.

June 23, 2022 9:40 a.m.

Dromar39 says... #47

I agree with unbanning Recurring Nightmare. Iona, Shield of Emeria would be another one I would consider.

June 23, 2022 9:51 a.m.

Last_Laugh says... #48

@sean360 - Trust me, you don't want Prophet of Kruphix unbanned lol. That card in Animar, Soul of Elements was disgusting and equated to me playing longer turns than my opponents were... on everyone's turn. It also made it a nightmare to interact with because I had all my mana open every turn.

I can't say with certainty, but I'm pretty sure Animar taking 10+ minute turns on EVERYONE'S turn was 80% of the overall reason this got banned.

June 23, 2022 11:32 a.m.

Niko9 says... #49

plakjekaas That's actually really interesting about playing Golos because I always played against Golos, and never found him to be a problem that way, but hadn't considered the player using the commander. And I guess that does raise a larger point of, who does a ban work for? I feel like the majority of bans are to prevent one player from being overly hurtful to the rest of the table, but maybe there is room for bans to make players stretch. I don't know : ) It feels kind of strange, but at the same time kind of makes sense. Thanks for the perspective!

We had a Golos player who was very strong in my group, but it eventually just evened itself out. Most of the other players and me started making decks that were more aggro and Golos generally just couldn't keep up. When one person was aggro, they had a hard time. Then two people were aggro and it became generally the winning strategy. Then three players were mostly aggro, and when that happened, you really didn't want to be the Golos ramp build : )

June 23, 2022 6:26 p.m.

KibaAlpha says... #50

Balance I'm okay drawing hate in my playgroup devastating greens land ramp, blues card draw and all the elves and tokens.

June 24, 2022 1:48 a.m.

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