16, Jul, 23

Commander Masters Mythic Just Got Banned in Community MTG Format!

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Article at a Glance

With various cards seemingly homogenizing entire formats, bans in Magic are once again a talking point. Considering we just saw Fable of the Mirror-Breaker finally get banned out of Standard, its surprising to see the topic reappear so quickly. Many will be watching the Lord of the Rings Pro Tour at the end of this month, some with questions regarding whether The One Ring will be banned or not.

Until then, however, another decade-old and somewhat niche MTG format has updated its banlist. Ironically, the offending card was just announced as a Mythic Rare reprint in Commander Masters and is currently amongst the most valuable cards you can open for the entire set. Land Tax is getting banned in the Premodern format, but since this format is a somewhat niche one, we need to start by explaining what Premodern even is.

What is Premodern?

According to the official Premodern site, the format was invented in 2012 by MTG player Martin Berlin. Explaining the legal card pool for Premodern is a tad bit tricky, but the format’s card pool ends where Modern’s begins, meaning nothing past Eighth Edition (including Eighth Edition) is legal in the format. This is summarized on the site as “all cards with the old frame printed between 1995 and 2003, which were standard legal at some point during this period.” As such, the legal card pool includes the sets listed below:

  • Fourth Edition
  • Ice Age
  • Chronicles
  • Homelands
  • Alliances
  • Mirage
  • Visions
  • Fifth Edition
  • Weatherlight
  • Tempest
  • Stronghold
  • Exodus
  • Urza’s Saga
  • Urza’s Legacy
  • Classic Sixth Edition
  • Urza’s Destiny
  • Mercadian Masques
  • Nemesis
  • Prophecy
  • Invasion
  • Planeshift
  • Seventh Edition
  • Apocalypse
  • Odyssey
  • Torment
  • Judgement
  • Onslaught
  • Legions
  • Scourge

any sets you don’t see on this list are not legal in Premodern. As such, this truly embraces the slogan on the forefront of the official Premodern site: “a community-created old school format.”

All the other rules for Premodern are the same as any other two-player competitive format.

The Premodern Banlist

As is the case with most formats, Premodern has its own banlist created to help carry out the mission of the format. Once again, as stated on the official Premodern site, the goal of the format is “that the format should be a home for iconic and fun cards that don’t see play in other formats—either because their relative power level has withered over time, or because they are not tournament legal due to their interactions with newer cards.”

In order to stay true to this mission, some cards have been removed from the format “in order to leave room for other cards to prosper, and to make the format distinct from others.” Here are the cards that have been removed thus far:

  • Amulet of Quoz
  • Balance
  • Brainstorm
  • Bronze Tablet
  • Channel
  • Demonic Consultation
  • Earthcraft
  • Entomb
  • Flash
  • Force of Will
  • Goblin Recruiter
  • Grim Monolith
  • Jeweled Bird
  • Land Tax
  • Mana Vault
  • Memory Jar
  • Mind Twist
  • Mind’s Desire
  • Mystical Tutor
  • Necropotence
  • Rebirth
  • Strip Mine
  • Tempest Efreet
  • Tendrils of Agony
  • Time Spiral
  • Timmerian Fiends
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Windfall
  • Worldgorger Dragon
  • Yawgmoth’s Bargain
  • Yawgmoth’s Will

As of July 15, 2023, Land Tax has officially joined the Premodern banlist.

Why was Land Tax Banned?

Land Tax, on its own, is already pretty powerful. In Commander, this card can be used to make sure that you don’t miss many land drops throughout the game. Whenever an opponent has more lands than you at the beginning of your upkeep, Land Tax will allow you to find three Basic Lands and add them to your hand. That’s three land drops you no longer have to worry about making! This card can trigger multiple times as well.

While this may seem relatively harmless, Getting three cards for one mana is a potent effect, especially when you can do it multiple times. Basic Lands aren’t too useful if you don’t need any lands, but these extra cards in hand can enable other problematic cards. That’s the reason why Land Tax was banned in Premodern.

“Land Tax enables an overpowered draw engine which can be set up consistently at a minimal mana cost. Disrupting the engine in time can be difficult, and requires cards not available to all colours. The Land Tax engine can be exploited in different deck shells, and doesn’t appear to have a natural counter or weakness.”

Premodern Ban Announcement

The main offender in Premodern that is making Land Tax problematic is Scroll Rack. In the context of finding three Basic Lands, Land Tax can be pretty harmless. Scroll Rack, however, turns that into something much more dangerous.

Scroll Rack allows you to exile any number of cards in your hand face down and put that many cards from the top of your library into your hand. This, notably, is not drawing cards, getting around pesky hatebears like Orcish Bowmasters and Narset, Parter of Veils in Commander. This, therefore, can turn the three Basic Lands you find with Land Tax into the three cards on top of your deck. The obvious flaw with this plan is that there’s now three Basic Land cards on top of your deck.

Well, if you play to specifically have less lands than your opponent, Land Tax can trigger again on your upkeep. This will find three Basic Lands and shuffle your library, basically allowing you to redraw the three cards you put on top of your deck, while still drawing a fourth card for turn! This can actually end up leading to even further card selection if you put more than just the three Basic lands back on top of your deck with Scroll Rack. This combination, essentially, allows you to draw four cards every turn, and the two pieces only cost three mana in total.

If this sounds powerful to you, it is still a very legal combination of cards in Commander.

This cycle, unfortunately, also leads to a lot of decision-making and shuffling, which can slow tournaments down. Much like the bans of Sensei’s Divining Top and Yorion, Sky Nomad in Modern, games constantly going to time can be a problem in a competitive format.

Read More: Wild Combo Deck Revives Bewildering Mechanic In Major Format!

A Ban Announcement Done Right!

Our coverage for the reason why Land Tax was banned does not even come close to doing justice to what the initial ban announcement covers. This ban announcement, frankly, is a work of art, and we recommend you give it a read for yourselves. The community heavily agrees, calling this an example of what Wizards of the Coast could achieve with their ban announcements:

“It is nice to see a whole bunch of different shells, reasoning, and history behind the banning. Just like comparing it to the WotC ban announcements this just feels like they care a lot more about the format in general.”


“Talk about a well presented ban argument”


Another point made clear in this discussion, however, is that community formats need a very clear and detailed reasoning for a ban. Otherwise, Premodern players could just ignore the ban announcement and keep playing with Land Tax if they feel the ban is not justified:

“If they ban a single card that receives push back, the policing of the format becomes suspect. You have to put forth a rock solid case that only the most committed players to that card/deck would argue against.”


This is further seen when one of the better cards to play alongside Land Tax in Premodern is Mox Diamond, an incredibly expensive mana rock. This allows you to use mana sources that aren’t lands, which helps you have enough resources to cast spells and activate Land Tax multiple times.

Mox Diamond currently retails for $400 at the absolute cheapest and can go for much more. This means a playset for Premodern would cost $1600, which is more expensive than entire decklists in other formats. Premodern players who purchased Mox Diamonds for the format may not use these cards going forward if Land Tax’s ban makes the card worse in the context of the format. Fortunately, if this event comes to pass (and it may not), Mox Diamond does have a lot of usage in other formats.

Don’t let this price point scare you off from trying the Premodern format either. Its very easy to create a powerful Premodern deck on a budget.

Either way, Land Tax is now banned in Premodern, and the argument for why the card was banned received applause from the community. Maybe this can help steer how ban announcements are presented in the future for the game in a larger context.

Read More: Dominant LOTR Card Could Put Up Banworthy Numbers!

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