Commander is a truly magnificent format, and one that encourages everyone to mess around with deck construction, brewing, fine-tuning, and experimentation. It’s probably the most relaxed format around when it comes to what you can do, but the limitations of color identity help give everyone a little bit more focus, and the results are often an absolute blast.
However, despite it being a singleton format, which one would assume leans towards chaos, it’s also a format that can rely heavily on tutors to iron out a lot of the inherent chaos of the format, and that’s something that some people don’t like. So, our question is simple enough, do tutors defeat the point of a singleton format?
What are tutors?
Tutors are cards that help you find something from your deck. They’re named tutors because the first one was Demonic Tutor, a two-mana Black sorcery that lets you put a card from your library into your hand. The main colour for these effects is Black, but White is good at fetching up Enchantments and Planeswalkers, Blue is good at finding Instant, Sorcery, and Artifact cards, and Green is good at finding Creatures and Lands. Red also has tutor effects, but they often make it so that you have to discard a card at random afterwards.
It’s all a bit odd, and when you think about it for any length of time, Blue would be a more logical home for these effects, but who cares. The point is, these cards let you find things, and that can help a lot in Commander where your card consistency is a lot lower due to there only being one of each card.
There’s also a lot of tutors now, so if you really want to build a specific combo deck, you can do so by plinking in a bunch of tutor effects to make sure you can always find the important pieces of your deck, and by doing so, massively improve your deck.
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Why do people use tutors in Commander?
Ultimately, having tutors allows you to break the singleton rule of a format by allowing you to turn any tutor into any copy of a card. While some decks just use this to bring out one big old creature as and when they’re needed, most decks use tutors to keep combos consistent.
There’s a chance you’ve never fought against a combo deck in Commander before. Normally, it takes time for the pieces to be put together, which means it doesn’t feel as unfair. In the right decks with the right cards though, you can go off in an unstoppable way as long as you have access to what you need.
Because tutors allow you to access what you need whenever you need it, it basically makes combo decks incredibly hard to beat, to the point that those who want to win more than they want to have fun, will often lean towards those. It’s fun in a way, for sure, hence things like competitive EDH, but a lot of people don’t want to play Commander like that.
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Do they defeat the object of a singleton format?
So, this is what we’ve been building towards. Does having tutors in Commander make sense? Well, it really depends on you and your group. If you all think that the fun of Commander is the inherent chaos of having 99 different cards under our commander, then they’re probably going against that.
However, if your aim is to be as competitive as possible within the confines of the game, then tutors are going to help you do that. Commander is very much all about figuring out how you and your playgroup want to enjoy the game. It’s one of the reasons it’s such a popular format, not because of the restrictions it offers, but because you can do so much based on what you want to do.
While freedom undoubtedly underpins the nature of Commander, you’ve got to admit that tutors do feel a little antithetical to the spirit of the format. For the record, this isn’t something we’re writing because we want something banned, not at all. It’s just an interesting thought, and we wanted to know what you think. So, tell us what you think about the whole thing.
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