30, May, 23

MTG Format Bans Dog Planeswalker Card!

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Article at a Glance

Commander has been and will continue to be a pillar of MTG’s success. In general, Commander is considered a fun, casual, multiplayer play experience where friends can get together to enjoy hanging out and playing an elite format. While Commander has a competitive scene, it has never been quite at the forefront of the Commander world. Yet one-versus-one Dual Commander has been growing in popularity, and yesterday received some major changes. With the next Summer of Commander sets not on the horizon for a while, the Committee decided now was the time to make changes. Amongst the cards banned is a seemingly innocent Dog from a joke set that ended up wreaking some serious havoc.

Dihada, Binder of Wills

Dihada, Binder of Wills

Dihada, Binder of Wills, was banned specifically as a Commander. The power of the card comes from its ability to be an enabler, making it less of a problem when not the Commander. The main strength of the card really lies with its minus-three ability, which lets you dig four cards deep and put any number of Creatures from among those cards into your hand and the rest into your graveyard. You then get a Treasure Token for each card put into your graveyard. This ability is problematic for two main reasons.

First, it provides both card advantage and a way to get Creatures into your graveyard that can be Reanimated. By giving you the option of whether to put Creatures into hand or graveyard, it makes it quite easy to ignore graveyard hate and simply cast your cards. This leads to the second problem, in which you also get a ton of mana that can be used to cast these Creatures. Dihada is great at feeding the Reanimation plan A, but the backup plan of being able to get excess mana and card advantage instead really put the card over the top, hence why it got banned as a Commander.

Read More: The Complete Commander’s Guide to MTG Adventure (Updated)

Comet, Stellar Pup

Comet, Stellar Pup

Despite being a fan favorite, this good dog does not promote good gameplay in a competitive sense. The card was designed to be a funny dice-roll oriented Planeswalker from an Un-set, featuring a dose of randomness to spice up the game. From a design perspective, this card is great and checks all the boxes. From a strategic standpoint, it creates an enormous range of how good the card actually performs.

If you are lucky on your dice rolls, the card is incredibly powerful. Rolling a six is incredible, and rolling a four or five multiple times can devastate the opponent. Comet’s upside is so high that it has even seen play in Legacy alongside other amazing Planeswalkers like Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes The randomness promoted makes it super hard to actually have a gameplan with the card, however, and this randomness played a major role in the card ultimately getting the axe from Dual Commander.

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Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Hogaak, arisen Necropolis

For anyone that has played any Constructed format while Hogaak was legal, it is simple to see how degenerate this card really is. In a 100-card Singleton format, it’s a little different. There were some consistency issues for a while with the Hogaak Commander deck, but over the years, more and more tools have been printed that helped increase redundancy. Even small additions like Blanchwood Prowler, almost a strictly worse version of Satyr Wayfinder, played a major role in the deck growing in popularity and effectiveness.

The Committee also decided to ban this card a bit preemptively for fear of it taking over the format. It was not the most played combo deck and received some splash hate from people preparing for other graveyard-based decks, such as those based around Dihada, Binder of Wills. With Dihada out of the picture, the Committee determined it was best to ban Hogaak as well. Besides, the play patterns with Hogaak were largely unenjoyable, and the card seemed to have overstayed its welcome.

Read More: The Best Five-Color Commanders In MTG

Mox Amber

Mox Amber

Mox Amber is another interesting card to evaluate. Lots of other Moxen, including Mox Opal and Chrome Mox, have already been banned from Dual Commander. While Mox Amber is certainly less offensive than a lot of the others, it does have one major problem. When you get to start with a card in your Command Zone, Mox Amber will always have a Legend to pair with it. This gives a huge advantage to players with cheaply costed Commanders. The advantage gained by having an early Mox was big enough for many of them to be banned, and Mox Amber appears to fit that bill closely enough.

Additionally, due to pressure to get on the board early in Dual Commander in combination with the Commander mana tax added when a Commander gets removed, there is already a lot of incentive to play cheap Commanders. The Committee decided to remove yet another incentive in the form of Mox Amber, hopefully opening up some more options for players.

Although Dual Commander may not be the most popular format, it allows people to play with Commander-specific cards in a more competitive environment. This has a ban list quite different from Commander that has many powerhouses, like Sol Ring, banned from the format. If the idea of playing a more competitively oriented Commander format applies to you, consider giving this a try.

Having a team that oversees the format and makes changes to card legality as needed is a big deal, and these changes should open up more room for innovation within the format.

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