Thassa's Oracle
20, Apr, 24

Popular MTG Commander Content Creators Announce New House Bans!

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Article at a Glance

Over the years, Commander’s growing popularity has separated itself from other Constructed formats like Standard and Modern. EDH is unique in that it provides players with the opportunity to build around cool cards that might not see much play otherwise. There is a wide variety of intriguing legends to choose from, each with their own distinct attributes. There are seemingly limitless ways to assemble your deck, which helps make the format quite appealing to a large number of players.

One aspect of Commander that always garners a ton of discussion, however, is the banlist. While most Constructed formats feature bans based on pure power level or an overwhelming metagame share, much of the Commander banlist is focused on cards that lead to generally unfun play experiences. Commander is ultimately driven by social engagement and creativity, so this certainly makes some sense.

That being said, different play groups often have different goals in mind. While some players enjoy more casual, drawn-out games, others want to make use of the powerful combos that Commander has to offer. As such, even though an official Commander banlist exists, many play groups rely on “Rule 0” as a guide. Rule 0 ultimately serves as a reminder to players that they can adjust the rules to their liking to help “increase the overall fun of the group they want to cultivate.”

Recently, the content creators behind Commander Clash took it upon themselves to add two extra cards to their house banlist. Let’s take a closer look at what cards ultimately got the axe.

Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm Bite the Dust

Field of the Dead

On Friday, content creator SaffronOlive made an announcement on Twitter that Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm would be house-banned moving forward. This certainly sparked some discussion, as neither of these cards is particularly egregious in Commander. Ultimately, though, the main reason he gave for the house ban was that playing these cards made their content worse.

This particular play group is notorious for including cards like Vesuva and Thespian’s Stage in their decks. Both Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm have the ability to warp an entire Commander game around them if unanswered. Should players begin making copies of these Lands, this only increases the problem.

On top of these problems, Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm are obviously Lands, making them rather difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, successfully dealing with these cards can cause even more problems, as mass Land destruction effects like Armageddon don’t promote good gameplay. Sadly, players don’t have much of a choice, as without cards likeStrip Mine or Wasteland, these cards can take over the game.

Obviously, their decision to ban Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm only affects the Commander Clash play group. Despite this, these changes have still led to a great amount of discussion about format philosophy and other cards players want to see officially banned in the format.

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House Bans Promote Discussions

Sol Ring

Field of the Dead and Glacial Chasm are hardly the first cards to get banned by the Commander Clash crew. Many absurd sources of fast mana, including Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, and Dockside Extortionist, have been house banned for quite some time. Despite neither Field of the Dead nor Glacial Chasm being fast mana, discussions about mana accelerants have nonetheless returned.

Many players believe that a banlist incorporating these cards makes a lot more sense than the current Commander banlist. Considering the complaints about inconsistencies in the current Commander banlist, these comments from players are hardly too surprising. Bafflingly, Sway of the Stars is banned in Commander, despite it costing a ton of mana and requiring setup to maximize. Compare Sway of the Stars to Dockside Extortionist and something certainly seems amiss.

Beyond the baffling inconsistencies in the Commander banlist, many players took the opportunity to rally against Sol Ring. As the most popular card in Commander, by a long margin, Sol Ring can easily be compared to Brainstorm in Legacy or Mishra’s Workshop in Vintage. Due to their power level, any of these cards could justifiably be banned, but they’ve long existed as pillars of their respective formats. Considering Sol Ring is so strong it’s banned or restricted in every other format, it’s a wonder Commander is so accepting of it.

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Another Requested Change

Thassa's Oracle

Further voicing their dissatisfaction, players soon turned to another elite game-ending spell: Thassa’s Oracle. Once again, many players compared Thassa’s Oracle to other win conditions that are banned in Commander despite being clearly worse. Eight-mana Sorceries like Coalition Victory and Biorhythm have been banned for years given their ability to end the game in a somewhat trivial manner. Meanwhile, Thassa’s Oracle can end the game out of nowhere for significantly less mana when paired with cards like Demonic Consultation.

At the end of the day, if MTG players don’t like the official Commander banlist, they should follow in the footsteps of Commander Clash. Thanks to Rule 0, there’s nothing stopping play groups from not using cards they deem overpowered. Hopefully, the latest changes from Commander Clash will encourage players to do exactly that and subsequently improve their play experience.

Despite this optional choice at Commander’s core, the format’s banlist still plays an important role. With local game stores and Commander tournaments rarely ever using rule zero, the official banlist still has a lot of sway. Since there have been no changes to the official Commander banlist in three years, this list is arguably long out of date. Thanks to this, it’ll be very interesting to see if any new cards get banned, or unbanned, in the coming years.

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