cyclonic rift mtg
25, Aug, 21

Should Cyclonic Rift be Banned in MTG's Commander Format?

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Let's talk about Cyclonic Rift in Commander.
Article at a Glance

We’ve all been there.

You have a board of threats, a grip of cards, and you’re feeling great about the game of Commander you are playing. You feel like you are close to winning.

Then at the end of your turn, one of your opponents casts an overloaded Cyclonic Rift.

Then, the game of Commander resets. Frustrating, right? According to EDHREC.com, Cyclonic Rift is among the most played cards in Commander. While that ranking is only in the last few years, it’s amongst powerful cards such as Sol Ring and Swords to Plowshares. It’s either deeply loved or hated by Magic: The Gathering players, which causes plenty of discussion on whether the card should see a ban in the format.

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Why Do People Want to Ban Cyclonic Rift?

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Granted, Cyclonic Rift is the best board wipe in the format by a considerable margin. It’s good to have various ways to end games but Cyclonic Rift generates more poor play experiences than most. Other cards that encourage similar experiences are Narset, Parter of Veils, or even Iona, Shield of Emeria which is now banned in Commander.

The issue with Cyclonic Rift is that the effect isn’t symmetrical. It leaves the caster of the spell untouched while knocking everyone else back to rebuild their board. Going further, it becomes an issue if the player is able to recur Cyclonic Rift back to their hand turn after turn — leaving everyone else at the table with little else to do. It’s a singleton format so the chances of seeing Cyclonic Rift in every game is slim, but it’s that potential that can harm play experiences within the format.

It’s not being on the end of a Cyclonic Rift, but you’ll revel in it if you are casting the card yourself. It’s such a polarizing card that could see a ban in Commander someday.

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