Commander is easily the fastest-growing and most accessible game format in Magic: The Gathering. If you’re just starting out in the format, you are certain to come across a term that applies to every match you play, Commander Tax.
What is it and why is it so important to remember and keep track of? We’ve got the answers right here because let’s face it, no one wants to be the player at the table constantly asking questions, right?
What is Commander Tax?
Commander Tax is the term created to describe the increased cost of casting your Commander from the Command Zone. We’re one sentence in and I’m already sick of the word Commander!
Regardless of the card you choose to lead your deck into an EDH game, they have a standard cost. Let us take Kalain, Reclusive Painter, as an example. They cost one red and one black mana and this is true for the first time you cast them in a game of EDH.
Should you be unfortunate enough to lose Kalain and need to place them back in the Command Zone, their cost will increase by two colourless mana. This is Commander Tax. This cost also applies even when a card triggers your Commander in to play. If you play a card that reduces the base cost of your Commander, even if it’s to zero, the tax will still apply!
Why Does it Exist?
Commander Tax is in place to keep things interesting. It also creates a risk/reward factor with playing your precious Commander because, without any repercussions, EDH could become a bit of a mockery.
Everyone knows that EDH and even Brawl can be crazy fun thanks to the structure of the format, but there does need to be some rules in place to balance play out. Could you imagine if this wasn’t in place and these legendary cards were just flying out each turn?
There’s a point where the mayhem interferes with the fun and that might be it. So, remember your Commander Tax and be honest, because your fellow players will be sure to remind you if you’re wrong.