Earlier today saw a big shake up to popular singleton format Commander, where not only a card is now banned but another is legal again.
As announced by the Commander Rules Committee today, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is now banned, with Worldfire coming off the ban list. Sheldon Menery shared the update on Twitter through the official Rules Committee Twitter, with further commentary in his weekly StarCity Games column.
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim Banned in Commander
Often there is a hint of when a Commander ban is coming, but Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is an unexpected wrong. Granted, the Artifact Scout saw heavy play in the format since it was one of the best 5-color Commanders you could play. You have access to all the ramp, and you can leverage Golos’s second ability to get ahead on the board. As explained by the Commander Rules committee below:
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim has been a much-discussed card that is both popular to play with and unpopular to play against. There are many problems with the card, but the greatest is that in the low-to-middle tiers where we focus the banlist, Golos is simply a better choice of leader for all but the most commander-centric decks. Its presence crushes the kind of diversity in commander choice which we want to promote. You can drop in Golos and a few 5-color lands into a random deck and get all the ramp and card advantage you would ever want from a commander, with no worries about your mana base. Golos’ ability effectively reduces the commander tax to one and once you hit seven mana (with Golos assuring that you have WUBRG and helping you get there quickly), you don’t need to do anything for the rest of the game except cast spells for free—something we always want to be careful about.~ The Commander Rules Committee
Early last year, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim saw a ban in Brawl for offering similar unpleasant play experiences. Despite never seeing a ban in Standard, Field of the Dead took the hit instead since you can find it off Golos’s enter the battlefield ability. This could you still do in Commander, and essentially avoid the Commander tax which seemed too much to handle in the end. Overall, Golos is a very powerful card that often brought tension to the table, and was rarely underpowered in a Commander pod.
Worldfire Unbanned in Commander
Complimenting the ban saw the unban of Worldfire which was unexpected. Sometimes, we see unbans with Painter’s Servant being a recent example. With that, the unbanning of Worldfire suggests that the Rules Committee are comfortable with powerful big mana spells in the format, especially ones that essentially reset the game. However, they consider Biorhythm and Coalition Victory still too powerful for the Commander environment.
Worldfire was once banned due to the problematic interaction with floating mana and having access to your Commander. We want to foster a Commander environment where 8- and 9-mana spells are viable and likely to show up in a game, so we evaluate the expensive ones in that context. Unlike Coalition Victory and Biorhythm, which we continue to believe are problematic in that environment, the level of effort needed to make Worldfire effective is sufficient that we suspect it will not be as much of an issue. There are already cheaper ways to do similar things in the format. We believe the social contract and robust pregame discussions will keep Worldfire out of games in which it doesn’t belong.~ The Commander Rules Committee
It will be interesting to see which Commander decks utilise this powerful Magic 2013 Mythic Rare best, and how many hoops you need to jump through to make it work. With that, it’s curious to see if other big mana spells such as Sway of the Stars comes off the list at some point. Either way, it’s great of the Commander Rules Committee and the Commander Advisory Group to look at unbans as much as bans.
What do you think of the Commander changes? Let us know in the comments below!