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March 2015 EDH Banned List – Tuck Rule Change

(Methodically tapping the keyboard while gazing at MTGCommander.net Forum) F5. Nothing. F5. Nothing. F5. Nothing. Come on now. Wizards has already released their banlist updates. Where you at EDH Committee? Just want to see what the changes are. Ah, no biggie, I’ll check later.

Commander EDH Tuck Rule Change

Afternoon. Nothing. F5. Nothing. Uh-oh. I am getting the feeling that something big is about to go down. The past few banlist changes have been out right away, no waiting. Something’s up. A major watch list candidate finally getting the axe? Prophet of Kruphix? DeadEye Navigator? Maybe?

Later this evening I receive a text from my buddy Tony.

No more tucking commanders. Rule Change.

What? No joke? Whoah. I was not expecting that.

I am going to start this article off with stating that the new commander tuck ruling doesn’t bother me. I do not think it was necessary to make a change, but I am fine either way. Tucking was quite prevalent at my local game store, true, but not as much in my playgroup. Either way, I look at new rules, bannings, and changes to my favorite Magic format as a way to challenge myself. It opens up my deck building and gameplay to new ideas and strategies. With that being said, here is the Commander Rules Committee’s explanation of the rule change. Let’s break it down with my full opinion.

COMMITTEE: If your commander would go into the library or your hand, you may choose to put it into the command zone. It’s as simple as that. Just like with the graveyard, if you want it to go into the library/hand, you’re more than welcome to let it. Note that this is a replacement effect, but it can apply multiple times to the same event.

And… library? Okay. Simple enough. If your commander leaves the battlefield for any reason you have the option to put it in the command zone. If your commander is switching zones, you may move it to the command zone. This simplifies the rules and makes it easier for new players I guess.

COMMITTEE: 1) We want to engender as positive an experience as we can for players. Nothing runs the feel-bads worse than having your commander unavailable to you for the whole game.

Well okay. Yes, I can sort of understand this. A lot of players build their decks around their commander and not having access to their commander may be like playing baseball without a glove. Gotcha. Let me offer my thoughts from being a player on both sides of this effect.

From the “tucker” side of things, I have done my fair share of sending an opposing general deep within the depths of their own deck. I also remember the face on the player of our casual games as they take one last look at their legendary buddy before the shuffle process. In my casual games I tried not to do this unless absolutely necessary. In more competitive atmospheres this was just part of the game and opponents realized they were wrong trying to call my bluff.

From the “tuckee” side of things, I have had Purphoros, Sigarda, Kaalia, and most of all Uril find their way into deck oblivion. However, a huge part of my play and deck building strategy has always been to play around tuck effects. Having my commander shuffled into my library never gave me a case of the “feel-bads” but rather an okay, it’s time to incorporate the back-up plan. Again, tucking was just a part of the game.

Just for fun, let’s think about this for a second. Would you rather have your commander stolen or tucked? I think having my commander stolen and getting smacked in the face by my own card would give me a worse case of the “feel-bads”. In most cases I would rather have my commander tucked safely in my library rather than the treachery of it turning against me. Treachery. Haha. See what I did there?

COMMITTEE: 2) The presence of tuck encourages players to play more tutors so that in case their commander gets sent to the library, they can get it back—exactly the opposite of what we want (namely, discouraging the over-representation of tutors).

When Purphoros is swimming in the Dragon Sleeves, top decking a Gamble makes me feel like a deck building champion. While I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I cannot think of one tutor effect that I will take out of my decks now that the rule has changed. Not one. I am not a spike by any means. Johnny likes tutors too. We build our decks to do something cool and tutors increase the probability of us being able to dig for the piece that makes cool things happen.

COMMITTEE: 3) While we are keenly aware that tuck is a great weapon against problematic commanders, the tools to do so are available only in blue and white, potentially forcing players into feeling like they need to play those colors in order to survive. We prefer as diverse a field as possible.

No respect for red. Poor Chaos Warp. I have never felt like I needed to play Blue/White so that I have an option to tuck commanders. I embrace all colors. I have 18 EDH decks with an immense diversity of themes, strategies and ideas. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t feel that there is an overwhelming majority of players out there that are playing blue or white simply to tuck opposing commanders. This reason seems a bit absurd to me, but please comment below if you feel otherwise.

COMMITTEE: 4) It clears up some corner case rules awkwardness, mostly dealing with knowing the commander’s location in the library (since highly unlikely to actually end up there). When FRF came out, manifest led us to talking about what it meant to be a commander—which is what got us talking about tuck in the first place. After a long discussion, we decided the best course regarding commander-ness was no change. Your commander is always your commander regardless of where it is or its status. That means enough hits from a face-down commander can kill you.

Wow, I can’t even decipher this one. I’m going to chalk this reason for the change up to some corner-case niche scenario and move-on. My brain will thank me for letting this one go.


Almost all of my EDH decks house it’s commander in a different color sleeve. In the past when my commander was tucked, I didn’t care, I just shuffled it in. Different color sleeve and all. So, I guess I don’t need to worry about that anymore.

Arguably, Spell Crumple, Hinder, Oblation, Terminus and Chaos Warp were the hardest hit by the rule change. I have seen a lot of talk in cyber world that these cards are worthless now. I would really have to disagree whole-heartedly with folks that feel this way. A lot of players will be running combos, Eldrazi, Indestructible and things of that nature so tucking is still a very solid strategy and answer to deal with troublesome permanents.

Those in favor of the rule change can argue that having your commander on vacation in the depths of your library is un-fun. After all, the game is “Commander” and having him or her available to you is what makes the game fun.

Those opposed to the rule change can argue that tuck is needed to save the table from Prossh, Maelstorm, Sigarda, Purphoros or any other commander that can wreak havoc on the game. They feel that tuck was a form of checks and balances to keep powerful commanders in check. Without this answer, a different form of “un-fun” can develop.

So there you have it folks. My take on the EDH Tuck Ruling. I’m sure by now you have bloodied your fingertips responding on Twitter, Redditt, MTGSalvation, Facebook and where-ever else in full support of whichever side you are on. But, if you have anything left to say, feel free to express your opinion in the comments below.

On to the Next!

For further reading and reference:

For additional reading, I highly recommend Cassidy’s article on General Damage Control. It is very well written:
Examining the “Tuck Rule” Announcement by Cassidy at General Damage Control


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  1. Well, I really don’t care about that change either. However, I totally agree with all those people who are of the opinion that the explanation was in part … uhm … not logical and leaves a lot to be desired.
    Reason no. 1 is totally alright, and I agree that something (in this case “tucking”) that completely works against the rules of a format doesn’t make all that much sense. This format is called “Commander” for a reason, so people should be able to play with their commanders, alright? So yes, I can get behind this one.
    However, this is where it gets weird already. Reasons 2 and 3 are either highly speculative and/or just wrong. First, tutors are fine cards to have. I myself may prefer normal card drawing but I would never berate someone for using tutors. And frankly, I just don’t understand why so many people are so vocal about them in such a negative way. They are part of the game, so deal with it.
    As for no. 3, have you ever heard another player decide on their next deck like this: “Okay, which colors should I choose for my next deck? Yeah, let’s take white and blue cause they have tuck effects!” No? Neither have I.
    And reason no. 4? Bla, whatever.
    All in all, what this is really about is that if you adhere to what the Rules Committee says and stick to their banned list as well as their rulings, now is the time to hone your social skills and talk about how you play the game and how you would like it to be played. Are there any specific cards that are causing problems? Any overpowered or “unfun” Commanders? Talk about it!
    And please, don’t forget the most important aspect: Whatever the RC may present to us, it’s always suggestions! You’re free to ignore everything they say if you want to – just clarify things with your playgroup and you should be fine.

    1. Exactly.

    • Ozrith Clay on April 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm
    • Reply

    So will Skullbriar be banned now that he can’t be beat? and Rafiq?

    I hate this joke. Before it was “How good is the deck?”, now it’s “How broken is your commander?”
    Hell I could win with just Skullbriar and basic lands now.

    1. Hey there Ozrith! Thank you for the comment!

      Funny you mention Skullbriar, a commander that I have fatesealed in the past with Spin Into Myth .

      With the tuck rule change, you could make a valid arguement for some ridiculous commanders getting banned. But, I’m hoping this change doesn’t cause an avalanche of bannings. However, I would bet that the next scheduled rules update (July 2015) will have no changes… Just to keep the heat off the Rules Committee.

      Against troublesome commanders, I am enlisting the help of Song of the Dryads and Prison Term. Maybe even a few more Story Circles. In blue, I’ll be using more steal effects.

      From the other perspective, my Purphoros, God of the Forge deck has tripled in power!

      Thanx again! take care!

    • Chris Tomsky on May 13, 2015 at 7:22 am
    • Reply

    I kinda like that they did change that ruling. It feels like something that really should have been in place from the start. The only reason people are throwing a fit about it is because tuck was immediately abused in EDH as a thing. Had the rule been in place since EDH came out like it probably should have, I seriously doubt anyone would have complained about it at all. It just makes sense. On a side note, I do find it hilarious and intriguing how this actually empowers a Skullbriar.

    1. Hey there Chris. Thank you for commenting on the article! I agree with you 100%. This would have been no problem at all if the rule was in place since the beginning of EDH. I think as more time passes the EDH community will look back at the tuck rule change and recognize an over-reaction on our part. As long as the Rules Committee doesn’t ban one of my commanders, I’ll take on any new challenge they throw our way. 🙂

      Skullbriar is indeed juiced up with the new rule, but that’s nothing that a Treachery, Vampire Hexmage or a Song of the Dryads can’t fix. For my decks, Uril, Sigarda, Prossh, Purphoros, Brago and Kaalia are enjoying their new found freedom! 🙂

    • james on August 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm
    • Reply

    this ruling does not bother me aswell i was ok with the tuck from the get go my group that i play with it was more than needed to have tucks i also agree that all cards with tuck effects are now broken but on flip side card can be made to bend this rule and we could see card come out that have effects that gives cammaders no choice but to be tucked in back in your hand or library

    Reason2,3,4 i disagree with committee with that ppl pick white blue red so they can use tuck effects i dont know anyone who decides how they are going to build there deck by if they use tucks also tutors are not put in edh just so if your cammander was tucked you go fetch it they are put in the deck to aid you in your game play this also coming from person who really doesnt like tutors at all cuz i feel like it take away some challange of edh with have 100 cards and only single of cards so right there i just proven utors not put in to decks to just fetch cammaders that been tucked

  1. […] part, EDH as a community has accepted the rule and moved on. If you are interested, here is the EDH Tuck Rule Article I wrote last year in response to the […]

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