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Commander Getting Wizards-Sanctioned League – "Magic: The Gathering"

Yes, you read the above headline correctly, folks – Wizards of the Coast is finally sanctioning Commander League play for Magic: The Gathering!

Commander Getting Wizards-Sanctioned League - "Magic: The Gathering"
Source: Wizards of the Coast

For the first time ever, Wizards of the Coast has devised a ruleset for an achievement-style level of gameplay for Commander. This will involve an achievement list and a set of rotating, presumably chaos-like rules, all curated carefully by Wizards of the Coast developers.

From the article on the Wizards Play Network (note that this is primarily written to an audience of store owners):

2020 is the year of Commander, and it fires up in earnest with Ikoria: Lair of BehemothsScheduling for Ikoria opens Monday January 27, including the first-ever official league for Magic's most popular multiplayer format: Commander Nights.

You'll see Commander Nights in Wizards Event Reporter this coming Monday, and we can't wait to see events start firing in April.

Let's talk about how it works.

Each week throughout the season (April 27–June 18), players will compete in pods of three to five, building decks around novel rules and checking off fourteen special achievements. Both the rules and achievements are curated by Magic's design studio (you may also customize them for your community).

Schedule your Commander Nights for any day of the week besides Friday. We recommend keeping them on the same day each week. (It's also worth mentioning that, if you choose a weekday, you'll have eight Commander Nights, but you'll have seven if you choose Saturday or Sunday.)

Once a player reaches a certain number of achievements (we recommend seven), you'll issue them a prize (a Promo Pack, for example). Once they reach a second, higher number (we recommend fourteen), you'll issue them another prize (a foil Promo Pack, for example).

So what do those achievements look like?

It'll truly feel like an "achievement" to check all the boxes, and some players will want to build new Commander decks or alter existing ones in order to do it.

We'll be sending out the official rules list closer to the release of Ikoria, but here's an example using Theros Beyond Death so you'll know what to expect.

1. Control a permanent with 3 or more auras attached to it.

2. Control 10 or more enchantments.

3. Have 3 or more of your Constellation abilities trigger at the same time.

4. Control an enchantment creature with an enchantment attached to it and an enchantment attached to that enchantment.

5. Have 25 or more devotion to a single color.

6. Have 4 or more cards escape your graveyard in a single turn.

7. Control a Demigod and God of the same color.

8. Control 3 or more Sagas.

9. Target a creature you control with 4 or more spells in one turn.

10. Have 30 or more or more creature cards in your graveyard.

11. Win a game of Commander.

12. Control 3 or more permanents with 'Temple' in the name.

13. Have an effect you control cause an opponent's God to leave the battlefield.

14. Generate 25 or more mana on a single turn.

Plus, these achievements will play into the rotating rules. For example, one week the rule might be "all creatures are enchantments in addition to their other types," which would make earning the "control 10 or more enchantments" a lot more doable.

Pass out lists of achievements (we'll provide them!) on players' first weeks and have players check in with you as they meet achievements.

We recommend putting aside 25% of your promo pack allocation for Commander Nights and handing them out to players as they complete a specific number of achievements. If you run out of promo packs, pick your own secondary reward—Ikoria Draft Boosters, leftover promo packs, or whatever else you'd like.

And remember—when the new tournament software launches later this year, Commander Tickets reported using the software will count toward your Engaged Player total.

Commander Nights run April 27 through June 18 and goes live in WER Monday January 27—remember to log in and schedule!

I'm definitely more excited about the rotating rules this time around, especially if they can help me get to certain achievements I normally couldn't. Today, one of my local gaming stores, Just Games Rochester, is hosting a sort of beta test of the achievement league, and you can bet your bottoms that I'll be there (I'll be rocking Kroxa!).

"Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger" Deck Tech - "Magic: The Gathering"
Source: Wizards of the Coast

What do you think about this idea? Is an achievement league the best way to sanction Commander in a way that incentivizes players? Let us know your thoughts!

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Joshua NelsonAbout Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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