Magic: The Gathering Commander Rules Change Forthcoming

At the most recent CommandFest, taking place digitally today, the Commander Rules Committee revealed their plans to alter a major tenet of the rules for the player-driven Magic: The Gathering format. With an official announcement to be made soon after the Core 2021 prerelease events conclude, Commander will now facilitate "death" triggers for commanders.

The artwork for Kokusho, the Evening Star, a legendary creature from Champions of Kamigawa, a set for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Slawomir Maniak in his Iconic Masters iteration, shown here. Kokusho is one of many cards affected by this rule change.
The artwork for Kokusho, the Evening Star, a legendary creature from Champions of Kamigawa, a set for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Slawomir Maniak in his Iconic Masters iteration, shown here. Kokusho is one of many cards affected by this rule change.

Today, via livestream, Commander Rules Committee member Toby Elliott explained that this rules change would be put into effect as of the Core 2021 rules update. He said that the Commander RC took a lot of time deliberating seven different major ways on how to implement this rule. He will have an article on this on the official Commander website.

Magic: The Gathering Commander Rules Change Forthcoming
Keiga, the Tide Star, another legendary creature which will be affected by this rule change. Originally also from the Champions of Kamigawa expansion for Magic: the Gathering.

Toby Elliott went further into this news, saying that the change will also affect how Commanders work when entering the exile zone. No further word has been given as to whether this change will affect other permanents' triggered abilities, or vice-versa.

Teysa Karlov, a legendary creature who may be functionally affected by this rule change. From the Ravnica Allegiance set for Magic: The Gathering.
Teysa Karlov, a legendary creature who may be functionally affected by this rule change. From the Ravnica Allegiance set for Magic: The Gathering.

This has generally been well-received as a change in rules – now commanders can work as players might expect them to – but it also opens up something of a can of worms. Commanders that have triggers on death will become much strong now. Therefore cards like Kokusho, the Evening Star, and Child of Alara might become more powerful than they originally were in Commander.

Magic: The Gathering Commander Rules Change Forthcoming
The artwork for Child of Alara, a legendary creature affected by this rule change. From the Conflux expansion for Magic: the Gathering. Illustrated by Steve Argyle.

What do you think of this rules change or the commanders affected by it? Does Kokusho need to be banned now? How about Child of Alara? And what of Brawl? Will the format popular on Magic: The Gathering: Arena be tweaked to reflect this as well? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

About 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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