During the last quarter, many decks, ideas, archetypes and changes have affected the results in tournaments, both in top ranked decks and in general, when observing the metagame, that latter really spread out and it seems more and more decks are being played, rogue decks or meta decks, which creates more diversity (recent tournament results show a broader scattering in decks, which is a proof of health).
This is exactly what we could qualify as a healthy situation, except for one dissonance among this whole satisfying and balanced environment, which goes along with a slight improvement we’re adding (see below).
👉 Individual card changes:
Zurgo Bellstriker is now banned as a commander only.
👉 Gameplay rules changes: Commander Swap rule.
Players can now swap their commanders between each game of the same round.
Swapping commanders means: exchanging previous commander(s) with one or more eligible cards from their decks.
In detail, as of the date this announcement applies, the following rules updates will apply:
DC doesn’t use sideboards. Players can’t have sideboard cards. The only cards of a DC deck are the 100 cards from the main (and only) deck. The only time allowed to players between rounds is for swapping commanders (see section 400.7 of this document).
400.7. Swapping commanders
400.7.1. Players are allowed to swap commander(s) after each game of the same round. This means that after the first game is played each round only, each player may shuffle his or her commander(s) into his or her deck and present either the same one(s) or new commander(s) from the same deck before each following game begins during each round.
400.7.2. For the first game each round, each player puts their commander(s) from their deck face up into the Command zone before shuffling (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 103.1b).
400.7.3. After the first game, each player reveals their commanders simultaneously by putting them willingly face up in the Command zone after making choices, or by putting them face down in the Command zone, then having both players turning them face up at the same time before shuffling (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 101.4a). This action can only be done once per game.
400.7.4. Commanders must remain legal before each game begins. Players can’t change color identity in between games (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 903.4a), and the choice of Commander(s) has to follow other construction rules defined in section 400.4 of this document (for example: players can’t choose a banned Commander).
400.7.5. Only Commanders that are part of the original deck are legal. If the tournament uses registration deck lists, the commanders must be listed within the deck.
400.7.6. Players are expected to take a decent and short time to choose Commanders in between games.
400.7.7. Players may change the number of Commanders by swapping Commanders with Partner ability and a single Commander without this ability (see Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at section 702.123).
👉 Don’t forget to check out our Current Lists Facebook note for a recap of all the currently banned cards.
These changes apply on June 1st, 2018. Of course, you can still contact us via this Facebook page. The next announcements will be published on August 27, 2018 (applying on August 31, 2018).
Until then, we wish you all many good games! :)
Further individual explanations:
Red Deck Wins is an efficient and desirable strategy in Duel Commander. But Zurgo Bellstriker, as a commander, optimizes it in an unrivaled way with other eligible commanders.
Having Zurgo Bellstriker forced into retreat, all other potential Commanders fighting for a seat in the mono-red Command Zone will be more interesting. Also, the new “commander swap” rule will greatly help mono-red into maintaining a place in the future of Duel Commander and still allows gambling on a competitive set of alternatives to it.
Introducing the Commander Swap rule:
“Best of Three” in Duel Commander is an oddity. There is no official format where one can play three games during the same round with the exact same deck. But sideboarding is also not an option in Duel Commander as it would be too time-consuming. We thought about playing the format in “Best of One” but players have always been attached to “Best of Three”. So we chose to give an interest to this structure by allowing people to swap their commander(s).
This change will also favor innovative deck builders. It also helps less linear strategies (if your deck relies entirely on a specific commander, you’ll probably not want to swap it). It also helps monocolored strategies as they got way more swapping options.