Check Out the New Packaging for Commander (2021 Edition) and Beyond

Posted in Feature on April 8, 2021

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

This week, you've been enjoying the exciting new cards coming with Commander (2021 Edition), full of even more Strixhaven: School of Mages characters, themes, and intercollegiate fun. If you're looking for more previews, you won't find them here—but we do have something else that's new to show you.

Retail vs Minimal

As we were gearing up for Strixhaven previews, we shared that we were beginning our move away from plastic packaging and that the Commander (2021 Edition) would be among the first to show off the changes. While one style of packaging looks similar to previous Commander releases, there are now clear differences and two versions.

In stores, you'll find the beautiful full-color packaging, showing off one of the new commanders for each college's deck.

Commander decks – retail packaging

The "card" you see facing out? It isn't a card at all but a graphic printed directly on the packaging. Gone is the plastic cover holding oversized commander cards in place. And the graphic printed on the package? It's printed with a foil effect without a plastic lining, so it's recyclable.

The bottom of the package features a paper zip pull to open it, and the inside reveals a recyclable deck box and packing tray: There's no longer a plastic tray holding an oversized shoebox-style deck box. The new tray features several punch-out counters (blank—they can denote anything you'd need) and a divider for inside the deck box.

The deck box itself is smaller and easier to transport than before, similar to the deck boxes you find in Prerelease kits but large enough to hold the entire Commander deck, even after you sleeve the cards.

It also includes double-sided tokens for the deck, a life wheel, and a replacement for the oversized foil cards from Commander releases in the past: the display commander. It's printed on a thicker cardstock and is not a tournament-legal Magic card, but it still allows you to show off your commander and carry it inside the deck box.

Commander deck – minimal packaging

If you aren't near a local game store and shop online for upcoming Magic releases, you may instead find a "minimal packaging version" of the deck. While it doesn't feature the beautiful look of the typical retail packaging, instead using a corrugated cardboard box to contain the product, it delivers almost everything the same way using even less material and space.

The only difference between the minimal packaging and retail versions for Commander (2021 Edition) is that the insert tray holding the deck box does not offer punch-out counters and a divider—you'll still receive everything else (the deck and deck box, plus life wheel, display commander, and double-sided tokens).

Future Updates to Magic Packaging

Both Commander (2021 Edition) and Challenger Decks 2021 releases feature updated packaging to increase recyclability and decrease the amount of plastic. The journey to reduce plastic across all Magic products will continue through 2021 and beyond.

Here's the catch: We're not quite ready to show you more today, but we are telling you now more changes are on the way. We're committed to reducing plastics and increasing the recyclability of our packaging. You'll see even more radical updates in the future and will share more as they are rolling out.

We know some of these changes will be successful, leading to even better updates down the road, but none will be perfect. Improvement is a moving goalpost, as there are always ways to enhance our packaging. We're excited with the progress now—and the feedback you'll offer us along the way.

Once you can enjoy the new packaging of Commander (2021 Edition), which releases on April 23, please let us know what you think!

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