Magic: The Gathering Commander

Posted in Feature on December 2, 2010

By Aaron Forsythe

As a follow-up to our recent successful multiplayer offerings, 2009's Planechase and 2010's Archenemy, we wanted to do something different for our 2011 multiplayer product. We set out to kill two birds with one stone: make new cards specifically for multiplayer play and give a popular fan-created format—Elder Dragon Highlander (or EDH for short)—the attention it deserves.

Art by Austin Hsu

Many of us here at Wizards really enjoy the format, myself among them (you should see my sweet Glissa Sunseeker deck), and there are multiple games every Friday afternoon in the downstairs café. And while we are pretty hands-on in general, we recognize the importance of keeping the format as player-run, even after we produce products that officially endorse it. To that end, we worked closely with Sheldon Menery and the rest of the EDH Rules Committee (we're lucky to have one of them, Scott Larabee, in house) to make sure our product adhered to their rules and stayed true to their spirit.

Here's what you need to know:

The format is now known as "Commander." The titles "Elder Dragon Highlander" and "EDH" are going away. It's not that we don't like those names necessarily (and I'm sure that many of you will keep using them), but we want to sync up our terminology. We've been calling it "Commander" on Magic Online for some time now, and we introduced the "command zone" as part of the game last year, so that term shouldn't be unfamiliar. Your "general" will now be known as your "commander."

The format's official website has changed from to As of right now, as a joint effort with the format's Rules Committee. See, we worked together with those guys! And to prove just how aligned we all are .... I'll get to that in a minute. It'll be awesome, trust me.

We are releasing Magic: The Gathering Commander in June 2011 as our multiplayer product. The product will consist of five different 100-card singleton decks, each with a suggested retail price of $29.99. To continue the tradition of oversized cards associated with our multiplayer releases, each deck will also include three premium oversized legendary commander cards that can be used in lieu of the normal versions of the cards (which are also in the deck).

Magic: The Gathering Commander will contain brand-new cards! We've been looking for outlets to create new multiplayer-friendly card designs for years, and this was the perfect place. There are 51 unique new cards spread across the five decks (some cards appear in multiple decks). These are real, black-bordered Magic cards that will be legal in Eternal formats (Vintage and Legacy) as well as casual games the world over. These cards are meant to appeal to many different kinds of Commander and multiplayer players: power gamers, flavor fanatics, and those who approach the game much more politically.

Here's an example of a crazy new card for the diplomatically minded:

Talk about exclusionary tactics!

The Magic: The Gathering Commander decks will each be three "wedge" colors with corresponding new commanders. "Wedge" is a term we use for three-color combinations consisting of an allied pair and their shared enemy. Examples of famous "wedge" cards are Lightning Angel () and Doran, the Siege Tower (). These combinations have been woefully short-supplied on legendary creatures, so each deck contains the corresponding Planar Chaos Dragon (such as Intet, the Dreamer) as well as two new legendary commanders in those colors, plus oversized foil versions of all three.

Magic: The Gathering Commander will be available on Magic Online. And to support it, we are tightening the online Commander rules to more closely match the paper rules.

Magic: The Gathering Commander will be available in multiple languages. In addition to English, you'll be able to buy these decks in French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

And finally ...

Wizards of the Coast and the DCI are not "taking over" the format! We will not be managing the rules or the banned list of the Commander format, instead leaving it in the capable hands of Sheldon Menery and his rules team. They deserve all the credit for this format's popularity and we don't want to mess with a good thing!

The design and development teams for this product (led by Ken Nagle, R&D's most enthusiastic Commander player, and Mark Globus, respectively) are incredibly proud of this groundbreaking product, as am I. We expect it to augment and build on the wonderful success the Commander format has had up to this point, and to break down some of the deck-building barriers, allowing a new generation of Commander players to emerge. Stay tuned to over the coming months for more information and previews!

To see the expansion symbol, design and development teams, and some art, head to today's Magic Arcana.

For an example of one of the brand-new "wedge" commanders, head over to right now for a preview! (See, I told you it would be awesome!)

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