Magic: The Gathering Commander

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ReleasedJune 17, 2011
SizeFive 100-card decks, including 51 new cards
DesignersKen Nagle (Lead), Mark Gottlieb, Scott Larabee, Ryan Miller, Mark Purvis
DevelopersMark Globus (Lead), Peter Knudson, Erik Lauer, Ryan Miller, Lee Sharpe
Development codeBedlam[1]

Commander is a series of supplemental Magic: the Gathering card game products, meant to be used in the variant format known as "Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH)".[2]


Commander is a format where players construct 100-card decks, with each card except basic lands appearing no more than once. Players also choose a legendary creature or Planeswalker to be their "Commander" or "General" (a Planeswalker must be designated as allowed to be used as a Commander), which begins the game in the "Command Zone". Each player's deck is based and built around their Commander's colors. In addition to the same losing conditions that exist in a normal game of Magic, each player starts the game with 40 life points instead of 20, and a player may lose if he or she is dealt 21 or more total points of combat damage from a single Commander throughout the game.[3] Commander is most commonly played in groups of four, but larger groups do happen. A one-on-one variant on the Commander rule set has been rising in popularity.

Commander also has its own "banned list" of cards, separate from any other format.[4] A list of the recommended banned cards in the format can be found on Wizard's official page here


  • Commander is often played in conjunction with existing gamemodes like Two-Headed Giant, Planechase, and Archenemy.
  • Duel Commander got its origins from Level 5 judge Kevin Desprez, who brought the initial idea of Elder Dragon Highlander to France from the USA, before it spread across Europe and now over the rest of world. The game is played by two opponents only, starts with 20 health points, and obeys the same rules as a regular Magic The Gathering game, one commander (or commanders with Partner ability) plus 99 (or 98 with Partners) cards in the starting library. The mulligan system is the same as for sanctioned formats, and the construction rules follow the same color identity rule as the multiplayer version does. The rules and updates are currently published on a Facebook page using notes.
  • Magic Online 1v1 Commander is Wizards of the Coast's attempt at creating a variant of Commander. The format utilizes a banlist created by Wizards that differs from that of the Rules Committee and is played almost exclusively on Magic: The Gathering Online.
  • Brawl is Wizards of the Coast's second attempt to create a Commander variant. Brawl utilizes all cards that are currently legal in Standard and has a rotation schedule similar to Standard's. The format is commonly played as a sanctioned event on Magic: The Gathering Online, but also has a following that plays the format physically.

Commander sets[edit]

Commander 2011[edit]

Magic: The Gathering Commander was released on June 17, 2011. It consisted of five preconstructed decks, each containing three foil oversized legendary creature cards. This set is notable in that it was the first set printed outside of the normal booster pack expansions to have functionally new cards. The set introduced 51 new cards,[5] made specifically for multi-player games.[6]

Each deck is built around a new legendary creature and a distinct mechanical theme. In addition to the intended Commander, they include two other new legendary creatures.[7]

Commander's Arsenal[edit]

Commander's Arsenal is a set with 18 premium foil cards, 10 oversized premium foil cards, card sleeves, a life counter, and tokens for keeping track of in-game effects. The set was released on November 2, 2012.[8] Each card in the set was the first edition of that card to receive premium foil treatment, the first to be printed in the modern frame, and/or received special art.[9]

Commander 2013[edit]

Commander 2013 was released on November 1, 2013. It introduced five new pre-constructed decks, each built around one of the three-colored "shards". 51 new cards were printed for Commander 2013, including five that introduced the mechanic Tempting offer, which allows opponents to duplicate the card's effect but at the cost of granting its controller a larger effect.

Commander 2014[edit]

Commander 2014 was released on November 7, 2014. It introduced five new pre-constructed decks, each built around one of the five colors. 61 new cards were printed for Commander 2014, including five that introduced the Lieutenant mechanic, which gives a bonus for the creature if you also control your Commander, and the first ever Planeswalkers that can be your Commander.

Commander 2015[edit]

Commander 2015 was released on November 10, 2015. It introduced five new pre-constructed decks, built around "enemy" two-color combinations. 55 new cards were printed, including new commanders that utilized "experience counters" to grow more powerful as the game progressed. Other new cards introduced the Myriad mechanic, which allowed a single creature to attack every opponent simultaneously.

Commander 2016[edit]

Commander 2016 was released on November 11, 2016. It introduced five new pre-constructed decks, built around four-color combinations. 56 new cards were printed, including new commanders.

Commander Anthology[edit]

Commander Anthology was released on June 9, 2017. It is a boxed re-release of four pre-constructed decks, one from each of the first four years of Commander sets.

Commander 2017[edit]

Commander 2017 was released on August 25, 2017. Starting with Commander 2017, Commander sets are reduced from five to four preconstructed theme decks (without reducing the number of new cards) and will be built around themes instead of focusing on color combinations.

Commander Anthology Volume 2[edit]

Commander Anthology Volume 2 was announced on February 14, 2018 for release on June 8, 2018. Like the previous year's Commander Anthology, Volume 2 will be a boxed re-release of four pre-constructed decks.[10] It contains the following decks:[11]

Commander 2018[edit]

Commander 2018 was announced on February 14, 2018 for release on August 10, 2018. It contains the following decks:


  1. ^ Shawn Main (May 20, 2014). "Conspiring a Conspiracy". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  2. ^ "EDH is now Commander". December 2, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  3. ^ "Magic: The Gathering Commander Rules". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved June 21, 2011.,
  4. ^ "Deck Construction Rules". Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  5. ^ "Commander Spoiler". MTG Salvation. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Ashley, Monty (December 2, 2010). "Announcing Magic: The Gathering Commander". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Ashley, Monty (June 14, 2011). "Magic: The Gathering Commander Decklists". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Ashley, Monty (August 10, 2012). "Commander's Arsenal". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Valentine's Day Mini–Announcement Day". MAGIC: THE GATHERING. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  11. ^

External links[edit]