Commander is a multi-player, free-for-all, singleton format of Magic: The Gathering. What this means is that, other than basic lands, each card in a player’s deck must have a different name. One card of each player’s deck must be a Legendary Creature, referred to as their Commander or General.
Only cards of a Commander’s Color Identity may be included in the other 99 cards of a deck.
- The Color Identity of a Commander is determined by all mana symbols on the card. This includes symbols in not only their casting cost, but also in their text box. For example:
Riku of Two Reflections is a Commander who’s Color Identity matches his casting cost. He costs Blue, Red, and Green mana to cast, and has a Color Identity of Blue, Red, and Green because no other colors of mana symbols appear in either his casting cost or his text box. As such, your deck can only contain cards that are Colorless, Blue, Red, Green, or any combination of those colors, but NOT White or Black.
On the other hand, Bosh, Iron Golem costs only colorless mana to cast. However, in his text box, he has an activated ability that costs three colorless mana and one Red mana to activate. Because of that one Red mana in his activated ability, Bosh has a Color Identity of Red, and you can include Red cards in your Bosh deck.
Color Identity doesn’t simply effect the cards you can play in your deck. It also affects the colors of mana your mana sources are allowed to produce. If a player would attempt to add mana to their mana pool that is not one of the colors in their Commander’s Color Identity, that mana is produced as Colorless instead. For example, if a player had a Bosh, Iron Golem deck, and they tried to produce blue mana with any mana source, they would instead produce Colorless mana.
THE COMMAND ZONE
Appropriately, the Commander you choose for your Commander deck does not function the same way as other cards within your deck. At the beginning of your game, you will remove your Commander from your deck and place it in a zone known as the “Command Zone”. This is a completely separate zone from all other zones in the game. You are the only player who can interact with your Command Zone. You may play your Commander from the Command Zone at any time that you may normally cast them as long as your resources are enough to do so. If your Commander were to be sent to either the graveyard or exile, you may instead choose to send them back to the Command Zone. Every time your Commander is sent back to the Command Zone, their casting cost increases by two colorless mana (e.g. If Riku of Two Reflections has been sent back to the Command Zone once, he will cost four colorless mana instead of two, as well as his normal Blue, Red, and Green mana).
STARTING LIFE TOTALS AND LOSING THE GAME
In Commander games, each player starts at a Life Total of 40, instead of the 20 life standard in other formats.
The conditions that must be met for a player to lose the game are the same as other formats, as stated in the Comprehensive Rules of Magic: The Gathering Article 1, Section 104, Subsection 104.3 and are as follows:
- 104.3. There are several ways to lose the game.
- 104.3a A player can concede the game at any time. A player who concedes leaves the game immediately. He or she loses the game.
- 104.3b If a player’s life total is 0 or less, he or she loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
- 104.3c If a player is required to draw more cards than are left in his or her library, he or she draws the remaining cards, and then loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
- 104.3d If a player has ten or more poison counters, he or she loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
- 104.3e An effect may state that a player loses the game.
- 104.3f If a player would both win and lose simultaneously, he or she loses the game.
- 104.3g In a multiplayer game between teams, a team loses the game if all players on that team have lost the game.
- 104.3h In a multiplayer game, an effect that states that a player wins the game instead causes all of that player’s opponents to lose the game. (This may not cause the game to end if the limited range of influence option is being used; see rule 801.)
- 104.3i In an Emperor game, a team loses the game if its emperor loses the game. (See rule 809.5.)
- 104.3j In a Commander game, a player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704. Also see rule 903.14.)
- 104.3k In a tournament, a player may lose the game as a result of a penalty given by a judge. See rule 100.6.
As you see emphasized, stated in item “j” of Section 104.3, Commander has it’s own unique way of losing the game: ” In a Commander game, a player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. “
COMMANDER BANNED LIST
To view the most up to date list visit: MTGCommander