Today I will not be discussing the logic or my feelings on the tuck ruling. Regardless of your feeling on the subject, there is a good chance you will be playing in a world where Commanders return to the Command zone. For certain colors, (Blue and White), this isn’t much of an issue. There are enough answers in those colors that you can simply add in a bit more removal and you will be fine. Black didn’t have a good ability to tuck anyway, so this won’t change much except that now you can’t hope someone else will deal with (tuck) the problem for you.
Don’t take those tuck spells out of your decks, they still work. You just need to include more answers and your answers may have to bit more creative now that the silver bullets that we used against certain Commanders are gone.
The first and simplest solution to no longer being able to tuck commanders is to steal them. When the gods were first released I mentioned that I expected to see Avarice Totem in a lot more decks. Well, now is your time to go ahead and pick some up. Here is how it works;
Step 1: Target a permanent you control that you are willing to sacrifice to trade for a commander. I recommend goat tokens from Trading Post or kobold tokens from Kher Keep.
Step 2: With that first activation effect on the stack, target the indestructible/burn resistant commander of choice.
The second ability resolves first, giving you their Commander and giving them the totem. Then, the first ability resolves and you get the totem back and they get a cute and cuddly goat. You now have control of both the totem and the enemy Commander permanently.
If you are in red and you are looking to deal with commanders, most of the in-color steal effects are Threaten style effects that force you to give back the commander at the end of the turn. This means you need to have some good sacrifice outlets like Claws of Gix or Ashnod’s Altar to kill off some troublesome Commanders. Alternatively, you can be super cleaver and bring out Conjurer’s Closet. The interesting thing about that card is it specifically returns cards to your control. So they will most likely decide to bring the Commander back to the command zone when closet exiles it, rather than give it to you permanently. For other cards you threaten away, it gives you the cards permanently.
If the commanders are creatures, there are some colorless solutions that are simple for taking control. Helm of Possession, Crown of Empires (Sometimes), and Gauntlets of Chaos are relatively easy ways to gain control of a Commander (that is a creature) for any deck. For colorful answers, Enslave, Olivia Voldaren, and Willow Satyr are all great cards that break the color pie rules a bit. Beyond that, you start getting into some funny business when it comes to taking control of things. Let’s review some them:
Nameless Inversion(Saturday Editor Update: clearly, Nameless Inversion doesn’t do that because it removes types. Feel free to substitute in Amoeboid Changeling or Wings of Velis Vel and imagine it’s some weird five-color concoction that can play blue and Karrthus) or Blades of Velis Vel on a creature, then cast Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund;
- Use [Card]Liquimetal Coating[/card] to make a commander into an artifact, then smack someone with Hellkite Tyrant;
- Use any Eldrazi or sacrifice effect along with It that Betrays;
- Play Confusion in the Ranks, target the god to steal it, then destroy Confusion in the Ranks before exchanging control.
The important thing in the case of stealing is to steal permanently or make sure you can sacrifice the commander at the end of the turn.
With tuck no longer working as written, it essentially becomes the same as exile for commanders. That said, you will need to include some more exile removal in your decks. Similar to how I think more decks will need to play Avarice Totem, more decks are going to need to start running Tawnos’s Coffin, Karn Liberated, Amulet of Unmaking, Brittle Effigy, Duplicant, Return to Dust, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. In the cases of Amulet of Unmaking and Brittle Effigy, I recommend including Prototype Portal so that you can use the effect repeatedly.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is still a way to permanently deal with a commander using exile. You should be aware of this so that you can use it and avoid it as you see fit. If something is in exile thanks to a card like Otherworldly Journey, and the delayed trigger is either countered with Stifle, Voidslime, or Trickbind or the turn ends thanks to Sundial of the Infinite or Timestop the card in exile is there forever. Keep this in mind when you are blinking with your commander. Also keep in mind that Voyager Staff and sun dial can be played in every deck. Since it is delayed, you may want to just play it safe and let the staff return your commander to the command zone.
Control the Truth
If you take control of someone’s turn using Sorin Markov, Mindslaver, or any other similar effect, you get to decide where the commander goes. So exile it, tuck it, or destroy it on the turn that you control and it goes where you want it too.
What ways are you planning on dealing with hard to kill commanders in your non-blue and white decks now that tucking commanders is no longer an option? Post in the comments or send a message to my twitter account @SwordsToPlow.