What a wonderful day! Unless you’re a Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary fan, anyway…

Welcome back to GDC. It’s been a wild month, and we’re still settling in with our new team. Hopefully, all of the chaos is worth the price of admission here; I for one am stoked to have these guys all on board. Fresh faces, fresh ideas, fresh perspectives, and so on. More sleepless nights for Dave and I, since editing duties have skyrocketed, but you know what they say about rest for the wicked.

(Podcasts, anyone? What do you think? And for the record, there are already two more on the way. Yup…we’re back in the game.)

Anyway, that’s not what you all came for today. Let’s talk about the Rules Committee and their big, bad format-altering axe.

 

THE RETURN OF THE METAL KING

 

There’s an awful lot to take in here, so we’ll try to parse it out a bit. I’m a ‘glass half-full’ kind of guy (stop laughing…), so we’ll start with the return of the card that sucked me into EDH to begin with.

UNBANNED – METALWORKER


Mr. P trouncing me with his Reaper King list at the Shards of Alara Prerelease all those years ago using this unassuming little (foil…jealous!) guy was the catalyst for my love-hate-love-hate again-love again-this deck sucks-this deck is awesome-so confused relationship with Sharuum the Hegemon, and my true entry into the format proper. (Intet didn’t count; the equation is (pile of goodstuff-synergy)*terrible mana base = “What the hell? Thanks for the Tooth And Nail/Kiki Jiki, Mirror-Breaker/Pestermite combo, dick…”) Watching a Sundering Titan come down on turn four was an eye opener, and I realized that I had just been shown the door into EDH. I went nuts.

Of course, the Rules Committee then banned Metalworker promptly thereafter. Sad times.

As you can imagine, this is a most welcome re-addition to Sharuum. A proper homecoming of sorts many years in the making. And yes, the card coming out is Staff of Domination to prevent any “Oops! I win!” situations.  (Despite the fact that it should be Chief Engineer, who is terrible in my build. But I digress…)

Most interestingly enough, the reason I have been sitting in my rocking chair, muttering to the cat about unbanning this card is because Rofellos was a thing, and after all, wasn’t he just worse on the “Abuse Me!” scale?

It’s funny how things often work out…

BANNED – ROFELLOS, LLANOWAR EMMISARY


This is annoying for exactly one reason and awesome on so many others. Okay…two reasons. But first, an overview on how this came to be:

OLD WAY-

  1. Cards Banned In General
  2. Cards Banned AS Generals (Very punny!)

NEW WAY-

  1. Buylist that thing before it turns into a pumpkin.

The Rules Committee decided that having a proper banned list, and then another banned list that only bans some cards from being used as a general was confusing to some newer players, so they decided to align the lists and just cut cards altogether if they were problematic in any way.

This seems like a good call, primarily because

BANNED –ERAYO, SORATAMI ASCENDENT


Suck it, Erayo.

.

.

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…No, really.  Suck it.

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.

.

…The unfortunate fallout is that the other generals on the list that were not allowed to sit in the Command Zone were quite a bit less harmful (and in reality probably just fine) as one of the 99 cards in maindecks. Rofellos is quite a bit less harmful when you can exile him, even though some people could still make Turbo-Rofellos to decent reliability. The same goes for

BANNED – BRAIDS, CABAL MINION


…who was really not very good in most decks at all, save us degenerate grinders with Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker decks.

However, put either one of those two in the Command seat, and you have an instant recipe for misery.

If any of you are honestly trying to tell me that Rofellos as a general isn’t that bad, you’ve never played against him, or else you’re a degenerate trying to abuse him yourself. Even if you’re not trying to do broken things, six mana on turn three in a green deck is always going to turn out bad for the rest of the table.

And Braids…if you’re a fan of not actually being involved in the games you play, then this seems fine. Nothing to see here. Otherwise, this card can burn in hell right alongside Erayo.

Oh…to complete my thought above:

REASONS ROFELLOS GETTING BANNED SUCKS:

  1. That $20 bill is now much less than that.
  2. My win condition in Eladamri, Lord of Leaves just got a whole lot worse. (Hint: it starts with an “H” and rhymes with “Schmelix Shminnacle”.)

This brings us to the final elephant in the room:

UNBANNED: KOKUSHO, THE EVENING STAR 


The jury is out on this one in my opinion. Koko has been legal in the 99 for quite some time now, and I can see both sides of the argument you typically hear regarding her. On the one hand, I have seen a few games that have devolved into the old Primeval Titan-esque “Hey…that thing! Let’s all race to see who can copy/exile/steal/abuse it the most!” game. On the other hand, no-one I know has attempted to make it a centerpiece of a combo-slanted insta-kill deck either. 

The big question – is non-stop general Zone access better or worse?

If I had to weigh in, I’d say it’s worse from what I’ve seen. A general that starts at six mana gets incredibly tough to afford after someone kills it several times, and to be able to profitably (and more importantly, reliably) keep it coming back while sacrificing it over and over requires a pretty Rube Golberg-ian complex machine of intertwined reanimators, re-growers, and re…er…mana generators – all of which are fragile. I’d rather just have my tutors to pull Koko reliably out of my deck, so I can pay retail all day instead.

Of course, the next argument is likely that it doesn’t typically take that many recursions to wipe out a table. (And after that, some smart-ass will also likely point out that having her in the deck still requires said Rube Goldberg machine array to keep the recursion going to begin with, leaving it on equal ground with running Koko in the Command Zone.)

Like I said…the jury is out. But if historical evidence holds true to a pattern, we’ve seen some other busted things come back from the dead in the recent past (Staff of Domination, Worldgorger Dragon), and the format seems just fine.

Who knows. Just hang in there for now; pretty soon, Commander 2014 product is going to hit the shelves, we’ll get planeswalker generals, and the sky will start to fall all over again anyway. By then, no one will even remember this announcement ever took place.

Enjoy the ride!

-Cass
@GDCCommander