EDH Rules

These are the standard rules for the EDH Format. All decks must be built using these base rules. Any additional league specific restrictions are listed under the League Rules page.

Deck Construction Rules

Players must choose a legendary creature as the "Commander" for their deck.

  • Players may choose any legendary creature as their Commander, although some choices may be met with disapproval by other players. Two players in the same game may choose the same Commander, and other players may include that card in their Deck even if it's not their Commander. Commanders are subject to the Legend rule just like any other legendary creature; multiple copies of the same creature (whether Commander and non-Commander) will all be put into the graveyard (or command zone) as a state based effect.
  • The Commander is the principle around which the deck is built. It is more easily available than other cards in the deck, and decks will ususally want to leverage their Commander's strengths in their plans. It is not, however, guarenteed to be available at every point in the game so EDH decks should be able to function without it for a time.
  • A deck's commander is also known as its "General" for historical reasons.

A card's colour identity is its colour plus the colour of any mana symbols in the card's rules text. A card's colour identity is established before the game begins, and cannot be changed by game effects.

The Commander's colour identity restricts what cards may appear in the deck.

  • Cards in a deck may not have any colours in their identity which are not shared with the commander of the deck. (The identity of each card in the deck must be a subset of the General's)
    • Lands whose type includes swamp, island, plains, forest and/or mountain (e.g.: basic lands, shocklands, dual lands, Shadowmoor special-basics, etc) DO contain the corresponding mana symbol(s) as per CR 305.6. As such, while they are "colourless" they do have a colour identity and may not appear in a deck unless the Commander is of the appropriate identity.
  • While hybrid mana symbols may be played with either colour mana, they contribute both colours to the card's colour identity. Therefore they may only be played with a Commander whose identity includes ALL of the hybrid symbols' colours.
  • Basic land words (swamp, forest, etc) in the text box of a card do NOT represent a coloured mana symbol. They are not restricted to Commander of the same colour identity.
  • Reminder text is not included in the colour identity of a card.

An Example of what cards are/aren't allowed in a three colour deck.

A deck with Phelddagrif (Casting cost 1UWG) as the Commander may not contain any cards whose colour identity includes red or black.

  • These cards would all be illegal in a Phelddagrif deck
    • Goblin Piker (Its mana cost contains a red mana symbol)
    • Elves of Deep Shadow (Its ability contains a black mana symbol)
    • Talisman of Dominance (All sorts of verbotten mana symbols)
    • Life//Death (Three shall be the number of the colours)
    • Degavolver (… right out)
  • Our Phelddagrif couldn't use any of these lands:
    • Underground River (Obvious, see above)
    • Godless Shrine
    • Badlands
    • Leechridden Swamp, etc
  • Phelddagrif may not call upon Boros Guildmage for help
  • Phelddagrif IS allowed to use:
    • Esper Panorama
    • Shard Convergence

A deck may not generate mana outside its colours. If an effect would generate mana of an illegal colour, it generates colourless mana instead.

A Commander deck must contain exactly 100 cards, including the Commander.

With the exception of basic lands, no two cards in the deck may have the same english name.

Commander is played with vintage legal cards, with some exceptions:

  • Cards are legal as of their set's prerelease
  • The following is the official banned list for commander games. These cards (and others like them) should not be played without prior agreement from the other players in the game.
    • Ancestral Recall
    • Balance
    • Biorhythm
    • Black Lotus
    • Coalition Victory
    • Channel
    • Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    • Fastbond
    • Gifts Ungiven
    • Kokusho, the Evening Star
    • Karakas
    • Library of Alexandria
    • Limited Resources
    • Metalworker
    • Mox Sapphire, Ruby, Pearl, Emerald and Jet
    • Painter's Servant
    • Panoptic Mirror
    • Protean Hulk
    • Recurring Nightmare
    • Staff of Domination
    • Sway of the Stars
    • Time Vault
    • Time Walk
    • Tinker
    • Tolarian Academy
    • Upheaval
    • Yawgmoth's Bargain

Additionally the following legends may not be used as a Commander:

  • Braids, Cabal Minion
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • Erayo, Soratami Ascendant

Play Rules

The start of game procedure for Commander is as follows:

  • Players announce their choice of Commander and move that card to the command zone.
  • Players may then sideboard if the optional rules for sideboards are being used.
  • Each player draws a hand of seven cards.
  • Players may mulligan, using the modified "Partial Paris" method.

Being a Commander is not a characteristic [MTG CR109.3], it is a property of the card. As such, "Commander-ness" cannot be copied or overwritten by continuous effects, and does not change with control of the card.

  • A Body Double copying a Commander in a graveyard is not a Commander. A Commander which is affected by Cytoshape, or is face down, is still a Commander.

If a player has been dealt 21 points of combat damage by a particular Commander during the game, that player loses a game.

  • This is an additional state based effect.
    • Commander Damage is cumulative throughout the game; nothing can reduce the amount of damage a Commander has previously done to a player.
    • Because it is a property of the card and not a characteristic of the game object, a card is still the same Commander even if it leaves the field and returns.
    • While effects can raise a player's life total, it doesn't reduce the amount of damage previously taken from a Commander. (eg: Beacon of Immortality)
    • Conversely, combat damage can be reduced, prevented, or replaced as it is taken, in which case it was never dealt and doesn't count towards the total taken from that Commander. (eg: Fog or Captain's Maneuver)
    • Commander Damage is specific to each Commander/Player pairing, not combined across all Commander.
    • A player can lose if he or she is dealt 21 points of combat damage by his or her own Commander (ie: under someone else's control).

While a Commander is in the command zone, it may be cast. As an additional cost to cast a Commander from the command zone, its owner must pay {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone. (ie: a commander with original casting cost WW costs 6WW to cast for the third time.)

  • A Commander is still subject to the normal timing restrictions for casting creatures (unless it has Flash or some other affect allows it to be played at another time, such as Vedalken Orrery)

If a Commander would be put into a graveyard or exile from anywhere, its owner may choose to move it to the command zone instead.

  • A commander which is face down in exile must be moved by any player to the command zone, face up.
    • This is a replacement effect; the creature never goes to the graveyard and will not trigger such abilities.
    • Commander will move to the library or hand as normal; only transitions to Exile or the Graveyard may be replaced.
    • It is possible for a commander to be moved to exile while face down, such that its owner does not possess the knowledge required to apply the aforementioned replacement effect. All players have an equal responsibility to move the commander to exile as soon as possible; knowingly failing to do so is cheating.

Players begin the game with 40 life.

Commander are subject to the Legend rule; they will be put into the graveyard or command zone at the same time as any other Legendary creatures with the same name.

Abilities which refer to other cards owned outside the game (Wishes, Spawnsire, Research, Ring of Ma'ruf) do not function in Commander unless the optional sideboard rule is in use. If sideboards are used, wishes and similar cards may retrieve sideboard cards.

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