Seedborn Musings – So That’s One Tuck and One No Tuck

Welcome to part 2 in what’s become Tuck Week here at MV, our for-now-definitive Muse takes on the controversial Commander subject of putting opposing commanders in libraries.  Monday’s article threw down the gauntlet (don’t throw the NES game, though – just play that one, since it’s awesome), so I’m following with my view.

I’m fine with tucking in Commander.  Graveborn Muse isn’t, at least not as it currently works.  He had a brilliant discussion on the subject though, so I hope my rebuttal does justice to the intended dialogue.  Well, maybe he didn’t intend dialogue so much as a once-for-all convincing monologue, but I’ll force it into dialogue!  Ha!

*Clears throat* Okay, um…right.  Article.  Anyway, Graveb. framed the tuck/zone change issue as a Timmy discussion, perhaps Timmy v. Spike.  This is reasonable but it’s also incomplete.  The correct initial frame is through Vorthos.  Commander started as Elder Dragon Highlander.  Why?  Because the Elder Dragons were the baddest dudes of their kind.  Highlander existed and exists in other shapes and sizes; a singleton format does not by itself imply a psychographic, as for every Spike that’s disappointed at deck inconsistency, Timmy doesn’t get to see his favorite play too often while Johnny can’t assemble oddities as easily.  But put in Elder Dragons?  That’s probably a Timmy nod, but it’s auto-Vorthos, so we’ll start with Vorthos in discussing zone changes.

Vorthos, Commanders, and a Cluster of Things That Don’t Make Any Sense

A commander has unique properties that don’t show up in a normal game.  This is in itself a Vorthosian idea.  Your commander:

  • Restricts the type of magic you can use based on his or her essence and what he or she can do with mana;
  • Lives in its own zone, emblems aside, commanding your spells; and
  • Deals special irrevocable combat damage.

In most other formats, the flavor idea is that you’ve got various creatures and things; you’re the master of your destiny.  To some extent, in Commander you’re second in command.  You chose the cards, but you’re fighting your commander’s battle, not strictly your own.  In a 60-card deck, a legendary creature is the on-site manager while you’re giving orders from headquarters; in Commander, it feels like a role reversal, as you’re getting the battlefield ready for when the commander comes to inspect it.

As a Melvin-Johnny, I don’t take trips to Vorthos-Timmy without a purpose; it’s a strange land and I barely know the language.  But my point is that Commander is unmistakably a Vorthos format and possibly an automatic Timmy format as well.  If changes are made, it makes sense to me that those changes should reflect the original intention and vision of the format.  A commander is somewhat similar to how WotC has conceived planeswalkers fighting with you, except that commanders do it better.

With that in mind, here are all the ways in which a commander can change zones.  Let’s see how much sense each of them makes to see if they’re in-flavor.  First, though, a list is appropriate:

  • Command zone
  • Stack
  • Battlefield
  • Graveyard
  • Exile
  • Hand
  • Library

There are many combinations of these.  Here are the important ones for commanders:

Command zone to stack to battlefield.  You’ve paid the mana, you’ve summoned your commander, and there he or she is commanding things.  Perfect.

Command zone to stack to command zone.  A more powerful mage prevented the commander from finding the forces.  This is a flavor and utility replacement for command zone to stack to graveyard/exile and is both sensible and right given the specialness of the commander.

Command zone to stack to hand/library.  Given my interpretation of the notion of a commander, these don’t make sense to me.  A commander is superior to his or her spells in terms of flavor.  The commander isn’t just one of seven equal things or of a hundred equal things.  It rises above the other cards.

Battlefield to command zone.  Sure thing.  Part of the vision of the format.

Battlefield to hand/library.  Same flavor problems as from the command zone.

Battlefield to graveyard.  This one’s existence bothers me on the same level a planeswalker card in the graveyard bothers me.  A planeswalker is always alive; he or she is just either with you or not with you based on availability.  A Lightning Bolt at Jace Beleren isn’t killing Jace the way it’s normally said; it’s causing Jace to find another part of the plane in which to walk about.  I realize I’m retrofitting planeswalker flavor into commander flavor, but when you choose a commander, you’re announcing a sort of “super friend” for your battle, and if the friend’s that super, why would it be dying all the time?  More to the point, why would you be fine with it?  The extra mana for each commander summoning implies to me that a commander’s death is more like unconsciousness.  It takes more effort to get the commander whole again, but they never fully go away.  So what’s the flavor behind accepting the death of your boss?

Graveyard to the command zone.  Now this is the one that bothers me to no end.  Simply put, this makes no sense at all.  It also provides absurd utility in a game.  If a player has Necromancer’s Covenant in hand, then there’s no reason outside Dovescape not to put your commander in the graveyard.  If anyone tries to mess with it, it’s probably going to the command zone anyway, where it suddenly went from dead to alive by the flavor.

Graveyard to hand.  This one makes sense as basic Magic flavor, but for reasons I’ve discussed doesn’t make sense as Commander flavor.  I’m not yet convinced commanders ought to be in the graveyard, and they certainly don’t make sense in the hand, so why can it go from one to the other?

And that’s the problem.

Now you may be wondering how a commander going from the graveyard to the hand has anything to do with the tucking discussion.  It’s simple from my perspective.  This is my thesis statement, why I’ve been fleshing out the flavor wonkiness of all sorts of normal Commander occurrences.  Ready?

As long as a commander can go to a graveyard or a hand, it must be able to go in a library.

I didn’t understand that tucking balances the hand and the graveyard until Daryl fleshed out his reasons against tucking.  It’s not immediately intuitive, but all three zones are connected as a way of balancing each other.

I went through all that Vorthos stuff to show that nothing really makes sense with a commander except the command zone and the battlefield.  Unless bringing in a commander becomes a special action (which wouldn’t be a terrible thing), you have to have the stack, but the command zone and the battlefield are the format’s twin pillars of vision, of brand, and of uniqueness.  If you do anything else with your commander, it starts to get weird.

I agree with Daryl that paying 2 extra mana for each command zone summon is a fair way of doing things.  But for every deck where that’s fair, there’s a deck that isn’t going to bother with it.  If you have a Debtors’ Knell, your commander can be free each turn.  How is that the intent of the format, and how does that balance things?

Tucking Is in a Few Colors, but Mostly in Colors Opposite Those that Cheat the Command Zone

The colors that can cheat the command zone cost most frequently are black, green, and white, with blue occasionally able to get in on bounce.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a deck heavily in black or green (i.e. fewer than three colors) that didn’t abuse the graveyard to some extent.  My stance is that reanimating commanders to hand or battlefield goes against the idea of a command zone in the first place.  If I use Genesis to return Radha and you Remand my Radha, it doesn’t cost anymore to recast her than it did when you countered it.  If I cast Radha from the command zone and you Cancel it, she costs more next time.  Why is this true?  Is she somehow easier to summon because she’s in my hand rather than a special place that’s her home from the beginning of the game?

So black, green, and white get to in varying degrees cheat the command zone casting rule.  This makes those decks more efficient at what they do by a long shot over blue and red mages who (and this is an adjective rarely used for blue) will have to more often than not cast their commanders the “honest” way.  What’s the balance to something so potentially format-warping?

It’s the antidote to the too-close relationship commanders can have with the battlefield, graveyard, and the command zone: taking/tucking them elsewhere.

If commanders could not be put into libraries, it rarely would be correct to put them back into the command zone.  The command zone represents safety from being messed with, a safety that nothing else gets.  When other zones – graveyard, hand – are approximately as safe as the command zone, the slight tradeoff in safety is worth far more than having to pay extra mana every time.

Again, the weak link here is that a commander exiled from the graveyard can go to the command zone.  Were that not true, the graveyard would be a thoroughly unsafe place to put a commander.  The same logic applies to the hand.  But both are almost completely safe if commanders can’t go to libraries whatsoever.  Now I agree with Daryl that some ways of putting commanders in libraries make more sense than others (I don’t think they should move from the stack to the library, for example), but Commander flavor breaks down quickly after the initial bits anyway; we won’t get much help from flavor.

Specifics

So we’re stuck with how the games actually play out to look at these rules decisions.  In basically specific response to Daryl’s concerns, I will attempt to rebut or allay them below.

Invariably, someone will say that if your deck can’t win without your Commander then it’s a bad deck, but that argument is pretty weak; the fact is that if you don’t have access to your commander and your opponent(s) do, then you are at a significant disadvantage.

Yes and no.  This depends entirely on the commander and the synergy with the deck.

Another reason that losing your commander puts you at a disadvantage is synergy… Naturally, every deck has wincons other than that single legend, but for almost any commander deck it is inevitable that some or many of the cards you draw will be suboptimal or flat-out wrong for you if you don’t have access to your commander for an extended period of time.

Maybe this is true for someone else, but it certainly isn’t true with me.  A good synergy deck can do most of what it needs to do without one piece.  Very few of my Commander decks have the power level associated with the format; if I want that power level, I’ll play the at-least-nine-singleton Vintage format and maybe win some prizes.  No, I build for extreme depth (having plans B-Z) and flexibility (offensive responses to opponents’ A-games).  My Radha deck shell is the poster child of my philosophy, constantly destroying artifacts while drawing an endless stream of mid-sized fatties.  Yes, my deck is dependent on Radha, but not after about turn 4 unless I draw Epic Proportions to flash onto her for a quick clock.  While I’m here I’ll list my decks and their tucking concerns:

Sen Triplets: I often forget to cast it.  It’s basically a mascot. 

Radha: Once I have 4-8 mana Radha can do whatever she feels like.  Destroying Radha the turn she comes out does about as much damage to me as tucking does; they set me back during the crucial turns I’m trying to build a midrange board.

Tariel: This is an open-ended good stuff deck, consisting mostly of enchantment/creature/artifact sweepers and using Tariel at some point to find a finisher from someone else’s graveyard.  I’ll certainly stay alive for a long time without Tariel.

Animar: This one’s fairly commander-centric, but my commander also has protection from half the tuck effects.  (If more people could give protection from white or blue, that would be a superior response to tucking; tutoring would be second.)

Karador: It’s Spirits with soulshift.  Karador makes it run properly, but the soulshift package can get there.  And since Karador tends to come out so late and rarely attacks, the Hinders of the world are used up while the Condemns go on the things I’m bringing out with Karador because they’re frightening.

Zedruu: My build doesn’t rely on donating nasty permanents to win; it’s using Zedruu to keep the cards flowing for my web of Prison-style control and eventual flying win.  I still draw those things without Zedruu, just a tinge slower.

Mimeoplasm: This one’s so nasty it deserves to be tucked.  But since the plan is to have awesome creatures in the first place, guess what?  My deck has awesome creatures.  They can win just fine on their own.

Animar’s on the tuck-concerned end while Sen Triplets isn’t, but I don’t have any build that’s crushingly vulnerable to tuck effects.  Just as it’s awful deckbuilding to overrely on your commander, so it’s awful threat assessment to waste tuck effects on commanders who don’t need it.

Yes, tuck effects are annoying, but the good ones are rare enough to be listed by name; we’re talking about Condemn, Oblation, Hinder, Spell Crumple, Spin into Myth, Chaos Warp, Warp World, Bant Charm, and Proteus Staff and whether those ought to be staples.    Many of those are only truly good against commanders, and at that point opponents are taking up card slots for the off-chance that a commander ought to be tucked (and if you’re reliant at a healthy level on your commander, you might wind up glad that they didn’t use that tuck on something else).

Solutions

Unlike Daryl, I’m not concerned at tuck warping the format.  Importantly, I define warp as when a format is using extremely narrow/one-use cards because they’re the most efficient or only solution to a problem.  If tuck starts to mess with your playgroup too much, there are several options you can take that don’t involve the rules or the normal answers:

  • Play hard to counter/target commanders or commanders that don’t attack.  Condemn’s a fairly bad card if it isn’t used on a commander.  So is Hinder.  Give them no chances to use them optimally.
  • Play counterspells yourself or other means of protection.  Fight Hinder with Swerve, Shunt, or Ricochet Trap.  More generally Autumn’s Veil can work in green, as can Vines of Vastwood or Asceticism.  (More shroud isn’t a terrible idea in the first place.)  Given the white/blue mage’s penchant for instants on your turn, Sundial of the Infinite is a catch-all any deck can run cheaply while having a tinge of build-around.  Some decks even could get good mileage from Not of This World.  Put more instant-speed sacrifice effects in your black deck; it’s handy to have decent sacrifice outlets anyway as a response to sweepers.  (Spawning Pit or Carnage Altar work if you can’t think of anything else.)
  • Exile a commander from your library.  Manipulate Fate and Foresight will rescue your commander while getting rid of two other cards you don’t need, all while drawing you a card.  There’s no need to burn a tutor when you have cheaper effects to do that sort of thing.  It isn’t elegant, but it could be good.
  • Exile cards from the tuck player’s library.  Black gets Bitter Ordeal, Dimir Machinations (which transmutes!), Nightmare Incursion, and the back-at-you Praetor’s Grasp as reasonable options to get rid of all the tuck at once, since again we’re only discussing a select few cards.  Every deck can run Jester’s Cap if it wants.  If the player’s known for running these effects, searching their library also lets you know if any of these effects already are in their hand.  If you know exactly where the effects are at all times, then they aren’t nearly as bad.  For that matter, even Telepathy or Lantern of Insight can aid the process.
  • Make the tuck player a target every time.  They’re the true threat to your deck de facto if your deck’s incurably built around your commander, so kill them early, kill them often, and let them know precisely why you’re killing them.

If a format warps around tuck effects, then it can and should be addressed with some of the above means, or maybe something else.  It’s just that these cards aren’t normally thought of as good Commander cards, so you might laugh at them as solutions.  But there are ways to fight back without playing the cards yourself, and most of them have some utility outside this specific use.

Conclusion

Commander doesn’t have a metagame warped around tucking yet.  If it did, you’d see cards with no other purpose than to deal with the effect.  In the dying days of recent Extended, Temporal Isolation was a real card for no other purpose than to put one on a Marit Lage token.  It was a cheap, effective answer to the quick 20/20…and to nothing else in the format.  That’s when things are truly warped.  If your format dichotomizes to tuck-and-Thrun, then you know there’s a problem.

Until then, I’m fine with tucking as a countermeasure to commanders who abuse the lack of extra mana paid for them out of the graveyard or the hand.  That might not be how you think of tucking, but a commander becomes truly broken when it isn’t being fairly cast frequently out of the command zone, whether by being too resilient or from being cast elsewhere.  Tucking is an annoying answer to those things, but it’s ideally an answer to something more annoying.  I don’t play those spells much because I find them to be far too narrow in dealing with the actual problems, preferring Meddling Mage and Phyrexian Revoker as more broadly applicable than Hinder or Spell Crumple.  Tuck is annoying, but lots of things in Commander are annoying, and I think it’s an appropriate answer to certain sections of the format that would otherwise get out of hand. 

To summarize my lengthy position:

A) Aside from the command zone and the battlefield, most of the other places a commander could go don’t make any flavor sense, i.e. a commander going to the library is as weird as going to the hand or the graveyard;

B) Tuck goes against the spirit and intent of the command zone;

C) So does casting a commander from the hand or reanimating from the graveyard, as they don’t cost extra per casting and therefore create an abusable discount;

D) A commander going from the graveyard to the command zone when exiled is a huge safety net for those who wish to recur their commander with this discount;

E) Tuck is the only thing keeping this honest;

F) Aiming for depth and redundancy in your decks, which you already should be doing, mitigates tuck’s effectiveness, demoting it to a “normal” spot removal; and

G) There are ways of getting around tuck that have other beneficial uses, thereby keeping tuck from warping the format.

This comes from a minority group of views on the format, but hopefully they make some sense.

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About Seedborn Muse

Articles: GatheringMagic.com, 2012-; Muse Vessel, 2011; StarCityGames.com Talent Search, 2010; Hardball Times, 2008-2010; Baseball Prospectus, 2007. Books: Spill of the Tongue, Slip of the Mind (Draft in 2011; wanting feedback); Hardball Times Annual 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Songs: soundcloud.com/earth-dyed-red. Sketch comedy: In development.
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24 Responses to Seedborn Musings – So That’s One Tuck and One No Tuck

  1. Malhaku says:

    “To some extent, in Commander you’re second in command.”
    “Just as it’s awful deckbuilding to overrely on your commander.”
    I remain against how tucking affecting Commanders/Generals as it does purely for that second sentence. I hate that in EDH it’s frowned upon to make your commander the keystone. It’s a format where you always have access to one creature. How is it bad to make that creature the focal point? You want consistency. There it is. The problem? You don’t always have access to your commander… if they’re tucked.

    I do agree with your assessment of the graveyard not making much sense for your commander either. I will defend the hand though. The way I like to see it, in the MTG universe magic and the mind are in flux. You can learn lots of spells, but only so many of them will jump to your conscious mind at a time. Being a powerful being, any spell that is in the conscious mind is like a staging area. It’s ready to activate, it only needs the energy to move it from that staging area to reality. I see a bounce as pushing/pulling a spell or creature in effect back into that staging area. A mage/being with that ability can pull their partner/commander into that safe zone, but still needs the energy to return them to reality. (Additionally, turning a bounce effect into a kill against a commander would be a ridiculous boost to the power of those effects.)

    • Malhaku says:

      Oh, almost forgot. Excellent quote/title. Great show.

      • Seedborn Muse says:

        Well stated on all fronts.

        To clarify on commandercentrism (and I get to this in the response to Devin as well, although it’s harder to spot due to length), you can focus on a commander without having its presence on the battlefield as an absolute requirement. My Radha deck has a number of 4-mana things it wants to do on turn 3. This obviously is with Radha in mind. But do I scoop if Radha is tucked or destroyed on turn 2? Clearly not; I’m just slowed down a turn. Similarly, I have many flash spells and activated abilities with RR: Epic Proportions, Hellkite Charger, Bogardan Hellkite, Obsidian Fireheart, War Cadence, and Savage Beating are among the best of those spells. But those are all perfectly serviceable on their own; they won’t get the job done as easily, but they all have power by themselves to get there.

        These spells make my deck Radha-centric in one sense; you can flip through it and see how I built around her. But that doesn’t mean I need Radha on the field to make my deck work. After awhile, I normally just have enough Mountains to do her job anyway, and there’s no point paying 10 mana to recast her when I’ve got the mana I need. It’s THAT sense – choosing cards that synergize with your commander while being okay plays by themselves – that I’m urging a shift away from commander-centrism. Nudging the individual power of cards in your deck will lessen some of the damage from tucking.

      • Malhaku says:

        Thanks for the Response, SBM! I still have to disagree on your stance of commander-centric. Emphasizing the individual power of cards that just happen to work well with the general leads to the more powerful cards in my edh decks across the board. I really like the idea of a card that is horrible on its own, but can shine like a star in conjunction with the commander (I wish I could think of a really good example off the top of my head.) I feel like the best aspect of EDH is variety (as opposed to the homogenization of Standard, for instance) and changing the tuck rule makes it so a deck that is reliant upon the commander is not a bad deck considering the commander is always available. (I mention my latest deck in the comments of GBM’s article from the other day, Ruhan Smash! Without Ruhan, it’s a weak control deck with no wincon.)

        As for CommandZone/Battlefield/Stack Only… I really really don’t like the idea. Example: Player A is tapped out and has a commander out (Let’s even go further and state the commander is wearing Darksteel Plate). Player B drops an Erratic Portal or Crystal Shard. Erratic Portal/Crystal Shard are suddenly better than Path to Exile or Swords to Plowshares (one mana, no bonus to player B, and they stay on the board for further use)

      • Seedborn Muse says:

        As someone with a well-publicized stance against Sol Ring and the implications of staples, I’d never suggest that things migrate to all objectively powerful cards. If you saw my decklists it might make more sense. My favoritest thing in any format is finding the underappreciated cards and getting some power out of them. (Although under some fluky circumstances, I top 4’d an SCG Qualifier this year with Bala Ged Scorpion in my sideboard. Seriously.)

        And like you, raison d’etre means tons to me in choosing things for a deck. I don’t play Sol Ring or Lightning Greaves in any of my decks. My decks aren’t turning artifacts into creatures or operating off haste or shroud or anything like that, so I don’t see a reason to waste a card on them. I would include Sensei’s Divining Top in, say, a Tomorrow, Azami’s Familiar build for synergizing with the commander AND being in-block (always extra points with me), but I probably wouldn’t include it anywhere else. The card ought to feel like it belongs in the deck, and that normally goes back to the commander.

        That said, there’s a point at which each card ought to do something by itself. Simply put, nobody ever draws things in the order they mean to, nobody gets or keeps all their colors of mana every time, and so forth. It’s a dangerous thing to design Commander decks in Magical Christmas Land (i.e. the place where everything works nicely), and for my designs having your commander out falls in the same category as not hitting your mana or going into topdeck mode. Most of the time you’ll get those things, but not always, and given two roughly equivalent cards, the less greedy one is normally the better choice.

        A decent example from my Animar deck (which does get pretty sad if tucked, though the protection’s there to stop some of it): Nullstone Gargoyle, which I don’t think most people in their right mind play in Commander. With Animar out, the Gargoyle might wind up being free or very cheap from a rapid succession of creature spells, showing up at the end to help protect the field from board wipe and so on. That’s a great pairing. Absent Animar, it isn’t terrible, though. Yes, 9 mana for a 4/5 flyer is rough, but a 4/5 flyer post-Wrath is still going to dish out some pain, while the ability is something I can work around whenever it shows up. Llanowar Empath is also in there, and while its main purpose is to fuel the Animar chain with a cheap scrying body, drawing it late with no cards in hand still has a purpose. The Empath is pretty bad by itself, but in context of what I’m trying to do, which is built around my commander, it’s quite good.

        But since my cards are all pointing the same way on theme, the theme will show up and be at least somewhat strong even if Animar’s been Meddling Maged. Being too commander-centric in the sense of overreliance isn’t just about tuck effects; it’s also about the problem of repeated board removal, as you alluded to with Erratic Portal and Crystal Shard. If you’re too overreliant on your commander, you might fold to tuck AND Royal Assassin AND Pacifism AND Reassembling Skeleton and who knows what else. I don’t like to happen, so I build differently. (You can infer accurately from this that I think Voltron decks are a terrible idea.) Tuck isn’t the only concern there.

      • Malhaku says:

        I don’t want to build a deck in Magical Christmas land and I will never state Voltron or Army of One is the best EDH deck strategies. In fact, in certain environments, Voltron can be like bringing a wooden club to a gunfight.(One of the great parts of multiplayer over duel is that I still have a chance in the game.) And yes, there are many concerns when a deck is very general-centric.

        But the game is called Commander and the keystone of the format is you have a commander/general/elder dragon (without that it’s just 100 card highlander.) I enter that arena at least knowing I’ll have that club in the fight. Destroy or Exile knocks the club out of my hand and it slides to the other side of the room, but I can still get it. I might lose trying to get to it, but it’s still there. Confiscate or Control Magic.. Someone steals my club… but it’s still there. Boomerang.. my opponent uses an amazing martial arts move to make me re-sheath my weapon and I have to exert the energy to pull it back out (Yes, I have a club sheath.) Even Pacifism glues the club to my hand and I better have some glue solvent (yeah, kinda stretching on that last one.) But in all of those instances… the club is still there! Hinder? Club gone. Bye bye. Oh, you don’t have a bunch of tutors in your deck? Too bad. (In this situation? Well, you can scoop or you can kingmake. That’s it.)

        I just feel like “tuck” cards go against the core tenant of the format, which I see as “Your commander is always there.” There are penalties for letting him/her get beaten up too much, but they’re still there.

  2. Devin says:

    So, your entire position on the issue is predicated on how YOU (and people who like tuck) think the casual format ought to be played? We ought NOT to be playing commander-centric decks? We ought NOT to be viewing the commander as a creature to which we usually have access (costs permitting)? We ought to be always building decks with a douchey subset of cards in mind because the rules are special in their case? We ought NOT to make the rules more simple by making them more streamlined across the board? This makes no sense to me, and I contend that anyone who likes tuck or thinks it should be allowed to function as a special case with regards to effects on commanders really just isn’t doing it right.

    Access to your commander is integral to the spirit and flavor of the format. Just because people can recur, bounce or bring down the costs of casting their commanders doesn’t make the rules system with regard to the Command Zone invalid. That’s completely ridiculous. It’s like saying because I can counter your Nicol Bolas with Counterspell for 2 blue, Counterspell should be banned because its effect is so relatively cheap, yet powerful. The Command Zone rules are in place for exactly this kind of occurrence. Nicol Bolas may have been delayed by the relatively powerful (at that time) Counterspell, but hey, you get another chance to put him on the board, but that’s left up to you – do you recur him from the graveyard or recast from the Command Zone?

    As an analogy with regard to your flavor analysis toward the beginning: David Patraeus was the commander of US armed forces on the ground, but it doesn’t make him commander-in-chief, so I’m not sure where your thought process is coming from with regard to the “flavor” of having your commander bounced, killed or exiled. If Patraeus was killed, returned to the US for some reason, or missing in action, there’d still be someone calling the shots over here. Things would keep on keeping on (though obviously this would have been awful). I think the Commanders are important (I play a Rafiq deck in which he is the only creature – my playgroup plays no tuck effects), but what exactly are you proposing as an alternative to the rules as they currently stand with regards to the commanders?

    Finally, I really REALLY take issue with the “Tuck is the only thing keeping this honest” argument. As I said in response to Graveborn’s article… No, the only thing keeping this honest, as a casual social format, is people calling other people out on degenerate play. A subset of cards that really harm a lot of casual players’ games when there’s really no need for it should not be allowed to warp the format so we can deal with a few bullsh!t commanders and players. Erayo and Zur should be flat-out banned as generals if they are such an issue, which is a more elegant solution than giving a handful of cards special rules and abilities, in my opinion. Besides, who the hell wants to play with those people in the first place anyway?

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      Devin, I’m going to take a few of your statements in order and give what I hope is a reasonable response.

      “So, your entire position on the issue is predicated on how YOU (and people who like tuck) think the casual format ought to be played?”

      My opinion on the issue is predicated on my thoughts on the format, yes. I don’t think I could do otherwise. Daryl has an opinion, I have an opinion, and you have an opinion. *Shrug*

      “We ought NOT to be playing commander-centric decks? We ought NOT to be viewing the commander as a creature to which we usually have access (costs permitting)? We ought to be always building decks with a douchey subset of cards in mind because the rules are special in their case? We ought NOT to make the rules more simple by making them more streamlined across the board? This makes no sense to me, and I contend that anyone who likes tuck or thinks it should be allowed to function as a special case with regards to effects on commanders really just isn’t doing it right.”

      There is a theoretical spectrum of “commander-centric” deck builds, from built with 0% access to the commander in mind all the way to 100% access to the commander and 0% access to the commander. If someone builds a commander-centric deck to the extent that the commander needs to be out 100% of the time to win, that’s a problem. Due to there not being a proper commander for my Sen Triplets deck after my last round of changes, I normally play that one regardless of access.

      But NO deck of any type should build in a way that both presumes 100% access to a given card and needs 100% access to function. Building multifacted, multi-angle decks is just good sense regardless of tuck. A deck can be commander-centric if it glues those angles together and is helpful in all of them, even if it doesn’t need the commander to achieve them.

      For sake of argument, what I’m getting at here is the difference between including cards that are ONLY good with your commander v. including cards that fight a decent fight but are much better with your commander. If you’re running Stonebrow, Krosan Hero and it gets tucked, the Stampeding Rhinos and Terra Stompers of the world will still be reasonable threats. Defiant Elf will not. If your deck is on the Rhino/Stomper end, you’re relying less on Stonebrow to win, even as those cards are in the deck due to Stonebrow. Defiant Elf relies much more heavily on Stonebrow to be a good card. I’m urging more Rhinos and Stompers and fewer Defiant Elves as a means of mitigating the damage of tuck. Does that make more sense of my thoughts?

      “Access to your commander is integral to the spirit and flavor of the format. Just because people can recur, bounce or bring down the costs of casting their commanders doesn’t make the rules system with regard to the Command Zone invalid.”

      In a tuckless world, reanimation/hand casting DOES make the rules system with regard to the Command Zone invalid. Presumably, keeping tuck off commanders also stops cards like Reito Lantern from tucking them, yes? If so, then commanders never are going anywhere they can’t be cast. Blue can send back to the hand while black/green/white can reanimate. And at that point, why wouldn’t you weave self-bounce or more reanimation into your deck as a means of never having to cast your commander from the command zone except for a) the first time; b) when you whiff on the proper spells in your hand; or c) when Bojuka Bog sends your commander there from the graveyard?

      Decks that can and normally do recur their commander are saving huge amounts of mana v. everyone else at the table. If I pay 7 for Thraximundar the first time and use Living Death, Torrent of Souls, and so on, then I’m not just skipping 9-mana and 11-mana Thrax; I’m paying 9 and 11 in emergencies while everyone else by this point is paying their commander’s equivalent of 13 and 15. If there’s no ultimate drawback to this plan, then it quickly becomes the 100% best plan for every deck or close to it. The only reason I see that this hasn’t happened yet is because tuck exists.

      My commander flavor analogies probably are weird; you exposed that with the Petraeus analogy. But if decisions and appeals are being made on flavor while the flavor is inconsistent, then ultimately that’s just emotions deciding it.

      “I think the Commanders are important (I play a Rafiq deck in which he is the only creature – my playgroup plays no tuck effects), but what exactly are you proposing as an alternative to the rules as they currently stand with regards to the commanders?”

      I’m not proposing any rules change, but because I see a world where reanimators/bouncers become totally unfair without tuck, I would propose that the Command Zone, the stack, and the battlefield become the only three zones in which a commander can exist. If the commander is countered, it goes back to the Command Zone. If the commander would leave the battlefield from anywhere, it goes back to the Command Zone. Reanimators can’t cheat the Command Zone, tuckers can’t be stupid, and every commander lives in a level playing field.

      “Finally, I really REALLY take issue with the “Tuck is the only thing keeping this honest” argument. As I said in response to Graveborn’s article… No, the only thing keeping this honest, as a casual social format, is people calling other people out on degenerate play.”

      To the extent that Commander is casual and social, I can get behind your position there. To the extent that it isn’t (i.e. cutthroats at game stores or in tournaments), tuck keeps broken decks honest. From my viewpoint, fourth-turn combo kills, going infinite with something or other, and poison are all more degenerate socially than tuck, and tuck’s not even a catch-all answer to those things. I’d change the rules on those long before tuck.

      For the record, I play with a whopping 1 tuck effect in any of my decks. That’s Oblation in my Zedruu deck. My justification is that, since I’m donating permanents, I want to get them back sometime and draw cards. If Oblation didn’t combo with my commander, I wouldn’t be playing it. On a social level, I don’t want to be the douchebag. On a practical level, I don’t want to be the target of a player for the rest of the game because I tucked their commander.

      • Devin says:

        I actually thought that was a very reasonable response – and after re-reading my original post, I apologize if I came across as a little hot-headed. Bad day at work yesterday.

        Anyway, regarding my criticism of “how YOU think we should play the game,” I understand that everyone has an opinion, but my point was more that if we’re talking about making rules, rules are more than just opinions on the subject. By using some of the arguments you (and other) supporters of tuck use, you’re essentially creating a whole set of rules for deck-building in the format: Don’t rely on your commander; Plan redundancy into your deck; Play the colors that can tutor and always have them on hand. This just seems wrong to me. You can argue “restrictions breed creativity,” and all that crap, but when the restrictions are derived from special privileges you grant an unfairly powerful subset of cards, it starts to feel like the people who want to keep “The Tuck Exception” we’ll call it, are doing so simply for their own benefit. So they can play the Zurs and Erayos of the card pool, so they can have a silver bullet for any commander they can’t deal with. I know you mentioned you don’t use any tuck effects, so I’m not coming at you specifically, but reading some of the Rules Committee postings on the subject in the forums, it seems like they’re just completely out of touch with this reality.

        I do understand what you’re saying about building decks with cards that work well in conjunction with your commander versus building decks with cards that ONLY work in conjunction with your commander, but to me, I think that’s part of the fun of the format. Obviously I don’t build this way for all of my decks, but the deck I mentioned, in which Rafiq is the only creature, is a hell of a lot of fun because I get to turn him into the Terminator. It’s a glass cannon, I guess you could say.

        And you’re absolutely right – in some cases, the access you have to your commander is a huge advantage. The Rafiq deck I mentioned is nick-named “Suicide Rafiq” because I packed 14 board-clearing effects into it, as well as every possible way of reducing costs and generating massive amounts of mana. But just because I can recast him does not mean it’s easy as pie to get him back on the board. Legitimate removal spells a la Path and Swords and counters often await his return. But this is the risk I take with the deck, and that’s fine with me. It’s not meant to outright murder anyone, you can see it coming from a mile away, and it takes a really REALLY long time to get going.

        But in your, and tuck-supporters view, I should not be able to build this deck because of the set of rules prescribed by your support for tuck effects. If Rafiq gets tucked, it’s game over for me unless I happen to draw into him. Does that seem fair? Eliminating an entire deck build because you want to maintain “The Tuck Exception?” This is at the heart of what really bothers me about the rule and support of the rule. It does absolutely NOTHING for the format, but make an unnecessary restriction for the sake of “broken” generals like Zur and Erayo, which, if they are so degenerate, should be outright banned, or discouraged by any sane playgroup.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      No worries, Devin. You were articulate in your rage. 🙂 And if my position isn’t defensible or needs clarification then it needs it no matter who says and in what tone it’s said.

      Without saying it quite this plainly before, here it is: I think that banning tuck would make certain other spells absurdly powerful to the point where we get annoyed at them. This is mostly the reanimation camp. I’m already supremely annoyed at Living Death and I don’t want to get more annoyed at it. I’m willing to admit maybe I haven’t thought that outcome through as much as I’d like to, but banning tuck as an official thing would have deckbuilding ramifications beyond some commanders getting to play more often. (For the record, I’m much more in favor of banning Zur and Erayo as commanders than I am tuck. It seems the players drawn to Zur, Erayo, and friends are the Spikes intruding on the format in the first place.)

      I think there are already deckbuilding rules that don’t have to deal with tuck. It would be awesome to have an “anything goes” format, but I can’t join the idealism even as I’d like to. Regardless of tuck, there are tons of graveyard shenanigans, there’s absurd amounts of card draw, and there are plenty of degenerate combos, and apparently a need for Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. These things contour decks already. Any powerful strategy will contour opposing decks. Some strategies are more annoying than others, sure, but rules can’t not exist, and at least I know what the status quo is and how to build with it in mind.

      (That said, I agree that the Rules Committee is out of touch with reality. I haven’t looked at their posts too much, but one of the reasons I wanted to write my own article was to support tuck from the perspective of someone who thinks it’s a bad idea to run.)

      To be forthright, I wouldn’t be caught with a glass cannon deck anywhere anytime, not in 60-card and certainly not in 100-card. Every part of my deckbuilding worldview says those are bad ideas. (I do have some where Plan A is either slow or fragile, but in those cases they tend to at least involve creatures, as in Mayael’s Aria, so maybe I can push some damage through.) It’s not fragility to tuck that stops me from building them, though, and I hope it’s not fragility to tuck that would stop you. It’s fragility, period. It’s lists like the following: Royal Assassin; Avatar of Woe; Altar of Shadows; Pacifism; Lignify; Phyrexian Revoker; Mordant Dragon; Gideon’s Lawkeeper; Glare of Subdual; Deepfire Elemental; Keeper of the Nine Gales; Boros Fury-Shield; Conquering Manticore; and Malfegor. If you intend to go all-in on your Commander, any of these random cards, ranging from meh to great, can stop you. Banning or changing a few tuck spells doesn’t change the fragility; it just makes it more vulnerable to more widely applicable cards. Maybe that’s a reasonable enough goal in itself, but I don’t think so.

      I think the rule with tuck gone would be to build decks around commanders that can be reanimated or recast with no help from the command zone. That’s the format I see post-tuck, and I like that deckbuilding rule MUCH less than I do the deckbuilding rules to get around tuck. Commander would be more fun without tuck in theory, but while I like some of the space banning tuck would open up, I think it would open up far more negative space that hasn’t yet arisen because tuck exists. That said, if banning it is the healthy thing for your group, then don’t let me stop you. Your group needs to do whatever it should to have a positive gaming experience. Our group put in its first house rule last week after about 5 years: lethal poison now equals half the starting life total in any format. Although no one tried to break it in Commander, it existed and it annoyed us, so we changed it. I wouldn’t fault you for locally addressing tuck; I just don’t think it takes a format-wide response.

      • Devin says:

        To be honest, I thankfully haven’t had that much experience playing against decks that really abuse the graveyard. I can see Living Death and graveyard recursion becoming problematic in a playgroup, but I don’t see them coming close to breaking the format in any capacity due to commander interactivity. It may be a cheap (in the cost and jerk sense) way of getting around the Command Zone rules, but if that’s their game plan, I think that’s fair. At least they’re spending multiple cards to do it and it may not always work out. It’s also usually a play that benefits them, and may annoy you, but in the case of Living Death, for example, is really nothing more than an All Is Dust with a twist. You may even get some benefit out of it. My point is that it is potentially “equal opportunity.”

        Playing against something like Spell Crumple or Hinder, however, with the Tuck Exception in effect, is not equal opportunity. It is extraordinarily powerful against the type of card that DEFINES the format. A player can sit and wait for a problematic commander to be cast that isn’t Thrun and immediately and usually without response eliminate a major aspect of the game for that player. My point here is that regardless of the percentage of your deck that “depends” on your commander, it is thereby extremely damaging to that player’s experience of the format. And if the ultimate goal is to get more people interested and into the format so there’s more fun all around, why would anyone in their right mind possibly want a rule in effect that basically says, “I heard you were excited to play this Legend. Well, say goodbye to him permanently.”

        Just look at it from a new player’s eyes. If you were coming to the format with, for example, Urabrask as your commander in a mono-red deck, just putting some “good stuff” together you thought would work well with a guy that gives your dudes haste, and you are really excited to play with Urabrask… You get to the store, having not really read that much online, only having heard about this from friends… You get to the store, sit down, shuffle up, and turn 4 or 5 comes around, you’re ready to throw him down and the blue mage at the table taps 3 and says “Spell Crumple.” “Oh, ok, he goes back to the Command Zone, right?” “No, he goes in your library.” “What?” “Yeah, gone.” “Oh.” “Yeah, this card has a special rule. It doesn’t work like destruction or exile.” “What??” “Yep! Sorry!”

        Not that that’s happened to me, but seriously, the fact that that is even possible really REALLY sucks. I frankly don’t care what would happen without tuck. I just don’t think it should be allowed as a special rule. It’s completely nonsensical and unfair in favor of players ready and willing to just ruin someone’s day.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      I agree that tuck is a stupid thing for new players to face (though I’m more concerned at the douche who purposefully casts really powerful stuff at the really new player). But tuck is so far from the only thing that could turn a new player off that it’s merely the tip of the iceberg to me. Here’s a group of things that could shut off most or all of someone’s commander while not being tuck:

      Control Magics (Control Magic, Confiscate, Conquering Manticore, Domestication, Enslave, Mind Control, Take Possession, Vapor Snare)
      Pacifi-Snakeforms (Arrest, Arachnus Web, Faith’s Fetters, Lignify, Prison Term, Stupefying Touch)
      Anti-Voltrons (Diplomatic Immunity, Steely Resolve)
      Deactivating Abilities (Cursed Totem, Humility, Linvala, Phyrexian Revoker, Pithing Needle, Soul Sculptor, Voidstone Gargoyle)
      The Named Card (Conjurer’s Ban, Declaration of Naught, Meddling Mage, Null Chamber, Voidstone Gargoyle)

      That’s a lot of stuff that can do the heavy lifting against commanders if desired. A lot of that stuff’s better against non-commanders than tuck anyway. It would take a slew of bannings, IMO, to get the above annoying things out of the way and take the format where you want it to go. I don’t see the point of banning the most annoying one if other annoyances will just pop up in tuck’s place.

      • Devin says:

        See, I think that those examples you mention are false equivalencies. Are they annoying? Yes. Are they as powerful? No. There is a slew of options throughout the color pie to eliminate ANY and all of those problems, many of them running at common level or are very cheap rares because those are mostly all utility problems. Tranquility, Creeping Corrosion, Shatterstorm, Sadistic Sacrament, Aura Shards, Life’s Finale, Day of Judgment, Fracturing Gust, Earthquake, Evacuation, Rebuild, Starstorm, Akroma’s Vengeance, Counterspells, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Options to deal with all of the issues you mentioned run the gamut in terms of availability and degree of usefulness and for most all players can be incorporated into their decks in some capacity or another, so long as they care about dealing with those things.

        Having a commander card shuffled into your library can only be fixed with a very specific type of card that isn’t always that accessible in terms of price or availability: the tutor. And as Graveborn pointed out, quality tutors that would help a tucked Commander are available in really only a few of the colors and are not always readily accessible. Most of them cost quite a lot of money, in fact, as you’re aware. Because of tuck, players must run redundant cards or tutors, and this, to me, is a problem for the format. This problem undermines creativity and freedom of choice in deck-building.

        I think it is damaging to the format and players’ enjoyment when you set these two very specific cards at opposite ends of the see-saw of gameplay when in reality you should be looking for a balance between them through regulation in the rules.

      • Seedborn Muse says:

        But your point, or so I interpreted it, was from the new player angle, and the new player would be as annoyed with denied access as with having it on the board unable to do anything. No Commander bash = sad times, and all of those equal sad times. The new player probably doesn’t have all the answer cards for stuff like Humility anyway.

        As for expense, by magiccards.info, tutors or cards that exile to any degree of efficiency for under $3:

        Colorless:
        Citanul Flute .53
        Jester’s Cap 2.02
        Mangara’s Tome .49
        Planar Portal 2.02
        Skyship Weatherlight .99

        U:
        Archmage Ascension .32
        Distant Memories .32
        Extract 1.93
        Foresight .12
        Long-Term Plans .30
        Manipulate Fate .22
        Noble Benefactor .19
        Parallel Thoughts .43

        B:
        Beseech the Queen 1.32
        Bitter Ordeal .98
        Corpse Connoisseur .16 (assuming you can get it out of the graveyard)
        Diabolic Tutor .27
        Insidious Dreams 1.02
        Maralen of the Mornsong .52
        Night Dealings .32
        Rhystic Tutor .69
        Rune-Scarred Demon 1.01

        G:
        Brutalizer Exarch .16
        Chord of Calling 1.92
        Fierce Empath .13
        Hibernation’s End .46
        Time of Need .47
        Weird Harvest 1.35
        Wild Pair .90

        UB:
        The transmute range (all cheap)

        GW:
        Altar of Bone .50
        Captain Sisay 2.93
        Congregation at Dawn .40

        GWU
        Supply and Demand .49
        Wargate 1.14

        Across many tribes you have the Harbinger and ___catcher cycle as well. I don’t see how putting those in would be rules any more than putting in Creeping Corrosion and Tranquility would be a rule.

  3. Some great ideas regarding graveyard shennanigans and bounce as far as the commander is concerned. I agree that graveyard recursion is a real beast…any attempt to get rid of tuck will also have to address this.

    What about making the “may” trigger for moving your commander into the command zone into a “must” trigger? This wouldn’t make a Child of Alara deck very happy, but other than that it probably solves some problems.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      I would be perfectly happy with a must trigger; based on my understanding of what the command zone is supposed to represent, it already should be this way. Without thinking about this too much, I’m even okay with saying a commander can’t change controllers, making the strongest thing that could happen to a commander be something like Faith’s Fetters or Voidstone Gargoyle. I don’t think that’s a better format than what currently exists, but I can trace the logic of it much better than stopping only tuck effects.

  4. Vrag says:

    I agree with your arguments about the hand and graveyard. Personally I think that the rule should be “If your commander would leave the battlefield, he is placed in the command zone”. The only problem I see with this is maybe flicker type of effects. I have no problem with commanders changing controllers. I think that is still in the spirit of the game.

    After reading your intro, I think this is the problem. Commander was created by Vorthos/Timmies, and has become so popular that Melvin/Johnnies and Melvin/Spikes are coming in and breaking it. The original intent of the format was to have your deck play differently every time with one consistent card. But now what’s the strongest strategy in the format? Searching and card draw to make your deck more consistent.

    I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree with making your deck more consistent. I think it should still be functional in case you don’t have the mana to cast your commander for the 5th time. There is a big difference though between “if I draw 2 more lands I’ll have my commander back online” and “I could draw another 60 cards and still not see my commander”.

    I also agree with someone’s comment on GBM’s article. Tuck effects are supposed to be LESS powerful than their alternative, but suddenly they are MORE powerful because of the format. This just seems contrary to what the format is trying to accomplish.

    Unfortunately I think that the format needs to be more proactive about rules. It’s become way too popular, and there are way to many people who could care less about the spirit of the format and are just trying to break it with stupid combos, cheap generals, etc. to stroke their ego. In the end it’s the casuals that suffer.

    You’re arguing that the tuck effects need to be there to keep recursion in check, but that only really applies for Spike/Johnny vs. Spike/Johnny. Meanwhile poor Timmy is sitting there with his fun ruined. I agree that this is a Vorthos format, but I think it was created as more of a Timmy format to get away from the more Spike/Johnny friendly tournaments. It relates to many other articles that I’ve seen on this site. Eventhough I’m mainly a Johnny I consider Commander to be a format mainly for Timmies like GBM does. It’s not consistent enough for Spikes or Johnnies unless you find cards that cheat abuse the rules of the format, or go contrary to their spirit.

    Finally as I said in GBM’s comments, I think that in Commander you should only have to put in general responses to threats. Putting in worthless cards that only respond to one effect is preemptive sideboarding for your metagame. This goes completely against what casual is supposed to be. If I’m expected to put in cards to resist tuck then I think people should be expected to put in cards to defend against my land destruction, multiple counterspells, horsemanship creatures, phasing, banding, etc. I know this is extreme but this is why it’s degenerate. It may not degenerate into worst case scenario, but if this small effect is enough to make me plan for it in deck construction, then it’s probably too powerful.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      It’s a weird double-edged sword: Commander was popularized and mainstreamed by those who were playing it at tournaments/the players in those scenes who wrote about it, yet the format clearly isn’t for tournament types. The biggest piece of agreement I have with everybody in all this is that the format is supposed to be a Vorthos/Timmy one and that Spike should stay completely away. One of my biggest lightbulb moments in writing about Commander is understanding that most advice is written as though we were playing an oversized Vintage, which is why ramp and card draw are the gilded idols of the format.

      If tuck effects weren’t this powerful, I think something else would be. Tuck is the major issue now, but ANY shift in the rules makes some things more powerful at the expense of others, and how I perceive that shift down the tuckless road makes me want to stay where I am. Like anything else, getting rid of tuck isn’t done in a vacuum, as nice as that would be.

      My playgroup has tons of recursion but few Spikes. They just love black that much. Living Death is a VERY popular card in my group. I hate it far more than I suspect I could possibly hate tuck.

      Personally, I see tuck as near-worthless cards that only respond to one effect. In most metagames it’s “I can’t think of a better, more general way of dealing with this commander, so I’ll do the obvious move.” What I was attempting to urge was certain types of general responses that also improve your game against tuck. I think there’s unexplored territory there, and it hasn’t been explored because of tuck (and tucking mages, to be frank) being so insufferable to some people.

  5. HighlordBaiden says:

    Well Brandon, this was a very good read and so was the article before this by Graveborn. This is a very sticky issue but there are some very easy ways to get around/through it and you have hit a lot of them.

    As you know (but many of your readers don’t), our local card shop has quite a different play style than our normal group. Our group plays with very few Spike cards in favor of flavor and fun. At our card shop I seem to run into a lot of degenerate combos, turn 3-6 infinite wins, and just all around Spike people wanting to smash face as quickly as possible without savoring the format. The point I’m trying to make it this: you must build according to your own play group.

    In specific for this argument, Tuck IS very annoying. One guy in our play group (you know who I’m talking about) went through a phase of holding Spin into Myth specifically for my Commander (Venser at the time, evolving into The Mimeoplasm later) and it annoyed me to the point of literally wanting to walk outside and punch a squirrel. I made a few simple changes to my deck and was able to address this issue by either allowing it and blowing his face clean off or going after him long enough to make him drop the Tuck early and not worrying about it later. The changes I made also work for various other situation that have NOTHING to do with Tuck, so I never even noticed it being a huge problem.

    This is the deciding factor that you hit on earlier: are we having to put in cards that ONLY deal with Tuck and nothing else? Absolutely not. Cards that search libraries to get rid of Tuck also get rid of other nasties that will threaten you and your Commander’s life later on. Commanders that skirt around Tuck with good evasion also skirt around other types of removal just as easily. Cards that mitigate the damage done by Tuck also mitigate damage done by handfuls of other spells and abilities. Putting these cards/Commanders/abilities into your deck, EVEN IF TUCK WERE BANNED, is simply a smart thing to do regardless! Who doesn’t want all that I just listed? I certainly do! I have tech against Tuck in several decks that I never intended because they are also tech against a very wide range of other stuff.

    If your play group has a problem with “if I cast my Commander it will be targeted immediately with a Tuck effect,” then you have a much bigger problem than just Tuck: the people who are doing the tucking are the problem. Like Brandon mentioned, our playgroup changed poison because it made more sense to us to have it at half life regardless of format. It’s 10 for 60-card decks, 15 now for Two Headed Giant, so it made sense to make it 20 for Commander (honestly, if Wizards ever gets to write the rules for Commander, this one will probably be the first).

    If the people in your group don’t realize how annoying Tuck is, show them just how annoyed you are by blasting them into oblivion by even the mere threat of it. The guy I mentioned earlier who always Tucked my Venser has sense realized that threat assessment goes out the window when my favorite blue guy is no longer in my clutches. I do not agree that a format-wide ban of Tuck is the right path. Instead, evaluate your play group and ban/restrict/limit/change effects like this to accommodate you better. Many people find many different things annoying, but we can’t ban them all. Just make them sorry for messing with you and see if they do it again.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      For the benefit of the readership here in Vesseland, what were some of the changes you made, if you can remember them?

      I’m not going to tuck because I don’t want to make an auto-enemy for the rest of the game (or in group possibly the rest of the night). I don’t know anybuddy in our group who would be like that…but seriously that alone makes tuck a bad play. It doesn’t take much more than that.

    • Devin says:

      I agree that playgroups should regulate their social contract and discuss what they do and don’t like, but I’m not sure I understand your argument. You’re saying tuck was annoying for you and you still think it’s bad, so you made the player who played tuck effects sorry for doing so by blowing him out of the water as retribution, now he doesn’t play them anymore and everyone’s happy? But you still think tuck should stay. Huh.

      Why not just skip the middleman and eliminate tuck in the first place? It doesn’t matter if you’re pleased with the tech you added to deal with it even after tuck is gone – that’s kind of irrelevant. The point is that you wanted it gone, it got gone, so why would you ever want to keep it as an exceptional rule?

      • Seedborn Muse says:

        The opponent in question still plays tuck. Now he makes much better, fairer, and non-commander threat assessments with it than doing a knee-jerk response to a commander. And now he also doesn’t killed as quickly.

  6. Pingback: Windborn Musings – Tuck in the Middle with Bruce | Muse Vessel

  7. I personally do not have a problem with tuck. Now, am i sad to see my general go sure who isn’t but i always have a way to win with out my general. That being said if you rely on your general that much that you can’t win with out it may be its the way the deck is built that you need to look at other then a creature being tucked.

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