Rules

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Philosophy

Before reading the rules below, please read the Philosophy of Commander; simply following the rules is not sufficient to ensure a good play experience.

Rule 0

The Rules Committee added what they call 'Rule 0' in July, 2019 to help clarify and solidify the format's core philosophy:
"These are the official rules of Commander. Local groups are welcome to modify them as they see fit. If you’d like an exception to these rules, especially in an unfamiliar environment, please get the approval of the other players before the game begins."

Deck Construction Rules

  1. Players choose a legendary creature as the commander for their deck.
  2. A card’s color identity is its color plus the color of any mana symbols in the card’s rules text. A card’s color identity is established before the game begins, and cannot be changed by game effects. The cards in a deck may not have any colors in their color identity which are not in the color identity of the deck’s commander.
  3. A Commander deck must contain exactly 100 cards, including the commander. If you’re playing a companion, it must adhere to color identity and singleton rules. While it is not part of the deck, it is effectively a 101st card.
  4. With the exception of basic lands, no two cards in the deck may have the same English name. Some cards (e.g. Relentless Rats) may have rules text that overrides this restriction.

Play Rules

  1. Players begin the game with 40 life.
  2. Commanders begin the game in the Command Zone. While a commander is in the command zone, it may be cast, subject to the normal timing restrictions for casting creatures. Its owner must pay for each time it was previously cast from the command zone; this is an additional cost.
  3. If a commander is in a graveyard or in exile and that card was put into that zone since the last time state-based actions were checked, its owner may put it into the command zone. If a commander would be put into its owner’s hand or library from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead. This replacement effect may apply more than once to the same event.
  4. Being a commander is not a characteristic [MTG CR109.3], it is a property of the card and tied directly to the physical card. As such, “commander-ness” cannot be copied or overwritten by continuous effects. The card retains it’s commander-ness through any status changes, and is still a commander even when controlled by another player.
  5. If a player has been dealt 21 points of combat damage by a particular Commander during the game, that player loses a game.
  6. Commanders are subject to the Legend rule; a player cannot control more than one legend with the same name.
  7. Abilities which bring other card(s) you own from outside the game into the game (such as Living Wish; Spawnsire of Ulamog; Karn, the Great Creator) do not function in Commander.


References