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Thursday, December 2, 2010

No More EDH...Kinda...2011's Casual Project Announced!

Well, another year comes and everyone wonders...what's going to be the multiplayer casual release this year?

Well...Let's say it's the first time I remember Wizards of the Coast doing 100-card preconstructed decks. (Not counting two-player releases like the Duel Deck series or Beatdown, etc.).

Let's also say it's a current casual favorite format.

Yes, it's EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander) Preconstructed Decks!

But...it's not EDH...kinda.

And they've got some nice surprises, like...

MTGCommander.net Preview

More details...after the jump!

Remember when Wizards of the Coast introduced the Command Zone for cards that couldn't be affected by anything in the game except rules? This is the technical name for where Planar Cards and Archenemy Schemes go, as well as where the Commander goes in MTGO's Commander format.

And that last sentence might clue you off to the change.


The reason for the change?

EDH and Commander were officially two separate formats: EDH is a paper format supported by a group of players independent from Wizards of the Coast, while Commander is the Magic Online equivalent of EDH that Wizards of the Coast supports directly.

Apparently discussions have been on-going between the EDH runners and WotC about WotC providing support for EDH. In the end, the decks were made, WotC got a way to release new multiplayer-friendly cards (you'll see in a bit below), and EDH would stay out of the purview of the DCI (WotC's official sanctioning body).

The trade-off?

EDH is a dead name...officially speaking, anyway. "Commander" will now be a unified format, sharing banned/restricted lists across paper and Magic Online.

However, the guys who ran EDH will run Commander; the WOTC and the DCI will have nothing to do with the format outside of product releases. As well, the EDH runners got a trademark to use the Commander name to reasonable expectations.

Overall, I'd say the community came out fairly well. Support from WotC, new cards, and they've agreed to not butt into the runnings of the format.

Alright, alright! Now that the backstory's finished, let's get to the new product.

The newest multi-player preconstructed offering will be 5 preconstructed 100-card singleton decks. Each preconstructed deck will be from a color "wedge", made up of an allied pair plus their mutual enemy. (For example, Lightning Angel is a RWU card: White/Blue is the ally part, and Red is their mutual enemy).

"But wait", I hear you say. "Aside from the Planar Chaos Dragons, there are few if any 'wedge color' cards, especially Legendary Creatures."

Well...that's one of the beauties of the Commander theme decks.


Yep. You read that right. 51 brand-new cards, all tournament legal. HOWEVER, they're only legal in "Eternal" formats, specifically Vintage and Legacy. (Remember, only cards released in expansion sets and Core Sets are legal for Extended [last 4 years' worth] and Standard [last 2 years' worth]).

This includes a total of 10 new Legendary Creatures made just for the Commander theme decks to give you options on what Commander to use for each deck. (As a bonus, you get oversized

You've already seen one of them, at the beginning of this post. Considering Commander decks have to be 100-cards big (counting the Commander), there's ample opportunity for Karador to get a reduction in its casting cost. And if that wasn't enough, you can actually cast those cards once Karador hits the battlefield. True, you've gotta pay the casting cost on those creatures, but it's either that or leave them there some of the time. Hmm...Do I see a reanimator-themed Commander Theme Deck coming up?

Part of the new design space isn't just for new Commanders, though. R&D is also designing cards that have a mostly multiplayer focus in mind. For example:

Oh, I can see this being used a bit in Two-Headed giant. You and your teammate each get a 5/5 flying Dragon, the opposing team only gets 1. Net gain: 5 flying damage, I'd guess. Not too shabby, really: 6 mana for 10 power worth of fliers.

In Commander and other "one versus all" formats, I could see this as a political ploy. "Hey, I'll give you all 5/5 dragons if you'll use them to take out so-and-so" or other similar means.

"MORE DETAILS MAN!!! What about cost? Release Date? All that other good stuff!!! NEED MOAR!!!"

Wow. You all really need to calm down. :p

The Commander theme decks will go on sale June 17th for $29.99 each. Considering that's for 100 cards, that amounts to about $.30 each pre-tax. Not bad for some of the Uncommons and Rares these decks will have. WotC will also do Launch Parties June 17-19.

This should be a mass release, so give it a week from the release date and most stores will have these.

So there you have it! What do you think of the changes, or I guess lack thereof? How about the basic theme deck idea? New cards? Feel free to post comments here. :)

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