11053256_10206508757343415_3155709458365301609_n @hayesthehayes

By now you have probably heard the news: no more tucking. It struck me as oddly timed. Why now? I’ve never been that afraid of having my general tucked. Recently I’ve built an Isamaru, Hound of Konda deck and I’m never afraid of him getting tucked. He’s a 2/2! I was actually about to release a different article today, ironically after Mark had talked about Isumaru on the ‘Cast this past Monday, about Isumaru and Zurgo. But that’s going to have to wait a hot minute. This is more important.

“If your commander would go into the library or your hand, you may choose to put it into the command zone. It’s as simple as that. Just like with the graveyard, if you want it to go into the library/hand, you’re more than welcome to let it. Note that this is a replacement effect, but it can apply multiple times to the same event.”

I’ve been playing magic for a long enough time that whenever there is a rule change I can identify the sound of the non-believers. They moaned about damage being taken off the stack. They didn’t like the new rare foil stamps at the bottom of the new cards. But now I can feel my throat getting scratchy, like a giant Uril, The Miststalker with a Eldrazi Conscription on it is clawing to get out of my throat. Last night when I heard the rules change about tucking I felt the non-believer in me coming out. I wanted to shout to the worlds “No, don’t!” but thought better of it. I needed to organize my feelings, write down my thoughts. Eight hours of sleep and here I am. Let’s look at the RC’s reasons:

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1. “We want to engender as positive an experience as we can for players. Nothing runs the feel-bads worse than having your commander unavailable to you for the whole game.”

When I was writing this article I tried my best to try to think about what viewpoint the Rules Committee was taking when making this decision. Commander has grown in popularity exponentially since its original WOTC Commander products first came out. I feel like the RC wants the community to grow and for more players to enter the format. I see this rules decision reflecting a desire for the format to be more simplistic so that newer players can enter the format.

The second part of this point has almost no weight with me. “For the whole game”? That wording feels really heavy. I’ve had my Commander tucked hundreds of times. Sure, there were a few times I’ve felt salty about it but it never ruined my night. I never thought to myself “I might quit commander because the tuck rule exists” and sell my all-in voltron deck to the shop for 40% value. Normally whenever my commander gets tucked I turn my guns towards the person that tucked me and fire away.

To an extent, I want my commander to be getting tucked. It means that my opponents are interacting with me. They are respecting my strategy. We are not mindlessly playing solitaire and figuring out who has had the greatest starting hand (EDH is already like this sometimes enough as it is). We are playing a game.

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2. “The presence of tuck encourages players to play more tutors so that in case their commander gets sent to the library, they can get it back—exactly the opposite of what we want (namely, discouraging the over-representation of tutors).”

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HOOPLA!

I really don’t believe this is a reason people play vast amounts of tutors in their decks. I’m not a player who runs tons of tutors but even when I talk to other EDH players at GPs and other big events or even locally this topic never comes up. When they sleeve up Worldly Tutor they are usually thinking about a toolbox creature in their deck or a combo card. Getting rid of the tuck rule isn’t going to make Johnny Bravo think twice about casting Demonic Tutor on turn two.

I’d argue that it actually makes tutors more degenerate in the format. Now that we know our commanders are more safe we can cast the tutors earlier and more often. If there is a subset of players who use tutors to find their lost commanders, those tutors are going to be cast more often and earlier in the game because players know that they don’t have to use them to find their commander anymore. People don’t have to ask themselves “Do I have to save this resource for later?”. It makes the line of play much more clear, and I find that boring.

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3. “While we are keenly aware that tuck is a great weapon against problematic commanders, the tools to do so are available only in blue and white, potentially forcing players into feeling like they need to play those colors in order to survive. We prefer as diverse a field as possible.”

It took me a long time to digest this point. While the statement in the first sentence is not completely true (looking at you Chaos Warp and friends) I’ve never felt like players have gravitated towards these colors just for the hate. Sure, there are benefits of playing Hinder and friends. But I question the amount of people who roll out of bed and think “Hey it’s time I played a Hinder deck” and mulligan until they find said card. The way I see it people are playing blue and white for other reasons plus the fact that there is good hate in those colors. But I don’t think that entire metagames are being warped just because of the tuck rule.

Removing the incentives of playing removal that tucks commanders will make players less willing to include this same removal in their decks. This will tend to make games more degenerate around games where players are trying to assemble a combo. In my local playgroup we have a player who runs Borborygmos Enraged. It is a solid R/G combo deck that is designed to turn Borby into a card draw engine who throws lands at your face with an attached Keen Sense or the like.

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Whenever our group sees this deck we understand what the important intervals of the game are going to be and fight around them appropriately. These usually include casting Borborygmos Enraged and then the essential attaching of the enchantment.

Some people are arguing that tuck effects are a lame answer to strategies such as Borby but let me remind you that the tuck effects are an entire classification of removal. By taking out effects like Hinder my friend piloting Borby has less reason to rethink casting his commander. He just slams it. If it gets countered, whatever. He can simply recast it the next turn.

Any veteran Commander player knows how important it is to respect tuck effects like any other sort of removal. Taking out this effect just simplifies the game and rewards players who are accelerating their gamestate. In fast paced environments where players can untap and win on turn six or earlier players respect other players having countermagic or answers to their threats. It is like a game of poker: do you have the answer to block my win or do you not? Should I wait a turn and see if you put your sheilds down? What are the opportunity costs of my play? Will the little kid next to me ram his army of goblins into me before I can launch my combo? This is why I play magic. Removing the effectiveness of an entire classification of removal spells only seems to make decision making less interesting and interactive.

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Removing tuck effects will also only serve to increase the percentages of other removal some of which is more or less just as annoying. A local Asheville area player can be quoted on Facebook as saying “Looking to trade for ten copies of Nevermore”. Some players hate getting their commanders silenced, turned into indestructible worthless 0/1s, or the like. Should we negate the benefits of these cards in this format as well? They accomplish the same goal of what the tuck effects do to commanders for the most part even if it is along different metrics.

Some argue that they don’t want their commanders tucked, that it is unfun. Well sorry! I didn’t know this was a game where its magical Christmasland and everyone gets to do whatever they want unopposed. That doesn’t sound like a game to me. Also, I don’t believe that EDH is a format where games are all about your commander. Sure your commander is there to lead your forces and do battle with other commanders but the other 99 cards count as well. I believe that most EDH decks should be able to win without their commander. The game shouldn’t be a headbutt match between two opposing commanders. This happens enough as it is without the tuck debuff.

I’d also like to point out that there are benefits of getting your commander tucked. Sometimes you get to draw cards! (Oblation) But more importantly it sends political signals. You can pretend like you are out of the game. I’ve won tons of games where my commander gets tucked and people ignore me and I set myself up to win later on with less political pressure on me.

The statement “We prefer as diverse a field as possible” also serves no weight in their argument because a decrease in removal will only serve to benefit a certain subset of decks in the format. You can argue that they want the removal in the format to be more diverse, but beyond the abundance of options that are available in the format the best options will always rise to the top. It is the same with other classifications of cards like ramp spells: sol ring will always be part of the cream of the crop.

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4. “It clears up some corner case rules awkwardness, mostly dealing with knowing the commander’s location in the library (since highly unlikely to actually end up there).”

I am slightly insulted by this statement. Really? We are all magic players, and we are all capable of critical thinking. If someone’s commander has to change sleeves to go into the deck, we can handle this. This is not a legitimate point to make for debuffing the tuck cards.

I might be more OK with the RC’s decision if we were guaranteed more benefits, but we are not. While I perceive the RC thinks this will make it easier for new players to play the game I don’t think that is necessarily true. With each new rule or alter to a previous rule players have to remember that stuff. When you are trying to introduce a new player (let alone a new magic player) to a format where dragons and armies of goblins race alongside powerful wizards who are wielding storm decks having someone mysteriously named the “RC” tell you that this specific classification of removal spell is now way less powerful does not make things seem simpler.

The RC thinks that dumbing down the format will make the format more attractive to new players. What they are paying is the price of moans from veteran players who understand the importance of tuck effects. I don’t even think that dumbing down the rules will attract more players. I think the RC is just hurting the format and diluting the impact of their voice with the veteran commander player community.

I remind you that the RC’s rules are only a recommendation. I will be choosing to ignore it.

For more from me check out the CommanderCast Archives or follow me on twitter @hayesthehayes. Comments and criticism are always welcome! Tuck away!