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 Post subject: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-04 12:11 pm 

Joined: 2010-Dec-14 4:04 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Boston, MA
So, I played with somebody today that claimed that he did not have to reveal his commander until everyone had finished mulliganing. After looking into it, I can definitely see an argument for that between rule 8:
Quote:
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 {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone; this is an additional cost.

and the pregame procedure rules from the MTR 2.3:
Quote:
The game is considered to have begun once all players have completed taking mulligans.


I have never seen anyone use this before, and I am asking because it was honestly a very bad experience for me. Game report in spoiler:
I thought it was kinda cool at first, I picked Zacama (which I was going to pick anyway) and put it face down like this player and everyone else had decided to do. So I keep my first hand (lands, 2 creatures, and a Planar Cleansing).
He then reveals he is playing Isamaru, Hound of Konda. It then occurs to me, "huh, I probably wouldn't have played this deck if I had known that, because I don't have much defense early but I hose his deck really hard if the game goes long, so one of us is going to have a bad time." It also occurs to me that my hand is pretty weak to early Isamaru attacks, so I probably would have mulliganed as well. (Oh well, I can just Planar Cleansing).
Anyway, he kills me on turn 5 (Land Tax + Empyrial Plate) plus making his creature pro-red for 3 turns in a row (my two creatures and the one I later drew were all red).
Maybe I should have been more suspicious and played a stronger or more interactive deck, but I had watched his last game and he was playing Phelddagrif and trying to help get the mana-screwed player back in the game so I figured he was alright.

So I guess that if that is a legal way to start the game, then it's just a rock-paper-scissors. I try to play decks that will be fun for me and my opponents. Like if my friend wants to play his Ruric Thar deck, I won't switch to my all-creature Sapling of Colfenor, but I also won't play my all-Equipment Sram, Senior Edificer deck.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-04 6:54 pm 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
That player was incorrect. Per the Comp rules the Commander is put face up in the Command zone, then the other 99 are shuffled, and hands are drawn.

"903.6. At the start of the game, each player puts their commander from their deck face up into the
command zone. Then each player shuffles the remaining 99 cards of their deck so that the cards are
in a random order. Those cards become the player’s library."

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-04 10:58 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Jun-02 3:54 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Germany, near Berlin
Most often I'll choose my Commander face down, then start shuffling. As soon as all players have chosen/announced, I reveal my choice.

To avoid choices being based on other players' decisions, I'll always ask my opponents to do so, too.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-04 11:06 pm 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
MRHblue wrote:
That player was incorrect. Per the Comp rules the Commander is put face up in the Command zone, then the other 99 are shuffled, and hands are drawn.

"903.6. At the start of the game, each player puts their commander from their deck face up into the
command zone. Then each player shuffles the remaining 99 cards of their deck so that the cards are
in a random order. Those cards become the player’s library."

Interestingly not as clear cut in the official rules on this site:

MtgCommander.net rules § Play wrote:
8. 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 {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone; this is an additional cost.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-04 11:48 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Honestly, this is all pretty moot in my own experience. When I go to a table, I put my commander face up on the table,and begin shuffling my deck. Concealing that information is unlikely to do anything more than irritate my opponents or make them suspicious in the first place. The bit of banter about commander choice is always a good ice-breaker anyways.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-05 1:16 pm 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Mr Degradation wrote:
Honestly, this is all pretty moot in my own experience. When I go to a table, I put my commander face up on the table,and begin shuffling my deck.

Same.

Just last friday night, we were playing a game (3 of us - as there were 6 of us, we split into 3 separate groups) and I picked my mono-blue deck, and so did another player. That other player looked over and said "Oh, you're mono-blue as well? I'm going to switch decks or else with two mono-blue players nobody is going to have fun this game."

spacemonaut wrote:
Interestingly not as clear cut in the official rules on this site:
Sorry but, those rules aren't written in the structured language as the comp rules. If ever I see a disagreement between them, I go with the Comp Rules. This is exactly an example of why: It can often come up with distinct answers to various situations (timing, layering, etc).

Also - I'm not sure how I'd take someone saying that they won't reveal their commander until everyone has finished mulliganing. The format is supposed to be about fun experiences, and you don't often start a fun experience by being abrasive like that. I suspect I would quickly tire of that player playing in games with me. At which point I tend to target them completely in the game and let it be well known why I'm doing so. I've seen it change people's in-game decisions before ... so I suspect it's got a decent chance of doing so again. Especially if, while communicating why I'm doing it, other people seem to not object to that reasoning. If they do, then I'm likely at a table where I won't be having any lasting friendships -- so I'll likely not play with them again.


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-05 1:23 pm 

Joined: 2014-Jul-26 11:35 am
Age: Elder Dragon
This would definitely get me on the defensive. I would be wanting to know "what are you trying to hide?". Is your commander particularly well known to be degenerate? Dont want me to mulligan to an answer for your Kaalia?

I dont think my playgroup would ever have this issue, but I imagine a more innocent answer is the player is jaded from being meta gamed against. I can see some less that friendly players seeing what commander you are playing and then changing to something that can beat it.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-05 6:09 pm 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The sooner players reveal their Commander, the sooner you can discuss the kind of game you're trying to play. "Oh, you're playing Kangee? Maybe I'll play Breya some other time." "You're playing Aninar? Is it tuned? Should I play something a little stronger?"


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-05 6:49 pm 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
Carthain wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
Interestingly not as clear cut in the official rules on this site:
Sorry but, those rules aren't written in the structured language as the comp rules. If ever I see a disagreement between them, I go with the Comp Rules. This is exactly an example of why: It can often come up with distinct answers to various situations (timing, layering, etc).

Sure, I'm not disagreeing with you. That it's not as clear in this site's rules is a bit of an glitch though: these are the official source-of-truth rules in theory, and they're not clear on this. Wizards are second-party interpretations of this site's rules and someone could say "no, that's wotc's change to the commander rules and it isn't legitimate to me and the original wording isn't clear."

I don't think they should, and I don't think of it in those terms, but someone could do that and going by these rules they wouldn't be entirely wrong. That's a bit of a problem.

To be clear I think the EDH RC's rules lay down the spirit and intention of the rules while the rules manager (or team?) at WotC does work to translate them into concretely working in MTG predictably and correctly in its comprehensive language. But that's not something I could support by pointing to anything on this site and in fact the new EDH rule 0 could appear to contradict that interpretation.

I think the right resolution would be for the EDH RC to update the rules on this site to say the commander is face-up before mulligans, to match what the MTG CR is currently saying and help disambiguate this scenario.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 2:01 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
spacemonaut wrote:
That it's not as clear in this site's rules is a bit of an glitch though: these are the official source-of-truth rules in theory, and they're not clear on this. Wizards are second-party interpretations of this site's rules and someone could say "no, that's wotc's change to the commander rules and it isn't legitimate to me and the original wording isn't clear."

Sure, someone could say that. But what's the likelyhood of that? (Honest question)

Most people are taught via word-of-mouth I'm guessing. Next up is probably via Commander products that WotC puts out. I haven't checked those in a while, but I suspect they direct players to the WotC site, not here, on their info pamphlets that come inside the decks. So looking for rules answers I feel may have more people directed to WotC than here.

Now, I have no idea about people doing google searches (which is probably where they'd end up searching more times than not.) It may depend on what keywords/phrases they use when looking at it - and they may be directed to a forum (this one or others) or they may get some article on a website (or perhaps a 3 year old copy of the Comp Rules -- which also doesn't help in some cases.)

For kicks, I searched for "when do you reveal your commander mtg" and first hit is a reddit thread (which a bunch of replies seem to be "reveal at a point where someone else can change their deck or people can have a discussion about what kind of game everyone is expecting." -- which is cool to see that it's not *just* our forums having that attitude :) )

spacemonaut wrote:
I think the right resolution would be for the EDH RC to update the rules on this site to say the commander is face-up before mulligans, to match what the MTG CR is currently saying and help disambiguate this scenario.

That I fully agree on :)


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 5:21 am 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
I have no problems with players making mulligan decisions off a revealed commander, but I disagree with the idea of making deck decisions off the same, if only because it devolves Commander into a game of rock, paper, scissors. If deck parity is a concern, it can be done via discussion before the reveal. Should a Meren player have the chance to swap decks because an Anafenza was revealed? I can see both sides, but personally think the Meren player should have to suck it up, but conversely, I don't think the owner of an Anafenza deck should be able to swap in if a Meren were revealed. It cuts both ways. There needs to be some sort of code where, barring enormous power discrepancies - say, a needs nothing Zur sitting down at a table of precons - players should be stuck with their initial deck choices to prevent this sort of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 6:00 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
I have no problems with players making mulligan decisions off a revealed commander, but I disagree with the idea of making deck decisions off the same, if only because it devolves Commander into a game of rock, paper, scissors. If deck parity is a concern, it can be done via discussion before the reveal. Should a Meren player have the chance to swap decks because an Anafenza was revealed? I can see both sides, but personally think the Meren player should have to suck it up, but conversely, I don't think the owner of an Anafenza deck should be able to swap in if a Meren were revealed. It cuts both ways. There needs to be some sort of code where, barring enormous power discrepancies - say, a needs nothing Zur sitting down at a table of precons - players should be stuck with their initial deck choices to prevent this sort of thing.

I think it's fine though. We're only secondarily playing to compete and annihilate each other; we're primarily playing to have a fun social casual game. If you're playing Anafenza and I'm playing Meren or Muldrotha, I might foresee my game being miserable, so I'll switch to another deck that will work -- not one that will work better than your deck or specifically hate it out, just one that will work at all. That's not rock paper scissors at all, that's just finding a deck I can reasonably play in the circumstances.

(Maybe someone playing Anafenza would feel since they specifically built it to be anti-graveyard decks they deserve to be able to play against my Meren or Muldrotha, but man, I'm not obliged to play a shut-down deck. I'd rather use my time to play a deck that can work. Someone else might be up for the challenge to see how their Meren or Muldrotha fairs directly against Anafenza, but it doesn't have to be me.)

Once I checked with my opponents whether they'd be playing relatively creature-dense decks or not at all, based on the commanders I saw. (I don't remember what they were.) I told them my deck was a combat manipulation deck and wouldn't be able to do its thing if there weren't at least a few creatures down. They said yeah, they're playing a reasonable number of creatures, so we went ahead and I didn't need to change.

A lot of people already play this way -- revealing commanders at the start -- so I think if there was gonna be a major rock/paper/scissors issue that needed fixing with some sort of code, we'd already be hearing about it.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 6:13 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
I have no problems with players making mulligan decisions off a revealed commander, but I disagree with the idea of making deck decisions off the same, if only because it devolves Commander into a game of rock, paper, scissors.

As I gave an example above, and agreeing with spacemonaut - it's more to make sure the game is enjoyable. From the sound of the report the OP gave - the game was not enjoyable, but he may have been able to make it more so had he known a little bit of extra information (which he was perfectly allowed to have.)

Baron Cappuccino wrote:
If deck parity is a concern, it can be done via discussion before the reveal.
How is that different that someone putting their commander on the table, and one or two people changing based off of other information?

I mean, if you find a player who is changing his or her deck/commander to take advantage of what other people are playing -- then you have a player problem and have various ways of dealing with it. But this is pretty much all assuming there isn't a problem player.


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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 1:01 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
I've had a few experiences over the years with people wanting to specifically switch decks to hose me when they saw what I was planning to play - "Oh, you're using Teneb?" *puts away bant deck, pulls out Anafenza, the Foremost* This was quickly resolved via social pressure.

I have also had experiences similar to what Cryogen and Carthain describe, where people see what's being brought out and adjust to make things less potentially miserable. All-in-all, I think that's desirable.

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 Post subject: Re: When are Commanders Revealed?
AgePosted: 2019-May-06 6:00 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Sid the Chicken wrote:
I've had a few experiences over the years with people wanting to specifically switch decks to hose me when they saw what I was planning to play - "Oh, you're using Teneb?" *puts away bant deck, pulls out Anafenza, the Foremost* This was quickly resolved via social pressure.

I have also had experiences similar to what Cryogen and Carthain describe, where people see what's being brought out and adjust to make things less potentially miserable. All-in-all, I think that's desirable.


QFT & a half

The issue is that the number of Legendary creatures which can establish strong decks is simple- all of them. The Anafenza guy in this discussion had to stare down the threat of being down the barrel of the entire table. Thing is, it doesn't matter if a deck an established Zur deck- there are Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient brews that can take it to task. That's a big part of why the "power level" discussion never really works.

Selecting commanders is an opportunity to discuss what sort of game to expect- more than to posture about which commander is "teh strongest!!1!." Where, an opponent who proposes questions about how one of my generals works, can generally get quite a bit of valuable information to understand what to expect from my deck. There isn't some grave disadvantage, since after 2 or 3 games, what each deck does, and how they do it will be made obvious to the table. But if you want to win every encounter by trying to mise unnecessary amounts of information- you've already failed at EDH. It's just a bunch of wasted mental effort that only has competitive usefulness in the first few games of a regular MtG swiss-rotation based tournament. Having been in that environment quite a bit, that is achieved through decorum, and polite banter. If you want decorum and polite banter in EDH while shuffling up- explaining what it is your General does, and how that colors your strategy allows you to disarm poor threat assessment on the way in. Chatting about general choice, without drawing too many conclusions about the power of someone's deck based on their general lets your opponents know what kind of game to expect, so that they can arm themselves with an appropriate opposition. But, like in Sid's earlier example- the group can moderate what choices are just hate-picking.

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