Hello, Magic players. It’s been a minute since I’ve talked about the game, because frankly, I hadn’t been much for innovation in a while. I’m pushing 30 and life has a way of getting between you and your card collection.
But I just spit out my tasty beverage this evening as I read the EDH Banned and Restricted Announcement. Or, rather, the line about rules changes. Because “tuck” is over.
(Cue John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”)
“Tuck,” for those of you who don’t keep up with Commander or with Magic slang, is a way to get around the opponent keeping their Commander around by putting it into their untouchable Command Zone. Until today, you could use an effect to put someone’s Commander into their library where it might never be heard from again. Now, you can choose to move that card to the Command Zone, just as you always could when it was about to hit a Graveyard or the Exile zone.
If you’re sitting on foil copies of Spin Into Myth, you might want to sell them immediately before everyone on the market finds out.
The new ruling also says that you can choose to do this if your Commander is going into your hand, but that rarely seems like a good idea, since you won’t have to pay the “Commander Tax” to replay it from your hand.
(Sorry, give me a minute to clean the spit from my screen. It’s getting difficult to type through the blobbing pixels.)
This change, as the Commander rules committee notes, can potentially diversify the types of viable deckbuilding (always good news for us, the casual set!), because many folks found blue decks necessary for winning — they had the most cards that could tuck. There’s an argument to be made for black and tutoring, too, though I don’t agree that people will play fewer card-finders because of this — I’m pretty sure people still want to find cards whenever they want.
This new development is, if I may use this almost-laughable set of buzzwords that actually kind of applies here, a paradigm shift for Commander. For example: My Avacyn deck, until today, has been very strong, but is often racing to the finish before she gets tucked into my library. Or, as Avacyn calls it, “Helvault 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Now, all I have to worry about is . . . about 400 effects that exile her but HEY — I can just pay about 100 more mana to get her back, instead of having to wait for the Shuffling Gods to be kind.
A cursory search of Twitter tells us that some players — the ones who pay to play EDH events and rely on Tuck to stop total locks — are understandably upset. Tuck, for many, was a viable tool for this. Unlike a lot of very powerful, specific effects, I really had no beef with Tuck, because sometimes you needed it. (Except when you used it in combination with Pyxis of Pandemonium to keep a Commander locked away forever-forever. That’s just rude.)
Really, what I’m saying is that it’s a whole new era for Commander. Decks across the world are being rebuilt as we speak because of this, and that’s no exaggeration. I don’t use tuck myself, but I’ve ingrained in my head a number of ways to play around it (tutors, making sure to reserve a counterspell, etc.) — and the next time I take to my kitchen table to play the Greatest of Casual Formats, I’m going to have to remember, as will so many of us who have been living in fear of the tuck, to rewire my brain.