MTG rules committee member Toby Elliot says “the RC has had no discussions about banning” Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, despite previous worries about the card’s impact on the Commander format. “Some of us had concerns about the design”, Elliot writes on the official Commander website on January 30. “Stapling a casual-popular mechanic onto a casual-dangerous mechanic comes with some risks that are unrelated to power level, but there’s absolutely no way that would lead to a zero-day ban, and we doubt any action will be needed in the future.”
Concerns about MTG Elesh Norn were raised by fellow rules committee member Sheldon Menery back in December 2022, when his Star City Games article begged Magic: The Gathering to “please never print” the card. One of the accusations levelled against the MTG Phyrexian card was its potential to homogenise MTG Commander decks.
In addition to Elesh Norn, Elliot addresses several other ban-worthy concerns in his quarterly update. One such card is Dockside Extortionist, a fairly valuable Goblin Pirate Elliot says “we’ve publicly had our eye on […] for a while now”.
The rules committee has apparently decided “unless there’s a sudden surge into more casual spaces – where it hasn’t really thrived due to the lower density of cheap, fast mana – we don’t anticipate taking action on it”. “It’s a ridiculously powerful card, but scales with the rest of the table, and at the point it becomes broken, plenty of other broken stuff is already happening.”
As the Phyrexia: All Will Be One release date approaches, Elliot also says fans “have been asking about the number of poison counters”. He explains the rules committee is monitoring the situation, but there’s no need for action yet.
“We’ll obviously keep an eye out, but at the moment we don’t see a need to raise it”, he says. “The mechanic has not historically been all that strong due to the need to go it alone in killing people.” “Once everyone has had a chance to play with the new cards and mechanics and the immediate enthusiasm for the current set has faded a bit, we’ll see if action is needed”, Elliot adds.
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