We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Magic fans baffled by game store’s unofficial MTG banlist

Magic: The Gathering fans are mocking a card stores' unofficial Commander banlist - as the Michigan LGS has made some very odd choices.

Magic: The Gathering fans on Twitter are collectively shaking their heads today at the enormous 174-card MTG banlist imposed by an LGS in Grandville, Michigan, USA. The Gamer’s Wharf has a list, designed for casual Commander games, that includes arguably sensible bans like the mass land destruction card Armageddon, powerful and ubiquitous cards like Rhystic Study, and a bunch of card choices that have left everyone puzzled.

The user Sad Robot Alters brought this Commander banlist to wider attention, pointing out in a post today that, “this store’s banlist just gets worse and worse the deeper you go”. Despite the list being in alphabetical order, that somehow seems to be true. You’ve got Armageddon up top: fair and balanced. Then at the bottom there’s the expensive mana doubler Virtue of Strength: unfathomable.

It seems like nothing is safe from this wild unofficial MTG banlist. Alternate win conditions like Liliana’s Contract, MTG planeswalkers with unlikely ultimates like Karn Liberated: all are banned. Quick, think of a powerful EDH card! Check the list, and chances are it’ll be featured. Or maybe not. Strangely, while cards like Grenzo Dungeon Warden make it onto the banlist, you can still play Mana Crypt.

Unofficial MTG banlist

Now, to be fair, a nuanced point that many are missing is that this Commander banlist is not enforced for all games. Rather, the store offers three levels of play: T-rex, which is just the official EDH banlist; Rapture, which is the casual format that’s attracted so much online mockery; and Vicious cat, where you can only play non-modified MTG precon Commander decks.

But it’s far too easy (and tempting) to poke fun. As well as removing Karn Liberated, a bunch of planeswalker cards have had their ultimates rubbed off with unofficial errata. Vraska, Relic Seeker; Teferi, Hero of Dominaria; and Nicol Bolas, the Ravager – all have been nerfed.

Given how many hoops you must jump through to pull off one of these Planeswalker ultimates in multiplayer matches, we can’t explain this. Just let the player who manages it win the game!

Oh, and according to the format’s extra rules, land destruction as a whole is turned off (so then why ban land destruction cards?) That’s not all. The following effects have been nerfed: Commander damage, poison, annihilator, storm, and extra turns (okay, we’re cheering for that last one). The MTG Cascade mechanic is also removed.

To us, this list seems to demonstrate the problem with trying to implement an extensive Commander banlist. The format can only work when players communicate, and set expectations before a game, so that everyone can have a fun game. Otherwise, you end up playing whack-a-mole, forced to add to an ever-increasing pile of stuff that could be broken in the right deck.

Speaking of which, if you like to do disgusting stuff in EDH, here’s a list of the best MTG commanders and the best MTG Combos.