CR 903. Commander

  • 903.1 In the Commander variant, each deck is led by a legendary creature designated as that deck’s commander. The Commander variant was created and popularized by fans; an independent rules committee maintains additional resources at MTGCommander.net. The Commander variant uses all the normal rules for a Magic game, with the following additions.
  • 903.2 A Commander game may be a two-player game or a multiplayer game. The default multiplayer setup is the Free-for-All variant with the attack multiple players option and without the limited range of influence option. See rule 806, “Free-for-All Variant.”
  • 903.3 Each deck has a legendary creature card designated as its commander. This designation is not a characteristic of the object represented by the card; rather, it is an attribute of the card itself. The card retains this designation even when it changes zones.
    • 903.3a Some planeswalker cards have an ability that states the card can be your commander. This ability modifies the rules for deck construction, and it functions before the game begins. See also rule 112.6m.
    • 903.3b If a player’s commander is a meld card and it’s melded with the other member of its meld pair, the resulting melded permanent is that player’s commander.
  • 903.4 The Commander variant uses color identity to determine what cards can be in a deck with a certain commander. The color identity of a card is the color or colors of any mana symbols in that card’s mana cost or rules text, plus any colors defined by its characteristic-defining abilities (see rule 604.3) or color indicator (see rule 204).
    • 903.4a Color identity is established before the game begins.
    • 903.4b Reminder text is ignored when determining a card’s color identity. See rule 207.2.
    • 903.4c The back face of a double-faced card (see rule 711) is included when determining a card’s color identity. This is an exception to rule 711.4a.
  • 903.5 Each Commander deck is subject to the following deck construction rules.
    • 903.5a Each deck must contain exactly 100 cards, including its commander.
    • 903.5b Other than basic lands, each card in a Commander deck must have a different English name.
    • 903.5c A card can be included in a Commander deck only if every color in its color identity is also found in the color identity of the deck’s commander.
    • 903.5d A card with a basic land type may be included in a Commander deck only if each color of mana it could produce is included in the commander’s color identity.
  • 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.
  • 903.7 Once the starting player has been determined, each player sets their life total to 40 and draws a hand of seven cards.
  • 903.8 A player may cast a commander they own from the command zone. A commander cast from the command zone costs an additional {2} for each previous time the player casting it has cast it from the command zone that game. This additional cost is informally known as the “commander tax.”
  • 903.9 If a commander would be exiled from anywhere or put into its owner’s hand, graveyard, or library from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead. This replacement effect may apply more than once to the same event. This is an exception to rule 614.5.
    • 903.9a If a commander is a melded permanent and its owner chooses to put it into the command zone this way, that permanent and the card representing it that isn’t a commander are put into the appropriate zone, and the card that represents it and is a commander is put into the command zone.
  • 903.10 The Commander variant includes the following specification for winning and losing the game. All other rules for ending the game also apply. (See rule 104.)
    • 903.10a A player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
  • 903.11 Brawl Option
    • 903.11a Brawl is an option for a different style of Commander game. Brawl games use the normal rules for the Commander variant with the following modifications.
    • 903.11b Brawl decks are usually constructed using cards from the Standard format.
    • 903.11c A player designates either a legendary planeswalker or a legendary creature as their commander.
    • 903.11d A player’s deck must contain exactly 60 cards, including its commander.
    • 903.11e In a two-player Brawl game, each player’s starting life total is 25. In a multiplayer Brawl game, each player’s starting life total is 30.
    • 903.11f In any Brawl game, the first time a player takes a mulligan, they draw a new hand of as many cards they as had before. Subsequent hands decrease by one card as normal.