Magic: the Gathering


Top 10 Banned Cards that most deserved it in Commander

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In this article, I bring the 10 cards that best deserved their ban in Commander, alongside the reasons that led them there!

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Joey Sticks

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Hey, for fun Commander players! Today I bring a list with the 10 cards that most deserved getting ban hammered in Commander.

The famous "Power Nine" (the nine most powerful cards in Magic) are not on this list for obvious reasons (their prices). "Conspiracy" and betting cards are also not here due to the first being banned in all formats and is only available in draft, and the second one due to an also obvious reason: betting.

Many don't know, but when Magic started, each player exiled the top of their deck and whoever won the match, would get the cards that were exiled to themselves! That's right, someone would lose their cards forever. This rule was extinct after the Ice Age set (mid 1995).


Without further ado, let's see the list.

Top 10 Banned Cards that most deserved it in Commander


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We're starting off with a bang! Balance is a two mana spell, in which all players must sacrifice lands, until they are left with the same number of lands as the player who controls fewer lands. Afterward, everyone has to do the same thing with creatures and cards in hand.

What makes this card so broken is that it ignores artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers. So, you fill your deck with cards of these three types and cast a Balance to sacrifice lands, creatures and the cards in the hands of your opponents. Balance is a Mind Twist, Wrath of God and Armageddon, all in one card.

This card is so broken that even if it were six mana, even eight mana, it would still be banned.


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Biorhythm is the type of card that shows really well why so many cards are banned in Commander. It is an eight mana spell that makes each player's health total become the same as the number of creatures they control.

Commander players can look at this card and think about combos, or very strong synergies, and can even think of it as a "finisher", that is, a card that can end games when it is resolved. But these are not the reasons for this card's ban. The main reason is that Biorhythm as "finisher" cancels out every kind of play that each player has made so far. So, players get the feeling that the game was useless, as in it doesn't matter anything that any of them did, if Biorhythm was resolved, the game is over.

Understand that the problem isn't the game ending, but it feeling that this is a card that ignores all the plays done before it came along.

Coalition Victory

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A spell in which you win the game if you have a land of each type and a creature of each color. In a time when we have Triomes (three type lands) and we also have those common dual lands that carry two types, not even mentioning shock lands which also carry two types; it gets quite easy to have all five type lands as a person that is playing a Commander of all colors. And here is why this card is so broken: it doesn't matter which Commander you're playing, if they have all five colors, Coalition Victory is a great card to add to your 99. It also doesn't matter what type of strategy you're cooking, this card goes into every five-color Commander, and eight manas are relatively easy to have to cast this card when playing in a group of four.

But the main reason for the ban is that this card has the same problem as Biorhythm. Besides it also going into any five-color Commander, no matter which strategy they have, it ends games, regardless of what any player has done so far.


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A classic card for those who play Legacy, and quite obvious as to why it is banned in Commander. Karakas is a legendary land that creates white mana, but it also returns to its owner hand a legendary creature.


Commander is a format in which your whole deck is based on a legendary creature that you choose as your Commander, and it stays in your Command zone, so it's not hard to see why Karakas can never see play. With this card, you could both protect your Commander from removals and remove your buddies' commander.

And they say white is the weakest color...

Limited Resources

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A one mana enchantment that, when it enters the game, players pick five lands that they control and sacrifice the rest, and as long as 10 or more lands exist in game, no one can play a land. The biggest problem regarding this card is that it was obviously made for a 1v1 (duel), and not for a four-person game. If you cast this card turn 1, two players will have to play with two manas until the game ends, and this is the greatest problem because these players will technically not be able to get out of this punitive table and start a game on another.

Recurring Nightmare

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An extremely combo card. It is a three mana enchantment that if you sacrifice a creature, you return Recurring Nightmare to your hand and put a graveyard creature in play, that is, it is a ridiculously strong card. And even if you don't combo with this card, just the fact that you can get an infinite loop of sacrificing a creature and putting another into play going already makes this card extremely broken. Everyone knows that reanimate decks are strong in Commander, and these decks definitely don't need this type of support.

Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary

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Rofellos is the strongest guy among the mana creating elves, and there is no one stronger than him. Adding green mana to each forest you control is not only broken, but degenerate! It is still a legend, and it can be your Commander if it weren't banned. Everything in this card is broken, it is an absolute bad joke of a card.

This card can never leave the ban list. Green is already a very strong color for ramps, and this color doesn't need this elf's mana creating potential.


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A three mana spell that, if you sacrifice an artifact, you put another artifact in play. Note that this tutor doesn't make you put an artifact in your hand, you simply switch them into play without paying their cost. So, you can think of how many stupidly broken artifacts with big summon costs you could pull with this spell. It can even be a one card combo!

Even in Vintage, the only place this card is available to play, it is restricted (you can only have one copy of it in your deck).

Trade Secrets

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Trade Secrets has an interesting history regarding why it was banned. It is a three mana blue spell in which the enemy target draws two cards, and you draw up to four cards, and your opponent can repeat this process how many times they want. Apparently it is a harmless card, so much so that it came in Zedruu the Greathearted's precon deck.


Its true issue is in competitive Commander, in any table in which there are prizes involved, because you can reach an agreement with someone on board and with that, you choose this person when you use Trade Secrets, drawing exactly how many cards you need to find some other card you want, and at the end of the game you share the prize with this other person. If it weren't for this competitive factor, this card is even quite fun.

Yawgmoth's Bargain & Griselbrand

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One of the strongest black cards that were ever made. It is a six mana enchantment in which you skip your draw phase, and if you pay one health point, you draw a card. This card was made to be a fixed version of Necropotence, and Mark Rosewater thought that if he doubled the mana cost and cut out Necropotence's text, keeping it "pay one health: draw 1 card", he would fix Necro. Well, just the fact that you can pay one health and draw one card made Yawgmoth's Bargain become way stronger than Necro, even if it costs double.

This is another card that can only be played in Vintage, and even in this format it is restricted, that's how strong Yawgmoth's Bargain is. Griselbrand goes in the same flow drawing all cards in your library costing 1 life each, since it can be reanimated, it can come in a cheaper cost in respect to mana value.

Final Thoughts

The Commander ban list has almost 50 cards, plus 25 Conspiracy cards. So, obviously, many more were missing from this list.

Stupidly strong cards such as: Channel,, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Fastbond. Cards that involve a certain finesse or skill with your hand such as: Chaos Orb or Falling Star. Cards which nowadays are not as broken, but were banned due to their low availability in the market, such as: Library of Alexandria.

All these cards, and others which weren't mentioned, also deserve their own highlight as to why they were banned in this format that we like so much.

If you like this list, comment down below! Who knows, maybe we'll do a part 2 of this article.

A big ban hammer to all of you and see you next time.