Magic: the Gathering


Commander: 9 Cards that should be banned from every table

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The greatest myths and taboos about using cards at casual tables in Commander.

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被某某人翻译 Romeu

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审核人 Tabata Marques

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Some Magic cards cause a stir of only being mentioned in several groups, after all, who has never heard a complaint about Stasis, Armageddon, Urza, Lord High Artificer or Thassa's Oracle ?

The suggestion of this article comes from the unrest that occurs in a large part of the community, however, these cards are really problematic, or they would be the target of injustice. I have a complementary suggestion for this title: “Top 10 cards that should be banned from every Commander table without a good conversation”.


Yes, again that conversation about Rule 0, we should all talk about it before every game. Not only about using a silver border or using a side deck, but also about the expectations of each player. Some of us prefer lighter, creature-based games, while others prefer fast-paced, optimized decks. I have a positive experience in this regard, Stasis, Mass Land Destruction, Fast Combos, all are part of the reality of different groups I live with.

Exchanging information beforehand can reduce the impact of the surprise, but it doesn't spoil the fun or the strategy — in addition to avoiding many headaches and bitter reactions, it creates a better experience for everyone.

The List

This list goes from least offensive, according to the Salt Score, to most offensive. It groups the cards into categories for better understanding, and every deck can use different tricks.

The same card can vary in use and category, or even fit into several of them.


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Scrambleverse is a spell featured in Chaos decks, this spell randomly redistributes all non-land permanents in play.

A lot of the strategies are based on the synergy between the permanents and trading cards is not exactly something we like to do during the game. Cards like Warp World, Thieves' Auction from this same category should always be discussed at tables, after all, leaving your cards with another player is very unpleasant for many players.

When it comes to video features like Spelltable, this is even more problematic — after all, who wants to stop the game to take notes of who's controlling what?

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

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The Phyrexian praetors have always yielded powerful legends, and Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is an example of that.

Its ability to yield an additional 7 card draw on all of its controller's turns and reduce the maximum of opponents' hands by 7 is blunt, causing most players to concede the game.

This group of cards that control opponents' hands, preventing them from drawing or forcing them to discard all cards, tends to make the game frustrating — especially when this advantage doesn't result in a quick win. Possessed Portal, Narset, Parter of Veils, Omen Machine and Notion Thief are among the cards that generate the greatest imbalance of resources, after all, they leave opponents stagnant — often causing a player to play several turns alone.

Opposition Agent

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We've already seen how unpleasant redistribution of permanents can be, and it can be even worse for a single player to have all permanents under their control.

Opposition Agent allows you to search for and play cards from opponents' decks, and is the representative card of the group of cards that take control of spells and permanents. Although in more than one category of disapproval, Expropriate, Sen Triplets, Agent of Treachery are widely used cards.

Some commanders that rank among my favorites are Merieke Ri Berit and Aminatou, the Fateshifter, however I always consult my opponents about playing with them since they are thief control decks, and tend to annoy unsuspecting players a lot.



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Oppression is a card that can be easily played on the first turns and significantly reduces player resources.

Decks based on discards are very efficient and cards like Sire of insanity, Oppression and Tergrid, God of Fright are antagonized by their strong interactions. Locks with Mindslicer, Archon of Cruelty and Sadistic Hypnotist are exhausting to play against since they force us to discard every single card we draw.


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Smokestack is one of the most devastating cards in the format. Also based on resource deprivation, it forces the exponential sacrifice of permanents. Very common in Group Slug decks, a strategy based on resource deprivation that consists of a set of punishments common to all players, and the deck was prepared to take advantage of this condition.

Among common cards of this archetype, we can mention Smokestack, Desolation and Stranglehold.

Urza, Lord High Artificer

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The arrival of Urza, Lord High Artificer was of great impact in all formats, his ability to generate great advantage by generating large amounts of mana and playing cards ignoring their costs generates immense potential for infinite combos.

Many players are fascinated by combos, powerful interactions in two or more cards that generate great advantage or even a loop that may or may not end the game. There are decks that are extremely proactive and efficient in finishing the game quickly, their progress between the early game stages to the end game takes place in a few turns, which can sound offensive to those who expected a long game in a friendly environment.

This would be disastrous if the same player were to win again and again in the initial turns, or even in the very first one. However, when agreed among the group, it is a motivating challenge. In competitive scenarios it is common to use strategies based on card combinations such as Thassa's Oracle / Demonic Consultation, Niv-Mizzet, Parun / Curiosity, Urza, Lord High Artificer, etc.

In groups with an optimization mindset or cEDH, this scenario is allowed and encouraged. Cards Realm even has a combo searchlink outside website tool.


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The great motivator of most heated discussions, Armageddon is an absolute classic, feared and admired. This card dates back to golden eras when white was the best color in Magic, it had many efficient and low-cost removals such as Armageddon and Balance, in addition to cards like Land Tax, Tithe generated a large asymmetry quickly.

However, Armageddon has aged poorly. When remembering this card, phrases like "The game that doesn't advance", "the one that never ends", "without mana, there's no game", etc., are recurring. Much of the problem is not in the fact of destruction itself, but in the mistaken use of Mass Land Destruction (MLD) cards, this strategy is strongly linked to asymmetry and when used symmetrically, slows down the game to the point it becomes boring and tiresome.


Armageddon figures first in most players' minds, but there are more offensive cards like Global Ruin, Obliterate, Sunder, Mana Vortex and Jokulhaups.

Time Stretch

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When we play a Magic game, we want to play Magic, and Time Stretch is the type of card that often prevents that — an extra turn is annoying, two turns are a lot more annoying, and if it's 4 turns, 8 turns... The fact that it can be replayed from the graveyard and played multiple times, copied, and its cost cheated makes Time Stretch a card with serious design problems.

The main issue with turn decks is playing too many turns and not winning the game, where we're watching, thinking about all the things we could be doing instead of playing. Narset Turns, Yuriko Turns, Tatyova Turns, Taigam Turns, are some versions of decks with great card advantage tools and full of cards that grant extra turns.

I believe the longest game I've ever been in was when a friend went into a Teferi, Timebender loop and did nothing but draw a card and move on to the next extra turn and do nothing until he won by a table fold due to boredom.


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Stasis is considered the most difficult card to deal with in all of Magic: the Gathering according to the Salt Score metric. In a poll conducted by the Commander community in August 2021, totaling 3,471,000 votes on a scale of 0 to 4, Stasis was the champion with 3.11 points. Its characteristic of preventing all permanents from being untapped normally causes powerful interactions to be created, and the game falls into a very difficult lock to get around. Since the game's origin, we've had Stasis making the gaming experience worse, as we can remember from the 1994 World Championship, Kismet / Stasis lock was champion back in a time when Black Lotus, Duals and Moxen were tournament-legal.

Stasis decks spawned an archetype that in the future would be named STAX. Known for their cards that decrease the cadence of the game, creating a controllable environment, preventing the development of the game.

The cards Stasis, Winter Orb and Static Orb are in the highest scoring order, followed by Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger which also corresponds to this group — Let through soft locks, which make gameplay difficult by preventing specific plays like Winter Orb and Icy Manipulator, or the old-fashioned way with the combination of Stasis and Kismet.


How to play with STAX and keep friends

All the above strategies are widely used and there is no problem with this, however some care must be taken by players who use such strategies to make the game experience enjoyable for everyone.

Win the game

Know your deck well before using your strategy, watch the game carefully so that when it comes into action you win quickly and don't leave everyone unhappy with an endless game.

Talk about it

Introduce your commander, and if you use a card that could be of bad reputation, let us know. I use asymmetrical elements, MLD and fast combos in some decks, and I've never had concerns playing with them. No one is forced to play a game that they dislike, so communication is important.


Respect your opponents

There's nothing worse than jokers in moments of frustration, so acting politely makes the experience better for everyone and guarantees future games.

Have fun

Magic is all about The Gathering, so if you want to use Island Fish Jasconius in a Satoru Umezawa or Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow deck, go ahead and surprise your friends.

I suggest reading the article:

Commander Deck Tech: Hokori, Dust Drinker - Staxlink outside website

Thanks for reading and good games!

Any questions, I'm available in the comments!