Last updated on December 17, 2020
We’ve been having a blast with the Commander format for the past year now, but it’s not over yet! 2020 is the year that keeps on giving for us Commander fans, this time in the form of new cards and reprints galore across multiple sets for our favorite free-for-all brawl!
In particular, Commander Legends is going to be a breathtaking addition where you can draft a Commander deck. I see your eyebrow raised there, so let’s get to the discussion!
Commander Legends will be released on November 20, 2020. This date is delayed from an original announcement date of November 6 due to COVID-19.
We’ll be sure to let you know when new information gets revealed about digital release or prerelease events.
About the Set
WotC has been on the top of their game with Commander products so far this year, including Commander 2020 and the soon-to-be-released Zendikar Rising products, so it’s only natural that they’re aiming to knock it out of the ballpark with Commander Legends. Naturally, this being a Commander set means that the cards will only be legal in eternal formats like Legacy, Vintage, and (obviously) Commander.
Oh, and before you ask, there are unfortunately no plans to put this set on MTG Arena at the moment.
Now that information has started to come out about the set, we know a few things. First, there’s going to be two new Commander decks released alongside the set that each have three unique cards that can’t be found within the set’s boosters.
Legends in Commander Legends
Needless to say, when you promise a set with “legends” in the name, you have to come through. It certainly seems like Wizards did that. There will be:
- 71 total new legends, despite the initial announcement mentioning only 70;
- 41 of these are mono-colored partner legends—not only were these a popular request, they’re also there to enable the draft format;
- 30 non-partner 2- or 3-color legends.
Commander Legends’ Unique Pack Structure
Speaking of, this set boasts 20-card booster packs that each include 1 foil card and 2 legends out of the pool of over 70 new legends that are being printed. Oh yes, you heard right. Over 70. New. Legends.
If there’s ever a time to be alive as a Commander player, it’s now. Why are there booster packs for a Commander set, you ask? Well, that’s because you’re going to be drafting, of course!
One in every six packs contains The Prismatic Piper, which replaces a common. I’ll get to why in just a second. There will also be “more commons” to add more variety to the draft format.
As far as flavor, there isn’t really a distinct flavor identity for the set. It can be taken from any plane in Magic.
Wordly Tutor | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu
There will be four main mechanics in set. Three are returning and one is brand new for this set.
The exciting new mechanic for Commander Legends is… encore! Encore is a twist on the old mechanic “unearth,” allowing you to throw creatures out of your graveyard for one last vengeful gasp.
It’s an activated ability that exiles a creature card from your graveyard, creating a token copy of that creature with haste that’s sacrificed at the end of the turn.
The twist is that since this is Commander, you get to attack all your opponents. And you don’t get a choice about that! So no politicking. Sorry.
Cascade is a big gift for all us value-lovers out there.
When you cast a card with cascade (even if it gets countered!), you get to exile cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card with a lesser converted mana cost. Then you get to play it. For free. So, you know, a free Black Lotus or two along with your free card.
Monarch is a strange mechanic, because it’s not always apparent what it means when you see a card with it.
In fact, the rules might be a little complicated to jam onto every card with monarch.
No one starts the game as monarch, and you can only acquire the “monarch” status when a card tells you that you do. Then:
- At the beginning of the monarch’s end step, that player draws a card
- If another player deals combat damage to the monarch, that player steals the crown and becomes the monarch
Talk about having a target on your back!
Partner is an ability that some creatures have that allows you to have two commanders. As long as each eligible commander has partner, you can squirrel both away in your command zone.
Commander Legends Draft Rules
The most notable feature of Commander Legends is what makes it the innovation product for 2020: this will be the very first set where you can draft Commander decks. If you’re wondering how that’s supposed to work, well, that’s a good question.
We’ll be following the same rules of Commander with a slight twist that melds it comfortably with the draft format. This means that every deck drafted will have a commander, and we can even play the good ol’ four-person free-for-all games that Commander is known and loved for.
- Drafts work well for both four players and eight players
- You make two picks out of every single pack
- Deck size is 60 cards
- Color identity rules do apply
- The Commander singleton rule does not apply
- If you don’t draft a commander, you automatically get The Prismatic Piper in your deck as your commander. And since it’s a partner commander, you can put two of them in your deck for “free” if you want two color identities. At least the art is a beautiful consolation prize!
- It’s recommended to split your 8-person draft pod into two 4-person games, but you’re free to do whatever configuration you want to after the draft (i.e., a big free for all)
- Starting life total is 40
- Commander damage does apply
Draft and gameplay for a Commander Legends draft should take about two hours overall.
This is a big innovation that ties the entire draft format together. Since you always need to consider the color identity of your commander in draft, what if the guild for, say, a two-color commander you picked wasn’t open?
The answer is mono-colored partner commanders. That way, if you start with a white partner commander, you can begin taking white cards. When you see a commander of a different color, black for example, you can be rewarded for staying flexible and can start taking black cards as well. You end up with a white/black deck that has two commanders and enough playable cards to fill out your required 60.
All mono-colored legends in this set have partner. The Prismatic Piper is the only common in the bunch.
Want to practice drafting Commander Legends for free, right now? Head over to our draft simulator.
Jeska, Thrice Reborn | Illustration by Yongjae Choi
Full Spoiler/Card Image Galleries
On November 5, 2020 the full spoilers were revealed. Here’s the entire card list for Commander Legends:
Etched Foil Commanders
While these will be included in draft boosters (in the foil slot), they’ll be incredibly rare. You’re much more likely to find one in a collector booster.
All right, now let’s talk about reprints in this set. We know there’s likely going to be some pretty decent ones with this set. But that’s not what you’re here for, is it? No, you’re here because you desire fetch land reprints.
Wizards promised us fetch land reprints this year, and they have yet to deliver. They aren’t going to be in a Standard set, so the list of possible new homes for these coveted mana grabbers is dwindling.
WotC has acknowledged the growing desire for reprints for the benefit of Modern and, you guessed it, Commander players. Along with that, they’re well aware that it’s been quite some time since fetches have been printed in any capacity, the last time being as far back as 2017.
Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing these beauties in Commander Legends.
With the full spoiler out, we now know that they’re not in the set. Will we have to settle for the paltry and ultra-rare Zendikar Rising expeditions? It seems like the answer might be yes.
As is customary, Magic lead designer Mark Rosewater posted a teaser leading into spoiler season to get us hyped for the set release. Here’s what he revealed for Commander Legends:
First up, here are some things you can expect in Commander Legends:
• A card that lists fourteen creature abilities
• A card that returns three different cards types from the graveyard to the battlefield (and not a combination we’ve ever done before)
• A card that basically turns one evergreen keyword action into another evergreen keyword action
• A card that temporarily steals a creature from a new place
• A card that’s stronger the fewer colors in your commander’s color identity
• Multiple legendary creatures of siblings of previous legendary creatures
• A card that grants certain kinds of protection based on what permanents you have on the battlefield
• A card that references both beginning phase and postcombat main phase
• A legendary creature that shares four of the five words in its name with three other legendary creatures
• A creature with four words of rules text and fifty-two words of reminder text
Next, here is some rules text can you expect to see on cards in Commander Legends:
• “damage doesn’t cause you to lose life”
• “any number of Auras and Equipment you control”
• “except for commanders”
• “where X is the number of attacking creatures with flying”
• “Whenever a token you control leaves the battlefield”
• “Whenever one or more Pirates you control deal damage to your opponents”
• “Commanders you control have”
• “X is the number of artifacts you control plus the number of artifact cards in your graveyard”
• “chosen at random from among your opponents”
• “You and permanents you control have protection from Salamanders”
Finally, here are some creature type lines that will appear for the first time in Commander Legends:
• Legendary Creature – Horse
• Legendary Creature – Elemental Lizard
• Legendary Creature – Spirit Pirate
• Legendary Creature – Elephant Warrior
• Legendary Creature – Chimera
• Legendary Creature – Naga Druid
• Legendary Creature – Turtle Shaman
• Legendary Creature – Imp
• Legendary Creature – Faerie Knight
• Legendary Creature – Rabbit WizardSource
I mean, how can you not be excited about a legendary rabbit wizard? Kwain, Itinerant Meddler is pretty cool. Faeries are an awesome creature type, too, and Nymris, Oona’s Trickster did not disappoint.
Commander Legends Etched Foils
We’ve seen a lot of premium products and treatments coming from WotC recently. Their latest innovation(?) is the introduction of alternate-version treatments of the legends in Commander Legends called foil–etched cards.
These cards have a special frame, like “showcase cards” found in collector boosters, but go through a different foiling process.
Commander Legends Preconstructed Decks
We have reviewed these two decks in-depth right here. As a bonus, they’re available on Amazon and you can score both at once in a two-pack:
- Designed as an introduction to Commander, these decks are ready-to-play right out of the box.
- Each deck contains: 1 deck of 99 cards + 1 legendary foil commander card, 10 tokens, 1 deck box, 1 life tracker. This listing includes both decks.
Where to Buy
As is usual with Commander products, you’re probably gonna find this one being sold at your local game store. Always look to give them your support. If you don’t live near a store or the product isn’t in stock, check out some online sellers like Amazon, eBay, or TCGPlayer once Legends becomes available for order.
Draft booster boxes are already available on Amazon for a fairly reasonable price right here
- COMMANDER DRAFT IS HERE. Draft with the first ever booster packs designed for Commander—a Magic format all about battling your friends in epic multiplayer games.
- 24 DRAFT BOOSTERS. Grab 3 packs, pick 2 cards at a time, and add in some lands for a 60-card Commander deck—then show it off in exciting free-for-all games with up to 8 friends.
- 2 LEGENDS PER PACK. Every Commander Legends Draft Booster pack contains 2 legendary cards—enhance your deck with reprints of classic MTG commanders or 1 of the 71 commanders introduced in the set.
- INTRODUCING FOIL ETCHED CARDS. Commander Legends debuts a special kind of foil—foil etched cards with beautiful metallic frames. In some Commander Legends Draft Boosters you can find a foil etched showcase legend or regular foil borderless planeswalker.
- CONTENTS: 24 Commander Legends Draft Booster packs—20 Magic cards + 1 ad/token per pack, with 2 legends, at least 1 rare, and 1 foil each.
As are :
Individual sealed packs are pretty darn expensive right now, but I expect them to come down eventually:
Currently, though, you’re way better off buying a booster box than single packs.
Seedborn Muse | Illustration by Forrest Imel
A Legendary Finish
The idea of drafting a Commander deck sounds extremely fun. I hope that there’s enough diversity in the card packs to allow for unique builds almost every single time, but I imagine with as many legends and reprints as there are, that shouldn’t be a problem. If this product is anywhere near as enjoyable as Commander 2020 was, Commander Legends will be, well, legendary!
What about you? Which of the new and reprinted cards were you most excited to see included? Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments below.
For now, that’s all I’ve got. Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll see you back here soon!
Sengir, the Dark Baron | Illustration by Bastien L. Deharme
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