This afternoon, the EDH Rules Committee announced that they were banning both Paradox Engine and Iona, Shield of Emeria in Magic’s Commander format, while unbanning Painter’s Servant.

The Bans

Ever since its printing in Aether Revolt, Paradox Engine has been a powerful way to generate nearly infinite mana in the Commander format. The Rules Committee said that it is “[e]asily inserted into any deck [and] it combines with cards which players already have heavy incentives to play, generating a great deal of mana with virtually no deck building cost.” The problem isn’t that Paradox Engine is a powerful card, they said, it’s that it “doesn’t need to be built around to be broken.”

Iona, Shield of Emeria, on the other hand, was one of the format’s biggest offenders when it came to making games of Commander unfun. The card’s sole use is to prevent other players from playing the game, which “creates a negative experience for many players without the benefit of a positive application.” The Rules Committee previously believed that Iona’s intense mana cost was sufficient to keep it from being played in too many decks, but they finally decided to ban it from Commander because it is “an exemplar as the type of card which creates an experience we wish to discourage, namely shutting players out of games.”

Painter’s Servant Unbanned

Painter’s Servant was one of the most often cited examples of cards on the Commander ban list that no longer deserved to be there. 10 years after it’s original ban, the Rules Committee now believes that “there are now more weird and fun uses for Painter’s Servant than there are dangerous ones.” Additionally, they said that unbanning “[t]he card will provide deck builders with some additional paths to explore in expressing their creativity.”

Since the creation of the Commander Advisory Group earlier this year, players have been clamoring for its members to consider removing cards from the ban list, rather than just adding to it. CAG member Josh Lee Kwai, in particular, has been outspoken in his belief that they should consider unbanning cards and, six months after its creation, the CAG appears to have helped move the Rules Committee in that direction.

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