Magic: The Gathering‘s Commander website delivered the format’s latest status update earlier this week and it’s a surprising one, to say the least.
Flash (the card, not the keyword), a staple in many blue decks for some time, has been banned from play in the singleton ruleset, with the format’s committee confirming that it ultimately reached the decision in conjunction with cEDH players. The seemingly spontaneous announcement comes just days after Wizards of the Coast preemptively banned Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths card Lutri, the Spellchaser from Commander, though for vastly different reasons.
In Lutri’s case, conditions for meeting the creature’s Companion cost – to have no more than one copy of any card in a deck – were deemed too beneficiary to be used in Commander, and for obvious reason. The core issue for Flash, on the other hand, is its incredibly reliable ability to ‘cheat’ creature spells into play earlier than intended.
A statement explaining the decision reads as follows:
Speaking of exceptional decisions, we are banning Flash (the card, not the mechanic). Enough cEDH players who we trust have convinced us that it is the only change they need for the environment they seek to cultivate. Though they represent a small fraction of the Commander playerbase, we are willing to make this effort for them. It should not be taken as a signal that we are considering any kind of change in how we intend to manage the format; this is an extraordinary step, and one we are unlikely to repeat.
We use the banlist to guide players in how to approach the format and hope Flash’s role on the list will be to signal “cheating things into play quickly in non-interactive ways isn’t interesting, don’t do that.”
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While no specific mention of the card can be found above, Flash’s banning is undoubtedly an attempt to eliminate a specific interaction between itself and Protean Hulk. When played at the discounted cost provided by Flash, the green creature spell is intentionally sacrificed by not paying the mana cost, in turn triggering its powerful death effect of summoning any number of creatures and putting them directly onto the battlefield.
With Flash now removed from Commander, the potent pairing will no longer be possible, though as is often the case in the format, we suspect it won’t be long before another absurdly powerful combo rises to fame. Until then, be sure to let us know what you think of Magic: The Gathering‘s latest ban wave in the usual place below!
Source: Commander RC