Magic: The Gathering’s latest ban comes to its Commander format, as the Rules Committee removes the Hullbreacher, a troublesome combo piece.
The Hullbreacher card is now banned. Magic: The GatheringCommander format, as determined by the format rules committee.
According to the sentence of the Commander’s Rules Committee, Hullbreacher, a 3/2 card for three mana, will no longer be allowed in the format. The reason for the ban is due to the card’s ability to overproduce mana and deny opponents a chance to fight back.
Whenever a player draws more than one card in a turn, Hullbreacher turns it into a treasure for the controlling player. That sounds harmless, but it quickly turns off-putting when combined with what players unofficially call “wheel” effects. Any card that causes players to discard their hand and draw a new one is a wheel, named after the first card with that effect, Wheel of Fortune.
Windfall is currently the most popular format choice due to its lower price and more advantageous color, but there are a host of wheel effects for players to combine with Hullbreacher. The effect can be devastating, as the opponent’s hands are reduced to one card each and the controlling player quickly gains approximately twenty treasures.
Achieving such a combo usually means victory within a few turns, as the Hullbreacher’s controller uses his newfound wealth to eliminate game-ending threats. Similar combos have been around before in the past, but never with the astonishing efficiency and instant speed of the Hullbreacher.
Those two factors are the reasons for his current exodus, according to a post from the Commander’s Rules Committee. The card’s closest equivalent, Notion Thief, requires players to also include black mana in their decks, while Narset, Parter of Veils can only be cast on its owner’s turn.
Hullbreacher’s instant speed, low cost, simple colors, and treasure production make it unreasonable for Commander players to deal with it. This is true for casual and competitive gaming, so the only surprise regarding its ban is that it comes seven months after the card’s initial release.
Wizards of the Coast, the developer behind Magic: The Gathering, has banned cards from Magic’s standard and historical formats with increasing regularity in recent years. Bans to the standard used to be rare, but the game’s player base has since learned to expect the semi-annual removal of problem cards from the game’s most popular constructed formats.
Bans in Commander are a completely different matter. Unlike other formats, Commander rules are outside the purview of Wizards of the Coast. As Wizards prints the cards, the legality of those cards is determined by the formatting rules committee.
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