Monday, August 8, 2011

The Tuck Rule

Saw the blog post over at Muse Vessel.

Here is the issue:

Spell Crumble, and many spells like it, provide a pseudo-permanent removal option against commanders.

An "exile" or "go to graveyard" type effect is covered by the Commander rules, and results in the option to have your commander go to the "command zone" instead. The command zone was concepted to essentially be the "penalty box," a temporary place to think about your actions before getting sprung a few turns later to wreck more havoc.

In contrast, there is no similar "tuck" rule and so the default option demands your commander end up back into your library.

The "tucking" process is sometimes unavoidably humiliating for both you and your commander.

1) Any oversized coverings or enhancements must be removed
2) Colorful and dazzling sleeves must be swapped out for the standard sleeve the rest of the deck uses
3) Oversized foil versions of the commander (like the cards that came with the commander sets) must be replaced with the standard (foil or non-foil) versions.

And after you've suffered all that, then the actual game play ramifications start to sink in. Unless you have a tutor in hand, it might be many, many turns before you see your commander again. Any synergy you've built into your deck between your esteemed commander and his troops are lost.

I was originally pretty hardened against the idea of changing the status quo.

My reasoning:
1) Tucking is just another form of removal, albeit a particularly good form for the commander format

2) Tucking punishes decks that rely too heavily on their commander

3) The multiplayer arena will balance out any unbalances created by a "tucked" commander. A player with a tucked commander will be seen as less of a threat, and will attract less trouble over the other players in the multiplayer game.

But then I had a couple of really bad tuck situations, culminating in a "fun" 2-player game to test out the pre-constructed Commander decks.

If you don't have any of the Commander decks, I will point out the issue.

Some of them are packed with tuck effects, and none of them have creature tutors.

I wonder if Wizards was trying to make some sort of statement.

Regardless, I had lots of tuck effects…my opponent did not. His commander went by-by without ever doing anything. When he drew land, he got to play a land. Whenever I drew land, I got to play my commander again. Didn't seem fair.

So for the future, I can definitely see trying things out with a change to the often-argued-about "tuck" rule.

Would I still use tuck effects even if they didn't get rid of the commander? You bet I would (and I will!). Because even completely separate from the "Commander" rule, recursion in Commander is insane. A particularly gruesome combo piece still needs a good tucking (if not exiling outright).

So perhaps for my next game I will have to try this. Consider me persuaded, Mr. Graveborn Muse.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still not persuaded. I feel that simply because they are powerful in 1v1 when Commander is designed to be a multiplayer format - and that is still to say they are only obscenely powerful when your opponent is completely reliant upon his commander, meaning he was likely going to do obscenely powerful things WITH said commander - that's no reason to change the rule. I think more bad can come than good, because it simply puts the power back in the combo commanders. If you are worried about Chaos Warp being too powerful when your opponent isn't playing one of those generals, then simply save it for something more worth tucking and let him have his general!

    That said, I enjoyed your post! Always nice to hear a well thought out argument.