MTGO 1v1 Ban Update — Tutors, Scrap Metal, and Tunes

So we received a pretty big shakeup to the 1v1 Commander format for MTGO. Tutors were hit hard, and tutor commanders were taken off the list. Let's take a look into these bannings and unbannings and what it means for MTGO 1v1 Commander.

Bringing Down the Hammer!

Cards Added to the Banned List

Cards Removed from Banned List

Let's dig a litter deeper here.


Tutors were hit really hard in this banning. From a selfish standpoint, I hate seeing these cards go. Part of the allure of Commander is having the ability to play with some of the most powerful cards in Magic. Setting that aside, it makes sense why they were banned. I can't tell you how many times I've used my opening hand tutor to search up Phyrexian Arena to get the card draw flowing. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but having that consistent access to value cards/combo pieces seems to go against the spirit of this singleton format. The world isn't coming to an end, there are still some good tutor cards out there to replace them. These cards don't pack the same punch as the tutor cards banned above, but cards like Mystical Teachings, Merchant Scroll, Grim Tutor, Diabolic Intent, Beseech the Queen, Rhystic Tutor and Insidious Dreams can be suitable replacements. In the end, I think this will be a healthy move for the format.

Baral / Emrakul

Turn three Polymorph targeting Baral into Emrakul...yeah...I'm not going to miss that one bit. I've never enjoyed playing against Baral in 1v1 Commander. It's hard to put words to it, but Baral has always felt like an empty Commander deck to me. Sure you can eat BBQ with a fork and a knife and never get dirty. But at the end of the day, did you really get the full BBQ experience? You're supposed to get down and dirty in Commander and a consistent 50 counterspell-Polymorph.dek isn't that.

Now, PonderPreordain, and Brainstorm were all banned as of the July 5th, 2017 update. They were banned in hopes of slowing down blue decks at the top of the meta *cough* Baral *cough*. With Baral gone, I hope the MTGO rules committee will take a look at unbanning these cards. Free those cantrips up!

Arcum / Yisan

I was surprised when Arcum started off on the initial ban list for 1v1 commander. Sure Arcum can lead to some busted games, most notably the Nevinyrral's Disk and Darksteel Forge late night drink mix. But he's still beatable. Yisan on the other hand can lead to some really busted games. Scryb RangerQuirion RangerWirewood Symbiote, and Temur Sabertooth can lead to some really activation heavy turns for Yisan. Which can make you feel a little helpless in 1v1 Commander if you don't have an answer right then. It does give me some optimism that the rules committee is going to take an active approach at banning and unbanning cards. Unbanning Arcum and Yisan hints at them going in that direction.


That's going to wrap it up for today. If you don't know who I am, I have a YouTube channel that focuses on 1v1 Commander gameplay. I keep all my commanders sectioned off in my playlist section if you're looking for a specific commander. Have fun with those Arcum and Yisan activations!


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