Does the reminder texts count when defining the color identity of a card?

Nope. As defined by Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at sections 903.4b and 207.2, reminder text is ignored when determining a card’s color identity.

For example, Blind Obedience has a color identity which is white (only).

Does the back face of a double-faced card count when defining a Commander’s color identity?

Yes. Absolutely. As defined by Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules at sections 903.4c and 711, the back face of a double-faced card is included when determining a card’s color identity.

For example, Garruk Relentless is green and black.

Certain cards state that a deck can contain as many of them as I wish. Is that true for Duel Commander?

Sure. You can have as many Relentless Rats, Rat Colony, Persistent Petitioners or Shadowborn Apostles in your deck, or up to seven copies of Seven Dwarves. Which could be fun.

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How does the “Commander” designation work?

Easy! It works everywhere, it’s not part of the card, and it only applies to the card that is your commander, and never to any other card.

See rule 903.3 in the Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules:

“Each deck has a legendary creature card designated as its commander. This designation is not a characteristic of the object represented by the card; rather, it is an attribute of the card itself. The card retains this designation even when it changes zones.


A commander that’s been turned face down (due to Ixidron’s effect, for example) is still a commander. A commander that’s copying another card (due to Cytoshape’s effect, for example) is still a commander. A permanent that’s copying a commander (such as a Body Double, for example, copying a commander in a player’s graveyard) is not a commander.”

If I choose to put my commander back to the command zone instead of any other zone, is it a normal replacement effect?

Not really, but it is a special effect that happens throughout games. Note that this changed in 2020, as opposed to how it used to work previously.

It basically means now you draw with Skullclamp equipped on your dying commander. Fool’s demise still won’t let you take control of a commander that died when attached with it, though.

See rule 903.9a in the Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules:

903.9a If a commander is in a graveyard or in exile and that card was put into that zone since the last time state-based actions were checked, its owner may put it into the command zone. This is a state-based action. See rule 704.

What do cards that refer “outside” the game cards do?

In short: nothing.

Taken from the Duel Commander Comprehensive Rules:

503. Cards referring objects from outside the game

503.1. Abilities which refer to other cards owned outside the game do not function in Commander.

Can I control a copy of a commander AND the original commander at the same time, since the copy doesn’t have the “commander” designation?

So far, you can’t. All commanders are either Legendary Creatures either Planeswalkers that explicitly state that they can be a commander (like Teferi, Temporal Archmage). The “legend rule” applies in all Duel Commander games, as in other Magic The Gathering games, though cards like Mirror Gallery still remove that constraint.

Looking at the Duel Commander Comprehensive rules:

504. Commander designation

504.1. The commander designation does not change anything to the state-based actions, as specified. It is not a super-type, and does not appear on the card, as defined in sections 704.5j, 704.5k and 704.5m in the Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules.

Someone plays Karn Liberated. Can we really restart the game according to its third ability?

Yup, and it’s still the same game in the same round.

If there are commanders previously exiled by Karn Liberated when its third ability resolves, you will have them on the battlefield as well after it resolves. They won’t start the game in their respective command zones, but they will still be commanders. Have fun!

Be careful, though: if commanders are exiled by Karn Liberated first or second ability -meaning: if the remplacement effect wasn’t applied to put them back in their command zone-, they will remain in the exile zone once the ability resolves.

Also, players can’t change their commanders when restarting a game, they can only do so when a new game starts.

My commander’s color identity is red. Can I add non-red, non-colorless mana to my mana pool?

Indeed. If anyone controls Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, for example, you can tap a mountain you would control to add {B} (one black mana) to your mana pool. And cast Radiant Flames for X=2 different colors! Cool, ain’t it?

What happens to the cost modifiers in the game when I cast my commander?

Well, they all apply normally. According to the Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules:

903.8. A player may cast a commander he or she owns from the command zone. A commander cast from the command zone costs an additional {2} for each previous time the player casting it has cast it from the command zone that game.

That means, for example (assuming no other game effect):

What zones are affected by the “return to the command zone choice” rule?

All the “obvious” destination ones, which means:

  • Graveyard ✔

  • Exile ✔

  • Library ✔

  • Hand ✔

But not these destination ones:

  • Battlefield ✘

  • Stack ✘

  • Ante ✘

  • Command zone ✘

Whatever the zone your commander comes from, what matter is the zone it goes to: if your commander dies, and you choose to let it in the graveyard, then someone exiles all graveyards for any reason (let’s say someone has Rest in Peace entering the battlefield), you can still choose another time to put it back to the command zone.

Then, again, if someone plays Pull from Eternity on your commander while it’s in the exile zone, you can choose to put it back in the command zone instead of letting it go the the graveyard.

But if someone then plays Animate Dead on it, you can’t choose to put it back to the command zone, whereas once it resolves and you get your commander back on the battlefield, if someone then plays Boomerang on it, you can choose to put it back in the command zone!

Then, what is the cost of commander cards if they’re not in the command zone? How much mana should I pay?

Assuming there’s no other effect, the cost is then the printed cost. The “commander tax” defined in section 903.8 of the Magic The Gathering Comprehensive Rules only applies to the commanders cast from the command zone.

903.8. A player may cast a commander he or she owns from the command zone. A commander cast from the command zone costs an additional {2} for each previous time the player casting it has cast it from the command zone that game.

Do you have recommendations regarding tournament organization?

In the case you’d like to organize a DC tournament, we could only give you a few advice (please take this only as a starting advice):

  1. Turn to the Magic The Gathering judges, they have basic or advanced knowledge for handling out tournaments (depending on their level).

  2. Turn to the DC Committee if you need contacts, ideas, precision, or further information.

  3. Follow the Tournament Rules and other Wizards of The Coast / DCI guidelines (found here).

  4. Make sure you have access to the Duel Commander comprehensive rules.

  5. Try to find a certified DCI Judge who could accept to be your Head Judge.

  6. Find additional DCI Judges if you think you need more or if the Head Judge tells you you need more.

  7. Try to stick to the Regular REL (Rules Enforcement Level) and rating for your tournaments. If your tournament exceeds a very large number of players (and a lot of prizes), consider using Competitive REL, with precaution, though.

  8. Go to Wizards of The Coast official websites (corporate, WPN, DCI, etc.), which are full of resources regarding tournament organization.

My opponent takes control of my current turn. And makes my commander die. Who chooses what zone it goes to?

According to rule 903.9. in the Magic the Gathering comprehensive rules, this is a replacement effect. The owner chooses, but the controller of the effect is the player. Since the effect is controlled by the player, he/she chooses what replacement effects apply. Therefore the opponent controlling your turn gets to choose.

Can I “swap” with the same Commander after game one?

Yes, according to rule 507.1, you can choose any legal commander for swapping... Including the same one as for game one!

I want to promote a Duel Commander tournament I’m organizing, can you help?

Sure! Just send us a basic Facebook page people can ping, or a website they can use, and a promotion material, such as an image or a video file or Facebook post we can share. Please make sure your tournament attendance is known and over ~30 players, for we probably won’t have the time to share hundreds of tournaments on this page on a monthly basis, unfortunately.

Just make sure that:

  • You are the tournament organizer in person, not anyone else.

  • The material is easy to share (a picture, Facebook post or event, a video). No plain text.

  • The material describes your tournament well enough.

  • Everything in your material is in English at least.

How do cards that alter the number of cards as commanders work in Duel Commander?

Best thing to do is probably to read our February 2022 announcement, and then head up to the Comprehensive Rules.

Duel Commander uses special rulings for those types of cards. Basically, there are some rules limiting how you play them.