Wizards of the Coast announced the June, 2011 release of a new multiplayer product, Magic: The Gathering Commander.  It will consist of five different 100-card singleton decks, each with a suggested retail price of $29.99.  The most interesting aspect of this release is the fact that it is based on a fan-created multi-player format, Elder Dragon Highlander, a format that appeals to both casual and competitive players, and which retailers have told ICv2, is more popular with gamers than WotC’s previous attempts at multiplayer products.  And, rather than attempting to hijack the format, the folks at WotC are working closely with Sheldon Menery and the rest of the EDH rules committee to make sure that Magic: The Gathering Commander stays true to the EDH rules and to the spirit of fan-created format.


In the EDH format each player selects a Legend to be their General and then creates a 100-card deck based on the General’s color with no card other than basic lands appearing in the deck more than once.  The Magic: The Gathering Commander decks all mirror the EDH format with 100 cards with no cards other than basic lands appearing more than once.  Each Commander deck also comes with three oversize versions of legends that also appear as regular cards in the deck.  Players can play Magic: The Gathering Commander right out of the box or cannibalize them for their existing EDH decks.


The EDH format’s official Website has been changed from dragonhighlander.net to MTGCommander.net in order to sync up with WotC’s terminology.  WotC has been referring to it as “Commander” on Magic Online for some time and introduced the “command zone” as part of the game last year.  A player’s “general” will now be known as a “commander.”  But WotC is not taking over the format.  WotC will not be managing the rules or the banned list of the Commander format—those tasks will remain with Sheldon Menery and the EDH rules team.


There will be 51 unique new cards spread across the five decks in the MTG: Commander release (some cards will appear in multiple decks).  These are real black-bordered Magic cards that will be legal in Eternal formats (Vintage and Legacy) as well as in casual games the world over. 


The Magic: The Gathering Commander decks will each be three “wedge” colors with corresponding new commanders.  “Wedge” is a term WotC uses for three-color combinations consisting of an allied pair and their shared enemy.  Examples of famous “wedge” cards are “Lightning Angel” and “Doran, the Siege Tower.”  These combinations have been woefully short-supplied on legendary creatures, so each deck contains the corresponding “Planar Chaos Dragon” (such as Intet, the Dreamer) as well as two new legendary commanders in those colors, plus oversized foil versions of all three.


Magic: The Gathering Commander will be available on Magic Online, and WotC is tightening the online rules to align them more closely with the paper rules.  It will also be available in multiple languages including French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Italian.