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Magic: The Gathering’s most popular Commander has been banned

You can rest now, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

Artwork of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim from Magic: The Gathering Image: Wizards of the Coast

One of Magic: The Gathering’s most popular cards — Golos, Tireless Pilgrim — has been banned from play in the widely played Commander format, according to an update from the Commander Rules Committee, an independent group that both created the format and oversees the official rules for play.

Rules Committee founding member Sheldon Menery announced the Golos ban in an update posted Monday. Menery acknowledged that Golos is “both popular to play with and unpopular to play against,” and that the card’s “presence crushes the kind of diversity in commander choice which we want to promote.” In the same announcement, the rules committee unbanned another card, Worldfire. The committee’s banned list is here.

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is a Legendary Artifact Creature. He allows you to search the library for a land card when he enters the battlefield and put it into play. For WUBRG plus 2 you can exile cards from your library and immediately play them for free. Image: Wizards of the Coast

“We understand that many players love Golos, so we don’t take this action lightly,” Menery said. “In the end, the health of the format is our primary concern and we find Golos unhealthy. While Kenrith, the Returned King is a similarly flexible and popular commander for good stuff five color decks, we see it as a clear step down from Golos.”

Menery added that the committee doesn’t expect Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast to print cards similarly powerful to Golos, Tireless Pilgrim in the near future, “so a surgical strike now makes sense.”

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was introduced in Magic’s Core Set 2020. It allows players to search their library for a land card and place it into play tapped. Alternately, for the cost of two plus one of each mana color, players can exile three cards from the top of their library and cast them — without paying their mana cost. It’s a powerful move that’s hard to make in most formats but made easier and more desirable in Commander format.

Commander format is quite a bit different from vanilla Magic: The Gathering. The multiplayer mode of play supports two to six players, sometimes more. Each player gets 40 life points, and any player can attack any other player on their turn. Decks consist of 100 cards, and each of these cards — save for lands — must be unique. What sets the format apart is that one of those 100 cards must be a Legendary Creature, a type of creature first introduced to the game in 1994. That Legendary Creature is designated as the leader of your army, your deck’s eponymous Commander. The player with the last Commander standing wins.

Many Magic players see creating a Commander deck as the ultimate expression of a player’s skill, and of their ability to use their personal collection of cards to its fullest. The Commander format embodies the game’s reputation for competition, but also for storytelling. It’s the only officially sanctioned format maintained by an outside entity, meaning an entity not controlled by publisher Wizards of the Coast.

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