Emrakul's, the Aeons Torn's Ban in Commander

Why is Emrakul Banned in Commander?

Jacob LacknerCommander

While Commander’s grassroots origins make it different from many other Magic formats, it still has a ban list like the rest of them. However, since Commander is not a format with tons of tournament data to back up banning certain cards, some players are unsure why certain offenders end up on the list. And since we’re just a few weeks away from the release of Commander Masters (and one of the precons is Eldrazi Unbound, an Eldrazi typal dec), I thought it would be a good time to look at the one Eldrazi that is banned in Commander: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Emrakul has a very strong claim to the title of “Most powerful creature in Magic.” She might cost 15 mana, but it is definitely worth the investment, because it is virtually impossible for you to lose the game when you cast her. 

After all, she is a 15/15 flier that makes the defending player sacrifice six permanents any time she attacks. She is also very difficult to interact with because she can’t be countered and has protection from spells that are one or more colors. 

As if that wasn’t enough, she also gives you an extra turn when you cast her. This means your opponent usually isn’t even given a chance to try to win before you attack them, at which point the game is usually over.

Emrakul is so powerful that there are decks all about cheating her into play in every single 60-card format she is legal in. Many of these decks don’t even actually plan on casting her, because just getting her down early for one turn and giving her Haste is enough to win most games since she usually eliminates all of your opponent’s permanents. In Modern, she is often put into play with Through the Breach or Goryo’s Vengeance.

In the Eternal formats, she is one of the best creatures you can put into play when you cast Show and Tell or Oath of Druids

Why is Emrakul Banned in Commander?

If Emrakul were legal in Commander, the entire format would warp around her, as is certainly the case in both Legacy and Vintage. However, in Commander this would be even more pronounced. 

After all, in the Eternal formats you can play decks that don’t contain Emrakul. That wouldn’t really be the case if she were legal in Commander. She’s too powerful not to be something every deck would include. Commander decks already tend to include a lot of ramp, so casting her isn’t even that big of a challenge.

She has a colorless identity, too, so she could appear in every Commander deck. Plus she’s a legendary creature, so she could even be your Commander. Starting with her in your Command Zone every single game is a pretty big advantage — even if it might mean only having colorless cards in your deck.

Furthermore, there is no shortage of ways to cheat Emrakul into play in Commander. She at least isn’t that easy to reanimate, since only instant speed reanimation works on her. But there are still plenty of ways to put her directly into play from your hand, especially in red and green.

Should Emrakul be Unbanned in Commander?

Never. Virtually every deck would run Emrakul if she was legal, as there is simply nothing better to ramp into in Magic. Many decks would simply use her as a Commander and run a deck filled with fast mana. That would lead to many games being determined by whomever got the most mana going the most quickly and managed to tutor up this insanely powerful eldritch horror. Then Commander games would become a homogenous, miserable mess, and nobody wants that.  

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What do you think? Should Emrakul be unbanned? Do you want Commander games to be all about her? Give me your take over on Twitter!