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. Today, we’re going to look at Limited Resources, which is not only one of the best Magic podcasts around but also a very powerful card!
This one-mana Enchantment forces all players to choose five of their lands and sacrifice the rest. After that, players can’t play lands if there are ten or more lands on the battlefield. In other words, playing it early can completely cut players off from their land, and playing it late can destroy a huge number of lands immediately.
That is some pretty insane value for only a single mana. As one of those twisted people who loves land destruction, I have a special fondness for this card (which I played in an Extended deck back in the day), but I’ll do my best to stay unbiased in my assessment of its ban.
Why is Limited Resources Banned in Commander?
Limited Resources is even more powerful in Commander than in other formats. This is because you generally play with multiple opponents, so the threshold of ten lands can be reached very early in the game.
This means Limited Resources can lock players out of playing lands as early as turn three. Not only is that incredibly powerful, it is also incredibly unfun.
If it is played early, the game grinds to a screeching halt until someone finds Enchantment removal they can cast with their limited number of lands. When you play it late, it really punishes everyone, especially the player(s) that have the most lands. In short, it always drastically alters the game and usually makes things pretty miserable for the remainder of it.
In addition to only costing a single mana, it is also important that Limited Resources is capable of shutting down the game with virtually no set up. And all you need to do to set up this powerful lock is to find your Limited Resources, which is no problem since white tutors up single Enchantments easily. Even just staying in mono-white, you would have access to Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor and Moon-Blessed Cleric, which can all search it up in the early game.
Should Limited Resources be Unbanned in Commander?
Limited Resources got banned way back in 2008. In some earlier articles in this series, I’ve argued that some cards banned in the early days of Commander should be unbanned because the game has changed so much over the last 15+ years. This isn’t one of those cases.
Limited Resources does two things that aren’t good for Commander. First, it is just too powerful. This is a result of not being designed with multiplayer games in mind. The threshold of ten lands is far too easy to reach.
Second, it makes games incredibly unfun. Even if it just checked one of those boxes I would think the card should remain banned.
What do you think? Should Limited Resources be legal in Commander? You can hit me up on Twitter with your take, along with suggestions for cards you’d like to see me address in the future.
Jacob has been playing Magic for the better part of 24 years, and he especially loves playing Magic’s Limited formats. He also holds a PhD in history from the University of Oklahoma. In 2015, he started his YouTube channel, “Nizzahon Magic,” where he combines his interests with many videos covering Magic’s competitive history. When he’s not playing Magic or making Magic content, he can be found teaching college-level history courses or caring for a menagerie of pets with his wife.