Rofellos Ban in Commander

Why is Rofellos 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. Today, I’m going to take a look at Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, explain why it’s banned in Commander and discuss whether or not it would be safe to unban it.

Rofellos is a Legendary Elf that can really ramp your mana. He can tap to give you one Green for each Forest you control. 

To get full value out of him, that does mean you need to be mono-Green and not run very many non-basic lands — but the upside here is absurd enough that it’s well worth making those concessions. 

If you play Rofellos on turn two, then play a Forest on turn three, you have access to at least six mana. From there, your mana effectively increases by two every single turn, allowing you to play out way more powerful spells than your opponent. In short, Rofellos can easily allow you to completely overwhelm most decks. 

Rofellos has found success over the years in Standard, Extended, and Legacy. Masticore was one of the best creatures around during Rofellos’ hay day in 60-card formats, and it combined particularly well with it, because you could produce insane amounts of mana that you could sink into the Masticore’s powerful abilities.

These days, there are many more powerful things you can do with all that mana, especially in Commander.

Why is Rofellos Banned in Commander?

Rofellos has a complicated history on the Commander ban list. He got banned in Commander way back in 2007, as the mana advantage he could grant players out of the command zone was deemed too powerful.

Then, in 2009, Rofellos was unbanned — but only as a Commander. This decision was a puzzling one, because if anything, Rofellos is far more problematic as your Commander than he would be otherwise! 

And… this quickly proved to be the case, as Rofellos was specifically banned only as a Commander in 2010. Then, in 2014, the “banned as commander” rule was abolished and Rofellos was once again entirely banned in the format.

If Rofellos were legal in Commander, there’s a good chance he’d be the best mono-Green option.  After all, those decks are some of the best at ramping mana, and Rofellos would kick your ability to ramp into the stratosphere. 

While he’s certainly fragile and normally takes a full turn to really get going, being able to play him on turn two every single game and then cast him multiple times a game after that would certainly be too good. You can also avert the downsides entirely with some heavily played Commander cards, like Lightning Greaves.

Should Rofellos be Unbanned?

No. At least, not unless they bring back the “Banned as Commander” list. Personally, I think they should, because a creature like Rofellos isn’t nearly as problematic when you can’t threaten to play him multiple times every single game. 

I’m all for allowing players access to the widest pool of cards possible without breaking the format. The abolition of the “Banned as Commander” rule definitely flies in the face of this. 

While I understand having a simpler Banned & Restricted List has its advantages, I don’t think they do enough to outweigh the fact that several cards are entirely banned in the format that wouldn’t be a problem at all if they start the game in your deck instead of the command zone.

Even if they decided to unban Rofellos for the 99, there is still an argument it should remain banned because of accessibility issues. Rofellos has only been printed a single time a quarter-century ago.  

It’s also on the Reserved List, so the card is very scarce. Despite being banned in Commander, nor in demand for any 60-card formats, the card still costs about $30. 

If Rofellos were unbanned, it’s safe to assume the card’s price would shoot through the roof since every mono-Green deck would want him. He would become very difficult to obtain, and maybe that’s reason enough to keep him banned. Of course, Gaea’s Cradle is legal in the format and has the same accessibility issues.

End Step

What do you think? Should the “Banned as Commander” rule be brought back? Would Rofellos still be too good in the 99?  Hit me up on X with your thoughts!