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Background Rules Update

Updated: Jun 7

This short article is a follow-up to the Backgrounds Ruling & Reasoning article from the end of last month. We knew Wizards would have to update the comprehensive rules to make backgrounds work in the command zone, so we were waiting to update our own rules so that we could match their wording. Wizards did that update a few days ago (see the 702.124H entry in this article for details), so here’s the Pauper EDH rules update.


Just like “Partner With” and “Friends Forever,” choosing a background is categorized as a variant of the Partner mechanic and gets its own separate rules entry. The Pauper EDH rules text for this new ability is below. Differences from the regular Commander rules are bolded.


907.7. “Choose a Background” is a variant of the partner ability that represents a static ability. “Choose a Background” means “You may designate two cards as your commander as long as one of them is this card and the other is a legendary Background enchantment.” You can’t designate two cards as your commander if one has a “choose a Background” ability and the other is not a Background enchantment, and legendary Background enchantments cannot be your commander unless you have also designated a commander with “choose a Background.” In Pauper EDH, both the card with “Choose a Background” and the Background enchantment must be of uncommon rarity to be legal commanders.


We’re also making one other change. Our old rule 906.3a specified that any planeswalker with the “can be your commander” ability still had to be an uncommon in order to be a legal Pauper EDH commander (even though no uncommon planeswalkers had yet been printed with that ability). This matched the Commander rule at the time, but that Commander rule was changed recently to accommodate Shorikai, Genesis Engine. So we’re updating the Pauper EDH rule to match the new wording of the Commander rule, which no longer specifies planeswalkers (implying that other noncreature cards can be your commander as long as they have the “can be your commander” ability). Our new rule text is listed below, with differences between the Pauper EDH and Commander rules bolded.


906.3a. Some cards have an ability that states the card can be your commander. This ability modifies the rules for deck construction, and it functions before the game begins. These cards must be of uncommon rarity to be legal commanders in Pauper EDH. See also rule 113.6n.


As always, thank you for your patience as we work through the details of updating our rules. We hope you’re enjoying brewing with Backgrounds as much as we are!


-Paul (Scarecrow1779)

@PDH Home Base

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