Trade Secrets Banned & Staff of Domination Unbanned in Commander/EDH April 2013 Rules Update

EDH Rules Update April 2013

There are changes to the Banned List in EDH/Commander! In the April 2013 Banned List update rules judge Sheldon Menery has announced the following changes:

Banned in EDH:
Trade Secrets

Unbanned in EDH:
Staff of Domination

From the official rules release:
Trade Secrets
Trade Secrets is much like Limited Resources in that has some issues in a multiplayer environment. It isn’t a problem when one player draws four cards and another draws eight. Trade Secrets is a problem when both players decide to draw 80 cards and effectively turn a four-player game into a two-player game. It just doesn’t add enough to the format to justify the games that it single-handedly ruins.

This seems an ironic banning, since Trade Secrets has long been played in EDH, and was recently reprinted in the Commander decks by Wizards. It does lead to some dumb game states with certain players, but then again so do a lot of other cards in the hands of obstinate players.

Staff Of Domination UnbannedStaff of Domination
When Staff of Domination was banned, it was one of the most widespread and iconic combo cards in the format. Banning it sent a clear message that turn four wins weren’t the gameplay we wanted to see. These days there are plenty of scarier combo cards out there, and Staff of Domination has a valid role as a cool utility card. Neither of these would be enough their own, but together they provide solid reasons to unban the do-anything stick.

The Staff of Domination unbanning in particular is strange, because it can easily take over multiplayer games, just as a number of other problematic cards that are both banned and unbanned. It fits with their publicly stated policy of creating “variable, interactive, and epic multiplayer games where memories are made,” but more often than note Staff will probably create more disgruntled memories than good ones.