With the release of the large set Dragons of Tarkir, the final set for the Khans of Tarkir block, all sanctioned formats as well as the group that oversees the Commander format announced their updates to banned and restricted lists. However, the update from Wizards this time around is rather light as they are holding many of their changes until Magic Origins (M16) this summer.
The following changes are:
Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage
There are no changes to the banned list for EDH. However, there still is big news. After the release of Fate Reforged, there was a lot of confusion / chatter about the nature of Commanders being face down (also harkening back to old conversations about Akroma, Angel of Fury too most likely), and that started an internal discussion where the RC has drawn a very surprising conclusion: that a Commander is a Commander is a Commander, no matter where it is or the state it’s in.
What this means in practical terms is that a) a face-down Commander still does Commander damage, and b) unless you want it to willingly exist in a zone other than the battlefield, a Commander will always return to the Command Zone when it changes zones. This was always the case if it would be exiled or put in a graveyard, but the change now will make this rule apply to a player’s hand and library as well.
In short, Commander just did away with the ‘tuck rule’, where you could use cards like Spell Crumple, Chaos Warp, or Oblation to shuffle someone’s problematic Commander into their deck. This rule change definitely streamlines Commander behavior, but it also removes the slightly controversial method to deal with Commanders who get out of hand. The reaction to this change has been swift and vocal, making it equally controversial, but we’ll have to see how it pans out.
Functional Errata and Relevant Rules Changes
Very little is being changed in this release from Wizards proper. Aside from the aforementioned Commander change, the only rules mention of note is that Backslide, Dermoplasm, Master of the Veil, and Weaver of Lies are all getting slightly tweaked wording so they will now also interact with megamorph creatures as well as regular morph.
The explanations of the non-Commander Banned & Restricted changes can be found here.
The Commander announcement can be found here.
The full list of rules clarifications can be viewed here.