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In Favor of the Sylvan Primordial Banning, and a Discussion of the Social Contract in Commander
Paul Wessendorf
February 12, 2014

Sylvan primordial has finally received a banning by the Sylvan Primordialrule committee. After having recently experienced the power of this card first hand, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing I wont face it again. This seven mana avatar is exceedingly good at locking other players out of the game and gives you an unreasonable mana advantage that only scales better the more players you have in a game and was oppressive. This card bears the distinct difference from its cycle that this one is not a may  trigger but a must, you must blow up Tom’s only land, you must screw up other players mana bases if they don’t have tempting other non-creature permanents. This card could have most likely avoided the ban hammer in my own opinion, if it granted players the choice to not mess with someone only sitting on a 1/1 creature and 4 lands. This change would create more choices and opportunities for players and turn it into a powerful but fair tool. This card has no politics, no subtlety, and is just a big crude gesture to players and another fortunate addition to the ban list. The game when this creature hit play degenerated into who could clone it, recur it, produce tokens of it, the game literally devolved into Sylvan Primordial: The Gathering. While I type this my eyes glisten with tears of joy, salty, salty, salty tears. Sylvan Primordial spanked me and knocked multiple mana bases out of the game. May I never see him again.

Some options to replace Sylvan Primordial in your deck include the following each highly recommended by yours truly.


Terastadon: A solid body and the ability to blow up Terastodonthree permanents, it includes lands but provides elephant tokens to those unfortunate enough to get hit balancing it somewhat more so than Primordial. Also doesn’t require blowing things up so if you don’t want to make enemies feel free to blow up one permanent and have a nice fatty.


Woodfall Primus: My main treefolk man, this guy blows up singular perments and can return and do it again. Outside of combo shenanigans this card provides tons of value and is more of a pin point removal card although requires a larger commitment to green.


Bane of Progress: Wipes the entire board of artifacts gives you a large creature, fantastic board wipe for troublesome permanents. Doesn’t touch lands, a much fairer but still powerful card in comparison to Sylvan Primordial.


Acidic Slime: A solid defensive body as a 2/2 deathtouch creature and still holds its own in the commander format, being a budget option aside this card is still one of the best green creatures in commander.


Brutalizer Exarch: This guy serves as a fine tutor orBrutalizer Exarch an expensive disruption to troublesome permanents, this card has value in that its versatility makes up for the slightly lower power levels of cards along with a decent mana commitment.


Now that I have opened the discourse here on Sylvan Primordial I feel the need to state my views on the spirit of EDH. A social contract that can be retrieved from http://mtgcommander.net/rules.php

The relevant key to take away from this is Commander is designed to promote social games of magic. Now the game by its definition is a social experience you are participating in with your friends. Social games in this context can be expanded to mean games that do not primarily focuses on the most cut throat strategies or winning one hundred percent of the time. This being said however I don’t power down decks and I don’t purposely build decks I don’t want to compete, multiplayer commander is however much more than a game of Magic, it’s about cultivating an atmosphere of mutual respect and enjoyment for the players involved, your buddies.  Sylvan Primordial spit in the face of this attitude and the result was a ban. There exists a fine line between playing to win and playing for fun, and in the era of more net decking than ever and where cut throat competition seems to be bleeding into our kitchen tables we have to remain vigilant to not forget the true nature of commander, having fun with your friends. Fun is highly variable and what is fun for one individual may not be fun for another, however there is a general and widely regarded consensus of what constitutes and is accepted. This ban list as well various house rules keep these unhealthy and disruptive presences in check.  Commander is an experience an outlet for creativity and over the top plays and the utilization of cards considered bad elsewhere. In light of this recent banning it is more important than ever to become self-aware of why you play Magic, if it’s an expression of your personality and a way to have fun with friends and provide an intellectually challenging competition than commander  is once again your promised land.





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