News Brief: Wizards Play Network Policy and 1v1 Commander Updates, Commander 2018, Partner Products, and GPs Chiba and Sacramento

Core Set 2019, Commander, and alcohol? These are your news updates for the week of July 16-July 23, 2018.

Update to Wizards Play Network Policy

Effective today, (July 23), Wizards Play Network stores are allowed to have alcohol at events that are restricted to persons of legal drinking age. An announcement made on July 16 introduced two new policies. The first is an update to the Alcohol Policy which, as mentioned, allows WPN stores to serve alcohol at sanctioned DCI events. All local laws and regulations must be complied and stores must maintain a family friendly atmosphere.

The second policy opens the door for age restricted events. These tournaments can set a threshold for above or below a certain age (16 and under, 21 and over). Premier play events are not eligible to be age restricted.

Commander 2018

In an oversight, last week’s new brief neglected to mention the themes for this year’s Commander product. The spoiler season for this product starts today and the decks from the 2018 edition of Commander feature the following themes:

  • Blue-Red Artifacts
  • White-Blue-Green Enchantments
  • Black-Red-Green Lands
  • White-Blue-Black “Top of the Library”

Commander 2018 releases on August 10 and again features planeswalker commanders, according to the product page.

Update to 1v1 Commander

Moving from multiplayer to head-to-head Magic, the 1-on-1 Commander format on Magic Online is getting a massive overhaul. This article from Bryan Hawley goes into detail on the issues with the format and, although it goes unmentioned, has contributed to its low popularity. In an effort to reinvigorate interest in the format the ban list is being overhauled.

First, partner commanders are banned. The ability to add an additional card to the opening hand was deemed too powerful. You can still use partners as individual commanders but from here on out only one card can occupy the command zone.

Second, in order to increase the power level of the format and create games with wider swings, the following cards are legal as of July 25, 2018:

  • Ancient Tomb
  • Brainstorm
  • Chrome Mox
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Dig Through Time
  • Enlightened Tutor
  • Entomb
  • Gaea’s Cradle
  • Imperial Seal
  • Mana Crypt
  • Mana Drain
  • Mana Vault
  • Mox Diamond
  • Mystical Tutor
  • Necropotence
  • Ponder
  • Preordain
  • Sol Ring
  • Sylvan Tutor
  • Treachery
  • Treasure Cruise
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Vial Smasher the Fierce
  • Worldly Tutor
  • Yawgmoth’s Bargain

Partner Products

Two non-card Magic related products were announced last week. The latest edition of The Art of Magic: The Gathering centers on the plane of Ravnica. According to this tweet from the publisher Viz Media, the book is coming in January 2019.

WizKids is releasing a set of miniature tokens. Creature Forge: Overwhelming Swarm features sculptures of Angels, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Spiders, Zombies, and more. The product goes on sale in September 2018.

Grand Prix Chiba and Sacramento

Core Set 2019 had its first weekend in the spotlight. Grand Prix Chiba and Grand Prix Sacramento both featured the latest core set for Sealed and Draft play.

Grand Prix Chiba took Magic’s 25th anniversary celebration to Japan. The event focused on the country’s long history with the game, including a timeline of events. The Unlimited Draft at Grand Prix Chiba opened many high profile cards including Ancestral Recall, Mox Ruby, Tundra, and the one and only Black Lotus.

At the end of the day, the tournament celebrating Magic’s history made a little bit of its own. Guillem Salvador Arnal won the trophy with six games with an aggressive red-white deck and became the first Spanish born player to win a Grand Prix in Japan.


Across the Pacific Ocean, Grand Prix Sacramento capped the weekend’s Core Set 2019 doubleheader. The variety of the format was on display, complete with Hall-of-Famer Ben Stark showing the world how to draft a mill deck. In the end, however, it was Richard Liu who emerged from the Top 8 unscathed. Liu was the last undefeated player in the tournament, taking his first loss in the first Draft of Day 2. Liu navigated the Top 8 with a white-black life gain deck—the same archetype he used in the first Draft of the day.

Black-White Life Gain

(At the time of submission, only 39 cards from Liu’s deck are known.)

Looking Ahead

Next weekend, Core Set 2019 Limited gets another weekend in the spotlight at Grand Prix Minneapolis. The same Twin City plays host to the Pro Tour the week after with teams of three competing in Pro Tour 25th Anniversary.

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