Sheldon wrote:If your commander would go into the library or your hand, you may choose to put it into the command zone. It’s as simple as that. Just like with the graveyard, if you want it to go into the library/hand, you’re more than welcome to let it. Note that this is a replacement effect, but it can apply multiple times to the same event.
There are four major points in how we arrived at this decision. None of them individually was the silver bullet; the combination of factors got us to where we ended up. In no particular order:
1) We want to engender as positive an experience as we can for players. Nothing runs the feel-bads worse than having your commander unavailable to you for the whole game.
2) The presence of tuck encourages players to play more tutors so that in case their commander gets sent to the library, they can get it back—exactly the opposite of what we want (namely, discouraging the over-representation of tutors).
3) While we are keenly aware that tuck is a great weapon against problematic commanders, the tools to do so are available only in blue and white, potentially forcing players into feeling like they need to play those colors in order to survive. We prefer as diverse a field as possible.
4) It clears up some corner case rules awkwardness, mostly dealing with knowing the commander’s location in the library (since highly unlikely to actually end up there).
As with any change, lots of backlash has sprung up all over the internet. Lots of good discussion too.
My first thought on seeing this change was "Meh", but the more I've thought about it, the more I really like this change. For those who are competitive-minded, it seems to me that this change reduces variance. Losing your general is a huge hit to any deck, unless they didn't plan to cast it at all (in which case it's a hit they take during deck building). Does someone deserve to win the game because they had Hinder mana open at the right time to tuck their opponent's general? Or because they drew their one copy of Hallowed Burial instead of Wrath of God this time? Punishing your opponent so severely with what basically amounts to luck feels like the opposite of what competitive players should want.
A bigger concern for me is the collateral damage. Tuck is great for stopping broken generals, some have even said it's necessary. But what do you do when there are no truly broken generals at the table? You tuck that fair (and fun) general instead. You're not going to remove the tuck from your deck, so plays like this, that will reduce the overall enjoyment at the table, are inevitable. I also will admit to having included tutors in decks for the sole purpose of fetching my tucked general. They had other uses, of course, but they wouldn't have made the cut if not for that.
Used to be that the best strategic choice was to build your deck to be able to function without your general, but is it how commander should be played? I'm not so sure. Overall, seems like a change that just makes this format more general-centric, something that probably isn't a bad thing.