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11) While a Commander is in the command zone, it may be cast. As an additional cost to cast a Commander from the command zone, its owner must pay {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone. (ie: it costs 6WW to cast for the third time.)

In a game last night someone tried to allow their commander to go to the graveyard as a method of resetting the casting penalty from the command zone. While I agreed that the general could be brought back from the graveyard through normal means and cast without the penalty, I disagreed that allowing the general to go to the graveyard reset the counter in the command zone.

His argument was that it's in the graveyard, counters on a creature go away. I argued the counter is not on the general at all, but rather is part of the state of the game/command zone.

Who was correct?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

You were correct in the assumption that the tracking of casting cost is not a counter, but a separate attribute of the game.

The official EDH rules state:

While a Commander is in the command zone, it may be cast. As an additional cost to cast a Commander from the command zone, its owner must pay {2} for each time it was previously cast from the command zone. (ie: it costs 6WW to cast for the third time.)

The Magic comprehensive rules state:

903.10. A player may cast a commander he or she owns from the command zone. Doing so costs that player an additional {2} for each previous time he or she cast that commander from the command zone that game.

Neither of these refer to "counters" at all - it's a static "every time you play this again, it costs {2} more."

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