Elbrus, the Binding Blade, is a Legendary Artifact - Equipment that transforms into Withengar Unbound, a Black Legendary Demon. Can I use Elbrus/Withengar as a Commander, and if I can, is my deck colorless or black?

2 Answers 2


Here's an official ruling from Sheldon Mennery, who is the authoritative source for Commander rulings:

[O] Elbrus is not playable as a General, and its color identity is Black.


Elbrus, the Binding Blade is not a Legendary Creature, so it cannot be your Commander. It doesn't matter that it could become a creature. In fact, I'd be surprise if there is a card that couldn't become a creature.

711.2a In every zone other than the battlefield, and also on the battlefield with its front face up, a double-faced card has only the characteristics of the front face.

  • Thank you. I suspected this might be the case (though it's saddening), but I wanted confirmation from folks who understand Commander better, since I'm assembling my first-ever deck for it now. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:30
  • It's not really a Commander question, because you already knew the Commander part. It's really a question about double-faced cards. Added the relevant rule to the answer.
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:33
  • 3
    @ikegami I think it is a Commander question. Because what it's actually asking is "Does the back of the card count during deck-building?" And the answer it's necessarily obvious because the precedent in Commander is that it can, based on how we handle the color identity of cards like Garruk Relentless.
    – Alex P
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 6:38
  • @Alex P, Fine, then no, it's not like color identity. It merely looks if the card is a Legendary Creature.
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 7:08
  • @AlexP Deckbuilding isn't the issue. The issue is the Command Zone, which counts as a zone other than the battlefield. The back face doesn't show in the Command Zone, so you can't cast it as a commander.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 19:53

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