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Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath and the other Commanders in Commander 2014 say they can be your Commander. Doesn't that contradict the rule that Commanders can only be Legendary Creatures?

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The very first of Magic's Golden Rules:

101.1. Whenever a card’s text directly contradicts these rules, the card takes precedence. The card overrides only the rule that applies to that specific situation. The only exception is that a player can concede the game at any time (see rule 104.3a).

So yes, they contradict, and it's fine. And this isn't really unusual; tons and tons of cards have text that effectively says "now the rules work a little differently, and here's how." For an extreme example, the rules say you lose the game when you're reduced to 0 or less life, but Platinum Angel says you can't lose the game, and it takes precedence.

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[Ob Nixilis wasn't Legendary at the time this answer was written, but every Planeswalker was subsequently made Legendary. The question and answers are still pertinent because Ob Nixilis is still not a creature.]

Yes[1]. Commanders are normally Legendary Creatures, and Ob Nixilis is neither Legendary nor a Creature.

903.1. In the Commander variant, each deck is led by a legendary creature designated as that deck’s commander. [...]

But that's fine because of the first Golden Rule of Magic:

101.1. Whenever a card’s text directly contradicts these rules, the card takes precedence. The card overrides only the rule that applies to that specific situation. The only exception is that a player can concede the game at any time (see rule 104.3a).


  1. If it didn't, there would be no reason to put that ability on the card.
  • Can I suggest updating the first line (after the italics) to say "and Ob Nixilis is not a Creature."? That renders the italic section unnecessary and brings the answer fully up to date. – doppelgreener Jan 13 at 15:44

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