8

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?

10

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."

  • It's important to note that being a commander is an attribute of the physical card (903.3). It is not related to the object that card represents (the creature/planewalker). An object changing zone becomes a new object (400.7) and usually looses all of it's previous attributes. But this doesn't apply to attributes of the card. The card is and remains the Commander no matter what zones it gets shuffled through. This is the same reason why copies of a commander do not deal commander damage. Those copies are not represented by a commander designated card. – François Andrieux Jul 3 at 20:12
  • ...and why a commander that becomes a copy of another creature (or morphs, or otherwise changes) still deals commander damage. – François Andrieux Jul 3 at 20:12

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