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The Commander format has a relatively big ban-list. Which cards were banned upon Commander/EDH becoming a format? Which cards never got the chance to justify their ban on the fields of battle?

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According to this MTG Salvation forum post, the very first EDH ban list that applied to the very first decks that were played in the format is as follows:

Collector's Edition, "Promotional cards", poker cards and silver-bordered cards are banned. (I'm assuming poker cards are the 52-card, Magic-backed standard playing-card decks given to early DCI members.)

Unique Portal and Starter cards are banned. (This means Portal and Starter cards that don't share a name with "standard" Magic cards.)

Vintage-illegal cards are banned.

Test of Endurance is banned.

Later in that thread it says that Test of Endurance was unbanned in 2008. I'm not really sure what Portal and Starter cards it's referring to, but no such cards are listed in the current Commander banlist so either they were unbanned at some point or they were never Vintage-legal anyway. Based on the information in this article, it looks like the only cards banned in Vintage at the time were Shahrazad, Chaos Orb, Falling Star, and ante cards.

So, the list of cards that have never had a chance to see play is just the Vintage banlist.

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    Starter and Portal (commonly used as a phrase also encompassing Portal Second Age and Portal Three Kingdoms) are sets that were printed for starting players. The cards within those weren't tournament-legal at the time of their printing, so it makes sense to also exclude them from any third-party format. – TheThirdMan Jan 19 at 10:49
  • Note that later (October 20, 2005) Starter and Portal (starter-level sets) cards were made tournament legal. – Aulis Ronkainen Jan 19 at 15:21
  • BTW, the reason the Portal/Starter cards were illegal was because if they weren't printed in a non-beginner product then they didn't have official Oracle text at the time. Without official Oracle text the cards could not receive proper rulings if there was a dispute. – CALEB F Jan 20 at 16:50

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