2020, the Year of Commander, has boldly taken the format into a whole new territory. Released on November 20 (November 19 on Magic Online), Commander Legends is the first Commander product to be sold in booster packs rather than the usual 100-card preconstructed decks. Such a radical change in distribution is meant to allow for an exciting development the most daring players in the community had asked for years, but seemed hard to actually arrange: Commander Booster Draft! As the name implies, the 20-card Draft Boosters of Commander Legends can indeed be used for Limited play, be it sealed and especially draft, as each of them guarantees the presence of two legendary creatures within the pack, to be used as commanders. 15-card Collector Boosters are also available.
To ensure consistency in assembling a necessarily color-restricted Commander deck during a draft, the rules for drafting Commander Legends consent to take two cards at every pick, speeding up the drafting process while also providing a better shot at building around the chosen commanders. Furthermore, the deck will have a required size of 60 cards – sort of a middle ground between the 100 cards of a regular Commander list and the 40 prescribed by most Limited formats. Contrary to what happens in what we can now legitimately call "Constructed Commander,” the Singleton rule is not enforced in Commander Legends Limited; players will be free to play multiple copies of the same card if they drafted them or found them within their sealed pool. For the rest, the games play exactly as they would in Commander.
The set as a whole contains 361 cards, of which 165 are brand new (71 being legendary creatures or planeswalkers), with legality typically confined to the Eternal formats only, i.e., Commander itself plus Vintage, Legacy, and, in case of cards with a common symbol, Pauper. The cards can reference any place and time in the Multiverse, from well-known planes to some we still have to explore, and from current events to past stories and characters, like the crew of the original Weatherlight. In particular, 32 beloved legendary creatures are reprinted exclusively using a special card frame, while one card per each booster will be a foil, created with a new "foil-etched" process that makes them look different from the premium foils we’re used to. Illustrious names from throughout Magic history got new card treatments, like Jeska and Baron Sengir, while a cycle of new dual lands checks for the presence of more than one opponent to enter untapped, essentially rewarding us for choosing multiplayer over 1 v 1.
The main challenge in a Limited environment where the resulting deck has to be able to sustain a game of Commander is the necessity of always having a legendary creature with the right colors at our disposal. The sheer quantity of legendaries in the set, opened at the pace of two per pack, clearly helps, as does the fact that some of these prospective commanders feature the returning partner mechanic, to more easily patch different color identities together. Another, crucial solution is the creation of a catchall commander, called The Prismatic Piper, a partner creature whose color can be customized during deckbuilding. This safety net of a guy also debuts a new "special” rarity, as it’s found replacing a common in one pack out of six. Additionally, the shapeshifting Piper is available to use even if it wasn’t drafted or found in a sealed pool; for all intents and purposes, it’s the first card, outside of basic lands, that's considered to always be part of any player’s arsenal. The challenge then becomes: can you draft a Commander Legends deck without resorting to the Piper for artificial, last-minute identity fixing?