New Companion Rule:

Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/june-1-2020-banned-and-restricted-announcement

I'm surprised by this because it is the type of Errata that really should dictate a copy change on the cards themselves for standard play. I would have expected something a little more blunt overall but if the goal was to remove these guys from ever seeing play mission accomplished I say.

I suspect this FULLY kills lutri and Zirda now, and suspect that Lurrus is garbage enough now that you could take him off the banned list, though I also suspect people may disagree with me.

Interestingly enough this also makes it so Drannith magistrate no longer affects them, which in my mind means that any chance that card had to see play is now gone.

This makes all of them +1 card for 3 mana. So if it really was just about +1 card for 3 mana, then here you have it.

I don't think this actually addresses the problem with Companions, really. To be clear, it does make them all less generically powerful. But, it doesn't actually address the advantage they offer.

Consider this. Let's say your deck otherwise can run Jegantha. You didn't build your deck around it, you just happen to meet its conditions. Now, do you run Jegantha? Is it worth a sideboard slot to have a 5/5 for 5+3 sitting there for the late game?

I would argue it's still worth it. You're still getting access to an extra resource your opponent is not, and it's probably worth a sideboard slot.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

@maximumcdawg They made it essentially a reverse wish card for a one of in the sideboard. This may be worth it in a long grindy game or in a format will you can stabilize and get the advantage later in the game but in formats like Vintage and Legacy it is essentially garbage.

This is a shame because I was really enjoying playing with Lutri. I like the innovation behind companions but their cost and abilities were not properly costed and it caused a lot of pain.

Oh well, I'm personally happy they tried this comcept but disappointed with the implementation.

last edited by moorebrother1

A reverse wish that is always available and doesn't take a card in your hand. That's a very different animal from the usual wishes.

EDIT: @moorebrother1 Do you really think one sideboard slot is worth more than a 5/5 for 8 (spread over two turns) or Lurrs at 6 on tap could be? Assuming your deck otherwise has no changes needed to run the card? Seems like a stretch.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

Obviously, the "Companion tax" significantly blunts the power level of all Companions. But I agree with @MaximumCDawg that they still retain many advantages.

Consider Lutri for instance. You don't rush an early Lutri---you summon it in the endgame as a win condition, or after the early game has wound down and the opponent is out of countermagic, for a particularly backbreaking sequence of plays or grindy Karakas shenanigans.

By the time you're ready to summon Lutri, how often have you passed at least one turn with 3 mana up that you didn't need for anything else? Probably quite often, no?

So I don't think Companions have been killed, by any means. Though you probably won't be using Lurrus to combo-kill on turns 1 or 2.

If this tax doesn't matter, then Whispers of the Muse is the best draw spell in the game

@evouga said in New Companion Errata:

By the time you're ready to summon Lutri, how often have you passed at least one turn with 3 mana up that you didn't need for anything else? Probably quite often, no?

The tax is sorcery speed. This totally kills Lutris ability to flash in and for you to hold up mana. It genuinely affects him disproportionately compared to the other 9 and very much makes him more vulnerable to targeted discard, because often you need to spend the 3 and sit him in your hand for a round. I think most of the other dorks will be taxed and played in the same turn once the game stalemates.

I actually think you can look over all 10 of these guys and figure out how the tax affects them proportionately to its play pattern. Ironically Lurris is probably the least affected by this because he was mostly a late game play / top deck war card to begin with.

  • Yorion - greatly depowered, still probably playable in standard but changes it into a late game bomb vs a midrange one.
  • Lurrus - Worse, but not by that much. Since he is low on the curve and all the stuff he's getting back is probably cheap to free I can imagine there being situations where he is actually better because you did not need the 3 mana but now he skirts Drannith magistrate
  • Zirda - Weaker, but I assume when you play this you are hitting the I WIN button so probably not that much, maybe just delays it a turn. You can also still have 3 in the main to naturally draw and your whole strategy is based around making extra mana to pay for shit.
  • Kaherra - Since the use case for this is creatureless deck backup wincon, I think the 3 mana is reasonable. Maybe in standard or whatever this takes a bigger hit because he was planned as an actual tribal lord
  • Jegantha - Similar to Kaherra, though since he naturally costs more this tax hurts much more. My guess is it is unplayable now, and likely shops would rather run Umori if any of them.
  • Keruga - is now more unplayable than it ever was. Trash now.
  • Obosh - Maybe the biggest hit. Where as this saw play in Jund in some formats, there is no way this is worth 8 mana and all of your Liliana of the veils.
  • Gyruda - His combo sorta does not work now as you used to be able to cast him off LED. Now you need 9 mana up front to trigger him into combo. Has maybe some main deck play in reanimator because it can pull huge nonsense in other formats, dead in vintage.
  • Umori - The fringe shops decks that ran him to some effect probably want the sideboard slot back. The tax can be paid for but likely just not useable.
  • Lutri - I think utterly unplayable now as mentioned before, as the deck building cost is way too high and the interaction with flash is telegraphed.

@desolutionist You let me play Whispers of the Muse out of my sideboard in exchange for one of my sideboard slots and you better believe I'd do it.

@protoaddict That's a good analysis and I think it correctly reflects how the less a Companion requires you to actually pay a cost in terms of deck building, the less the Companion Tax matters.

I also suspect this means we're getting more Companions... and quickly. Probably lots of them. We're entering a new era, everyone:

1994- 2007 - The Golden Age
2007 - 2020 - The Planesewalker Era
2020 - ???? - Every Format is EDH

last edited by MaximumCDawg

I wonder if Lurrus can be unbanned now? He may actually be problematic as a 4 of instead of a companion all the same so I'm not sure.

@maximumcdawg The value will depend on the deck building restriction and the power of the card you get for the sideboard slot. Getting a 3/2 I can flash in and copy my gush was really nice when I could just do it End of Turn.

Now I have to broadcast Lutri on my main phase and have enough resources left in a highlander deck to play defense then try to play him at some other time.

Maybe Zirda is worth it with Grim Monolith but I do not see any of the other companions that have been printed so far as worth it.

I don't think it kills the mechanic but in Vintage it sets a very high bar to how good they have to be to see play now.

@moorebrother1 said in New Companion Errata:

Maybe Zirda is worth it with Grim Monolith but I do not see any of the other companions that have been printed so far as worth it.

If you were going to build zidra you basically have 2 paths

  • Standard deck with 4 copies of zidra and whatever cards you want
  • A deck that meets the activated ability clause with 3 zidra main and a 4th that you can living wish for at any time.

I'm not actually sure what the better configuration is going to be in this case. Inclined to believe it is still the companion version since the stuff you need to find all makes mana to pay the tax.

@protoaddict Targeted discard is only played in Doomsday and Dark Petition combo, they're playing it super early in the game when you wouldn't want to cast Lutri anyway, and they're not going to waste the discard going after Lutri instead of your countermagic.

So I think the susceptibility to discard is a red herring. Fetch Lutri on turn 3 and cast it on turn 6. I'll even bet you that the ability to exile Lutri to Force of Will/Negation comes up more often than getting your Lutri Thoughtseized.

@desolutionist said in New Companion Errata:

If this tax doesn't matter, then Whispers of the Muse is the best draw spell in the game

Your point is completely lost on me. The only relation I see connecting Whispers of the Muse and Companions are that they're both spells you cast using mana.

last edited by evouga

@evouga said in New Companion Errata:

If this tax doesn't matter, then Whispers of the Muse is the best draw spell in the game

In fact a better comparison might be to Merchant Scroll+Ancestral: you pay mana in two "installments" to get a powerful effect.

Obviously the tax "matters" in that you'd rather not pay extra to cast your Companion. The rules change was intended to nerf the power of the Companions and nobody is arguing otherwise. Whether you're willing to jump through the extra hoop will depend on the power level of the Companion's effect.

last edited by evouga

I think mana cost has a big influence over what gets played in Vintage. Usually the higher mana cost cards end up being liabilities since your mana base is constantly being attacked or you need to win quickly before you're able to make significant mana developments. People may be attracted to trying Lurrus again if it were to be unbanned but when they realize that they're never actually casting Lurrus that often, they will remove Lurrus in order to play a valuable sideboard card in addition to 3 cmc cards such as Mentor or Narset. Investing two turns into a single 3 mana card that isn't immediately winning the game isn't good.

last edited by Guest

@evouga said in New Companion Errata:

So I think the susceptibility to discard is a red herring. Fetch Lutri on turn 3 and cast it on turn 6. I'll even bet you that the ability to exile Lutri to Force of Will/Negation comes up more often than getting your Lutri Thoughtseized.

If he is sitting in your hand for 3 turns, that is 3 turns for you to be wheeled or where you cannot wheel. That is 3 turns that he is +1 HS against balance. There are plenty of relevant situations where this matter.

That being said he is now pitchable to the 2 forces you have in your deck, so very slight upside I guess?

@desolutionist said in New Companion Errata:

hen they realize that they're never actually casting Lurrus that often, they will remove Lurrus in order to play a valuable sideboard card in addition to 3 cmc cards such as Mentor or Narset. Investing two turns into a single 3 mana card that isn't immediately winning the game isn't good.

Ever had a late game where you have a bunch of mana but keep top decking moxen or lands. I know I have. That is where he becomes relevant.

last edited by Protoaddict

@smmenen Waaaait a minute here, Steven.

You've been all over people (like me!) who mis-use the term "Power Level Errata" in the past. Now you're mis-using it? Shame on you, brah.

Power-level errata, as the School of Menedian taught me, means issuing errata to change card text for the express purpose of reducing its power level. Now, usually it's misapplied by people who apply it to a change that is justified by original intent or original function but has the practical effect of reducing power level.

It seems like you're doing the same thing, but abusing a different part of the definition. Wizards is not issuing errata for card text like they did in the Power Level Errata era. Instead, they're changing rules. This is something that happens all the time. Hell, remember the Mulligan rule changes? Remember that cluster? Damage on the stack? Lotus-freaking-Vale? Rules changes are not the same thing as card errata and you know this.

I think the calm version of what I'm trying to say is that it's alarming to me to see someone who has always been so calm and clinical about the application of errata policy essentially break out the pitchforks over this one.

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