Commander going to the graveyard

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Ok, So I read the rule that says that "if a commander would go to the graveyard, you can choose to have it hit the command zone instead". Is this like the "token" rule, where it hits a graveyard first and then moves elsewhere? Or, how does this work? I can't find a dedicated rule on it, but maybe I'm just overlooking it. Please help.
It is a replacement effect. The commander does not go to the graveyard at all, but instead goes to the command zone.
903.11. If a commander would be put into its owner's graveyard from anywhere, that player may put it into the command zone instead.

903.12. If a commander would be put into the exile zone from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead.

Ok, So I read the rule that says that "if a commander would go to the graveyard, you can choose to have it hit the command zone instead". Is this like the "token" rule, where it hits a graveyard first and then moves elsewhere? Or, how does this work? I can't find a dedicated rule on it, but maybe I'm just overlooking it. Please help.



It's phrased as a replacement effect ("If [event would happen], [alternate event happens] instead"). The timing on replacement effects is that they wait for the event they replce to be the next thing that's about to happen and then change it before it can happen. So, in this case, if you choose to send the commander to the command zone, it never touches the graveyard.

With tokens, the rule that causes them to cease to exist is one of the State-Based Actions, so only takes effect when a player would get priority (or during Cleanup) - so tokens exist briefly in their new zone
M:tG Rules Advisor
Ok, So I read the rule that says that "if a commander would go to the graveyard, you can choose to have it hit the command zone instead". Is this like the "token" rule, where it hits a graveyard first and then moves elsewhere? Or, how does this work? I can't find a dedicated rule on it, but maybe I'm just overlooking it. Please help.



It's phrased as a replacement effect ("If [event would happen], [alternate event happens] instead"). The timing on replacement effects is that they wait for the event they replce to be the next thing that's about to happen and then change it before it can happen. So, in this case, if you choose to send the commander to the command zone, it never touches the graveyard.

With tokens, the rule that causes them to cease to exist is one of the State-Based Actions, so only takes effect when a player would get priority (or during Cleanup) - so tokens exist briefly in their new zone

Ok, so if I need a Commander to hit the graveyard, how does it go back to the Command Zone? Say, Child of Alara for example?
Ok, so if I need a Commander to hit the graveyard, how does it go back to the Command Zone? Say, Child of Alara for example?

When Child of Alara dies, you'll have a choice. Either:


  • Send child of alara to the command zone. It's ability does not trigger.

  • Send child of alara to the graveyard. It's ability does trigger, but you won't have any way to get child of alara into the command zone (unless you use other cards to do so)



Ok, so if I need a Commander to hit the graveyard, how does it go back to the Command Zone? Say, Child of Alara for example?

it doesn't
proud member of the 2011 community team
Ok, so if I need a Commander to hit the graveyard, how does it go back to the Command Zone? Say, Child of Alara for example?

When Child of Alara dies, you'll have a choice. Either:


  • Send child of alara to the command zone. It's ability does not trigger.

  • Send child of alara to the graveyard. It's ability does trigger, but you won't have any way to get child of alara into the command zone (unless you use other cards to do so)




Damn.



Thank you both. Well that kills my entire deck.
with access to all 5 colours you should have enough options to get it back into your hand or even directly on the battlefield
if all else fails run GY hate and exile it, then you can put it in the command zone.
proud member of the 2011 community team
Once it's in the graveyard, you're probably better off returning it to your hand, or even better, straight to the battlefield, than to the command zone anyway - you don't have to pay the extra for each previous time you've cast it from the command zone. And, the effects that let you do so, while a little more expensive, are generally a lot better than the ones that would return it to the command zone; if you're not doing this trick with Child of Alara, you can be returning your best creature to the battlefield.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011