Again, I reiterate my current stance on rules savviness. I don't see this as a push to make one person's deck work - but rather that this was first hand exposure to the Rules Committee that how Commanders and Dies works wasn't very intuitive, and an opportunity to make the rules work the way people expect that they should when first introduced to it.
I will anecdotally back that up, in that explaining that Commanders don't count for 'dies' to new players was perhaps one of the first Commander intricacies to have to explain - then explaining that Decree of Pain DOES count it (because it counts creatures that are destroyed, not that died), and then explaining how certain exile and return effects will work with Command Zone (Banishing Light) while some do not (Oblivion Ring)!
That's a lot of nitpicky rules interactions to explain, which this change greatly improves.
In that end, I would then count this interaction between the CAG and RC to be a success for the program. The RC is very, very rules savvy, and rather experience dense. That can make it easy to overlook how complex a lot of these interactions that some of take for granted are, and how often they need to be explained. If having access to the mindset of people who are not as rules savvy has led to a net benefit change for the vast majority of players (keep in mind that simply by interacting online, YOU are already greatly more enfranchised than most other players), I can only see this as a Win.
So this change came about because a member of the CAG, you know the advisors for the format to the RC, didn't understand the rules (red flag right there) and was upset because it made their deck not work (changing rules for their meta). And of course the obvious insider trading we saw.
Yeah, not thrilled.
Got a source for any of this? I'm legit intrigued by these claims.
I'm actually less worried about the lack of rules knowledge - a very large portion of the player base has a weaker grasp of rules intricacies and it's important to have their voice as well, but I'd still be interested to know.
Insider trading is a massive accusation as well, so any source on that would be doubly interesting. AFAIK the rules committee themselves have repeatedly claimed that they are not participants in trading on cards they've actively ruled upon - and all of them are sufficiently well enough off that I really doubt that they'd stoop to something like this for a couple extra bucks.
We talked about how R&D has designed cards built for commander with the original rules in mind. Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero is still fairly new, but with this new rule he wouldn't exile himself any more, and would probably just say "other" before the word "creatures." Is this something that the commitee talked about with R&D?
Quite likely. Magic R&D has come out and said that the Commander popularity and intricacies made than avoid (when possible) putting dies triggers on Commanders. Gerrard was uniquely templated specifically to work around the Commander Rules.
My entire group is also fairly concerned with how Kokusho, the Evening Star may end up re-banned. We remeber when she was banned and then unbanned. She is currently very fair being used within the 99, but will undoubtedly show up as an annoying commander now. The committee seems to not want unfun experiences in the format but I'm not sure they understand just how easy Kokusho can be exploited with this.
I think you have absolutely nothing to fear. Most loops prefer to leave the creature in the Command Zone, as it is far easier to loop with reanimation spells. When I was testing during the Kokusho unban, I found Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and even Malakir Bloodwitch to be generally more consistent versions of that effect now. Kokusho was initially banned as a single effect of that type, when graveyard removal was less prevalent, and thus loops were harder to disrupt. Moving to Command Zone was just a safety valve, which still exists under the current rules - it was never the actual line of play.
If the rumor that this rule change came about from one person high up wanting their own personal deck to work, and this ends up causing Kokusho to be re-banned, I'd pretty much loose all remaining faith I have in their capacity to regulate rules.
If anyone gets a source on these rumors, I'd love to read about it - but I have serious doubts. I have a feeling this was being worked on since before mutate became a thing. As far as rules complexity, and not understanding the rules - A very large chunk of magic players are not rules savants - anything that makes things more intuitive is a likely net positive for the format, and for the game.
This does not work under the current, or the new rules, as has been stated. In fact, under the current rules, there are a few ways to steal Commanders (It that Betrays, Guile) which will now no longer work under the new rules. Overall, this is probably a net positive, as these interactions were not necessarily intuitive for new players, and were often "Gotcha!" moments.
We all missed that it was a state based action. This seems odd, being that the controller of a dying commander gets to make a choice of keeping their commander in the 'yard vs going to the command zone. State based actions are usually reserved for something an opponent can't control, like when choosing which legendary to keep when a duplicate shows up. Since the controller gets an opportunity to choose if the commander stays in the graveyard or not, this kinda seems like it should be a trigger on the stack that can be responded to. Especially since this entire change was all about death triggers.
Your example is a bit odd - you mention that SBA are usually things that don't involve choices (tokens ceasing to exist in GY, death to 0 toughness), but then point out possibly the ONLY example of a SBA that actually involves a choice (which legendary do you want to keep?), which shows that SBA can hold choices.
Making it a trigger opens up a huge can of worms of bizarre interactions, which I don't even want to start thinking about. It would be a much MUCH larger change than the current rules change.
It is also a bit of a flavor fail when a minor forgettable character in Elenda gets a rule change to make her card playable, while a massively important character who has appeared in physical literature gets skipped due to a technicality.
Which character is getting skipped? Are you talking about Lim Dul here, as your previous post? Because if so - nothing about how he works is changed from current interactions. He's exactly the same.
A flavor case can still be made that Commanders are 'special' or 'more powerful' due to their commanderness, which is why Lim Dul can't steal them.
I mean, these are still good cards. I have run pretty much most of these, or similar effects, in multiple decks in the past. No, they haven't become super-powered Control Magic effects... but that's still ok...
The kokusho fear thing is more along the lines of having a combo engine. Going to the yard and/or command zone just opens up options for multiple lines of play. There are many rituals and tutors and reanimator spells and phyrexian reclamation style spells to cheapen commander tax, but only one Kukosho. Having access to her in the command zone in a dedicated deck that will cause trouble, and having the choice of reanimating her on one turn vs just recasting her on another will make for a consistent experience. In casual tables mono black also won't have much trouble building the mana to keep recasting a thick commander either.
All of this already exists - and in fact, there's more than one Kokusho. Most black reanimator decks simply run Gray Merchant of Asphodel more frequently than Kokusho. That said, Koko is still powerful, and having access to this effect in the CZ is very strong - I doubt that these changes will make a large impact in effectiveness though. There may be a spike in popularity due to the changes, but any Koko deck currently existing like runs Scrabbling Claws and other similar effects which, on top of being good answers for GY play, also allow you to currently move Koko from GY to CZ at will, on a cheap card that doesn't really even take a deck slot.
On top of that - the use cases where you would WANT to put Koko into the CZ yourself, are very, very rare. The reason Koko was banned before was more about the Command Zone being an escape for Koko even from GY hate - which should be the natural answer. And nothing has changed in regards to that.
The technical interactions is now that instead of being a replacement effect, moving the the Command Zone is now a State Based Action that is checked, and can move the Commander to the CZ. What this means is that your Commander does in fact hit the GY/Exile (however briefly) before the movement to the CZ happens.