Wizards changes Magic: The Gathering Companion rule

Companions take a hit with this rule change.

Ikoria Lair of Behemoth Magic The Gathering
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

A major change was applied to Companions today, Wizards of the Coast announced during the Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted announcement

It’s unusual to see a rule change occur during a Magic B&R announcement. But a change to Companions, released within the recent IKO set, was deemed necessary by many to balance out the meta across multiple formats. 

The Companion mechanic essentially allowed players to start the game with eight cards as opposed to seven if no mulligans took place. The new rule change helps combat this issue, however, by making players pay a mana cost to bring a Companion from the sideboard to hand. 

“Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay three generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand,” the new Companion rule reads. “This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can’t be responded to. It can’t be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker.”

Companion rule change via June 1 MTG Banned and Restricted announcement

Multiple rule changes were explored by the play design team, according to WotC senior game designer Ian Duke. A mana cost was settled on to slow down the gameplay of Companions while also removing some of their efficiency. 

“By charging additional mana, playing a companion becomes less efficient relative to playing the other cards the player has drawn,” Duke said. “In this way, players are more likely to cast their other spells before their companion, resulting in more divergent game paths. Next, this additional mana will often slow the companion down by a turn, allowing the opponent to interact with it while in the companion player’s hand or otherwise giving the opponent an additional turn to plan ahead before the companion hits the battlefield.”

The new rule change for Companions will go into effect via tabletop on June 1 and digitally via MTG Arena and Magic Online on June 4.