MTG Commander Rules Committee Explains Why They Did Not Ban The Walking Dead Secret Lair Cards

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The Commander Rules Committee has announced that they decided not to ban the Magic: The Gathering cards from the upcoming crossover product, Secret Lair x The Walking Dead in the Commander format despite the fans' outrage against Wizards of the Coast's decision to print the cards in black border and feature characters from AMC's show in the popular trading card game.

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On Friday, Commander Rules Committee founding member Sheldon Menery explained their decision to not ban The Walking Dead cards from the Commander format.


"We're not banning the cards from Secret Lair: The Walking Dead. We understand that this won't sit well with some folks; we have spent a lot of the last few days listening to a wide variety of opinions, and we want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts," Menery said "It was, at times, quite overwhelming. It's clear that this is an issue that many people are passionate about."

He continued, "There's no support in the Commander Philosophy Document for banning these cards. They certainly present no mechanical difficulties, and taken simply as cards, don't come close to fitting any criteria we have for banning. However, as we are always seeking to improve the document, we discussed whether banning these cards could fit under new philosophical criteria and whether using the banlist in this way was appropriate."

Menery went on to discuss the three major concerns about the crossover Secret Lair:

1. The availability of these cards is problematic
2. The existence of non-Magic IPs on cards should be discouraged
3. Negan is a dubious character.

On the card's availability, Menery said:

"These cards are in no way a threat to the health of Commander. In fact, we see it just the opposite. We're the only format that could bear the weight of this kind of experimentation. This is the format in which Crab Tribal is just as valid as Blood Pod. Adding a few quirky cards that aren't ubiquitously available doesn't threaten that."

On the existence of non-Magic IP on cards:

"Some folks simply don't like the idea of The Walking Dead crossing over into Magic, a modern IP breaking an immersion barrier. We understand that feeling (none of us care at all about The Walking Dead), but also realize that almost everyone has some universe for which they've dreamed of having Magic cards. We don't think it's productive to try to gatekeep that. If you dislike it, we support you not playing with the cards. Introduction of a different IP opens Commander to audiences who might not have ever heard of Magic or the format; we welcome the new friends we haven't yet met."

On Negan's character:

"We've also heard some displeasure over the Negan character being on a card, given his (fictional) history of terrible actions. We are sympathetic to this, and did give some consideration to banning just that card. We chose not to because Negan is a villain, plain and simple. There's no implied endorsement, sanitation or glorification of his actions. In that, he's no different than other villains already in the Magic universe, even though as portrayed by an actor it seems closer to "real world" discomfort. No one is suggesting that by putting him on a card he should be idealized, any more so than Nicol Bolas or Yawgmoth. We will use this as an opportunity to remind each other to respect other players' boundaries. Being empathic and accommodating is vital for a healthy gaming community; being considerate of other players makes us all better."

Earlier this week, over 27,000 fans have signed the petition for the Commander RC to ban The Walking Dead cards from the game.

Do you agree with the Commander RC's decision to not ban The Walking Dead cards from Commander? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Secret Lair x The Walking Dead will be available for preorder on October 4-12 on for $49.99/£49.99/€54.99.

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