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Partner
(Partner with [name])
Keyword Ability
Type Static (1st ability)
Triggered (2nd ability)
Introduced Commander 2016
Last used Lost Caverns Commander
Reminder Text Partner (You can have two commanders if both have partner.)
Partner with [name] (When this creature enters the battlefield, target player may put [name] into their hand from their library, then shuffle.)
Storm Scale 10 (Partner)[1], 9 (Partner with)[2]
Statistics
62 partner cards
{C} 1.6% {W} 16.1% {U} 14.5% {B} 14.5% {R} 14.5% {G} 14.5% {W/U} 1.6% {U/B} 1.6% {B/R} 1.6% {R/G} 1.6% {G/W} 1.6% {W/B} 3.2% {U/R} 3.2% {B/G} 3.2% {R/W} 3.2% {G/U} 3.2%
40 "partner with" cards
20 "partner with" pairs
{W} 15% {U} 17.5% {B} 15% {R} 17.5% {G} 12.5% {W/U} 5% {U/B} 2.5% {B/R} 2.5% {R/G} 2.5% {G/W} 7.5% {W/B} 2.5%
Scryfall Search
keyword:"Partner"

Partner is a keyword ability specifically used in the Commander format. Partner was introduced in Commander 2016.[3][4] The Partner with variation allows only a specified other card to be the partner, but also allows a player such as a Two-Headed Giant teammate to tutor for the other card.

Description[ | ]

A player can have two commanders if both have partner. Because both commanders start the game in the command zone, the remaining library is only 98 cards. Your two commanders are treated individually for all other Commander rules. If either leaves the battlefield, you can return it to the command zone instead. The "commander tax", the additional cost of 2 for every time you've cast a commander from the command zone, applies individually. Combat damage dealt by each commander is similarly tracked individually. If either commander can deal 21 or more combat damage to a single player over the course of the game, that player loses.

If any card refers to your commander (or commanders in general), it means either one of the two.

Partner was heavily featured in Commander Legends, where it appeared on 40 monocolored (and one colorless) legendary creatures and planeswalkers.[5]

Note that while the Partner ability does not explicitly prohibit a card from being partners with itself, the singleton rule of Commander formats prevents it nonetheless.

Partner with[ | ]

This variant is relevant in both commander and non-commander formats, and was introduced in Battlebond for Two-Headed Giant. It only allows one specified other card to be a co-commander, but as an alternative to that usage, it also allows a player to search their library for the partnered card and put it in their hand (aka tutoring). Cards with "partner with" always appear alongside their counterpart in booster packs, even for rare partner pairs.[6][7]

When the partners in a pair are not legendary, they cannot be commanders, so the tutoring effect is the relevant one. They could be included in the same non-commander deck, or a commander deck whose color identity includes both partners. They could also be split across two teammates' decks in a format such as Two-Headed Giant. Battlebond has an uncommon cycle of non-legendary enemy-color partner pairs.

When both partners in a pair are legendary, all the non-commander play patterns are still possible, but the cards can be commanders as well. The co-commander option is one possibility, or one of the cards could be a commander which allows a teammate to tutor for the partner. Battlebond includes a rare cycle of legendary enemy-color partner pairs, as well as a mythic {U}{R} pair. Commander 2020 included a rare cycle of wedge pairs, each with one monocolor creature and one two-color creature of the enemy colors to its partner. The "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" Secret Lair drop included another {U}{R} pair, and the Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander decks included two ally-color pairs for the first time.

While the rules allow for one of the cards to be a commander and the other to be a regular part of the same deck (and therefore tutor-able by the commander), as of Crimson Vow no partner pairs have been printed in which one has a subset color identity to the other. This makes it impossible to include both partners in the same commander deck this way due to color restrictions. Similarly, no partner pairs been printed in which one is legendary (and thus a possible commander) and the other is not.

It should be noted that the Unified Deck Construction rules for team formats prevent teammates from having copies of the same card in both decks, making it impossible to fully exploit both uses of "Partner with" at the same time: If both partners are co-commanders, then the counterpart to one of them is already in the same deck, and therefore cannot be present in a teammate's deck to be tutored for. Theoretically, a player could target an enemy player to allow them to tutor for the partner, which could be relevant for temporary alliances in a Free-for-All game. A player could also target themselves or a teammate simply to allow them to shuffle their library after "failing to find" the partner.

Legendary partner[ | ]

The non-legal Heroes of the Realm card Sol, Advocate Eternal experimented with legendary partner: (You can have two commanders if [this] is one of them. The other one is promoted to legendary.)

Variants[ | ]

It became apparent during the play design of Commander Legends that the partner mechanic had a limitation.[8] Open-ended partner would limit what R&D could make legendary in the future.[9]

Partner-like mechanics need to be self-contained as they grow in power pretty fast when you add things.[10] Every partner you add to the game powers up every existing creature with partner, and there just comes a limit where the mechanic will break (aka be too powerful where many cards with partner would need to be banned). The future of Partner is mostly going to be partnering with specific subsets.[11] Mark Rosewater doesn't think that R&D can make many more generic partner cards.[12]

Battlebond already created a workaround with the "partner with" mechanic. Those cards can partner, but only specifically with one other creature. Other variant followed later.

Friends forever[ | ]

A renamed Partner appeared in Secret Lair Drop Series: Stranger Things as "Friends forever". Partner and Friends forever are not compatible. Seven Legendary creatures were printed with this variant.

Choose a Background[ | ]

Battle for Baldur's Gate created yet another take on Partner with Backgrounds named "Choose a Background".[8] Backgrounds are legendary enchantments that exclusively grant Commanders abilities, limiting their independent utility. Thirty Backgrounds were printed with thirty-two legendary creatures that can choose them.

Doctor's Companion[ | ]

The non-canon Doctor Who set introduced Doctor's Companion. Rather than a single legendary creature card, you may designate two legendary creature cards as your commander if one of them has the Doctor's Companion ability and the other is "the Doctor": this is defined as a creature having the typeline "Time Lord Doctor" and no others.[13]

One card, Amy Pond, has both mechanics: Doctor's Companion, and Partner with Rory Williams. The release notes state that Amy must choose one, and cannot have both partners as co-commanders.

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Partner, “Partner with [name]”
A keyword ability that lets two legendary creatures or planeswalkers be your commander in the Commander variant rather than one. “Partner with [name]” is a specialized version of the ability that works even outside of the Commander variant to help two cards reach the battlefield together. See rule 702.124, “Partner,” and rule 903, “Commander.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 702.124. Partner
    • 702.124a Partner abilities are keyword abilities that modify the rules for deck construction in the Commander variant (see rule 903), and they function before the game begins. Each partner ability allows you to designate two legendary cards as your commander rather than one. Each partner ability has its own requirements for those two commanders. The partner abilities are: partner, partner with [name], friends forever, choose a Background, and Doctor’s companion.
    • 702.124b Your deck must contain exactly 100 cards, including its two commanders. Both commanders begin the game in the command zone.
    • 702.124c A rule or effect that refers to your commander’s color identity refers to the combined color identities of your two commanders. See rule 903.4.
    • 702.124d Except for determining the color identity of your commander, the two commanders function independently. When casting a commander with partner, ignore how many times your other commander has been cast (see rule 903.8). When determining whether a player has been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander, consider damage from each of your two commanders separately (see rule 903.10a).
    • 702.124e If an effect refers to your commander while you have two commanders, it refers to either one. If an effect causes you to perform an action on your commander and it could affect both, you choose which it refers to at the time the effect is applied.
    • 702.124f Different partner abilities are distinct from one another and cannot be combined. For example, you cannot designate two cards as your commander if one of them has “partner” and the other has “partner with [name].”
    • 702.124g If a legendary card has more than one partner ability, you may choose which one to use when designating your commander, but you can’t use both. Notably, no partner ability or combination of partner abilities can ever let a player have more than two commanders.
    • 702.124h “Partner” means “You may designate two legendary creature cards as your commander rather than one if each of them has partner.”
    • 702.124i “Partner with [name]” represents two abilities. It means “You may designate two legendary creature cards as your commander rather than one if each has a ‘partner with [name]’ ability with the other’s name” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, target player may search their library for a card named [name], reveal it, put it into their hand, then shuffle.”
    • 702.124j “Friends forever” means “You may designate two legendary creature cards as your commander rather than one if each of them has friends forever.”
    • 702.124k “Choose a Background” means “You may designate two cards as your commander rather than one if one of them is this card and the other is a legendary Background enchantment card.” You can’t designate two cards as your commander if one has a “choose a Background” ability and the other is not a legendary Background enchantment card, and legendary Background enchantment cards can’t be your commander unless you have also designated a commander with “choose a Background.”
    • 702.124m “Doctor’s companion” means “You may designate two legendary creature cards as your commander rather than one if one of them is this card and the other is a legendary Time Lord Doctor creature card that has no other creature types.”
    • 702.124n If an effect refers to a partner ability by name, it means only that partner ability and not any others. If an effect refers to the partner ability or cards with partner and doesn’t mention a specific variant of the partner ability by name, it is referring only to partner, partner with [name], or cards with either of those abilities, and does not refer to any other partner variant.

Examples[ | ]

Example 1

Akiri, Line-Slinger {R}{W}
Legendary Creature — Kor Soldier Ally
0/3
First strike, vigilance
Akiri, Line-Slinger gets +1/+0 for each artifact you control.
Partner (You can have two commanders if both have partner.)

Example 2

Ley Weaver {3}{G}
Creature — Human Druid
2/2
Partner with Lore Weaver (When this creature enters the battlefield, target player may put Lore Weaver into their hand from their library, then shuffle.)
{T}: Untap two target lands.

References[ | ]

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