Duel Commander follows the exact same rules as classic multiplayer Commander, except for the following.
First, players start the game with 30 life.
Second, in addition to the ability to put the Commander back into the Command Zone if it would go to the graveyard or be exiled, you may do so also if it would be put into your library.
Third, new cards are legal on release day (Friday following the pre-release).
Finally, there is a specific banlist.
- Matches are best-of-three.
- Deck consists of 100 cards (99 + 1 commander), and only 1 of each card is allowed.
- Since games can take more time than smaller formats, we recommend a time limit of at least 55 minutes.
- No sideboards are used.
Apart from the points mentioned above, all the rules of Duel Commander obey the rules of classic multiplayer Commander. This includes poison counters rule (10 counters needed to kill a player).