Legends

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Legends
LEG logo.jpg
Set symbol
LEG symbol.png
Symbol description
Doric column capital
Design team
Steve Conard (lead)
Robin Herbert
Development team
Skaff Elias
Jim Lin
Chris Page
Dave Pettey
Release date
June 10, 1994
Themes and mechanics
Legendary permanents, World enchantments, Multicolored cards, Poison counters
Keywords and/or ability words
Bands with other, Rampage
Set size
310 (75 Common 114 Uncommon 121 Rare)
Expansion code
LEG
Early sets
Antiquities Legends The Dark
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Revised Edition Legends The Dark

Legends is the seventh Magic: The Gathering set and the third expansion set, released in June 1994. It was the first set to contain multicolored cards and is not considered part of any block.

Legends booster

Contents

Set details

The set's rarity breakdown is: 75 commons (29@C1, 46@C2), 114 Uncommons (107@U1, 7@U2), 121 Rares. The expansion symbol for Legends is the capital of a column, meant to evoke a time of legends. [1]

Some Legends booster boxes contained only one portion of the possible uncommon cards, while others contained a different portion. [2] These "A" and "B" boxes elicited widespread complaints from frustrated players and collectors; Wizards of the Coast responded with the Legends Exchange Program, allowing consumers to trade in up to 100 cards from one group of uncommon cards for an equal number of cards from the other group. [3]

Marketing

Legends was the first expansion set to be sold in booster packs of 15 cards (previous expansions had been sold in packs of 8). Cards were available from mid June 1994 through late June 1994. The print run was announced by Wizards of the Coast at 35 million cards. Each booster pack had the same simple Magic design on it; each pack included a rules card, which explained all the abilities and card types introduced in the set, and also included a few rule clarifications.

Legends is the oldest Magic expansion that was released in the Italian language (though the Italian The Dark was released earlier). After Legends was released, it went on to win the GAMA Award for best game accessory of the year, in 1994. [4]

Design and Development

Legends was designed by Steve Conard and Robin Herbert in Vancouver, after they were introduced to an early version of Magic by Richard Garfield at the University of Pennsylvania. They quickly became addicted and started making their own cards for fun on their own time, based on the epic fantasy that both of them enjoyed. [4]

Many of the ideas for Legends came from notes taken by Conard on Wizards' Christmas recreational outing to Mt. Rainier. One of those ideas was to create a more unique, heroic kind of creature that would have a sense of depth and strength. This led to the creation of legendary creatures, as well as other mythical-sounding creatures, such as Hell's Caretaker and Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore. Many of the ideas used for legendary creatures came from the Dungeons & Dragons campaigns enjoyed by those involved.[4]

The idea behind the world enchantments was that they were magics so powerful, they transported the battle to another plane altogether. Also, the set originally contained six cycles of cards based on the game of chess[5], with each color having a similar card for each of the six chess pieces; these cards did not make it into the set, although some of the abilities that were used in the theme were reused elsewhere.

The expansion was originally named "The Legend Continues", in order to pay homage to the original game, but it was shortened to just "Legends" by those involved. Peter Adkison later asked to review the set they had created, and it was quickly accepted.

Originally, Richard Garfield believed that it was alright for the larger expansions (such as Legends and Ice Age) to optionally use common cards from the original Alpha set.[4] The Ice Age expansion, which included Alpha's commons, was originally to be released after Antiquities, but Alpha was released while it was being created and it became obvious that the fans would not be pleased with rehashed commons so soon. Legends, which had all new commons, was put on the fast track to be published in Ice Age's place, which was postponed until more new cards could be created for it. Development of Legends followed, which was complicated by communication issues. As the language found on cards was not yet standardized, it was sometimes difficult for the developers, who were across the country in Philadelphia, to understand what the cards were intended to do. After a face-to-face meeting between the design and development teams, however, many cards' intentions were clarified. There was little concern over casting costs, so when an effect was too powerful or in the wrong color, instead its casting cost was increased.

Mechanics

Legends introduced:

  • Legends — Unique creatures which could only be on the table one at a time (of the same name). Later replaced by the supertype Legendary.
  • Legendary lands — The first set of unique lands to see print.
  • Multicolored cards — Cards which required more the one color to play.

and the mechanics:

  • Bands with other — A variant on the banding mechanic.
  • Poison counters — When a player has 10 or more poison counters he or she loses the game.
  • Rampage — Creatures which get bigger when blocked.
  • World enchantments — Enchantments which change the playing environment for all players.

Creature types

Most of the creature types used in Legends were new, and some are unique. Early expansions had creature types only for flavor reasons, resulting in many unusual types.

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Abomination (later changed to Horror), Ant (later changed to Insect), Archer (later changed to Soldier), Avenger (later changed to Soldier), Bat, Beast, Bee (later changed to Insect), Being, Berserker, Boar, Bull (later changed to Ox), Cat Warrior, Cobra (later changed to Snake), Dervish (later changed to Monk), Devouring Deep (later changed to Fish), Dragonfly (later changed to Insect), Drake, Drill Sergeant, Effigy (later changed to Elemental), Elder Dragon Legend (later changed to "Legendary Creature - Elder Dragon"), Entity, Evil Eye (later changed to Eye), Falcon (later changed to Bird), Ghost (later changed to Spirit), Gnome, Gypsy (later changed to Human Nomad), Hag, Hell's Caretaker (later changed to Horror), Horror, Horseman (later changed to Zombie Knight), Keeper (later changed to Cleric), Kithkin, Kobold, Legionnaire (later changed to Giant Soldier), Leviathan (later changed to Serpent), Lost Soul (later changed to Minion), Legend (later changed to "Legendary Creature" with an appropriate creature type), Lycanthrope, Manticore, Master (later changed to Human), Medusa, Mold Demon (later shortened to Demon), Monster, Mummy (later changed to Zombie), Nightstalker, Ooze, Phoenix, Pixie Queen (later changed to Faerie), Priest (later changed to Cleric), Rider (later changed to Elf), Satyr, Scorpion, Slug, Spawn, Sphinx, Spirit, Spuzzem (later changed to Elemental), Taskmaster (later changed to Kobold), Turtle, Villain (later changed to Beast), Vulture, Walking Dead (later changed to Zombie), Wolverine Pack (later changed to Wolverine), Wombat, Wretched (later changed to Demon), and Yeti.

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Angel, Ape, Druid, Efreet, Elemental, Faerie, Giant, Guardian (later changed to Giant Cleric), Lord (later changed to Kobold), Smith (later changed to Human Artificer), Wall, and Wurm.

Cycles

Legends was the first expansion set to have cycles. It has eight cycles:

Family trees

All of the 55 legendary creatures in Legends are arranged in a complex system of "family trees" with one Elder Dragon at the top, followed by three rare legends that share each of the dragon's colors, two sets of three rare legends for the two allied-color pairs in the dragon's cost, and two sets of four uncommon legends for said allied-color pairs[6]. The family trees are laid out as follows:

Notable cards

  • Chain Lightning, while strictly inferior to Lightning Bolt (unless used in a deck with Swans of Bryn Argoll), is still well above the curve in direct damage spells, and is a staple inclusion in any burn decks allowed to use it.
  • Chains of Mephistopheles has a very unique effect in punishing players for using card draw effects.
  • Eureka is a powerful spell that has been a favorite of many players for years.
  • Land Tax, a card designed to give opponents a disincentive against destroying lands, is actually a powerful card-drawing and shuffling engine.
  • Mana Drain is the most powerful counterspell ever printed, and became strictly better than Counterspell once the mana burn was eliminated in the Magic 2010 rule changes. While technically reprintable (as an uncommon, it is not on the Reserved List), many employees of Wizards of the Coast have promised that it will never be reprinted.
  • Mirror Universe was a powerful finisher until the rules changes of Sixth Edition.
  • Moat was the primary creature defense card for The Deck (one of the first ever tournament-level decks), and is a still one of the most effective attack prevention cards ever made.
  • Nether Void is a powerful tool for "stalling" the game.
  • Reset has recently gained popularity as a mana-production engine in High Tide decks using only lands and instants.
  • The Abyss is a powerful anti-creature World enchantment that had two effects: first, it ruined creature-based strategies; and second, it made many other World enchantments that much more popular, if only to serve to destroy The Abyss.
  • The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale was once on the Restricted List. It has now begun to find new life in a variety of control decks in the Legacy format.
  • Underworld Dreams was a powerful enchantment that punished an opponent for drawing cards, something an opponent fundamentally wants to do. It has been reprinted in the core sets Eighth Edition through Magic 2010 and has since proven itself not to be as powerful as it once was.

Functional reprints

Legends has four functional reprints.

Trivia

Main article: Legends/Trivia
  • Despite the set's large size, Legends contains no basic lands and thus is not considered to be a stand-alone expansion.
  • The legendary supertype replaced the "Legend" creature type when the "legend rule" was updated in 2004 with the introduction of the Kamigawa block. This left many legendary creatures without any creature type.
  • Originally, the Restricted List included every legendary creature for flavor reasons. They were removed with the release of the Ice Age expansion in 1995.
  • All the multicolored cards in Legends are legendary creatures, and all the legendary creatures are gold cards.
  • There are no white World enchantments in Legends.
  • No creatures are printed with the bands with other ability. However, Master of the Hunt can produce creatures with this ability and the lands of the bands-with-other land cycle detailed above can give legendary creatures this ability.
  • Rampage was originally called "Berserk" but was changed because a card already used that name. An early version of Rampage allowed a creature to attack some additional number of times in a turn, with creatures only able to block the first attack.[7] This mechanic was designed to be reused in future sets, but unfortunately, due to the "beyond the first" clause, keyworded Rampage was phased out in favor of a similar ability without the drawback.
  • Poison was the first alternate win condition introduced aside from decking. Only two cards in the set, Pit Scorpion and Serpent Generator, had or could create creatures with this ability.
  • "Range strike," or the activated ability to deal damage to an attacking or blocking creature, was first introduced in Legends, as seen on D'Avenant Archer and Crimson Manticore.
  • The Elder Dragon legendary creatures are the first true creature cycle, the first multicolored cycle, and the first creatures with multiple creature types. They inspired the creation of the multicolored legendary Dragons in the Invasion expansion.
  • The Kobolds, Crimson Kobolds, Crookshank Kobolds, and Kobolds of Kher Keep, are 0/1 red creatures with a casting cost of Mana0.gif and are the only functionally identical cards ever printed in the same expansion.
  • Legends contains eleven Walls and ten cards that reference Walls, which is more cards in each category than any other set.

Misprints

References

  1. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Ask Wizards", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (November 10, 2003.) "Make No Mistake", MTG.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (February 16, 2009.) "25 Random Things About Magic", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Steve Conard. (March 4, 2002.) "The History of Legends", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Magic Arcana. (July 11, 2002.) "Legends of Chess", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana. (March 7, 2002.) "Family trees", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. magicthegathering.com's Card of the Day - August, 2002

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