|Symbol description||Doric column capital|
Steve Conard (lead)|
|Art direction||Jesper Myrfors, Sandra Everingham|
|Release date||June 10, 1994|
|Themes and mechanics||Legendary permanents, World enchantments, Multicolored cards, Poison counters|
|Keywords/ability words||Bands with other, Rampage|
(75 commons, 114 uncommons, 121 rares)
|Early non-block expansions|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
Some Legends booster boxes contained only one portion of the possible uncommon cards, while others contained a different portion. 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.
The Legends lands have a unique golden colored text box.
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. Even though it was a 310-card set, Legends did not contain basic land and was not considered a "stand-alone" expansion. Hence, there were no Legends starter decks.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 all right for the larger expansions (such as Legends and Ice Age) to optionally use common cards from the original Alpha set. 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.
- Legends — Unique, one of a kind permanents which represent important figures, objects, and locations. Only one legend with a given name could exist on the battlefield at any time. Later replaced by the supertype Legendary.
- Legendary lands — The first set of unique lands to see print.
- Multicolored cards — Cards which required more than one color to play.
and the mechanics:
- Bands with other — A variant on the banding mechanic.
- Poison counters — A player with 10 or more poison counters loses the game.
- Rampage — Creatures with rampage get bigger when blocked by two or more creatures.
- World enchantments — Enchantments which change the playing environment for all players.
Most of the creature types used in Legends were new, and some are unique. The following creature types are introduced in this expansion:
- Bat, Beast, Berserker, Boar, Drake, Gnome, Hag, Horror, Kithkin, Kobold, Manticore, Nightstalker, Ooze, Phoenix, Satyr, Scorpion, Slug, Spawn, Sphinx, Spirit, Turtle, Wombat, Yeti.
The following creature types are introduced in this expansion, but they were later changed:
- Abomination (later changed to Horror), Ant (later changed to Insect), Archer (later changed to Soldier), Avenger (later changed to Soldier), Bee (later changed to Insect), Being (later changed to Human), Bull (later changed to Ox), Cat Warriors (later changed to Cat Warrior), Cobra (later changed to Snake), Dervish (later changed to Monk), Devouring Deep (later changed to Fish), Dragonfly (later changed to Insect), Drill Sergeant (later changed to Kobold Soldier), Effigy (later changed to Elemental), Elder Dragon Legend (later changed to "Legendary Creature - Elder Dragon"), Entity (later changed to Illusion), Evil Eye (later changed to Eye), Falcon (later changed to Bird), Ghost (later changed to Spirit), Gypsy (later changed to Human Nomad), Hell's Caretaker (later changed to Horror), Horseman (later changed to Zombie Knight), Keeper (later changed to Cleric), 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 (later changed to Human Wolf and later to Werewolf), Master (later changed to Human), Medusa (later changed to Gorgon), Monster (later changed to Zombie or Elemental), Mold Demon (later shortened to Demon), Mummy (later changed to Zombie), Pixie Queen (later changed to Faerie), Priest (later changed to Cleric), Rider (later changed to Elf), Spuzzem (later changed to Elemental), Taskmaster (later changed to Kobold), Villain (later changed to Beast), Vulture (later changed to Bird), Walking-Dead (later changed to Zombie), Wolverine Pack (later changed to Wolverine), Wretched (later changed to Demon).
Legends was the first expansion set to have cycles. It has eight cycles:
|Color-wash instants||Heaven's Gate||Sea Kings' Blessing||Touch of Darkness||Dwarven Song||Sylvan Paradise|
|Each of these uncommon instants has a casting cost of M and the effect of changing the color of any number of target creatures to a particular color until end of turn.|
|Glyphs||Glyph of Life||Glyph of Delusion||Glyph of Doom||Glyph of Destruction||Glyph of Reincarnation|
|Each of these common instants has a casting cost of M and an effect that interacts with Walls. Each of these cards was illustrated by Susan Van Camp.|
|Anti-landwalk enchantments||Great Wall||Undertow||Quagmire||Crevasse||Deadfall|
|Each of these uncommon enchantments has a casting cost of M and an effect that allows creatures with a given landwalk ability to be blocked as though they didn't have that ability.|
|Mana Batteries||White Mana Battery||Blue Mana Battery||Black Mana Battery||Red Mana Battery||Green Mana Battery|
|Each of these uncommon artifacts with a casting cost of and the two activated abilities ", : Put a charge counter on [this]" and ", Remove any number of charge counters from [this]: Add M, then add an additional M for each charge counter removed this way," where M is a specific color of mana.|
|Bands-with-other lands||Cathedral of Serra||Seafarer's Quay||Unholy Citadel||Mountain Stronghold||Adventurers' Guildhouse|
|Each of these uncommon lands has no mana ability but has an ability that grants legendary creatures of a particular color "Bands with other legendary creatures".|
|Each of these uncommon legendary lands produces one color of mana, has an additional activated ability that targets creatures, and has flavor text taken from real-world poetry.|
|Flavor text legendary creatures||Angus MacKenzie||Halfdane||Gwendlyn Di Corci||Bartel Runeaxe||Jacques le Vert|
|Each of these rare legendary creatures has a casting cost requiring three allied colors and flavor text referring to one of the legendary lands from the cycle above.|
|Elder Dragon Legends||Arcades Sabboth||Chromium||Nicol Bolas||Vaevictis Asmadi||Palladia-Mors|
|Each of these rare 7/7 legendary Elder Dragon creatures has flying, a casting cost of MMNNOO, an upkeep cost of MNO, and at least one other ability. This is the first gold-colored cycle and the first creature cycle.|
All of the 55 legendary creatures in Legends are arranged in a system of "family trees" with one Elder Dragon at the top, followed by three rare legends that share each of the dragon's colors; then, each family tree splits in two branches for the two allied-color pairs in the dragon's cost; each lower branch includes three rare legends and four uncommon legends for said allied-color pairs. The family trees are laid out as follows:
Top of family trees (three-color):
|Elder Dragon||Arcades Sabboth||Chromium||Nicol Bolas||Vaevictis Asmadi||Palladia-Mors|
|Rare Legends||Rubinia Soulsinger||Dakkon Blackblade||Gwendlyn Di Corci||Adun Oakenshield||Hazezon Tamar|
|Ragnar||Halfdane||Sol'kanar the Swamp King||Bartel Runeaxe||Jacques le Vert|
|Angus Mackenzie||Lady Evangela||Tetsuo Umezawa||Xira Arien||Johan|
Lower branches of family trees (two-color):
- Each of these branches appears in two family trees.
- Chain Lightning, thought almost always inferior to Lightning Bolt, 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. Mana Drain was reprinted in the Iconic Masters set of November 17, 2017. This was possible because it wouldn't appear in the standard environment.
- 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 enchantment that had two effects: first, it ruined creature-based strategies; and second, it made many other 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.
Legends has four functional reprints.
- Barbary Apes is a functional reprint of Grizzly Bears from Revised.
- Headless Horseman is a functional reprint of Scathe Zombies from Revised.
- Raging Bull is a functional reprint of Gray Ogre from Revised.
- Walking Dead is a functional reprint of Drudge Skeletons from Revised.
- 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. 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 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.
- Aerathi Berserker — The title is printed incorrectly as "rathi Berserker." The "Æ" symbol was inadvertently omitted.
- Blood Lust — The ability text should read "Target creature gains", not "Target creatures gain". This error was corrected in Fourth Edition.
- Gaseous Form — The word "creature" is misspelled "creaure" in the first line of the ability text.
- Infinite Authority — The word "creature" is misspelled "creaeture" in the fifth line of the ability text.
- Psionic Entity — The illustration was by Justin Hampton, not by Susan Van Camp. This error was corrected in 4th Edition.
- Revelation — The quotation in the flavor text is from Ecclesisticus 3:19, not Ecclesiastes 3:19. This error was corrected in Chronicles.
- Segovian Leviathan — The quotation in the flavor text is from Job 41:1, not Job 40:25 (although it is Job 40:25 in the original Hebrew). This error was corrected in Fifth Edition.
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- Mark Rosewater (February 16, 2009). "25 Random Things About Magic". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Steve Conard (March 4, 2002). "The History of Legends". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (July 11, 2002). "Legends of Chess". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (December 03, 2003). "Lands of bands". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (March 7, 2002). "Family trees". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 10, 2017). "I seem to recall you saying that it shouldn't be reprinted.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (August 28, 2002). "Card of the Day - August, 2002". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Legends product information page — Wizards of the Coast
- Mark Rosewater (March 4, 2002). "Designing Under the Influence". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Skaff Elias (March 8, 2002). "Legendary Difficulties". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Legends Card List