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Mike Elliott (lead)|
Henry Stern (lead)|
|Art direction||Ron Spears|
|Release date||February 15, 1999|
|Free spells, Sleeping and Growing enchantments|
or ability words
|Set size||143 (55 Common 44 Uncommon 44 Rare)|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
Set details[edit | edit source]
Urza's Legacy contains 143 black-bordered cards (44 rare, 44 uncommon, and 55 commons). Its expansion symbol is an machinist's hammer, meant to symbolize Urza’s continued experiments in finding a means to defeat Phyrexia.  This set was the first expansion to feature randomly inserted foil cards. Like its predecessor the set had many powerful cards, which strengthened the Combo Winter. After many powerful cards from Urza's Saga and a few preceding sets had to be banned, the DCI was wary of more such combo cards. As Randy Buehler stated, "players began leaving the game in droves".  Memory Jar was expected to herald new combo decks and mere days after Urza's Legacy became tournament legal an extremely fast combo deck built around the Jar was showing up.  Because of that, the DCI decided to ban the card outside the usual schedule in what has been the first "emergency banning" in the history of the game.
Urza's Legacy was the first set to feature appropriately colored text box frames for monocolored non-basic lands. Before this, these text boxes had featured bronze colored frames.
Marketing[edit | edit source]
The cards were sold in 15-card boosters which had artwork from Beast of Burden and in four preconstructed theme decks. Prerelease events were held February 6, 1999; the prerelease card was a foil, also Beast of Burden.
Storyline[edit | edit source]
Urza continues to build a collection of artifacts and a skyship that will defeat the Phyrexian invasion. With the assistance of his student Jhoira and Karn, the silver golem, Urza surveys the Thran Mana Rig in Shiv and uncovers its primary purpose. While he is away, the people of his Tolarian Academy have to battle a Phyrexian infestation on the island itself. The story of this set is recounted in the book Time Streams.
Mechanics & themes[edit | edit source]
The two Urza's Saga mechanics echo and cycling are both present in Urza's Legacy as well. In the earlier set, echo was solely a creature ability, but Urza's Legacy expanded this by including artifacts with echo. Additionally, while in Urza's Saga echo was used mainly to get larger-than-usual creatures out at a discount, in Urza's Legacy most creatures with echo had average power and toughness for their cost but came with a comes-into-play ability, effectively making them two spells for the price of one.
This expansion also continued the themes of "sleeping" and "eternal" enchantments, adding a handful of new cards of each type. It also included a set of enchantments that function like the sleepers but sacrifice themselves to produce some effect when the condition is met rather than turning into a creature (i.e. Brink of Madness). They're essentially "sleeping instants." This was not an entirely new concept, since a few isolated cards like this had appeared in the past, but here it's a significant subtheme.
The other significant Urza's Legacy card cycle was its lands (aka "Manlands") . For each color, there was a land that could tap for that color of mana or temporarily turn itself into a creature.
Creature types[edit | edit source]
The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Angel, Ape, Beast, Bird, Cleric, Crab, Drake, Elf, Faerie, Goblin, Horror, Hydra, Illusion, Imp, Insect, Knight, Lizard, Minion, Nomad, Phoenix, Shapeshifter, Soldier, Spirit, Toad (later changed to Frog), Townsfolk (later changed to Human), Treefolk, Viashino, Wizard, Wolf, Wurm, Zombie.
Cycles[edit | edit source]
- Manlands: Each of these uncommon lands comes into play tapped, can be tapped for one mana of a given color, and has an activated ability that can turn it into a creature until end of turn — Forbidding Watchtower, Faerie Conclave, Spawning Pool, Ghitu Encampment, and Treetop Village. This cycle was reprinted in 10th Edition.
- Recurring Auras: Each of these common Aura enchantments returns to its owner's hand when put into a graveyard from play — Cessation, Slow Motion, Sleeper's Guile, Sluggishness and Rancor.
- Sleeping enchantments: Each of these rare enchantments sacrifices itself for a big effect if a certain requirement is met during your upkeep — Planar Collapse, Second Chance, Brink of Madness, Impending Disaster, and Defense of the Heart.
Vertical cycle[edit | edit source]
- Phyrexian Carriers: Each of these black Carrier creatures can be sacrificed to give another creature -X/-X until end of turn, where X is its power and toughness — Phyrexian Denouncer, Phyrexian Debaser, Phyrexian Defiler, and Phyrexian Plaguelord.
Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]
- Defenders: These knights, one red and one white, both have flash and protection from the mirrored color. Each is a common 2/1 creature with mana cost 2C and artwork designed by Carl Critchlow — Defender of Chaos, Defender of Law.
Notable cards[edit | edit source]
- Avalanche Riders — The first card designed by a Magic Invitational winner, Darwin Kastle.
- Crop Rotation — Used for sacrificing a basic land for a non-basic land, like, at the time, Tolarian Academy.
- Deranged Hermit — A great creature and part of the "Squirrel-prison" deck.
- Goblin Welder — Became a staple in Vintage and Legacy.
- Grim Monolith — A variation on Basalt Monolith. Together with Voltaic Key an important mana-accelerator
- Memory Jar — The first card to be banned from tournament play by the DCI players' organization before it had been proven to be broken in tournament use. Many players contacted the DCI after the set was released, showing how Memory Jar made first-turn wins possible and second to third-turn wins common in the standard environment.
- Mother of Runes — Famous one-drop and a bomb in limited.
- Palinchron — Essential part of the High Tide combo decks.
- Rancor — One of the best Enchant Creature spells ever printed. The casting cost was a mistake by R&D. The correct cost was supposed to be . 
- Tinker — Being able to get any artifact in your deck ensured its restriction in Vintage.
Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]
The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Urza's Legacy.
- Blessed Reversal — was last seen in Portal.
- Lava Axe — was last seen in Portal Second Age.
- Lone Wolf — was last seen in Portal Second Age.
Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) “Ask Wizards”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Randy Buehler. (November 14, 2003.) “Extended Thoughts”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Daily Deck List. (May 22, 2009.) “Memory Jar”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2016.) “25 More Random Things About Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
[edit | edit source]
- Official Urza's Legacy Information Product Page — Magic: The Gathering (old)
- Urza's Legacy product information page — Wizards of the Coast (new)