The New Legend Rule is GOOD!
So by now I'm sure you've seen Mark Rosewater's announcement that the Legend Rule is getting an overhaul once Champions of Kamigawa becomes legal. Here's the new wording for reference:
420.5e If two or more permanents with the same name have the supertype legendary, all are put into their owners' graveyards. This is called the"legend rule." If only one of those permanents is legendary, this rule doesn't apply.
You likely had one of several reactions:
1. It sucks! It's completely out of flavor for what Legends are supposed to be about. Legends are supposed to be unique and powerful, so that once one is in play you can't try to"summon" another one, and you certainly shouldn't be able to use another copy to destroy the one in play.
2. It's great! Wizards has eliminated the luck-sack factor of He Who Gets Their Broken Legend Into Play First Wins (::cough::Lin Sivvi::) that can happen when Wizards pushes a Legend to be powerful enough for Constructed play (::cough::cough::Lin Sivvi::).
3. It sucks! I came up with a much better idea...
If your reaction was #1, I feel for you. Flavor sacrificed to the altar of playability is a bitter pill for some people to swallow. It's like chewing up an asprin. And since I was playing Magic when Legends came out, I've chewed on the original minty flavor of Legends for a long time. It has steeped itself deep into the nooks and crannies and teeth and gums of Magic's... er, mouth. Or something.
At any rate, I have to say I've come down firmly in the #2 camp, and I'm excited at the implications. We all know that Champions of Kamigawa is being heralded as the"Legends" set, with more Legends than Legends. But with this new rule, I think we can expect cards more on par with Lin Sivvi (::cough::) and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (gotta give a shout out to my li'l elf buddy) than, say, Hunding Gjornersen. I mean, what good was Hunding Gjornersen except as a funny inspiration for a drinking game?
You all have played the Hunding Gjornersen drinking game, haven't you?
The new rule means that Wizards will be pushing good legends at us, which could end up being both really cool and being great for the game. Go back and remember when they dropped Invasion on our heads, pushing really good multi-colored cards. What was a really cool idea was actually quite revolutionary when you think about how horrid most gold cards were up until that point. R&D realized that requiring multiple colors of mana to play a card was enough of an inherent drawback to justify making the card really good. If you were willing to risk straying from the warm comfort of a monochrome mana base, you would be rewarded.
Similarly, I suspect that with Champions of Kamigawa, Wizards will revolutionize the way they design Legends. Being a Legend is an inherent enough drawback to warrant ramping up the power level. Not only do you run the risk of"dead" draws by drawing multiple copies of the Legend, but now the Legend is vulnerable to a unique form of removal: a copy of itself played by your opponent. Speaking of which, how does one reconcile this happening from a flavor standpoint? I think of it this way: the spell that summons a Legend is a powerful and unique script that can be reversed. At any rate, with Champions, if you're willing to run the deckbuilding risks, you can be rewarded with great power.
So what if your response was #3 above? Hi Ben Bleiweiss! You did indeed already propose a fix to the Legend rule that was perfectly reasonable (see Blog Fanatic: The Legends Rule, and by the way - are you psychic or something? Did you have some tingling sense that a change in the rule was coming?). I hear that Ben is stark raving mad at the idea that Wizards had the gall to steal the idea of revamping the Legend rule, but then to add insult to injury, they changed the details. You can bet that he's pounding out some diatribe as we speak about how Wizards flubbed up by not picking the Bleiweiss Solution, which is basically that each player is allowed to have a single copy of a particular legend in play. When he posts it you may even be inclined to believe him.
Ben's proposed change would actually inject back in the very luck factor that Wizards is trying to remove from the game. If a Legend is good enough to play, it will often have an immediate impact on the game. If you play your own copy afterwards, you could already be at a disadvantage. Imagine two decks packing Visara the Dreadful facing off under Ben's rule. Whoever gets the first one in play wins. Under the actual new Legends rule, Visara has the vulnerability of being destroyed by a copy of the same spell, making her as a creature uniquely more vulnerable than other 5/5 flying Black non-legend creatures. This unique vulnerability actually makes the Legend more of a drawback, enabling Wizards to really push the power level of Legends even more. And we know what happens when Wizards pushes the power level! Oh, yeah sometimes we get Skullclamp. But hey - that's pretty rare! Most of the time we get really good stuff like Eternal Witness.
Moving on... Let me just give a wet, rude PTHHHPT! to Pugg Fuggly for preempting my cool idea like Dubya's thinking about doing to Iran. I was going to IM Ted once he finally woke his ass up Monday morning with the very idea I see Pugg kicked off this week. Bah humbug. I would like to point out I think Yosei, the Morning Star is an incredibly cool card. Six mana for a 5/5 flier is already a bargain, then tack on some really cool drawbacks for your opponent when and if the Dragon dies, WOW! I immediately thought of Recurring Nightmare, and when I mentioned that to my good friend Elliot, he replied"there's a reason why that card is banned." True dat.
Speaking of banned, I'm officially saddened that I won't get to play Skullclamp alongside Eternal Witnesses, Yavimaya Elders, Ravenous Rats and Cabal Therapy. That said I think it was a wise move, though with Null Rod being the hoser du jour of Type 1 that means that Skullclamp is hereby banned to the casual corner of the Magic community. I'm ambivalent to the banning of"Old Dirty" Metalworker, namely because I could never seem to trade for more than one of the damned things over the years, and sold it off about a year ago. Of course, I'm also ambivalent to the Metalworker banning because I've never been bent over and abused by the card either, so as a preemptive measure (heh, don't we all love the word preempt?) I'm grateful.
And since I've wandered into the new Banned & Restricted announcement, let me go on the record as saying I did a happy dance to hear that Earthcraft is unbanned. Back in early 2003 I built a Type 1 (excuse me - Vintage) Squirrelcraft deck and played in a local T1 tournament. The deck looked like this:
TAG Squirrelcraft (circa Feb/2003)
By Bennie Smith
3 Emerald Charm
3 Elephant Grass
4 Wild Growth
4 Sylvan Library
4 Argothian Enchantress
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Squirrel Nest
2 Holistic Wisdom
3 Windswept Heath
1 Strip Mine
I had a really good time with the deck and felt it had some powerful potential with enough work behind it. Unfortunately a few weeks later Earthcraft got restricted. I'd like to think I had something to do with it, like Michele Bush can puff up with pride that her powerful Trix deck finally got Necropotence banned, but I somehow doubt that's the case. At any rate, I thought the banning seemed a little bit hysterical since there are plenty of Type 1 combos that make a zillion 1/1 squirrels seem pretty tame.
The neat thing about the unbanning of Earthcraft is how it dovetails with my latest favorite idea: Blasting Station + Fecundity + Beacon of Creation. With Earthcraft in the mix, you can untap lands before sacrificing tokens to the Station, so not only are you potentially drawing a bunch of cards with Fecundity, but you are also getting mana to play the cards you draw. Hm, what about something like this?
3 Sylvan Library
4 Argothian Enchantress
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Blasting Station
3 Crucible of Worlds
1 Words of Wilding
4 Beacon of Creation
3 Windswept Heath
1 Strip Mine
Good God, the synergies are dazzling! Maybe I should test this for the Star City Power Nine II tournament coming up next month... oh wait a minute, that's the same day as States! And you love States, Smith so stay on target! Then again, if I played in the SCP9II I might get to smash Aaron Forsythe and get an Italian Legends pack... Mmmm, the possiblities!
Oh, and speaking of legends, what a nice transition back to the topic at hand while I wrap this column up.
In honor of Wizards making Legends"matter", I thought I'd give you all a scoop. You see, I happen to know that our esteemed editor has been dying to try and weasel his way into getting invited the Magic Invitational because he has this card he wants to inflict on the Magic community. He's even done a sketch of the artwork, but in the interest of preserving our eyes for future viewing, I present you with the text only:
Knutson, Fist of StarCity 3RU
Legendary Editor - Human Barnacle 8/2
3RU: Knutson, Fist of StarCity becomes a Hull until the end of turn. Put three 1/1 barn tokens with haste into play. Sacrifice these tokens at the end of the turn.
R: Knutson, Fist of StarCity randomly appears at Premier Event. Put a feature match report token into play.
U: Put a Metagame Analysis token into play. Treat this token as 85% accurate, which is pretty damn good.
0: Knutson, Fist of StarCity places 9th. Play this ability only after all Swiss rounds are over and only if there are no prizes for 9th place.
0: Drop Magic Pro Name like when Galileo dropped his orange.
I work so hard on my Magic articles, and in the end all they clamor for is cheesecake...
There you have it. Yes, Ted wants to be the Morphling of the Magic Community.