The Top 20 Worst Legends Of All Time, Part 1
I thought that with this new Legendary rule and tons of new legends in Champions and Betrayers, it was worth a look back at the history of the Legend creature type. Then I decided to not really do that, and instead wrote about the twenty worst legends (or in New MTGenglish, "Legendary Creatures") of all time. So let this be a wistful, friendly reminder to the fans (and Magic R&D) of how far we have come - and where we should never dare to set foot again.
So for you, the reader, let me take back, back to the golden days of 1994-5, when Moxen flowed from packs like wine, and you could buy three Black Lotuses and a pack of gum for a dollar - but a Sengir Vampire cost $17. Magic, in its semi-aptly named expansion "Legends," introduced this fantastic new creature type "Legend" with loads of flavor and rules text and great potential...
...Only to do nothing cool with it.
On like fifty cards.
After they named the whole set after it.
There were another three or four sets before we finally started getting "good-ish" legends. Like, you know, cards not significantly worse than non-legendary ones at the same casting cost. Legends had very pretty cards, great names, drew tons of people into the game, and provided advertising art for years to come... but they were virtually impossible to actually play the game with unless you loved losing to dragon decks or banding decks all the time and were like a total masochist or something.
You weren't, were you? Seriously, raise you hand if you ever played a Constructed match (and there was yet no real Limited - dark days, indeed) with a single Legends Legend. Okay, I'll give ya Sol'kanar the Swamp King. Maybe Axelrod. And Gwendlyn Di Corci, because, well, I shouldn't have to explain that one to anyone with a pair of eyes. Sometimes I'd throw her in my mono-white decks. Several copies.
So the Legend creature type had a rather inauspicious debut. We waited a whole year for its return in Ice Age - and Legends were still unplayable and bad, but at least they printed some mono-colored ones. And then Homelands happened...
(shakes head, weeps softly)
...Well, you'll see about that when we get to the lists.
After that, Alliances gave us three Legends that were all close to playable, and the Legend pretty much stayed the same up until now with Kamigawa block, except for that part in Odyssey block where they decided it was okay to have a Legend guy who was a merfolk, like, actually be a merfolk. It took them seven years to come up with that one. And that's not to say all Legends since then have been playable. In our quest for truth, we'll meet several modern Legends whose sole purpose in life is to fill up quarter boxes everywhere.
So, here are the twenty worst Legends of all time. (Well, okay, technically there are thirty-seven because I grouped some together, but just because they all suck in that same special way.)
These are the worst Legends (not Legendary creatures) of all time. I've decided to save Kamigawa block for a future article! Joy. This also excludes Legendary Artifacts and Lands, though I may do some honorable mentions of the worst of those at the end.
Probably some Unhinged or Unglued cards make some of what I say slightly incorrect. Shut up already.
You're probably confused about when I refer to the expansion set "Legends" versus "Legends" the now-obsolete creature type. I don't know; use context or something.
20. Chromium (Legends)
Chromium is representative of all the Elder Dragon Legends - but at least the rest of them, overpriced though they certainly are, actually do something. The Elder Dragons were (and still are) very kewl, but unplayable in any kind of format not involving infinite mana. They cost a whopping eight mana, with a three-mana upkeep. And gee! Of that eight mana, only six of it had to be specifically colored.
Yes, Six! To this day, there is not a single card ever printed in Magic that requires a more exacting and total commitment.
And what does this dragon do, for this astonishing mana cost? He... rampages! Yes, one of magic's least beloved key words was saddled on poor, Turtle-waxed Chromium. It's sort of like bushido's older brother - the one who takes the short bus and no one ever talks about. Let's see how useful it is!
Opponent has exactly two flyers of total Power:
Double block, trade
Double block, one lives
All other conceivable situations in the universe
Rampage doesn't matter
And this is all assuming your opponent even would want to make a double block. If he has exactly two flyers of total power 7 or 8. And no tricks. It's not quite "asteroid hitting the Earth" unlikely, but it's close. Sigh. Let's take a look at the other Elders.
Boy, even Chromium's name seems super-boring now compared to the others. And each other 7/7 Dragon has a semi-useful ability (Nicol Bolas even has a nifty one) that even today fits within the color pie. Poor Chromium - blue had no combat abilities at all back then, so he got stuck with leftovers. Even though blue had no actual rampage creatures. Zero. Ever.
Even more annoying, his other colors, black and white, didn't have a single creature with rampage either. Ever. All of them were in red and green - his enemy colors. So somehow, this runt of the Elder litter got a crappy name, and a crappy ability from his enemy colors, all the while being in the three colors least able to assemble six colored mana.
Done right: Dromar the Banisher (Invasion)
*- 'Cause someone will bring it up, excepting other random multicolor Legends Legend Hunding Gjornersen. (Hunding! - The Ferrett)
19. Karona, False God (Scourge)
After the giant build up of a storyline that wound its way through six sets and two years, the overpowering evil that emerges is...
Huh. That kinda sucks.
True story: I saw a Karona sitting on the floor of the men's bathroom at a recent prerelease. (Note: It was far away from any liquids.) It was still sitting there, pristine and untouched, ten hours later. People won't bend down to pick one up off the street. That should give you an idea of most people's feelings about Karona.
I'm all for promoting multiplayer play. I like tribal too. And I like 5-Color decks. But don't make a freakin' legend that only works in a multiplayer Tribal 5-color deck. Seriously, you need to play that exact deck. (Which is, well, Slivers. Cause of course you know they don't have any good 5-Color cards.)
And even then, she's impossible to cast; you need a ton of ready creatures, your opponent must have none, and he must have no tricks of any kind. And then one attack and you might win. Otherwise he attacks, and it's game over for you since you can't really leave a blocker behind. One turn of Big Fun. And in multiplayer, well, then the game becomes who can kill the guy who cast it the fastest to get the damn thing out of play before it comes back to bite. Fun Fun.
If you're going to make a fun multiplayer card:
a) Don't tell us it's supposed to be fun. We'll decide that. It sounds like you're just politely saying it blows chunks. Which here, it certainly does.
b) Try not to make it the ultimate villain of two years' worth of story. Cause that might piss some people off.
Karona is a tragic case of "top-down" design, where flavor overshadows function. Most of the time, that's just fine. In this case, however, flavor smothered function with a pillow, and sent the remains through the woodchipper onto the compost heap.
Done right: BEEP Leave a message at the tone.
18. Hakim Loreweaver (Mirage)
Here's one you may have to look up. Hakim's big thing is that he can put an enchant creature card from your graveyard into play enchanting himself. For the lowish cost of UU.
Ah-ah! Not so fast! But only during your upkeep.
And only if he doesn't have any enchantments on him already.
That doesn't sound too terrible, I guess. Well, it could be worse, right? Except there's all this UU everywhere, and back then blue was the only color that had any reliable way of putting things into the graveyard through draw and discard. So he needs a basically mono-blue deck.
Now let's see what exciting blue creature enchantments awaited him! From the mouth of Hakim himself:
- Creature Bond/Errant Minion/Backfire - Hey, I could damage you, sure, but you could combo it with Spirit Link! Oh, except for that part where I only get one enchant... Now I'm depressed.
- Unstable Mutation/Essence Flare - Okay, okay. Maybe these. Maybe. If they would be seen in public with me. They once got played in actual decks. No... I know, I'm not good enough. Hey! I've got a little drake. He'll be my friend.
- Flight/Invisibility/Fishliver Oil/Snow Devil/Soar/Awesome Presence - I can fly! Oh wait. I already could fly. Well, now I'm invisible too, so nyah. And totally awesome! I even walk on water! So says I!
- Control Magic/Binding Grasp - I (slurp) can controls meself! My drinking's been fine! Better never! Maybes I'll get meself an upkeep once I'm in contra-trol of me agin.
- Dream Coat - I change colors. Now I am smart.
- Gaseous Form - I am Super Legend Wall.
- Venarian Gold - I put myself to sleep. No seriously, these blue creature enchants are making me sleepy. So bad...
- Anti-Magic Aura/Spectral Cloak/Cloak of Invisibility - You bust out the removal, like a Fireblast right at me, and I'm all like "Bam, UU - I can't be targeted." Then you tell me to read myself since it isn't my upkeep. I spend the rest of the night weeping and applying liberal doses of ointment.
- Puppet Master/False Demise - You really want me back! You really like me! Oh, you made me save myself by enchanting myself, after you saved someone more important first. Well, it's the thought that counts, I guess.
- Tangle Kelp/Merseine/Thirst - Apparently, having no water makes me not want to untap. But being surrounded by water, uh, also seems to make me not want to untap. It's a strange life.
- Viscerid Armor - Whatever. Now I'm some kind of crab person.
So that was absolutely everything available in blue to him back then. I suppose his stock has risen over time as better blue creature enchantments were made - but it's in the same way that Enron stock is worth $1 framed on the wall as a collectible, many times its value as actual stock now.
And what about his super-useful second ability to destroy whatever enchantments he put on himself? Which taps him, I might add. I suppose Hakim, loveable manic-depressive drunk, enchants himself with something, then goes, "Whoops! Hey planeswalker guy, could I borrow two blue mana to undo what I just did? What? You're in a life or death struggle? Well, it is kinda important. I need to free myself so I can use the bathroom really bad. It's gonna take me a whole turn just to undo the spell I just cast - so I better get started now, okay?"
It's just a good thing none of those blue "do not untap" enchantments are lying around, since he's completely useless in destroying those. Oh, he got thirsty, did he, and ended up in the tangle kelp? (sigh) It's time for an intervention.
Done right: See Nomad Mythmaker (Judgment). In a color with actual useful creature enchantments, even!
17. Reveka, Wizard Savant (Homelands)
The only other time I ever hear the word savant is when it's paired with "idiot". Which pretty much describes (see flavor text) "mule-headed" Reveka exactly - Magic's own autistic legend. I can't even look at the card anymore without thinking "Reveka, Idiot Savant." She even kind of looks like Dustin Hoffman if you squint.
(Apparently, she's a female dwarf, so don't tell Dustin.)
She can do incredible-ish things that normal blue guys can't - like tapping for two points of damage to any target. But then she gets real tired, real confused, doesn't know where she is, and refuses to get up and do anything for a while.
And don't even think about asking her to fight. Prodigal Sorcerer can duke it out hand-to-hand when necessary, but Reveka? "Fighting's bad. Fighting's real bad. Back in 687, Axelrod fought Bartel at the Pine Barren resort for fourteen and a half minutes, real bad, lost his left arm above the elbow. Fighting's bad." And if you do force her to fight, she just puts up no resistance. If you can make her get up in the first place.
So when an alpha common costs one U less, has one more point of power, but does the same total damage over two turns and isn't a legend, something has gone seriously wrong. Maybe someday she'll return to count cards in Expansion #78: Vegas Block Set 1: Table Blackjack And We Finally Brought Back Poison. You Know, Like In Your Drinks. Think James Bond.
Also, it's worth noting that she not only has the worst Power/Toughness of any Legend ever printed, she only comes in behind Necropolis for worst P/T-to-mana ratio in the entire history of Magic!
P.S. The name of the dragon in the background? Take a guess? It's Q.......... uantas.
Let's see how many people get that.
Done right: Even Psionic Entity (Legends) was better than this. That was a year before her. Not to mention Tim and his all his clones. (Alpha through whenever pinging became red.)
16. Ramses Overdark (Legends)
Now that is a name. Judged in terms of lead singers of heavy metal bands from the late 80s, it beats out Axel Rose and Alice Cooper by a mile. No matter how you judge it, it rocks. And then the picture. WHA-BAM! RKF could really draw evil guys. The kind that would hover around the edges of your waking dreams, taunting you with their insane casting costs. But you'd be determined to play them, because they were just that cool. This guy looks like he just wiped out an entire civilization and is using their leader's skull as a sun-visor.
And... then you read his card. He can utterly annihilate and destroy... enchanted creatures.
Okay... then... so he puts on his apocalyptic war gear, and stands around pleading with passersby. "Oh, can I enchant you? You look a little down. Maybe a happy enchantment? I promise not to kill you later! You know, after I give you an enchantment?" he mutters through his death mask.
Or maybe he just wanders aimlessly dressed like a freakin' genocidal nightmare asking, "Is anyone here enchanted? Anyone at all? You have nothing to fear unless, of course, you are by some strange chance." This guy can't kill a squirrel unless he steps on it by mistake. Consider that Magic has produced approximately two playable creature enchantments in some five hundred tries, and Rancor counts as both of them.
So you really need to enchant your opponent's creature yourself. Strangely enough, there are very few enchantments you want to cast on creatures that you're going to kill right away. If you insist on it, hey, why not make it something that kill them on its own, as opposed to waiting for the GWAR reject to chip in?
His ability should read Tap: Wait around a few turns, see if you can draw some crappy creature enchantment like Paralyze or Weakness. Then spend some amount of mana and a card and destroy target creature if it's still a threat somehow. And you know, if you haven't lost yet. And if Ramses hasn't wandered off to join Death Metal Thrash Deutschland or something.