"Legend rule"

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The "legend rule" is the name for a rule that prevents a single player from having two or more of the same legendary permanent in play at the same time. This latest version of the rule has been in effect since the release of Magic 2014.[1][2]

Rules[edit | edit source]

If the same player controls two or more legendary permanents of the same name, that player will choose one of those permanents, and the others are sent to their owners' graveyards when state-based effects are checked. This is not a destruction effect, and can't be prevented by regeneration or indestructibility.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Shadows over Innistrad (April 8, 2016))
Legend Rule
A state-based action that causes a player who controls two or more legendary permanent with the same name to put all but one into their owners’ graveyards. See rule 704.5k.
From the Comprehensive Rules (Shadows over Innistrad (April 8, 2016))

704.5k If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

Currently, only two cards circumvent the "legend rule." Brothers Yamazaki allows up to two of them to be in play at the same time (though a third will send at least one to the graveyard, depending on how they are controlled), and Mirror Gallery cancels out this rule.

Planeswalker uniqueness rule[edit | edit source]

The subtypes of planeswalkers have the same rule as the legendary supertype:

From the Comprehensive Rules (Shadows over Innistrad (April 8, 2016))

704.5j If a player controls two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “planeswalker uniqueness rule.”

Explanation of the latest change[edit | edit source]

One way to think about the new "legend rule" is that it now looks at each player individually. It doesn't matter what any other player controls. Clearly, this has a few play ramifications. If you control a legendary permanent, having another one enter the battlefield (by playing a second one or creating a copy of the first one) will leave you with one on the battlefield. It may be the old one. It may be the new one. That's up to you.

Also, creating a copy of a legendary permanent controlled by another player will simply give you a copy. The one controlled by the other player won't explode, won't leave the battlefield, and really won't be affected at all. Clones do what they were intended to do, which isn't to be situational killing machines.

Previous versions of the "Legend Rule"[edit | edit source]

From Legends to Champions of Kamigawa[edit | edit source]

Besides the connection to the subtype (later to be changed to a supertype), Legend originally had another problem. After its introduction, any person could play a Legend provided that that Legend wasn't already on the battlefield. If it was, that card was stuck in its owner's hand. They could cast it if they wanted to, but the newest one would immediately be put into the graveyard, so there was no incentive to do so.

This issue came to great prominence during the Masques block because Rebel decks centered around Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero were dominant at the time. The card was so key to the deck that when two Rebel decks played one another, the first person to get Lin Sivvi out had an unfair advantage.[3] However, developer Tom LaPille still preferred this version of the rule.[4]

From Champions of Kamigawa to Magic 2014[edit | edit source]

The second version of the rule checked to see if any other legendary permanent of the same name exists on the entire battlefield (regardless of the permanents' controllers) and sent all of those permanents (including the one which initiated the situation) to their owners' graveyards.[5][6] In effect, each legendary permanent served two purposes: 1) its original purpose and 2) the removal of all instances of that permanent already on the battlefield.

Rulings[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matt Tabak. (May 23, 2013.) "Magic 2014 Core Set Rules Preview", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Sam Stoddard. (May 23, 2013.) "Legendary Rule Change", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (May 09, 2011.) "The Issue Is Legen—Wait for It—Dary", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Tom LaPille. (May 13, 2011.) "A Legendary Disagreement", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Aaron Forsythe. (September 10, 2004.) "Legendary Rules Changes", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater. (October 04, 2004.) "Change For the Better", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Matt Tabak. (June 22, 2015.) "Magic Origins Mechanics Article", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.