Legends was the third expansion set to come out, and the first of the really large ones at over 300 cards. Initially, this cardset was meant to have the possibility of being played on its own without mixing cards from other sets.
The Legends set came out around June of 1994 and were only available for about a month. A number of new game mechanics were introduced. This set introduced the concept of “Legendary” permanents: creatures, artifacts, land and enchantments that could only have one instance of itself in the game. Also introduced were “multicolor” or “gold” cards that required more than one type of mana to be cast.
Packs were also the first (and only?) to have a “rulecard” in each an every one of the booster packs.
Cards in set: 310
Cards per booster pack: 15 (1 Rare, 3 Uncommon, 11 Common)
Packs per booster box: 36
Color Breakdown: 43 Black, 43 Blue, 43 Green, 43 Red, 43 White, 55
Multicolor, 29 Artifacts, 11 Lands
Rarity Breakdown: 121 Rare, 114 Uncommon (107 U1, 7 U2), 75 Common (29 C1, 46 C2)
Memories from Legends
Man, do I have a lot of memories from this expansion set. This is basically the set that really ignited by obsession with Magic the Gathering while I was in college. It was the first expansion set that was really widely available at game stores everywhere and that I made an effort to actually buy large quantities of. I feel this was WOTC at one of its finest moments, when set production and values still weren’t clouded by the need to produce and yet there was an explosion of new ideas in the game mechanics.
I have some great stories about buying boxes and boxes of Legend boosters, but I’ll save that for the “Best Trades/Buys” page.
Of course, everyone wanted the Gold Legend cards … particularly the “Dragons”. That was before stupid, idiotic Chronicles destroyed their rarity… I have a huge beef with this because they weren’t even that playable in decks so the average player wouldn’t even care if they were re-released. There was no reason to print them again, EXCEPT to piss off collectors and those that had paid a lot of money to obtain them. But, I’ll rant about Chronicles in a future page…
Rampage was an interesting creature ability, forcing them to be blocked by a certain number of creatures. Being able to have only one copy of a Legendary card in play was a great idea, in my opinion, because it gave pause to those who would simply put 4 of the best of everything in a deck.
We had a lot of Land’s Edge / Land Tax decks going in my home games. Overstock a deck with lots of land, get out land tax and land’s edge and you were sitting pretty. Abyss / Juggernaut decks were also very popular. If you played Storm Seeker / Black Vise / Howling Mine in a multi player game you tended to be insanely unpopular.
The three biggie uncommons whenever I went to the conventions were Storm Seeker, Spirit Link, and Mana Drain, all between $12 and $20. Wizards was smart enough to reprint Storm Seeker and Spirit Link but weren’t quite that crazy to redo Mana Drain. As such it is now astronomically expensive… I only currently have 6 of them. I would have more but I sold them all for between $20 and $40 each early on…
Notable Cards from Legends
Mana Drain: I can’t believe how popular this card was in contrast to how UNPOPULAR it was when it first came out. I know many who traded them away for basically commons like Chain Lightning. They simply hated what I called the Su-Chi factor. (Incidently, I love the Su-Chi card). Being stuck with mana that you can’t use isn’t a good thing. However, in actual game play, the number of times that you would actually need to “think” about whether or not you’d be able to use up that colorless mana the next turn was surprisingly low. It’s an example of something that sounds bad on paper but works great in real life. Mana Drain was particularly devastating for use with X spells such as Braingeyser, Fireball, Mind Twist, Hurricane, as well as large artifact creatures like the Juggernaut or even a Craw Wurm.
Mirror Universe: This was an immediate crowd favorite… trading life with an opponent is just an insane ability. Everyone knew right away this was a biggie card and unlike Mana Drain it soared in price right away and has remained pretty much at that level for the last 10 years. In actual usage, it wasn’t that feasible because it cost 6 to get out and had the restriction of not being able to use it except during your upkeep (meaning that you basically had to wait one turn to use it, during which time your opponent could try and equalize your life totals). And in any case, you’d have to make sure you were almost out of life, a dicey proposition. However, some smart person discovered that with Lich, you could immediately trade them 0 life…
Articles on cards originally from the Legends set