Legend (Magic: The Gathering)

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This article is about cards used in the game Magic: The Gathering. For the expansion to the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, see Legends (Magic: The Gathering).
An example of a Legendary Creature. This is the 10th Edition version; the original Mercadian Masques printing used "Creature — Goblin Legend" instead of "Legendary Creature — Goblin".

In the Magic: The Gathering trading card game, a Legendary card or Legend is a card that represents a unique individual or thing with a specific name, rather than the generic, unnamed things that most cards represent. For example, while the card Raging Goblin could be any goblin, the card Squee, Goblin Nabob is a specific goblin with a personality and a history.

Printed legendary cards are indicated by the word "Legendary" before their card type (e.g. "Legendary Artifact") to replace the original "Creature — Legend" or "Summon Legend", a change made in Champions of Kamigawa.[1]

The associated Magic: The Gathering novels often deal with the characters represented by legendary cards in the game.


205.4d. Any permanent with the supertype “legendary” is subject to the state-based action for legendary permanents, also called the “legend rule” (see rule 704.5k).

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.”

Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules, as of April 8, 2016[2]

Only one copy of a given legendary card may be in control by a same player at the same time. If multiple copies of a legend are under control by a same player, the player choose one of them, and all of the rest are put into the graveyard (discard pile).[2] (This has not always been the case; see History below.)

The cards must have exactly the same name in order to trigger the legend rule. Some characters are represented on multiple cards: for example, the character Kamahl appears as both Kamahl, Pit Fighter and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, and the character Akroma appears as both Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Akroma, Angel of Fury. Because the cards are different, one of each card can be in play without counting as the same legend, even though they represent the same character.[3]

Most legendary cards are creatures; legendary artifacts, lands and enchantments also exist.

Planeswalker cards' uniqueness rule was heavily influenced by Legend Rule. The only difference is they refer to the type of the card. This basically eliminated any possibility of having two same Planeswalker under a player's control as each different Planeswalker is assigned with a one unique Type for all cards refer to the same person. The only exception, however, is if a Planeswalker is also represented by a legendary creature as two rules are operated independent to each other. For example, Karn, Silver Golem and Karn Liberated can be controlled by a player at the same time even though they represent the same person.


Legendary creatures and lands were introduced in 1994 with Legends, the game's third expansion set. Although some cards printed prior to Legends represent unique individuals and would logically have been legendary, they were and are still treated as non-legendary. The first legendary artifact, Sword of the Chosen, was printed in the Stronghold set in 1998,[4] and the first legendary enchantments were printed in Champions of Kamigawa in 2004.

The way the legend rule functioned when it was first introduced differed from its present form: if a legendary card came into play when another copy of the same card was already in play, the recently played legend would be put in the graveyard, but not the one that was already in play. This could be a significant advantage to the player who played the legend first, and was particularly an issue with legends that could be played cheaply and quickly, such as Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero.[5]

Initially, legendary creatures were printed with "Legend" as their creature type. At the time, most creatures other than artifact creatures (which had no creature type at all) could only have one creature type, so "Legend" replaced any other creature type they might have had. Later, some legends were printed with additional text giving them extra creature types: for example, while Barrin, Master Wizard has "Legend" as his creature type, the card's text reads "Barrin, Master Wizard counts as a Wizard", effectively giving him the Wizard creature type as well. Beginning with the Urza's Destiny set in 1999, legendary creatures were simply given multiple creature types: for example, Rayne, Academy Chancellor is simply printed as a "Wizard Legend", making the "counts as a Wizard" text unnecessary. The status of "Legend" as a creature type could be exploited using the card Unnatural Selection: a player could eliminate an opponent's creatures by changing them into Legends, triggering the legend rule.[5]

In 2004, Legend was removed as a creature type, rendering it inaccessible by Unnatural Selection, and the legend rule was changed, only to be activated if two (or more) legendary permanents are with the same name.[5][6] As a result, new, cheap legendary cards have been printed in subsequent sets.[5] Early legendary creatures which had only "Legend" as their creature type have been retroactively given other creature types.[7]

In 2013, the Legend rule is changed to the current form, which the range of influence was changed from the whole battlefield to player oneself. This prevents any possibility of using the legend rule as a means to remove opponents' legendary cards by playing another of the same legendary card or by making a copy of it.[8]


  1. ^ Barclay, Paul; DeLaney, David; Jordan, Jeff. "Champions of KamigawaTM Frequently Asked Questions". Essential Magic. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules". Wizards of the Coast. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  3. ^ Magic Rules Corner (2008-03-31). "Ask Wizards - March 31, 2008". Ask Wizards. Magicthegathering.com. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Card of the Day - Monday, September 6, 2004". Card of the Day. Magicthegathering.com. 2004-09-06. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b c d Forsythe, Aaron (2004-09-10). "Legendary Rules Changes". Latest Developments. Magicthegathering.com. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  6. ^ Magic: The Gathering Rules FAQ, v4.02 (part 2)
  7. ^ Gottlieb, Mark (2007-09-26). "The Grand Creature Type Update". Magicthegathering.com. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  8. ^ Tabak, Matt (2013-05-23). "Magic 2014 Core Set Rules Preview". Magicthegathering.com. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 

See also[edit]