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Rules A player may not control two or more legendary permanents with the same name.
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Legendary is a card supertype. Any permanent (artifact, creature, enchantment, planeswalker, and land) with the legendary supertype is bound by the "legend rule," which prevents multiple copies of the card with the same name from existing on the battlefield under the same player's control. Legendary may also appear as a supertype on non-permanent cards (instants and sorceries). The rules for these are different: you can't cast a legendary nonpermanent spell unless you control a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker. Legendary cards are historic.

Description[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

A supertype that’s normally relevant on permanents. See rule 205.4, “Supertypes.” See also Legend Rule.

Flavor-wise, legendary cards represent the key people, places, and objects of a set's story.

Typical Standard-legal expansion sets used to contain no more than ten to fifteen legendary cards, all carrying a rarity of rare or mythic rare.[1][2]. This number went up slightly with Planeswalkers all being classified as Legendaries. That said, both of these rules were broken in later years, with sets like Commander Legends, War of the Spark (through planeswalkers), Dominaria, Dominaria United, Kamigawa block, and The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth used Legendary cards as a mechanical theme, with uncommon Legends to boost up the numbers in Limited play. Even outside of that, Legends, Amonkhet, Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Core Set 2021 and Kaldheim have had cycles and more of uncommon Legendaries for little more than worldbuilding.

Starting in 2023, R&D is lowering the average of legendary creatures in Magic IP sets. Universes Beyond, due to its nature, will still want a lot of legendary creatures as the named characters of an IP are a big draw.[3][4]

The Commander format requires that a legendary creature be selected as one's commander. There are 22 Planeswalkers designed to be commanders, alongside 30 legendary enchantment Backgrounds matching "Choose a Background".

History[ | ]

Legendary was first featured on several land cards in the set Legends (e.g. Tolaria). In contrast to these lands that were already supertyped, the similar creatures were all given the type "Legend" (e.g. Barktooth Warbeard). Stronghold introduced the first Legendary artifact.

Starting with Champions of Kamigawa the supertype "Legenary" replaced the creature type Legend.[5] The set also introduced the first Legendary Enchantments (e.g. Honden of Cleansing Fire). The first legendary Aura (the called "Legendary Enchant Land" was Genju of the Realm in Betrayers of Kamigawa.

Legendary sorceries, capture extraordinary moments from characters' pasts, were introduced in Dominaria.[6][7]. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth debuted the first legendary instant card with Isildur's Fateful Strike.[8] Legendary sorceries and instants can't be cast legendary instants unless you control a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker.

Historically, before the release of Legends, the idea of the legendary supertype and its restrictions did not exist, nor did those restrictions have any functional equivalent printed on cards at the time. This, compounded with R&D's policy on avoiding intentional functional errata as much as possible, has caused cards that likely should have been printed as legendary (had the supertype and its associated rules existed since the beginning), such as Ali from Cairo, to stay nonlegendary. Although, the introduction of the supertype did not outright end the trend of flavorful legendary subjects being printed as nonlegendary on new cards, as seen with the rare utility tapland cycle from Zendikar, among others (e.g. Emeria, the Sky Ruin). Cards such as those are specifically designed with functionality over flavor in mind.

Legendary cards tend to have a rarity of Uncommon or higher. The only common legendary creature were printed in Homelands (Chandler Joven) and Modern Horizons 3 (Skoa, Embermage). The only common enchantments are the backgrounds of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate.

Card frame[ | ]

Firesong and Sunspeaker

Legendary card frame, as of Dominaria

Starting with Duel Decks: Elves vs. Inventors and Dominaria, all legendary cards, except planeswalkers, have crown-like flourishes on the title bar of the card frame.[9]

Legendary spells[ | ]

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 205.4e Any instant or sorcery spell with the supertype “legendary” is subject to a casting restriction. A player can’t cast a legendary instant or sorcery spell unless that player controls a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker.

Legendary sorceries[ | ]

Dominaria debuted legendary sorcery cards that capture extraordinary moments from characters' pasts. These powerful spells can be unleashed only with the assistance of a legendary creature or planeswalker on your side of the battlefield.[7]

You can't cast legendary sorceries unless you control a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker. Once you begin to cast a legendary sorcery, losing control of your legendary creatures and planeswalkers won't affect that spell. Other than the casting restriction, the legendary supertype on a sorcery carries no additional rules.[10]

Legendary instants[ | ]

Although covered by the rules for legendary sorcery cards, legendary instants were not featured in Dominaria. It would take another five years before the first legendary instant card was released as part of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earthIsildur's Fateful Strike.[11]

Legendary enchantment[ | ]

The first legendary enchantments were the Honden cycle and Night of Souls' Betrayal from Champions of Kamigawa. The non-legal Heroes of the Realm card The Legend of Arena is a Legendary Enchantment - Saga.

Friendly to legendary permanents[ | ]

White is the color that most interacts with legendary permanents. It can search the library for them and get them back from the graveyard, among other positive interactions.[12]

Legendary matters[ | ]

"Legendary matters" effects may appear in all colors.[13] Examples:

Megalegendary[ | ]

Megalegendary was introduced on a test card in the Mystery Booster set (Your deck can have only one copy of this card.) If you're fortunate enough to have two copies of a megalegendary card in a Limited event, you can still put only one into your deck. The other remains in your sideboard.[14]

References[ | ]

  1. Aaron Forsythe (November 24, 2006). "Preserving the Coolness of Legends". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (March 01, 2018). "The printing of legendary creatures at uncommon in the Masters Series.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Mark Rosewater (July 31, 2023). "How likely or even possible is a set with very few (like, fewer than 10) legendary creatures?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2024). "Why are you guys making effort to lower the amount of legendary creatures?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (May 09, 2011). "The Issue Is Legen—Wait for It—Dary". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Matt Tabak (March 21, 2018). "Dominaria Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b Dominaria Release Notes
  8. Eric Levine (June 9, 2023). "The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Aaron Forsythe (March 21, 2018). "Dominaria Frame, Template and Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 10, 2018). "Why introduce legendary sorceries if they fundamentally can never work the same way as legendary permanents?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. MTGxLOTR Exclusive Preview! - Isildur's Fateful Strike (Video). Playing With Power MTG. YouTube (June 5, 2023).
  12. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater (March 06, 2020). "Do all colors have access to "legendary matters" effects?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Eli Shiffrin (November 11, 2019). "Mystery Booster Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.