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Legend rule

If a player controls two or more legendary permanents of the same name when state-based effects are checked, that player chooses one of those permanents and immediately puts the others into their owners' graveyards, without any player having an opportunity to respond. This does not destroy the other permanents, does not cause them to be sacrificed, and cannot be prevented by being indestructible or having regeneration.

Description[ | ]

This version of the rule has been in effect since the release of Magic 2014.[1][2]

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

Legend Rule
A state-based action that causes a player who controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name to put all but one into their owners’ graveyards. See rule 704.5j.

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

  • 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 704.5j).

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

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

Currently, only a handful of cards circumvent the "legend rule":

Older versions of the legend rule[ | ]

From Legends to Champions of Kamigawa[ | ]

Originally, only one creature of the same name, with the creature type Legend, could be in play at the same time. For a while, they were even on the restricted list, meaning there could be only one creature of the same name in each deck. This was changed around the time of Ice Age.[3][4][5]

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 usually 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.[6] Tom LaPille laid out the various disagreements about the rules change in his article.[7]

From Champions of Kamigawa to Magic 2014[ | ]

The second version of the rule checked to see if any other legendary permanent of the same name existed 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.[8][9] In effect, each legendary permanent served two purposes: its original purpose and the removal of all instances of that permanent already on the battlefield.

Rosewater version[ | ]

Mark Rosewater has stated multiple times that he considers legendary to be a mechanical downside that he would rather get rid of.[10] If he was starting over he would make legendary a supertype with no rules baggage. He would create a keyword, called something like "unique", for things that needed for gameplay reasons to be restricted to having only one in play.[11][12] The rest of R&D doesn't concur with Rosewater's idea, or feels it is too late for the change.[13]

Planeswalker uniqueness rule[ | ]

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

  • 306.4. Previously, planeswalkers were subject to a “planeswalker uniqueness rule” that stopped a player from controlling two planeswalkers of the same planeswalker type. This rule has been removed and planeswalker cards printed before this change have received errata in the Oracle card reference to have the legendary supertype. Like other legendary permanents, they are subject to the “legend rule” (see rule 704.5j).

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

Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule (Obsolete)
Older versions of the rules stated that a player who controlled two or more planeswalkers with the same planeswalker type would put all but one of those planeswalkers into their owners’ graveyards. This rule was called the “planeswalker uniqueness rule” and no longer exists.

Although different, planeswalker cards used to have a similar rule: 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 was called the “planeswalker uniqueness rule.”[14]

Before the above update, the original rule acted as the legend rule did from Champions to Magic 2014 until this was changed at the same time the legend rule was; it looked at the battlefield and didn't care which player's control they were under. The most recent copy remained while all others were sent to the graveyard. This allowed, for example, someone to play Jace Beleren as a removal spell for Jace the Mind Sculptor as they shared the same subtype "Jace". [15][16]

Starting with Ixalan, this rule was abandoned.[17] All planeswalkers past, present, and future gained the supertype legendary and became subject to the "legend rule". Thus, if a player controls more than one legendary planeswalker with the same name, that player chooses one and puts the other into their owner's graveyard. This means for example that if you control Jace, Unraveler of Secrets and cast Jace, Cunning Castaway, both Jaces now can exist under your control.

The change was made to simplify gameplay.[18][19][20]

References[ | ]

  1. Matt Tabak (May 23, 2013). "Magic 2014 Core Set Rules Preview". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Sam Stoddard (May 23, 2013). "Legendary Rule Change". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana (July 26, 2002). "Restricted Legends". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2017). "At any point in Magic's history, was it ever considered to make Legendary a deckbuilding restriction instead of a gameplay one?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (September 03, 2017). "Could you give us a quick rundown of all the variations of the Legend Rule?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (May 09, 2011). "The Issue Is Legen—Wait for It—Dary". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Tom LaPille (May 13, 2011). "A Legendary Disagreement". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Aaron Forsythe (September 10, 2004). "Legendary Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater (October 04, 2004). "Change For the Better". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (October 14, 2016). "Can't you just drop the mechanical baggage and just use it as a "story marker"?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2017). "Why do you want the Legendary rule gone?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (August 29, 2017). "So basically you wish Legendary didn't exist.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (August 29, 2017). "Now that planeswalkers use the legendary rule". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Matt Tabak (June 22, 2015). "Magic Origins Mechanics Article". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. bimmerbot (July 11, 2013). "M14 Rules Changes! The Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule". Magic Judge.
  16. Matt Tabak (May 23, 2013). "Magic 2014 Core Set Rules Preview". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Matt Tabak (August 28, 2017). "Ixalan Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Mark Rosewater (August 28, 2017). "Why was there a need to make planeswalkers legendary?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (August 28, 2017). "Having multiple versions of the same planeswalker character out seems 'wrong'.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2017). "Do you think it's a flavor fail to be able to summon more than one of the same legendary character from the Multiverse?". Blogatog. Tumblr.