05/09/2011 MM: "The Issue Is Legen—Wait for It—Dary"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Wonder if it will be about doppelgangers?

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Wonder if it will be about doppelgangers?

Myguess would be, it's about how "legendary" can both be used to make top-down designs better (see also: Melira, Isamaru), and be used to cripple-fix cards that need to be played in multiples (Gemstone Caverns, Opal).
Also expect an admission that the "coolness" of being legendary wasn't enough to carry Jedit Ojanen.


Or hell, it could very well be about doppelgangers, and how Scrubby McNoob doesn't understand why Cloning his bigass Praetor causes both to self-destruct.
Probably just about how to design legendaries, with a focus on the ones in New Phyrexia.
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It seems like the word legendary could be replaced with planeswalker thoughout this article. Interesting that they are not even mentioned.
I enjoy how he neglects to mention that planeswalkers have the same drawback, wouldnt want to diss on your chase rare policy that ruining standard

Another quick aside. Just because I say R&D is down on downsides doesn't mean that they're going to disappear completely. There is a time and place for downside cards (and, to a lesser extent, downside mechanics), but we choose to use them very carefully and only when they serve a specific purpose. I just want to stress that downside isn't going away, it's just been, well, downsized. And this all happened years ago, so if you like modern Magic the level of downside is about where it's going to stay.




1. I wasn't aware modern Magic had a "level of downside." Unless you mean the copy of Jace that has to wait until your existing Jace gets killed.
2. Thank you for saving me the trouble of checking back during Innistrad.
You know, I must be the only person in the world who has Kamigawa block as his favorite...

- Doug

 

"Collectability is just a code-word for ripping you off." - David Sirlin

I'm surprised Future Sight's Grandeur mechanic wasn't mentioned at all as a solution to the dead draw problem.  Was it considered too inelegant to be used on a regular basis?  Was it unpopular for some other reason?  Actually, now that I think about it, any sort of ability that can be activated from the hand instead of the battlefield (such as cycling or Simian Spirit Guide's ability) could prevent the dead draw problem.  It wouldn't necessarily have to be an ability that only works when the legendary permanent is on the battlefield.

I'm also surprised legendary lands weren't mentioned either, since they have some flavor issues--although I suppose those issues have less to do with their legendary status and more to do with what land cards are supposed to represent.
@notCLYDEfrog It's completely different. Planeswalkers offer a lot of things unique from every other card, Legends are just worse than normal creatures. They both have the same rule, but that's all legendary has.

Some of the problems could be solved if Legendary worked closer to World, and the most recent copy of the legendary creature stuck around. Could cause some issues with cards like Renegade Doppelganger (which exactly is the more recent one? The one that just entered the battlefield, or the pone that just became a copy of the creature?).


 


Unfortunately, this only solves the issues in the mirror match, not the issue of dead draws. I actually like the idea of giving them pseudo-grandeur, where you can put the copy in your hand to use, if only by cycling it (for free?).

I'm not convinced that any improvement exists, though I'm sure this thread will be flooded with ill-considered attempts soon enough. The purpose of legends is that they're awesome enough that you don't care about only getting one. Yeah, putting 3 of them instead of 4 in your deck is slightly annoying, but whoop de doo, it's not like 9x4 and 24 lands is something anybody but noobs actually does. And it's not like it's stopped Jace from being a too-bloody-many-of. It's a minor drawback with flavour benefits, and in all but a few cases(Isamaru, I'm looking at you), it's not a relevant drawback. It's fine. 
Why not just make it so that a legendary destroys other copies without destroying itself?  That fulfills all the requirements at the end, makes it more upside than it is now, and lets people play with them more of the time.  Problems 2 and 4 still exist, but it's still better design than what we have now.

Incidentally, this would also make Planeswalkers less annoying to deal with, because at least there would always be one reliable way to answer a planeswalker without card disadvantage.
Why not just have the newest copy stick around, destroying the earlier copy (the exact opposite of the '90s rule)? If that's perceived as too swingy and encouraging people to hold back all their legends/walkers in mirror matches, grant an automatic card draw to the controller of a permanent destroyed by the legend rule.

Or keep the current rule and tack on a card draw whenever the legend rule kills one of your permanents. The possible problem that low-CMC legends get used in pairs as a self-draw spell is super unlikely and low-efficiency, but would certainly look to a new player like shenanigans. Maybe it triggers only when the copies are controlled by different players? (Can you tell I'm not on the templating team?)

You might be able to work on the "Grandeur problem" of drawing multiple copies by defining the Legendary supertype to grant copies in hand Cycling 0 or 1 when there's a copy on the battlefield. There's no way around that problem that doesn't require an added increment of rules baggage.

Basically, I'm in favor of pitching surplus legends for cards; cantrips are like Christmas.

Another quick aside. Just because I say R&D is down on downsides doesn't mean that they're going to disappear completely. There is a time and place for downside cards (and, to a lesser extent, downside mechanics), but we choose to use them very carefully and only when they serve a specific purpose. I just want to stress that downside isn't going away, it's just been, well, downsized. And this all happened years ago, so if you like modern Magic the level of downside is about where it's going to stay.




1. I wasn't aware modern Magic had a "level of downside." Unless you mean the copy of Jace that has to wait until your existing Jace gets killed.
2. Thank you for saving me the trouble of checking back during Innistrad.

I actually came to this thread just to see if you or one of the other people who loved downsides had complained about this part of the article yet. I can't sympathise on the downside issue since I'm one of those players who hates using Goblin Guide even though I know he's strong. But I can sympathise on the issue of game designers having a different vision for their game to the sort of thing you want to play with. (It happens a lot with bands as well, I'm always telling my friends "I like your old stuff better than your new stuff" even though they think they've taken a step forward).

Can't really disagree with your point 1 though... when Torpor Orb came out I had a look through Standard to see if there were any of your own abilities that you would want to hose, and all that I found were Scythe Tiger and Necrogen Scudder.

Also for anyone suggesting the new legend should kill the old but not itself - this leads to terrible gameplay, since in a mirror match no one wants to be first to play their legend.

I think the legend rule should stay as is.
Here's a better idea: stop printing legendary stuff.
That's how they "solved" banding.
I remember the days of playing an artifact that cost 2 that pretty much said Destroy Target Umezawa's Jitte....Oh yeah, it's name was Umezawa's Jitte.
I was waiting for the part where he mentioned how this all affected planeswalkers. It's obvious that he censored himself. Yes, Lin Sivvi got the Legend Rule changed, but how about a more relevant example? Like Jace Beleren being played as an answer to Jace, the Mind Sculptor?

Also, way to dis-claim credit for Kamigawa. Undecided Very manly. Quick! It's Maro! Get under the bus!!

But actually I enjoyed this article quite a bit. It's a twist after reading "Fading had this 0-counter problem, so we fixed it!", ditto for poison counters, etc. Instead we're hearing "Legendary has problems, but we're kind of stuck in a holding pattern." Something else I like about this article is that it just begs for participation. There's an implied dare here. Like we should be trying to prove how much smarter we are than the people who make the game by posting our suggestions.

Actually, I was going to suggest adding "Grandeur - Discard another copy of CARDNAME: Draw a card." to every legendary permanent. If you control the Legend then it's free cycling. If your opponent controls it then you can still play the Legend Rule like normal. Since it's been suggested multiple times as I type this post and preview it, it must be intuitive.
They could try another stab at the flip legends from Kamigawa, and give you the option whether to flip. Say there's a Melira card in New Phyrexia that's a 2/2 Elf for 2, with the ability "Ascend 0: If you're poisoned, Melira becomes legendary and gains the following abilities." Then have a second text box with her legendary abilities.

Elesh Norn - 3WW - 3/5 Vigilance.
Ascend 1W: Elesh Norn becomes legendary, gets +2/+2, and gains the following abilities:

It could lend some story element to each legend. But it eats up text box space. There's some potential, though, for legends that you have the option to play as nonlegendary versions.
I played one of the Star Wars card games briefly back in high school.  My friends and I were far more familiar with Magic, so we'd draw parallels (trample was one).  One thing that was very different was multiple copies of, say, Luke Skywalker could exist in play at once.  Come combat time, each card would represent one action by him, rather than multiple instances.  I actually think flavor-wise, the planeswalker rule is better than the legend rule.  While the idea of time has been bandied about on occasion, unless I'm plucking non-zombie Balthor from the past and placing him along side now-zombie Balthor, it's weird they could both exist at once and remain in play.  At least Jace 1.0 and Jace 2.0 are considered the same unique entity.
I'm not sure if the article implies an issue with also wanting to find a word other than legendary and I'm not sure how to fix this problem for artifacts, but for creatures I think a loyalty keyword could work.

------
Sir Awesome 2WW

Unique Human - Knight

Loyalty - WW (When this creature enters play, if it's loyalty cost was not paid and any opponent controls a creature named Sir Awesome exile it. If the loyalty cost was paid, exile opponents Sir Awesome. You may play this card from exile whenever you could cast a sorcery.)

All soldiers creatures you control get +2/+2
All other knight creatures you control get +1/+1

4/4
-----

(There are probably proper ways to format cards on here, but anyway)

I think loyalty could be used with colour mana requirements in this way to show that unique/legendary creatures will follow similiarly aligned planeswalkers and that some are more loyal to their original employer than others.

The way this implementation would work is that if you play Sir Awesomeand there are no other Sir Awesomes in play, it costs you 2WW. If there is another Sir Awesome in play it will cost you 2WWWW - if you want your sir awesome to stick around and exile your opponents. Thereafter your oponent can replay their Sir Awesome for 2WWWW. This way players can decide whether they want to spend resources fighting for the loyalty of the unique critter.
the main problem i see with grandeur is if your opponent has the legend you cant use the grandeur ability.
But if they come up with a mechanic like grandeur that works even if you dont control the legend but still has some amazing ability it would still flow with any specific person plot like theyre just using a big spell and you could still cast it for its legend rule to deal with imminent loss
Little to no down side to new mechanic
Definitely no more dead draws
More interesting and fun combinations for more fun plays
You can still use as answer or mechanic to get other use but will still see lots of play and even 4 copies in tournament decks

To answer the R&D challenge
1. The ability shows more dynamics to the unique character or other permanent
2. It even adds to the flavor of the permanent
3. It would be like the rewording of the trample ability when urzas block came out familiar but get a slightly new feeling but progressing
4. Just call it a new mechanic but limited to legends it worked fine with grandeur
As others have said, Granduer handles a lot of these issues provided a careful eye towards power level.

Also as others have said...this all sounds rather familiar to many issues regarding Planeswalkers which many can argue are far stronger than creatures, legendary or otherwise.

Many legends have some sort of unique ability, thus granting their owner 3 Options Per Turn (Attack, Block, Ability) or more at the cost of Mana, Card, and Vulnerability (creatures are the most easily destroyed permanent in Magic).

Planeswalkers often cost just as much as a decent creature, offer 3 options at minimum while also providing secondary support (for example, I can use a +1 ablity and have my 'walker "block" AKA my opponent attacks it rather than me), do not suffer from Summoning Sickness, have significantly less Vulnerability, and get stronger with time (creatures often do the opposite, GobGuide T1 is far stronger than GobGuide T8).

Magic is NOT a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, answers ARE better than threats in Magic, and Planeswalkers are currently the strongest perm in Modern Magic and usually serve as both.

Legendary may be an ongoing "issue" for Magic...but 'walkers are a pressing one right now.

I was surprised when they debuted, shocked when they evolved, and am still adjusting to their current form.  Players I respect have mentioned Gideon being too strong in my ("fair") Cube and that is not something I can ignore.

I love them, I do, but something has to happen, even if it is only a much tighter focus and hold on the power level and cost of future Planeswalkers.

Now, if you're still reading, I would like to point out what I consider another serious proble, one I've seen before and can still only disagree with based on what I have read from dailymtg.com and you Mark Rosewater:

Suspend cast as a "problem."

I'm sorry, but when I read an article back-when concerning Suspend and how 'grokkable' it was I cheered.

Now, years later, I've seen multiple instances implying that Suspend is poor in some way.

A "downside" mechanic?  You must be kidding me.

What "downside" is there?

The only possible downside I could see anyone possibly latching on to is that they assign some sort of additional mana cost to a given suspend card (assume that the card could be costed lower "without suspend").

This is, in my opinion, ridiculous and could only apply logically in relation to cards that have already been considered a design issue.

Example:  I can understand how a player might think when shown Rift Bolt and Lightning Bolt that Suspend is, for some reason, supposed to be "good enough" to have the spell cost 3 times as much as Lightning Bolt and thus come to the conclusion, "Hey, that really isn't so great, why play that when I could play this?"

In the meantime, decent players now that Lightning Bolt is a standard that is incredibly hard to meet and deal with as a designer, Rift Bolt is a damn fine card and that, by comparison, more apt cards fall in line quite well (Burst Lightning, Galvanic Blast).

The ability to play cards both early and late for given bonuses or seperate abilities is often the hallmark of what I consider a great card (Cycling, Evoke, Kicker, SUSPEND).  What are these poll questions, who are they asking, what cards are they using that somehow leads to Suspend being labelled poorly?

Ok, as a designer and player I could maybe see some tension in one other way...most cards are "better" coming off Suspend then straight cast so some players may get frustrated when they don't get the most bang for their buck?  Sounds like normal Magic to me.
I'm surprised Future Sight's Grandeur mechanic wasn't mentioned at all as a solution to the dead draw problem.  Was it considered too inelegant to be used on a regular basis?  Was it unpopular for some other reason?  Actually, now that I think about it, any sort of ability that can be activated from the hand instead of the battlefield (such as cycling or Simian Spirit Guide's ability) could prevent the dead draw problem.  It wouldn't necessarily have to be an ability that only works when the legendary permanent is on the battlefield.

I'm also surprised legendary lands weren't mentioned either, since they have some flavor issues--although I suppose those issues have less to do with their legendary status and more to do with what land cards are supposed to represent.




I had the same thoughts about the grandeur issues.  I think the mechanic was an interesting attempt to resolve the problem, but would agree that it's too "inelegant" if for no other reason than: 1. Legends would start to have a "same-ish" feel to them.  2. That's a lot of text, especially if the legend could be doing something else more awesome.


This reminded me of another game my friends and I play off and on: The Game of Thrones card game.  Since it's based around a very character oriented book series, there are lots of "legends" (called Uniques in that game).  If you draw a double of a particular character, you can simply lay that card down under the original one in play, no cost.  If the that character would die, you just discard the extra.  The biggest issue I have with that, is it can cause particular threats to be much more difficult to get rid of, and could belittle the resiliance Thruns out there (if only a little).

Just a thought on the dead draw possibility.  AGOT has other rules for the uniques, similar to the legend rule, but I'm glad that WOTC did not duplicate one of the rulings in that game.  Once a unique character is put in the "dead" pile (different from the discard pile), that character can not be played again, creating a truly dead draw in some instances.
Just a thought on the dead draw possibility.  AGOT has other rules for the uniques, similar to the legend rule, but I'm glad that WOTC did not duplicate one of the rulings in that game.  Once a unique character is put in the "dead" pile (different from the discard pile), that character can not be played again, creating a truly dead draw in some instances.

What makes Magic truly unique among card games (such as that one, Dragonball, or any of the dozens of Star Wars games) is that "uniques" are entirely optional.

The simple fact of Legendary stuff dying to pretty much the same stuff that kills anything else means there's no problem to fix.  The fact that most of these legends cost a pile of mana means they are dead cards most of the time anyway.

I do not see the "problem" at all.
As I understand the article, originally, having a Legendary creature on the battlefield meant that no one else could play another copy of that creature. Then it was changed to be almost the same as the rule for Planeswalkers - one could play a second copy, but that sent both copies to the graveyard. And this is perceived to be a problem, so a new rule is needed.

The suggestion of a loyalty cost is, I suppose, a way they could go. I didn't think of anything like that.

Instead, I thought the only other alternative might be, say, to flip a coin to see which copy stays on the battlefield. Which is obviously a very bad idea, and so, with its problems, perhaps legendary should just be left alone.

Another possibility, although it does bend flavor a bit, would be that each player is only allowed one copy of any legendary permanent, but copies controlled by different players do not interfere with each other. That is radical, but it would simplify matters. The cards could still interact, getting one's copy out first would no longer be an enormous advantage - but being legendary would still be a restriction on the card.

Getting complicated, one could have the rule for legendaries like this:

You have legendary X out. Your opponent plays a copy. Your opponent's copy goes to the graveyard, but your copy is exiled. When a legendary permanent is exiled this way, you can play another copy of it from your hand without paying its mana cost.

This penalizes using a legendary as an answer, which is good, but it increases the advantage of the player who got his copy out first, which is bad.

Still, if splitting the difference between the old rule and the current rule is the way to go, one can be less complicated.

How about this: when you play a second copy of a legendary, your copy goes to the graveyard (or is even exiled), but your opponent's copy (the existing copy previously on the battlefield) is only bounced back into his hand?

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Another option (and I'm sure many will follow):

Whenever a Legendary permanent enters the battlefield under an opponent's control, if you control a permanent with the same name as that permanent, you may choose to sacrifice your copy of the permanent.  If you do, all permanents with that name are put into their owner's graveyards.

Whenever a Legendary permanent enters the battlefield under your control, if you control a permanent with the same name as that permanent, it's put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.
I swear, I havn't been this pissed at Maro since the removal of Mana Burn. Really? Dead design space, yet the same issue for planeswalkers don't apply? Yeah, I'm going to go on and point somethings out.

Legends fill a flavor void, I mean magic needs hero's, and legends work for that. Now with the three exceptions being Lin Siivi, Jitte, Akroma (and just for good measure Emrakul, and if your very old school, Ihsans Shade), honestly how often did the legend rule come into play? I think in my 10+ years of active magic career, I might have seen a total of 2 cases, and clone being a kill spell.
Secondly, I never felt the idea was never wrong once they killed the creature type. It cleared up plentynof issues and added a whole new layer of strategy to the game (clearly strategy is a bad word at R&D). I still don't feel the dead draw factor being all that big a deal outside maybe the highest "or lowest" (depending on who you ask), point of the game.

Also for the people who said "just don't print legendary permanents, it worked with banding." It's obvious you never learned how banding worked. I want to rant about the drawback part of the article as well, but Hacimen summed up everything I could say.
My suggestion is more of a design/development change than a rules one.  What if every legend/planeswalker was designed to be powerful and, therefore, expensively costed.  This makes a lot of flavor sense.  They must have been pretty impressive to become a legend, and being legends, they don't come cheap.

For the premier example, think Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker: he's obviously insane, but the fact that he's not the easiest to cast keeps him from being an auto-include in every deck that plays his colors.  And even if you were running him, you wouldn't run four copies.

In fact, I think that few if any legends or planeswalkers should be so aggresively costed as to be a four-of in competitive decks.  They can be powerful, and even efficient, but not cheap.

Let's see how this addresses MaRo's four problems:
1) It's an all-downside mechanic:  Slight change for the better.  It's still the same mechanic, but with legends being cast with less frequency, at least the downside won't come up as much.
2) It creates dead draws:  Significant change for the better.  If you're running 2 copies, you're significantly less likely to get stuck with both in your hand at the same time.  If an average game of Magic lasts 8 turns or so, this will only happen about one game in sixteen.  (Compared to 40% of the time with four copies.)
3) It leads to unfun gameplay:  Slight change for the better.  Just as with the all-downside mechanic, at least the unfun part comes up less frequently.  I suppose the fun part of casting your legend comes up less frequently as well, but with the same 2 copies and the same 8 turns, you'll still see your card nearly one game in two.  (Compared to 70% of the time with four copies, so it's not all that much of a difference.)
4) It encourages people to play them as answers:  Effectively solved.  Cheap removal is a much better answer to an expensive threat than the same expensive threat, and if your opponent's playing fewer copies, the need of answering that particular card decreases.

As a bonus, running fewer than the full four copies also increases varience, which Mark said he considers an upside.  (Personally, I disagree -- I think Magic already has too much varience, especially regarding mana screw.  But that's a topic for another day.)

Really the only major "downside" to this solution is that it will never be implemented, because this would lower the demand for rare/mythic cards, and Wizards loves $40+ chase rares.
Legends are fine as is. They're expected to be more powerful than ordinary creatures, and this small downside unobtrusively "buys more points" for that.

I hated Grandeur. It felt like a money-grab. I'm glad there are powerful rares that a player can be happy to own less than four of.

Of course, I mostly just Cube, so they're never a problem for me.

You could always just remove the Legend Rule entirely. Who cares if there are twin Praetors on the battlefield? The players can come up with some thematic explanation, if they even pause to think about it. We all accept Hawks wielding Swords.
[stuff]


Which Legends, exactly, are being hosed by this "problem"?

Here's the issues with Legendary Creatures, as I see it (and mentioned a few posts back).

  1. They cost a pile of mana, and thus are dead cards for most of the game anyway (Emmy).

  2. They're cheap and fragile, which means they're both quickly killed and easilly played again (Isamaru).

#1 is just a function of being bloated.  #2 is not really a problem at all.
I believe he devoted a couple of his last four points to stating that the fix needed to be as elegant as the current legendary rules. Of the proposals that actually produce a significant advantage, here, none of them are anywhere near that elegant.

The article states pretty clearly that Legendary is much more a flavour ability than a mechanical one - shouldn't we be asking flavour what the Legend Rule should do? I'm sure they wouldn't have gone this long without asking it internally, but what would actually happen if two Planeswalkers attempted to summon the same real entity at one time? Would the second summoning fail (the old Legend Rule)? Would the entity be summoned from one side of the battlefield to the other (the most common proposal here)? Or would it do something else, entirely?

You see, this is Magic - things don't always make sense like we'd expect. What's really stopping two wizards of reality-bending power from summoning the same entity simultaneously? Why can't two copies of the same Legend coexist? As flavorful as it seems to establish a 'one at a time' rule, Magic's flavour doesn't really need it - and if Magic's mechanics don't need it either, what's it there for? Obviously something should serve to indicate that a creature is unique, but from what I gathered from the article, MaRo's not convinced that 'one-at-a-time' is it.

So, with nothing to stop them from coexisting peaceably, what would we want the Legend Rule to do? The closest analogue I can imagine is time travel; classically, a time traveller who comes into contact with himself threatens the very fabric of the universe. Now, that seems a little far-reaching for two copies of a magically generated unique entity, but... I could pretty easily see it destroying them. In short, what if the Legend Rule didn't disallow coexistence, but disallowed contact.

Of course, we'd have to define "contact" mechanically for that to work. Luckily, we already have a couple options in that regard:

1.) "Deals combat damage to" or "blocks or is blocked by" - basically, combat equals contact. This is used pretty regularly for contact-required abilities, so either would make sense. The biggest problem is that many Legends don't necessarily enter combat regularly, so it would affect aggressive ones much more than passive ones. Whether or not that's a bad thing, I don't know.

2.) The slightly more expanded version - D.E.B.T. My personal favourite, since that acronym needs a little more love. Damage, Enchanting, Blocking, and Targetting would count as "contact", destroying both copies of the Legend. Of course, this (and the previous one, even more so) work particularly well for creatures, and have limited effects on other types of Legends.

Now, there are likely more possibilities - something more far-reaching than what I've posed, that would have a greater effect on other permanent types - but I feel like it's heading in the right sort of direction.

From what I picked up from the article, the current mechanic doesn't really need to be fixed, as much as they need a similarly elegant, similarly evocative new mechanic. It simply has to capture the flavour of unique entities, without producing as many gameplay issues as the current mechanic. Just my advice, but try not to limit yourself to fixing the mechanic they already have; I'm sure they've been trying that for ages. If you can, give a new take on what it means to be Legendary - because I think that, more than anything, is what they're looking for...
Hmm... this is a tricky problem. My first instinct is to conclude that there's no way to satisfy all the requirements at once. In particular, the requirement that the new Legendary rule feel right is - whilst obviously necessary - an extremely tight constraint.
I for one like Legendary creatures exactly the way they are.  But if a fix is needed I have several ideas.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Oblivion Ring. Whenever a Legendary creature enters the battlefield you oblivion ring all other copies. Let me explain this a little further. The oblivion ring effect would have to chain i.e. when you cast your third copy of a legendary creature it will not bring back the first. Copies one and two will be exiled. When copy three dies, copy two will come back and when that copy dies, copy one comes back. Wizards would probably not want to use the exile zone due to ramifications and it would probably be better to give Legendaries their own zone for this. Additionally, the Legendary coming back in or leaving should probably not trigger abilities, making this more like phasing than exiling.

This is definitely more inline with the flavor when your opponent casts a legendary creature. Both of them blowing up does not make much sense. But in this mechanic they basically summon the Legend from your side of the battlefield to theirs.


This makes it less downside and more different. Rather than extra copies being more of a creature, it sort of powers up the first one you cast, giving it extra lives. From a flavor perspective, since you already summoned Thrun you instead use your summon spell to strengthen his bond to this plane.

This makes extra copies into less of a dead draw since you can basically shore up your guy against removal (When they kill the second copy, the first one comes back).

This makes gameplay much more fun. If your opponent takes out your Elesh Norn, rather than being sad that your Elesh Norn is gone it becomes a game of trying to get rid of your opponent's Elesh Norn in order to get yours back. The end result is one of satisfaction for at least one player. (Flavorwise you are trying to win the legendary creature back by showing off your power.)

This also makes legendary creatures much worse answers for themselves, decreasing the likelyhood of them being played as such.
a revision of my first attempt

------
Sir Awesome 2WW

Human - Knight

Unique (If at anytime you control two permanents named Sir Awesome, sacrifice one.)

Loyalty - WW (You may pay the loyalty cost when casting this card. As it resolves if an opponent controls a card with the same name, that player exiles it if the loyalty cost was paid, otherwise exile this card. You may cast this card from exile any time you could cast a sorcery)

All soldiers creatures you control get +2/+2
All other knight creatures you control get +1/+1

4/4
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Richard Garfield designed another game called Vampire: the Eternal Struggle.  The game involves playing lots of vampire characters, which are similar to creatures in some ways.  Almost all of the vampires are unique, which basically means that they are all Legendary.  If two or more players control vampires with the same name in play, those vampires become contested.  Basically, this means that each player is struggling to control that vampire.  During each turn, a player may yield the contest or pay 1 life to continue the contest.  While contested, a vampire basically can't do anything.

A system like that could easily work under the rules of Magic.  Whenever two or more Legendary permanents with the same name enter the battlefield, they become contested.  They lose all abilities and can't tap, untap, attack, or block.  However, they are still in play and can be targeted and destroyed as normal.  At the beginning of each player's upkeep, he or she may pay the Legend's mana cost.  If the cost is not paid, the contest is yielded and that player sacrifices his or her Legend.  The contest ends if all but one copy of the Legendary permanent leaves the battlefield.

I don't think this really solves the problems of the current Legend rule, except for perhaps the issue with using one Legend as an answer for itself, as it is never guaranteed whether the first or second copy will be destroyed.  However, I still wanted to put this method out there in order to spark some creative thinking.

Another quick aside. Just because I say R&D is down on downsides doesn't mean that they're going to disappear completely. There is a time and place for downside cards (and, to a lesser extent, downside mechanics), but we choose to use them very carefully and only when they serve a specific purpose. I just want to stress that downside isn't going away, it's just been, well, downsized. And this all happened years ago, so if you like modern Magic the level of downside is about where it's going to stay.




1. I wasn't aware modern Magic had a "level of downside." Unless you mean the copy of Jace that has to wait until your existing Jace gets killed.
2. Thank you for saving me the trouble of checking back during Innistrad.

I actually came to this thread just to see if you or one of the other people who loved downsides had complained about this part of the article yet. I can't sympathise on the downside issue since I'm one of those players who hates using Goblin Guide even though I know he's strong. But I can sympathise on the issue of game designers having a different vision for their game to the sort of thing you want to play with. (It happens a lot with bands as well, I'm always telling my friends "I like your old stuff better than your new stuff" even though they think they've taken a step forward).

Can't really disagree with your point 1 though... when Torpor Orb came out I had a look through Standard to see if there were any of your own abilities that you would want to hose, and all that I found were Scythe Tiger and Necrogen Scudder.



Yeah unfortunately, there just hasn't been en ough to satiate my appetite. It's not that I am a masochist, although I have certainly made such decks. But when the "puzzle" aspect disappears from cards I am just not interested. I am a little surprised that there are only two such cards in Standard though. I guess it underscores my concern about the direction of the game. It's almost done passing me by, and when Fareies rotates out of Nu-Extended the process will be complete. At that point it's either get back on or forget about it. Mark's not selling me on sticking around to see what they have cooking this fall.

AsNow, if you're still reading, I would like to point out what I consider another serious proble, one I've seen before and can still only disagree with based on what I have read from dailymtg.com and you Mark Rosewater:

Suspend cast as a "problem."

I'm sorry, but when I read an article back-when concerning Suspend and how 'grokkable' it was I cheered.

Now, years later, I've seen multiple instances implying that Suspend is poor in some way.

A "downside" mechanic?  You must be kidding me.

What "downside" is there?

The only possible downside I could see anyone possibly latching on to is that they assign some sort of additional mana cost to a given suspend card (assume that the card could be costed lower "without suspend").



I don't get suspend hate either. If it is true that people do not see this as a beneficial ability warranting an additional cost, and R&D is staying away from it as a result...well, see above.  I am not the target audience of this game, and all my existing cards are still in the binders. Now Legends do not strike me as an issue either: they are often more interesting and/or powerful than other creatures at the same cost and they have the flavor built-in. But if these are the problems they need to "solve," then the inevitable has officially happened. Thank you Mark, for giving much of my time back to me and guaranteeing my DCI number remains dormant.

I just hope I can get a few more people off the EDH craze. The thought of having to change "collection of playing cards" to "collection of cards with pretty art" does not sit well with me.
The funny thing about a solution which would involve allowing players to play multiple legends is that it would make the legendary supertype completely irrelevant and thus stop Wizards from printing legendary lands, artifacts and enchantments again. Making the legendary rule so that it only counts for your own permanents would not solve the dead draw problem.

Quite frankly, I don't see the problem. In playing almost ten years of Magic, I can honestly say that I've never played a Legend to kill another Legend and that I've almost never had dead draws (limited to a lonely Chainer now and then). This is in large part because my collection does not tend to include multiples of one particular rare. Then again, that describes most Magic players, and especially the ones that really care about this issue (I don't think tournament players give a damn that they don't get to play with their Emrakul after they kill the opponent's version of it). I think Wizards is stuck in a world where all their players buy playsets of all the cards they print. But they don't. And hence, the legendary rule is hardly an issue. In fact, I much dislike Grandeur and Demigod of Revenge. I am aware of the power of the cards and I'd love them if I'd have four of them, but I don't. And hence, to me, they are horribly overcosted and have drawbacks.

Also, seriously, what's up with the random suspend hate? I have to side with Raedien on this one: it was just random and undeserved. Suspend is a pretty okay mechanic. There are some fun suspend cards and not many horrible ones. But the great powers that be have decided that Time Spiral sucked and should be forever remembered as (together with Kamigawa) the worst designed block ever, and everything that was printed in it should be put on a pillory to be defamed by anyone and everyone.

Coldsnap, for example, did far worse on this level than Suspend. Cumulative Upkeep, anyone? Recover cards that you'd lose forever if you didn't keep your mana open? Ripple cards which were horribly overcosted 80% of the time?
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
This would probably never be done, but in my mind the best solution is to keep the rule the same but only allow one of each Legendary card (including Planeswalkers) PER DECK.

Advantages:
- the most flavorful solution, Legendary means unique
- creates way more varied decklists and gameplay
- prices of those cards could go way down, which would make Magic a lot more accessible to people with less money (getting one cheap Jace is a lot easier than four expensive ones)

Disadvantages:
- prices of those cards could go way down, which won't sit all that well with alot of people I reckon.
- you could argue that matches become more draw-dependant (I drew my Jace and you didn't), but really that's the case in Vintage also and it works fine there. 

So there you go, problem solved!