Q:So, since you'll get inundated with questions on it--Thoughts on the new Legendary rule?
I think it’ll be way better for legends and planeswalkers, in gameplay terms and just overall. The disadvantage of being legendary will be diminished. Legends will be more resilient, and won’t die to random Clone effects. It’ll allow us to make cooler legends, and do stuff like legendary lands more. All of this elevates the power of legends, and even gives them some new tricks (such as “rescuing” a Pacifism’d legend by casting another copy, “refreshing” your planeswalker with a new copy, and the like).
The flavor, the way we had come to understand it, does suffer. We’ve said for a long time that what’s going on in the ”movie in your head” is that you’re asking a favor from an actual person, and that they’re coming to join your side — and only your side. Maybe “blowing up both copies” was never a particularly flavorful means of preserving uniqueness, but it got the job done of keeping one and only one Mirko Vosk on the board, reinforcing the sense that he’s thrown in his lot with you and there’s only one of him.
Now my copy of Mirko can get in a fight with your copy. I Giant Growth mine and omg, Mirko has killed himself, what is going on, continuity paradox. When we were talking over the possibility of making this change in R&D, I kept saying “MY THALIA FIGHTS YOUR THALIA, YOU GUYS, HELLO,” and arguing that we’ve made some great strides in recent years to improve the game by embracing top-down flavor. And there were certainly some who were sympathetic to that argument.
But the truth is, the legendary rule wasn’t leading to good gameplay. Being legendary was a prominent, meaningful downside — prominent enough that it was significantly diminishing the power of legends — prominent enough that legends were suffering in their awesomeness because of it — prominent enough that it warranted hammering out and testing a replacement rule.
The flavor will have to adapt, this time. I had already thought of Runeclaw Bear as not a particular Runeclaw Bear, whisked away from his Runeclaw Lair somewhere — but as a kind of conjured bear woven out of the aether to match some archetypal Platonic form of Runeclaw Bearness and be instantiated at your side. Still a bear in all respects, but not actually missing from some other plane. A similar situation will have to be the case for legendary creatures — I summoned Niv-Mizzet and so did you, and my aether-woven dragon can fight yours. My Clone can copy yours and they can both hang out.
Making the planeswalkers line up with the legendary rule change was the right thing to do, but the flavor might be even trickier with planeswalkers. Is it Jace or isn’t it? Is yours summoned from a different point in the Jace timeline (the Jace-time continuum, if you will) as mine? Will they be surprised to see each other? Or are we both calling in favors from Jace, and he’s dealing with us both simultaneously, using his abilities for each of us as he sees fit? At least it’s a lot harder for planeswalkers to actually get in fights with themselves (although Gideon could certainly manage it).
All in all, I’m happy we’re going to see legends become more awesome as cards as a result of this rule. I think the gameplay is probably just plain better (and the developers tell me it is). Whenever rules changes like this affect the metaphor of the game, it can rattle our intuitions and mental imagery that we’ve built up over the years — as Vorthoses, we rely on those flavor explanations a lot — and I can’t pretend this rule change improves the “movie in your head.” But I think we can adapt if it means improving the fun of the game and allowing more legends to shine.
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- havelockv said: Doug Beyer confirms Runeclaw Lair in M14!
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- rnaaron said: Not having clone effects kill legends is at least as much (if not more) better for the ‘movie in my head’ as having Rakdos fighting and killing himself is bad for it. Planeswalkers helping both sides of a duel at the same time feels just fine to me.
- sketchydoodles said: I’ll just assume that every duplicate is Lazav :D
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- piaco said: Yeah, it’s another wall-with-boots issue, but I liked the overall change. I’m confident it’ll improve the game as a whole, and my Vorthosian brain can handle it, yet my Vorthosian heart’s suffering a little pain.
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