Nearly a year ago I attended a Star City Open for the purpose of playing side events. I played one Commander pod in which multiple people wanted to play the same general. This lead to a ruling by the staff judges that the “Legend” rule did not apply, period. However, I was playing Sharuum, the Hegemon, and I NEED the Legend rule in order even have a chance at winning the game. The judges conferred and came back with a rule stating that the Legend rule would only apply individually to each player, and wouldn’t matter across battlefields. Now Wizards has made nearly the same rules change.
Good morning internet, as many of you already know, two articles posted on the Mothership last night announcing that as of July 13th and the pre-release of M14 the Legend and Planeswalker rules are changing.
They do a great job of explaining the what, how, and why of it all, but for those that missed it, a synopsis of the change is that the Legend and Planeswalker rules no longer consider an opponent’s battlefield. Therefore, if I have a Ruric Thar, the Unbowed in play, then any of my opponents may cast their own Ruric Thar or a Clone, copying Ruric Thar and then we both would have a Ruric Thar in play. Additionally, when one player does have two copies of a Legend or Planeswalker, the Legend and Planeswalker rules only remove one of those copies from the board. Therefore, if I have Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker on the board and he’s running low on counters, I can then cast another copy of him, and I get to choose which one stays and which one is removed. In this case I would remove the first one and keep the one with more counters.
I’m not sure how this will impact other formats, though I imagine it will have the desired effect, which is to say that in any blue deck it was ok to run multiple copies of any “Jace” Planeswalker as a removal spell in the mirror match. However, this will heavily impact Commander. Now, I know what you are thinking, and let me assure you, the combos reliant on Sharuum the Hegemon still work! Don’t go scrapping those decks, however, the value of a clone and/or copy effect in those decks, or any deck with blue in it for that matter, is now drastically reduced. It used to be that in my blue decks when I drew a Phyrexian Metamorph, I had to consider whether I wanted to get a copy of the best creature on the board, or whether I wanted to hold it for the purpose of removing an opponent’s general. Due to this rules change, these cards are far less versatile, and anyone that runs clones in their decks needs to seriously reevaluate those card choices. If you have copy effects in your deck and one of the primary reasons for doing so is as an answer to an opponent’s general or other Legends, then it would probably be a good idea to replace those cards with true removal spells. The other big change for Commander is that you no longer have to hold onto a Legend or Planeswalker just because an opponent beat you in getting it on the battlefield. This should yield slightly faster game play as well as more dynamic games. Just this past game night I had to make this choice. One of my opponents had Ruric Thar in play and I had Phantasmal Image in hand. I chose to cast it, copying some other big creature, as that would at least leave me a blocker which I seriously needed. If this change had already been in place I would have easily copied Ruric Thar.
The big difference for me is that it will be that much more difficult to remove an Avacyn, Angel of Hope from the board now, but in the end I agree with the changes and the reasoning behind them… after all, if they wanted to have clones be removal spells then Phantasmal Image would have just said “UU, destroy target legendary creature.”