Legend Rule Change: What it means for Cube

For those of you who don’t know yet, Wizards announced some rule changes the other day. If you would like to read the official announcement from Wizards, you can find it here.

The short and dirty on the Legend Rule Change is this:

“The new rule separates the field of play into your battlefield and your opponent’s battlefield, and only checks those to make sure that there are not multiple copies of one legend with the same name or Planeswalker with the same type. When multiple copies are on the battlefield under one player’s control, that player chooses one to put into the graveyard as a state-based effect until only one remains. You will still only be allowed to have one version or copy of Jace or Geist of Saint Traft on the battlefield at one time, but your opponent will be allowed to have one as well. If you play a second, or one comes into play under your control for another reason (such as an Oblivion Ring leaving play), you will choose which one you wish to retain.”

-Sam Stoddard (WotC)


Right, so, what does this mean for us cube drafters? Well, as one of you pointed out in a recent comment, it would appear that clones like phrexian metamorph are taking a hit. It seems pretty reasonable to think this and at first that’s all I thought about, but there is more going on with this rule change.

First, we’re going to look at what creatures are actually being effected by the rule change. Then in the artifact section breakdown I’ll rant about jitte. And last, Ill talk about the effects to planeswalkers.

Legendary Cube Creatures

So, I knew the ratio of legendary to non legendary creatures in the cube was low but when I went to the list to get the actual numbers. I got this:

  1. Venser, Shaper Savantthrun the last troll
  2. Vendilion Clique
  3. Thrun, the Last Troll
  4. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
  5. Squee, Goblin Nabob
  6. Oona, Queen of the Fae
  7. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
  8. Meloku the Clouded Mirror
  9. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
  10. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
  11. Keiga, the Tide Star
  12. Isamaru, Hound of Konda
  13. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
  14. Geth, Lord of the Vault
  15. Geist of Saint Traft
  16. Elesh NornGrand Cenobite
  17. Edric, Spymaster of Trest
  18. Brion Stoutarm

Eighteen measly creatures – That’s only 8.9% of the creatures in my cube. OK so, 8.9% of the creatures in the cube are going to have the security of not being able to be killed by an opponent’s clone effects. There are only three clones in my cube: ClonePhantasmal Image, and Phyrexian Metamorph.

So we have three clones in the cube that are losing the ability to kill an opponent’s legendary creature. Big deal. Clones won’t kill an opponent’s Ob Nixilis, the Fallen anymore and thrun will be virtually un-killable. But, they’ll make a copy (what they are supposed to do) – giving you the same reach as your opponent. They will be dueling Kozilek, Butcher of Truth‘s enablers. And, occasionally, they will not be the kill spell that you really wish they could be.


Legendary Cube Artifact

There is only one legendary artifact that matters: Umezawa’s Jitte
umezawas jitte

The only interaction changed here is Jitte with Metamorph. The result is that you can’t blow up your opponent’s but you get your own.

Yeah, metamorph will no longer act as a 3 mana trade for any legendary creature or artifact, but are you really going to be sad when you copy your opponent’s Jitte and end up getting to keep a Jitte of your own? Probably not. While paying 3 colorless and 2 life for a Jitte is definitely worse than paying two for one, it still kicks ass.

“Hey Sky, when would you pay 3 colorless and 2 life for a Jitte?”    Every time. 

I would much rather have the option to do a little work by copying the Jitte and then blow theirs up with a Viridian Shaman (keeping Jitte for myself), than just always having to blow up the Jitte when I copy it. Wouldn’t you?   It’s a Jitte, it is worth the work.


Planeswalkers effected by the Legend Rule Change

The effect on planeswalkers by the change is pretty interesting. Since playing a planeswalker that shares a name with a planeswalker that you already control, you will now have no problem dropping jace beleren, taking a couple turns drawing extra cards and then exchanging him for a stronger jace. Sweet.

jace the mind sculptor


This also means that we will FINALLY be able to witness the insanity of planeswalker mirrors in cube!

Jace vs. Jace
Garruk vs. Garruk

Sound like Ali vs. Frazier?
Nope, but I like it.

The main problem that I have with the effect to planeswalkers is the loss of three fairly important kill spells. Jace the mind sculptor, Jace Beleren, and Jace, Architect of Thought were all strong answers against Jace, Memory Adept. A lot of cubes didn’t run Adept as it was, but now there are three less cards in the cube that answer him. YIKES!

An option could be to take him out, but what would be the reason behind that? That he is too good? I can’t take him out for being too good. This is a powered cube. A lot of cards are too good. Where would I draw the line? It doesn’t make sense to take cards out of cube for being too good. The reason they make it into cube in the first place is because the are the best. Duh

So, what is the outcome of leaving Jace, Memory Adept in while losing three removal spells for him. Well, it just makes the other cards that deal with him even better than they are now. Pithing Needle, Phyrexian Revoker, Beast Within, and the like all become more important. Great! These cards were highly under valued.


Concluding on the Effects of the Legend Rule Change

The effect can’t really be measured yet. On one hand, the game is gaining a vast array of new dynamics. Planeswalkers will be battling themselves- and that will be sweet. You’ll be able to “level up” your planeswalkers with the ones sitting in your hand that would have been dead cards. Clones will also have the mirrors available- Oona versus Oona will be a thing at some point…and that’s awesome. I for one am looking forward to the first time I see two Jittes fighting it out.

On the other hand, there are a lot of kill spells disappearing. I think time will tell as to how often this will lose games where once it could have been game saving. But, my prediction is that the overall effect will be positive.

One thought on “Legend Rule Change: What it means for Cube

  1. I removed Jace, Memory Adept not because he’s powerful, but because he isn’t fun. His power level is crazy, but my players didn’t like it, so ultimately he had to go.

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