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Predicting Legends Retold

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With the upcoming release of Dominaria United came the surprising announcement of a massive inclusion of the classic Legends expansion in this release. The most talked about aspect was clearly the Lost Legends promotion, where a bunch of boxes of Legends itself were found, opened, and the cards inserted randomly into Dominaria United collector boosters. To lean even further into that, however, Wizards has also announced that the set will have box toppers which also reflect the Legends expansion in their own way.

Ramirez DePietro
Ramirez DePietro, Pillager

These cards - forming a subset known as Legends Retold - reimagine a smattering of legendary creatures from the original Legends set. Legends was a tremendously low powered set in many regards, and given that it was their first attempt at legendary creatures, the majority of them are woefully underpowered. Most haven't even seen a new rendition since their original printing (or in many cases their reprinting in Chronicles). As such, it's high time that they received their due and were given a chance to shine.

With Dominaria United previews kicking off in just over a week with the Wizards Presents show on the 18th, I figured it would be a great opportunity to try and predict what legends may make an appearance in this subset. There's no guarantee we'll see everything I'm covering, but I think this could be a fun experiment to see what I'll get right and what I'll miss on. Before sharing my predictions, here's what we know about the Legends Retold cards so far:

  • There are 20 cards all together, each one is a new version of a classic legendary creature from Legends.
  • While the majority of these revisions will be creatures, there will be one planeswalker among the bunch.
  • We've seen three creatures so far: Jasmine Boreal of the Seven, Tor Wauki the Younger, and Ramirez DePietro, Pillager. Each of these are allied colored and uncommon.

This gives us a simple basis to work off of for making these predictions. Given how Wizards tends to work with balancing cycles, I also strongly believe we'll see two of each allied color pair and two of each shard. This is largely due to the fact that Legends featured no enemy color pair or wedge cards in the entire set. Going with two of each seems the most reasonable and logical way to approach this to keep things fair and balanced overall.

Also, while we know this isn't necessarily something that might fully rule creatures out thanks to Ramirez DePietro, I think we won't see any of the original elder dragons. Yes, that includes Nicol Bolas. All of these cards were and still are iconic in their own right. Hell, the original name for the Commander format was Elder Dragon Highlander - a name that spawned from these elder dragons here. However, we've already seen all five get revisited with a full cycle in Core Set 2019 and Bolas has several versions since. I think WotC will be looking to give the lesser known legends their due here instead - particularly ones on the reserved list.

So now I'm going to dive in and make my predictions for what we might see in the next week or so. How many will I get right? Let's find out!

Adun Oakenshield

Adun Oakenshield

We're going to get started with a classic Jund legendary in Adun Oakenshield. In truth, I was a little hesitant to include him on this list. Apart from being an iconic early legend and being on the reserved list, there's little that makes him particularly stand out. Creature recursion abilities are a dime a dozen nowadays so I think it makes him a little harder to stand out on his own. Despite that, there's no denying he's still an iconic legend and the other Jund color options aren't all that exciting. I think if they can find some interesting ways to expand on this effect, he'll make a fine addition to this small subset of cards.

Angus Mackenzie

Angus Mackenzie

Angus Mackenzie is a personal favorite card of mine. I ran him in a Tri-Color Bant list for a while in college until my copy was stolen from me. His ability is especially unique being the only real dedicated Fog commander. There're other legends that play in similar spaces by making it so creatures can't attack you or are disincentivized from attacking you, but none do outright Fog nonsense like Angus. That alone makes him arguably the most sought after legendary creature in the set, and while it's not possible to do a direct reprint in this set, Wizards would be fools to not make a new one of him. I get that continual Fog effects aren't the most fun, but this is a unique commander with a uniquely classic ability and it should - and I expect will be - honored with a new version in this set.

Dakkon Blackblade

Dakkon Blackblade

Dakkon is one of three or four potential candidates for a planeswalker card in this set. However, with him recently getting a planeswalker card in Modern Horizons 2, I get the feeling he won't be getting another one here. Of course, it's certainly possible, as I expect Dihada and Jared to both have planeswalkers on their respective Commander precons for Dominaria United, but I get the feeling they'll want to give Dakkon a cool new creature card instead. His original iteration is certainly iconic, but it's vastly underpowered by today's standards and could use a tune-up. For example, with the advent of equipment, he could actually create an equipment of the Blackblade that powers him up when equipped.

So, who's the planeswalker going to be? Stay tuned and find out!

Gabriel Angelfire

Gabriel Angelfire

Gabriel is a really cool card that looks better than he actually is. He clearly comes from an era when creatures weren't very good and in a world where Serra Angels and Shivan Dragons were the game's best, it's not hard to see how we got here. In truth, the keyword soupy nature of this card makes Gabriel Angelfire extremely easy to work with, as you can very easily lean into that aspect. It does fall into a bit of that design space that's typical of Akroma, but I think it could very much be made to work here. It's high time we gave him an actually decent card!

Gwendlyn Di Corci

Gwendlyn Di Corci

Gwendlyn seems like a very easy choice on the merits of one thing alone: her card was not included in the Lost Legends promotion. This might perplex some people. Most of the cards removed were due to featuring art by extremely controversial artist Harold McNeill and cards with some culturally sensitive names, art, or flavor text. With Gwendlyn, the issue was likely more the art than the card itself, which has been known for being fairly racy by Magic standards. The reserved list as well ensures that she will never again show up, and this would make her one of the few original legendary creatures not appearing in any capacity.

Despite these issues - or perhaps in part because of them - she's long been one of the more popular and most expensive legendary creatures in Legends. Discarding is a no-brainer thing for Grixis to be doing and you could easily make it work well here. Perhaps add a little bit of Chains of Mephistopheles flair to it if you want to be extra spicy. Best of all, you can still use a sort of seductress flair to represent this... just not in quite the aggressively sexual manner of the original card.

Halfdane

Halfdane

Clones are more common than ever in Magic and Halfdane was clearly an original take on the concept. In the game's early days, there were actually a lot of issues getting Clone to work within the rules, which prevented it from being reprinted for a long time. You may recall the famous story of Morphling originally being intended to be a Clone reprint but when they determined it wouldn't work, they made Morphling as is and the rest is history. To riff off of this and make it something more unique and workable in the rules, we got Halfdane.

Halfdane is actually really cool and we've seen some clone legends as well (usually Sakashima) so he could fit quite well here. The big issue is that I think you'd have to revisit the way in which he does the cloning - here copying power and toughness but nothing else - so as to not cause issues with the reserved list. However, I think it can be made to work in a unique way and give us a very interesting take on a legendary clone.

Hazezon Tamar

Hazezon Tamar

Hazezon is another popular legendary creature that is an absolute house to play against and was one of the major protagonists of the first Legends stories. I'd go so far as to argue he may actually be the best legend of this set from a strict playability standpoint just off of how out of hand he can get. Ramp up a bunch, play Hazezon, and sacrifice or bounce him before the delayed trigger to make a bunch of tokens goes off. With enough mana and the right cards, you can even set up multiple token making triggers with no tokens to exit the field, making it very easy to make an army. We've never seen Sand Warrior tokens anywhere else, so this could be a cool way to get them into our hands somehow and give us a new version of this sweet iconic card that won't cost an arm and a leg.

Jedit Ojanen

Jedit Ojanen

I don't care who you are: if you saw the card of Jedit as a kid with that badass 80s metal cover looking art, you thought this card ruled. Then you tried doing something with it and realized it was a seven-mana 5/5 with no abilities. And it's a cat in *checks notes* Azorius colors? How bizarre! Jedit's a character who did end up getting another card in Planar Chaos in the form of Jedit Ojanen of Efrava, but that card distinctly didn't represent the original from Legends at all.

In truth, Jedit was one of the major heroes of the first set of Legends novels, retelling the comic book series that was based on him. While there wasn't a lot going on in terms of original card to work with for a remake, that lore can offer plenty for the designers to go off of. I definitely think it's safe to say that Jedit's one of the most slam dunk choices of this release.

Johan

Johan

If Jedit was the hero of the first Legends story, Johan was the villain. A monstrous tyrant, he terrorized Dominaria for years before ultimately being killed by Jedit. There's so much weirdness going on with Johan, though, for being the villain that he is. Why is this tyrant Naya colors? While true that we've seen villains in these colors before, it seems weird given the nature of the character. That's even more true when you see his character's design, looking like a cross between Darth Maul and the Lord of Darkness from the 1985 movie Legend, he seems like more of a Grixis style character than he does Naya. Even more weird is his ability. You can have him not attack and essentially give all your creatures vigilance.

None of this card seems to make sense with the character at all from what I can tell. I simply don't get it. Yet when I think of iconic legendary creatures from Legends, he instantly comes to mind if only for his striking art by Mark Tedin. Given his status in the story as a villain and his iconic design, I think that Johan stands to be a very safe bet for inclusion. In spite of that, I think he's going to be one of the ones needing the biggest overhaul and will look incredibly different by comparison.

Livonya Silone

Livonya Silone

Of all the color combinations when it comes to legendary creatures of Legends, Gruul easily felt like the slim pickings of the bunch. One particular legend who I'll get to later stood out and the rest were painfully mediocre. I went with Livonya as the secondary pick due to the badass artwork and the unique legendary landwalk effect - which only shows up on her and Ayumi, the Last Visitor. Livonya might be a dull card, but I think this is one that might just be one that's great to make into a nice and simple uncommon for the batch.

Rasputin Dreamweaver

Rasputin Dreamweaver

Rasputin's dream counter nonsense is weird, wordy, and clunky, but it's very interesting flavor-wise. Even if Wizards could reprint this directly, there's no way they would simply because it'd be too difficult to do so with the existing templating. If you could find a way to revisit the dream counter aspect and make it work well within the card's text box - which I think you can do - then Rasputin seems like a pretty easy card to put in here.

Rohgahh of Kher Keep

Rohgahh of Kher Keep

I debated whether or not to include this or Boris Devilboon on this list. This was one of the few spots where I heavily debated my inclusion, but I ultimately went with Rohgahh for two reasons. The first is simply that with the return of kobolds thanks to the added packs of Legends and the mild focus on them in the promo video for Lost Legends, I think the tribe might make an actual appearance in Dominaria United. In addition, his son - Rograkh - was recently featured in Commander Legends and is easily one of the most popular commanders in recent memory. This makes Rohgahh feel like an easy inclusion. Even if kobolds don't directly make an appearance in the set itself, there's nothing to say that you can't give him an ability that simply makes kobold tokens.

Rubinia Soulsinger

Rubinia Soulsinger

With Angus already in this list and Arcades disqualified, that just leaves two other Bant-colored legends: Rubinia Soulsinger and Ragnar. Which one seems more interesting to you? The one who steals creatures away from your opponents or the one who regenerates creatures with his Nordic metal cover badassery? Yeah, I want that badassery in my life as much as the next person, but this is a clear win for Rubinia. Stealing creatures isn't the most Bant thing out there, so I'd be curious to see what they do with her here, but I think it could be made to work very well

Sivitri Scarzam

Sivitri Scarzam

And here's where I believe our planeswalker lies: Sivitri Scarzam.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking. "Huh?! But Paige, she has no abilities! How can she be a planeswalker?!" That's a completely fair and logical conclusion to draw from this situation. The card itself doesn't offer any indication that she's a planeswalker via flavor text or otherwise, so what gives?

With Sivitri, the planeswalker lore comes from some of the game's older stories. In the early comics, Sivitri would travel the planes atop a massive dragon in murderous conquest. She even got a D&D representation in the Dragon magazine which also noted her tendency to travel across the multiverse. While it was never really clear whether her or the dragon was the actual planeswalker, I think it's safe to say that she makes for the easiest choice. Her original art ruled and she's clearly somewhat of a fan favorite who just never had a card good enough to justify playing. This will almost certainly change that.

Stangg

Stangg

Remember what I was saying about an obvious choice for Gruul legends? Stangg is the one. Virtually every other Gruul legend is vanilla, French vanilla, or has an ability so bad it might as well be French vanilla. Stangg is the lone standout of the bunch, making a perfect duplicate Stangg Twin token when he enters the battlefield. The tokens themselves are pretty boring and useless, but the design space here can absolutely be reworked and improved upon, making Stangg a very easy choice for this set.

Tetsuo Umezawa

Tetsuo Umezawa

This is one of the easier choices. Tetsuo Umezawa is one of the most storied characters in all of Magic. He was the nemesis of Nicol Bolas and the one who put the dragon in his place during the story of Legends. Despite seeing others of his family line in various capacities, there remains only one Tetsuo Umezawa from Legends - a mediocre card locked away behind the reserved list. It's only fair to give this legend his time in the sun once again and give him the new card we've been waiting for for nearly three decades.

Xira Arien

Xira Arien

Remember right at the beginning when I said there weren't very many appealing choices for Jund? Yeah, the remaining available options - excluding Vaevictus Asmadi - were Bartel Runeaxe and Xira Arien. Bartel is neat but boring and somewhat impractical. Xira's not the greatest herself, but straight card draw in Jund is just so uniquely bizarre. Today, we see a lot of card draw in Black and Green and some pseudo-draw in Red, so this shouldn't feel too out of place but looking at this card it just feels so wrong. Yet it feels so wrong in just the right way where I think she seems like a great fit for a set like this.


And there you have it: my predictions for the remaining 17 cards of Legends Retold. Many of these are cards from my youth - cards I saw at kitchen tables or in the binder of a friend or family member but could never obtain. If I did, they were legendary, and I did my damndest to make them work in my monstrous five color deck of jank I'd play with my sibling after we'd get home from school. For many players, though, it will be their first introduction to these cards and characters and I'm already dying to see their reactions when these sweet new cards come out.

What cards do you think will make the cut? Are there any I missed that stand out for you as classics of Magic and of Legends? Am I wrong and will the elder dragons make an appearance after all? We'll have to wait and see next week when the previews start pouring in. Regardless of what we end up with, though, I'll be comparing what we get against my list and squealing with nostalgic delight the entire time.

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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