Mining the Crystal Quarry: Examining Old Combos with Champions and the New Legend Rule

Humility + Walls — Because “Defender” is an ability, Walls under Humility can now attack. It’s not earth shattering, but this is a new thing. Note that Humble works similarly, except that it drops your wall to 0/1. Like I said, it’s not much of a combo, but because Humility has more uses than Rolling Stones, a deck built around this combo might use walls to set up, and then once Humility is down, use a global sweeper of some sort to clear out opposing creatures. Yes, yes, it’s a pathetic deck, but hey, there’s nothing quite like saying”I won by swinging with walls under Humility.”

With the release of Champions of Kamigawa, there have been a couple of major changes, specifically in the matter of creature types with intrinsic rules! Legend and Wall no longer have intrinsic rules attached to them. The method for handling both is drastically different.

“Legend” is no longer a creature type. It is now a supertype, consistent with other non-creature legendary permanents. The first thing this does is weakens one of my favorite cards of all time-Unnatural Selection. No longer can it remove one creature that shares its name with another! But we’ll get to that later. As of 08/30/2004,”Legend” is no longer a creature type-it’s a supertype.

The other change with Legends is that when a Legendary permanent comes into play, and there is already another legendary permanent with the same name in play, both are put into the graveyard as a state based effect.

Given the revelation that every rare creature in Champions of Kamigawa is going to be a Legend, er, excuse me, Legendary Creature, and that legends now remove themselves, the power level of legends are being ramped up considerably, and as a further result, this set is almost bound to have more splashy, large effects than what we’ve already seen. (And from what I’ve seen from the spoilers and the prerelease, it does)

How does the new legend rule so far affect the multiplayer scene as a whole? For one thing, popular legends are going to be built in removal spells in games where someone else is playing something similar. There is increased risk in playing your legend first now. There are a few multiplayer-oriented cards being revealed now, and that’s always a good sign.

The last thing about Legends is that they can no longer be referred to as such, they are now”Legendary Creatures,” which is of course, much more work to type. Therefore, from here, I’ll refer to Legendary Creatures as LCs.

In addition, walls work quite differently now. As stated, Wizards has changed the way walls work. All walls now have the keyword ability”Defender,” which reads”This creature can’t attack.” (Yes, yes, shades of Duel Masters).

Combos That No Longer Work:

Unnatural Selection

+ Empress Galina-The fact that”Legend” is no longer a creature type means that Galina will never again control anything aside from”Legendary Creatures” again. Sure, she can still control other Legendary permanents as usual, but it’s just not the same…

+Willow Satyr-see Empress Galina.

+Karakas-Same reason.

+Tsabo Tavoc-More of the above.

+Artificial Evolution– Before, one could use Artificial Evolution on Unnatural Selection to change Wall into something, anything else. This meant that after that, you could simply pay one to keep anything targetable, that does not have”Protection from Enchantments” or”Protection from Blue” from attacking.

+Cover of Darkness-Not much use in duels, but in multiplayer, you could wreak havoc with other player’s attack decisions with this.

+Sword of the Chosen-Because you can no longer change a creature’s type to Legend, it will only affect legendary creatures.


+Captain Sisay-you can no longer name”legend” for Conspiracy and in turn have Sisay be a Eladamri’s Call on a 2/2 body. No one really used the combo, but it’s still worth noting that it no longer works. Alas, poor Sisay, you’ve gone the way of Goblin Matron. Except that you were never part of a tournament winning deck. Or kicked off a game winning combo. Or… umm… well… fine. Moving on.

It’s not all bad news though-due to the rules changes, some cards now interact with each other.

Humility + Walls-Because”Defender” is an ability, Walls under Humility can now attack. It’s not earth shattering, but this is a new thing. Note that Humble works similarly, except that it drops your wall to 0/1. Like I said, not much of a combo, but because Humility has more uses than Rolling Stones, a deck built around this combo might use walls to set up, and then once Humility is down, use a global sweeper of some sort to clear out opposing creatures. Yes, yes, it’s a pathetic deck, but hey, nothing like saying”I won by swinging with walls under Humility.”

Tsabo Tavoc or Willow Satyr


+March of the Machines

+Titania’s Song

+Karn, Silver Golem

+Karn’s Touch

+Natural Affinity and other Land animators, i.e. Living Terrain

These all work in a similar manner-Once animated, any Legendary Permanent now gains the type Creature, and thus, vulnerable to Tsabo’s or Willow Satyr’s effects, assuming they errata Tsabo and the Satyr appropriately. Note that Empress Galina does not need something to animate the permanent to take control of it. She has always been able to take control of any legendary permanent. Tsabo and Willow Satyr, however, always referred to Legends, not LCs. With their errata, they can now destroy/take control of animated Legendary permanents.

Dual Nature

+Legendary creature your opponent controls + Legendary creature of the same name you control-It’s convoluted, but the way this works is that your legend comes into play, Dual Nature triggers, state based effects are checked, and the legends die, but your token comes into play using last known information, and voila. You keep the token. It should be noted that if you are playing a Legend, you can still use Karakas or other bounce effects (I only mention Karakas because it’s a repeatable effect) to return your legend to your hand, to have a consistent source of Legends. That much hasn’t changed.

All that said, how do the new rules affect multiplayer play?

As I said earlier, popular legends now risk being removed much more easily.

There are no more”vanilla” wall creatures, since they all have at least one ability.

A casual deck built around killing someone with walls under Humility can be built now.

Dual Nature can now be used as Legendary Creature removal.

Unnatural Selection can no longer be used as removal.

Conspiracy can no longer allow you to play multiples of a former legend, since the type no longer exists, and Conspiracy cannot change supertypes. In fact, nothing can. The supertypes”Basic” (as in land) and”Legendary” cannot be changed by any card currently in existence.

Bonus: Humility can be removal in the right circumstance! (That being, with 2 Brothers Yamazaki in play.)

All that said and done, the set offers much more than just a new way to deal with Walls and Legends. Me being me, would this be complete without a list of strange new combos? Remember what I said about splashy effects? With Legends, Wizards has and continues to do impressive things. And the spells of the set are interesting too. One thing I do enjoy about this set so far (at least from what I’ve seen) is that it’s flavor based. Unlike Mirrodin, Onslaught or Odyssey blocks before it, there are no mechanics that immediately construct a deck for us. No sir, there’s not a Threshold or Madness or Cycling or Tribal for R & D to build a deck for us! Sure, there are some things that beg to be built, like white weenie, but this set doesn’t really push in any particular direction. That said, that leaves a quite a lot of room to experiment with previous blocks. Some examples:

Horobi, Death’s Wail

+Goblin Sharpshooter: This is a repeatable, mana free targeter, and can easily result in a one sided Wrath of God.

Yosei, the Morning Star

+Recurring Nightmare: Two copies of Yosei, the Morning Star and Recurring Nightmare makes for some pain. Best with two copies of Yosei (though you can sacrifice something else to start the chain), once this gets going, your opponent may never get another untap step.

+Dawn of the Dead and a Sacrifice outlet: If you can finish your opponent before the life loss from Dawn of the Dead kills you, this’ll take care of business just as well.

+Sneak Attack: The cheapest, least complicated way of getting it started, and it doesn’t even need a sacrifice outlet.

+Sigil of the New Dawn: More of the same as Dawn of the Dead.

+Tooth and Nail: Toothing for two Yoseis entwined is pretty much the death knell these days. That’s for all intents and purposes a Time Stretch (it had better be, considering it costs just about the same thing.

This is my personal favorite:

Hold the Line + Shriveling Rot

All you need to do is somehow get your opponent to block with at least three creatures. Cast Hold the Line and from there cast Shriveling Rot with entwine. Three creatures with eight toughness (they have to be at least 0/1, after all) will kill an opponent who hasn’t gained any life. It’s obscure. It costs ten mana. And three creatures. And it requires you to have enough life to survive the death of your creatures. Who Cares! It’s Shriveling Rot for the win!

Marrow-Gnawer + Parallel Evolution

It’s not a strict combo per se, but after a couple of activations, Parallel Evolution, then flashed back, that’s going to be… scary.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls + Faces of the Past/Intruder Alarm

+Riptide Replicator set to 0/0 Wizards:

Use the Alarm if you don’t mind your opponents’ creatures untapping, Faces if you’re selfish. The way this works is that it’ll let you tap your wizards (for more fun, try also with Patron Wizard) then untap them. Draw a bunch of cards. Lose a token for your trouble.

+Soul Foundry (imprinting Hapless Researcher): Same thing, except you need to sacrifice the Researcher to get the untap.

Tide of War + Gustcloak Savior

If your opponent decides blocking your creatures will be a good thing, even with Tide of War on the table, Gustcloak Savior can pull your guys out before the trigger can resolve. To get a better chance of your opponents’ creatures dying, use Krark’s Thumb.

I’m sure there’s more, but hey, I’m sure you know that too. That’s the great thing about Magic. There’s too much out there to cover in one article, as we’ll see over the next few weeks.

Here’s to the new set!

“What next, Offender (this Creature cannot block)?”-overheard on #mtgjudge

John Liu