Legends was the first large expansion set
released for Magic: The Gathering
. It was originally intended to be a stand-alone
expansion, able to be played by itself without any cards from the basic set
, however, playtesting
showed it to be badly suited and unbalanced for such play. As a result, it was adjusted and made a normal expansion set, just of greater size, with 310 cards. The cards were printed with a black border, and the expansion symbol was the top of a Doric
column, with bottom cut at an angle.
There were two commonalities of the common cards in this set. Approximately half were printed at "C2", with 2 copies on a common sheet, and the other half were "C1", only one copy on a sheet. They qualify as common either way, as they are significantly more common than uncommon cards at both printing frequencies.
There are three notable features about the Legends release. First, there were problems with collation of the cards after printing. As a result, a box of booster packs would only contain approximately half of the uncommon cards in the set. The commons and rares were sorted properly.
Second, the set introduced a number of new concepts and rules. The first multicolor cards were printed, requiring mana of more than one color. The idea of a Legend, something that can have only one copy in play, appeared. Bands with Other, a restricted type of banding, was on a few cards. Rampage, a creature that gains in power and toughness when blocked by more than one creature, made a few creatures noteworthy. And the Enchant World, a type of enchantment that would replace an existing Enchant World, if there was one in play, showed up. To explain these rules to the players, each booster pack included a special "rules card", the same size and thickness of a regular card, but printed with rules on both sides.
The third and most well-known issue was the print run. It was only 35 million cards. Wizards of the Coast announced the set and started taking pre-orders early in 1994. Someone along the way made the decision to limit the print run to more or less the pre-order amount - after all, this was a much larger print run than previous sets. However, between the time of the pre-orders and the actual delivery of the cards, Magic had blossomed in popularity. By the time the cards hit the stores in June 1994, the demand was so great, that many of the cards sold out within the first week - even the first day in many places! Stories abounded of people who missed out because they weren't at the local game shop when the cards were put out. Severe rationing was placed, but even then many players missed out.
Legends was probably the last expansion set that had a truly higher demand than supply, to the point that speculators bought boxes of booster packs, then sold them later on to make money - I've spoken to one person who paid off their student loans in their entirety from such a strategy. Today, Legends boosters don't often go for as much, as it's been common knowledge that the packaging would allow an unscrupulous person to view the cards inside, and few people trust that anyone would sell a booster containing the big cards, such as Mana Drain or Mirror Universe.
This set was known for having cards covering a large range in terms of power. Some of the creatures in the set are weaker versions of basic set creatures. Others are highly overpowered - the super-counterspell Mana Drain is rated up there with some of the most powerful Unlimited cards. One developer even said "The entire R&D team would have to be hit by a bus before we'd reprint Mana Drain."