It’s going to be Legen…wait for it…DARY

For a set that was worth a lot of money right when it came out and that gave us one of the enduring power cards of Vintage, Legends is pretty godawful. Its flaws are many, and not really worth going into in depth right now. Just pull it up on Gatherer and you’ll quickly notice the poor costing, the utter lack of removal, and so forth. After all, in addition to the afore-mentioned cash card, this set also has one of the reigning candidates for worst creature ever (although if you start that conversation on a message board, you’d best be prepared to hear about the edge case that makes it so much better than this guy).
As I’ve been thinking about midrange Rock builds lately, it suddenly occurred to me to ask if I could make a reasonable Rock deck purely from the Legends set.
More in the extended. You’re on notice now — it’s not exactly good.

Looking through the list of cards in Legends arrayed by casting cost, I quickly figured out a few things:

  • There are very few cheap creatures
  • There is exactly one mana fixing spell
  • There is literally no way to get an enchantment off the table
  • There is almost no removal

Well, then. What to do?
Here’s the provisional build, or as I’ll call it:
NPH Rock

19 Creatures:
Whirling Dervish
Wall of Shadows
Floral Spuzzem
Master of the Hunt
Fallen Angel
17 Spells:
Sylvan Library
Untamed Wilds
Underworld Dreams
The Abyss
24 Land:
11× Forest
11× Swamp
15 Sideboard:
Avoid Fate
The Abyss
Syphon Soul
Willow Satyr

So, um…explanations.
The Whirling Dervish is fast and gets bigger. It is, in essence, the Tarmogoyf of the Legends-only format. How terrible is that? Regardless, it can get in some early damage, you can feed it to the Angel if you need to, and it’s immune to your own Abyss.
The Wall of Shadows serves indefinite blocker duty, staving off early harm until, once again, you can feed it to an Angel or to the Abyss in lieu of something more valuable.
The Spuzzem is one of the few ways to deal meaningfully with an artifact in this format — and that’s important, since someone might bust a Mirror Universe out on you, and then how much would that suck?
The Master makes tokens (sloooowly and expensively), to feed to your Angels or to The Abyss.
Finally, the Fallen Angel is actually a pretty good card, and lets you fly over and sacrifice a bunch of creatures for the win.
Sylvan Library is another actually powerful card from this set. It’s effectively an always-on Divining Top, with the bonus that you can pay some life to just hold onto the cards if you really need to. Solid. Backing that, we have four Untamed Wilds to help fix mana and accelerate a little bit. Yes, it’s lame, I know.
Yeah. So we have three copies of Hellfire if we’re ever in trouble and just need to sweep the board. If at all possible, feed your green dudes to an Angel first so you’re left with a giant Angel, only take some damage, and can swing for a lot.
Other ways to win
Since there’s no way to get an enchantment off the table, I’ve gone with four Underworld Dreams, to put your opponent on a serious clock, and to win if the game is locked down in some other way (if, for example, they have Arboria in play and refuse to do anything. Similarly, you can try to lock someone out of the mid-to-late game by laying down The Abyss. You feed some tokens from the Master to it while they lose all their giant Legends, or what have you.
Pendelhaven we know and love. Urborg is kind of lame, but maybe you don’t want to be swampwalked or first struck. Then it’s all Forests and Swamps.
Sigh. Seriously. We pack a couple extra copies of maindeck cards, then some Avoid Fates against removal or theft attempts, Rust to slow down artifacts some more, and Syphon Soul if we find ourselves needing to gain life.
I haven’t bothered to put together any other Legends-only decks to see if I’m arraying my choices properly against the likely threats. That said, this deck is a little sad — but then, so is the whole set — but might actually be a fun time to play.
The Star City Games deck builder tells me I could buy the maindeck for $156.50. Those two copies of The Abyss account for over half that amount — thus, the sideboard will put this deck into the $200 range.
Maybe when Legends “block” constructed season rolls around.