Home > EDH, Elder Legend Dragon Wars > Elder Legend Dragon Wars – Part I

Elder Legend Dragon Wars – Part I

In July 1996 the following article appeared in The Dualist.


It describes the rules for a Magic: The Gathering variant called Elder Dragon Legend Wars, these being:

  • Three or more players are recommended.
  • Players choose (or select at random) an Elder Dragon Legend as their army’s leader.
  • This Dragon must be supported by creatures and spells corresponding to each of the dragon’s (three) specific casting colors.
  • Players include eight basic lands for each of those colors in their decks.
  • Decks must have twenty to twenty-four creatures and may have no more than one of the same creature.
  • All creatures must be 3/3 or better unless they have an ability, then they may be a 2/2.
  • Players designate and announce, at the beginning of the game, three of their creatures as “Warlords” and two creatures as “Captains.”
    • If an opponent destroys a Captain, the Captain’s controller takes 2 damage, and the destroyer gains 2 life.
    • If a Warlord is destroyed, the controller takes 3 damage while the destroyer gains 3 life.
    • For an Elder Dragon Legend, the controller takes 4 damage, and the destroyer gains 4 life.
    • No more than one of each spell may be included in a deck.
  • Decide beforehand which cards are banned. Some cards that tend to be unbalancing because they have such global effects include Balance, Wrath of God, Anarchy, and Gloom.
  • Players begin play with one of each land type already in play.
  • Players start with 25 life.
  • Players have a 60-card minimum deck, in addition to the land already in play.

This variant, as proposed in The Dualist, is likely to have provided many of the original rules and concepts for EDH/Commander.

    So, jumping in our MTG time machine, back to July 1996, what sort of card pool would we have been able to utilize for this variant?
    Well, firstly, the choice of leader(s) would be somewhat limited as there are only five Elder Dragon Legends (all from Legends):

  • Arcades Sabboth
  • Chromium
  • Nicol Bolas
  • Palladia-Mors
  • Vaevictis Asmadi

What about other cards available around this time?

Here are the sets that had been released up until July 1996:

  • Alpha (5 August 1993)
  • Beta (October 1993)
  • Unlimited (December 1993)
  • Arabian Nights (December 1993)
  • Antiquities (March 1994)
  • Revised (April 1994)
  • Legends (June 1994)
  • The Dark (August 1994)
  • Fallen Empires (November 1994)
  • Fourth Edition (April 1995)
  • Ice Age (June 1995)
  • Chronicles (July 1995)
  • Homelands (October 1995)
  • Alliances (June 1996)
    From this pool it would be interesting to see what creatures meet the rules, “all creatures must be 3/3 or better unless they have an ability, then they may be a 2/2”. So, in the next post I will include some complex searches using The Gatherer to select cards which meet these creature rules.
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  1. March 2, 2011 at 8:06 am

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