Magic the Gathering has a very deep and intricate lore that has influenced design choices and set themes for years. However the most fundamental aspects of Magic’s lore are the color cycles. White, Blue, Red, Black, and Green all have their own unique characteristics and takes on the world. While many players know what these basic philosophies are, today we are going to begin exploring more in depth what the different colors believe and how their ideals affect card design. This is going to be a six part series, where we will first be looking at a brief overview of each color’s philosophy (this article) and then going more in depth at the different mechanics that can be found in each color.
So without further ado, let’s travel across the plains and explore all the colors Magic’s world has to offer.
White is the color all about community, it favors the success of the group over the individual. The color heavily sticks to its morals of law, order, justice, and serenity. White wants nothing more than for everyone to live in peace and harmony, all doing their part to support the greater good of their world. Many aspects of white revolve around the governance of a society, and white attempts to create a peaceful world through the use of morality and lawfulness. However if left unchecked whites need to preserve its ideals, can lead to a down spiral, until it falls into the reaches of complete control and distopia.
Blue is the color all about intellectual exploration, it feels that the binds of the physical world can not hold it at bay, and that new ideas and innovations are always necessary for moving forward. The color’s followers feel that they must always strive to become better versions of themselves and constantly grow as individuals. However actions are not made on the spot with little thought, blue is careful to plan out every decision it makes, in order to be certain every change, every action, is perfectly calculated to create the ideal outcome. However blue’s desire for self discovery and self improvement can lead to becoming lost by the desire of knowledge, sending individuals down dark roads where they become astray and selfish to the realities of the world.
Black is the color of self indulgence, and power. It believes that the weak will always be overshadowed by the powerful, and those capable deserve all the power they are given. The color’s philosophy makes it out to be a dark and evil, however it only uses what already exists within the world to it’s own advantage. Black has a fundamental understanding of the inner workings of society, and uses that understanding in order to gain power and fortune. If a follower of black goes too far down the path, they can easily become enveloped in self indulgence, consumed by a desire for power.
Red wants complete freedom from servitude and order. Red believes that any individual should be free and able to do whatever they wish in this world. The color sticks to its ideas, acting on impulse and whims. Valuing life greatly, red feels everyone must live their lives to the absolute fullest they can. It absolutely dislikes order, and clashes with any form of government. The color can be quite reckless, and does not plan into the future much at all. Followers of red live in the hear and now, rather than in the past and future, worrying more about immediate decision rather than the implications of those actions. This belief if left completely unchecked, can lead to complete anarchy.
Green believes in being in tune with world and what currently is. The color has no desire to change any aspect of the worlds inner workings and does not like change. A follower of green would rather try to coexist with the current state of things, than taking action and make changes. The color clashes greatly with any form of innovation or advancement. If left to its own ways green will only adapt to the current surrounds, never advancing on its own, and only just fitting into its chosen place in the world.
All of Magic’s five colors have very unique and interesting aspects to their lore. While these play an integral part in the story of Magic, they also have a substantial effect on card design. Be sure to check back soon for our series about the mechanics of each color.
I hope this article was helpful in some way to you, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
And as always, happy gaming everyone!