Gaming

Fandoms and Magic: The Gathering -Looking at other characters through the MTG Color Pie (Preview)

This is a series I’m really excited about. One of the things I love most about Fanatic Media is that it gives people an outlet to talk about their passions and fandoms in unique ways that they might not usually get elsewhere. This series is definitely something unique, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

One of the things I love most in the world is Magic: The Gathering. I’ve been playing obsessively since 2017, and I love everything about the game from the competitive formats to the lore, the flavorful design of cards, the community, and much much more.

The idea for this series is to look at characters from other fandoms and see how they would fit into the Magic “Color Pie” and thinking about what they might do as a Magic card. For example, what would Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, or Captain America look like as Magic Cards?

In order to do that, though, we first have to understand what the Color Pie is, especially for those of you who aren’t fans of Magic: The Gathering, so that’s what this preview article is going to be about.

So for those of you who don’t know, here is a rundown on the Magic Color Pie.

There are five colors in Magic, White (W), Blue (U), Black (B), Red (R), and Green (G).

Each color has unique properties and characteristics that have implications in the game. Each color also has an “Iconic creature type” or a type of creature commonly found in fantasy that best represents the color, and a “representative race” or a humanoid species that forms the majority of sentients in that color.

Essentially there are things each color can and can’t do (with few exceptions) and inherent advantages and disadvantages to each, and each color has its own philosophies and ideas about the world that are represented in the game’s mechanics. 

In the most basic sense, those ideas and philosophies can be summarized like this:

White: Loyalty, Order, Morality. 

White is all following the rules and doing what’s best for the group rather than the individual. White is not inherently “good” but if you think in terms of the alignment system, white will almost exclusively fall on the “lawful” side of that spectrum. White very much believes that the group is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Its iconic creature type is the Angel.

Its representative race is the Human.

An Example of a White mechanic would be a card like Glorious Anthem that makes all of your creatures stronger. Or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which protects “order” by putting a tax on all of your opponent’s actions that threaten that order

Blue: Intellect, Logic, Perfection. 

Blue is constantly striving for perfection; it very much believes in the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate. Blue characters in Magic are the philosophers, scholars, inventors. They view knowledge and wisdom as being above every other virtue, and that is evident in their quest for self-perfection and perfection of the world around them. Blue also utilizes trickery, illusion, and misdirection to outwit its opponents. In the alignment system, blue is truly neutral. 

Its iconic creature type is the Sphinx.

Its representative race is the Merfolk.

An example of a Blue mechanic would be a card like divination that lets you draw extra cards (gaining you more information) or a card like Man-o-war that subverts your opponent by returning one of their creatures to their hand.

Black: Power, Self Preservation, Ignoring the costs.

Black is all about two things, power, and the individual. It’s important to note that black is not inherently evil; it’s more selfish than anything. Black would gladly join in a fight to save the world, but mostly because they, you know, live in the world, and the end of the world would be pretty inconvenient for them. Black will also do whatever it takes to get more power, whether that’s engaging in sacrificial rites and rituals or sacrificing their own life energy for more power. In the alignment system, black will be good or evil depending on what benefits them, but they’ll always be neutral. 

Its Iconic Creature Type is the Demon

Its representative races are Vampires and Zombies.

An example of a black mechanic would be a card like Necropotence, which allows you to exchange life points for more cards (power)—or Devouring Swarm, which allows you to sacrifice a creature to give it a temporary power boost.

Red: Impulse, Passion, Freedom

Red hates being tied down; it’s going to do what it wants when it wants. Red lives in the moment; it embraces its emotions and allows them to guide its actions. Red is prone to emotional and physical outbursts; it doesn’t really think it just does. Red would gladly say, “Do I look like a guy with a plan?” In terms of the alignment system, red can be good, evil, or neutral, but it will always be chaotic. 

Its Iconic Creature Type is the Dragon.

Its Representative Race is the Goblin.

An example of a red mechanic would be a card like Lightning Bolt, which for a very low cost, deals three direct damage. Or a card like Thermo-Alchemist that can continually shock its opponent for direct damage.

Green: Nature, Growth, Acceptance

Green is all about the natural order of things. Whereas white will force its own moral code on others, green believes that nature is already perfect as it is and will try to protect that perfection. Green hates violations to that natural order, they view technology as one of those violations. Green searches for natural solutions to problems. Green values growth and strength, many of their cards tap into the natural world for increased power or make gigantic creatures.

Its Iconic Creature type is the Hydra.

Its Representative Race is the Elf.

An example of a green card would be something like The Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi, which allows you to turn the land around you into a massive creature. Or Llanowar Elves, which tap into the natural energy around them and focus it into magical power.

An overwhelming majority of the cards are mono-colored or have a single color identity. Some cards (primarily artifact cards representing magical objects) don’t have a color identity at all as their alignment is based on the user.

But within Magic, there are many cards with multiple colors in their color identity, including some that contain all 5.

In Magic, there are also regular creatures and legendary creatures. A regular creature would be like a generic soldier of some kind or an elf. A legendary creature would be a specific character from the story.

For example, in Avatar: The Last Airbender, a generic flying bison would be a regular creature, but Appa would be a legendary creature. A Fire nation soldier would be a creature, Prince Zuko would be a legendary creature.

As named characters are typically more complex and less one-note, they are typically multicolored to express their depth.

So we’re going to venture through a bunch of fandoms and break down some of the key characters and where they fit on this spectrum, as well as what they might look like mechanically within the game.

Next week, we will be kicking off the series by taking a look at some of the most important Jedi in STAR WARS, starting with ANAKIN SKYWALKER.

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