Magic The Gathering / Color Tropes

Each color of magic in Magic: The Gathering is associated with a whole philosophy about life, particular goals, and a particular set of magical strategies for winning the game. They're often informally talked about as though they were individual characters. Generally, each color is also associated with an "iconic creature"—a creature type that shows up once each set as a very large rare creature—and a "characteristic creature"—a creature type that shows up multiple times each set as several smaller common creatures.

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    Shared tropes 
  • Cast Calculus: Each color's role in the color pie can be easily visualized by comparing it to the role of a character of that color in various cast dynamics, as can be seen through the other examples in this section.
  • Elemental Powers: Besides philosophy and personality, the colors and their magic tend to be associated with elements as well. Generally, White gets control over light and stone; Blue has air, ice and water; Black has darkness; Red has earth, lava, fire and lightning; and Green has wood and poison. Though these aren't necessarily set in stone, such as Red getting access to ice-related spells during Kamigawa.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: White is an Optimist (with a focus on order), Blue is a Cynic/Realist, Black is a Cynic/Apathetic, Red is another Optimist (with a focus on freedom), and Green is an Apathetic/Realist.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: White is Choleric, with shades of Melancholic, Blue is strictly Melancholic, Black is Phlegmatic, Red is Sanguine and Green is Choleric, with shades of Sanguine.
  • Freudian Trio: In this dynamic, White and Blue form the Superego, Black is the Ego and Red and Green form the Id.
  • Recurring Element: Each color is associated with an "iconic creature" — a creature type that shows up once each set as a very large, rare creature — and with a "characteristic creature" — a creature type that shows up multiple times each set as several smaller common creatures – which tend to appear rarely or not at all in other colors. Though sometimes the exact creatures will be changed due to block constraints, with archons being White's iconic creature in the Theros block, where angels are absent.
    • Iconic creatures:
      • White: Angels.
      • Blue: Sphinxes.
      • Black: Demons.
      • Red: Dragons.
      • Green: Hydras.
    • Characteristic creatures:
      • White: Humans, soldiers, and knights.
      • Blue: Merfolk and vedalken.
      • Black: Vampires and zombies.
      • Red: Goblins.
      • Green: Elves.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: By and large, White and Blue together tend to be the Blue Oni to Black, Red and Green’s red.
    • More specifically, Red and Blue tend to fall pretty cleanly along these lines, while White, Black and Green are a bit more varied.

    White 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/white_mana_7199.png

White is the color of light, law, and holy magic. It specializes in various forms of healing and protection (such as gaining life, preventing damage, and boosting creatures' toughness scores), efficient small creatures that reinforce each other, and abilities that dictate the flow of combat. White is chivalrous: rather than kill directly, it prefers to disable non-combative foes with spells like Arrest and Oblivion Ring, but has no qualms about killing creatures during the combat phase, as seen in cards like Divine Verdict and Ballista Squad, or using occasional mass destruction to wipe the slate clean equally. Read more about white here and here.

Its philosophy can be summarised as "peace through structure".

  • Apocalypse How: Armageddon, Wrath Of God, Balance, Final Judgement. While such outright killing is generally outside White's philosophy, these effects are acceptable because they create order by clearing away all those messy living things.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Wrath Of God is one of the most iconic cards in Magic, partially because of its effect ("Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.") and partially because of its artwork (a giant white sun crashing into the earth and obliterating EVERYTHING).
  • Absolute Xenophobe: White can become this in theory. See Fantastic Racism and All The Other Reindeer below.
  • All the Other Reindeer: White is the color of conformity, and doesn't care for those that are different unless they try to fit in.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: The Archons, essentially. They function as White's iconic creatures when Angels don't seem appropriate, and emphasize White's more negative aspects.
  • Art Evolution: The original White mana symbol was rather asymmetrical and unrefined. Compare it to the current version, which appeared circa the Mirage block.
  • Awesomeness Is a Force: Shown on Awe Strike. Like Blue's Awesome Presence, it's a serious take on the idea of Pure Awesomeness.
  • Black and White Insanity: Why White characters sometimes go Knight Templar. It's the colour that least recognizes moral complexity.
  • Bird People: White is the colour with the highest amount of birds, and as such nearly all sapient avian races in the game's history are oriented towards White.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Shared with red and green. White's version uses dirt, sand, salt, marble, or petrification.
  • The Evils of Free Will: White believes that freedom leads only to actions in destruction and self-interest. Blue has this as a prominent theme, and there are shades of it in Green.
  • Evil Twin: With Black.
  • Flight: Shared with blue.
  • The Fettered: Comes with the territory of law and order.
  • Feathered Fiend: A common archetype for White’s many bird creatures, either as mindless raptors or actual villains, most notably Lieutenant Kirtar.
  • For Great Justice: White does occasionally single out targets instead of killing everyone, but usually only against those who are guilty (for example, by dealing damage or getting into combat).
  • The Fundamentalist: Along with the Knight Templar, this is one of White's negative aspects. The flavor text on True Believer exemplifies this aspect of White:
    So great is his certainty that mere facts cannot shake it.
  • Healing Hands: As does Green, White gets a number of healing abilities.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Opposed to Black's own eldritch things, as part of their motif of opposition. Angels, especially in later settings like Zendikar and Bant, are portrayed as alien to mortal races and quite detached (being manifestations of pure White mana). Archons are essentially Nazgûl that are extremist instead of immoral.
  • Ideal Hero: When white is a hero, it fits the traditional archetype of the upstanding, admirable and moral hero fairly well.
  • Kill 'em All: Naturally.
  • Knight Templar: Along with Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Enforced. White has numerous enchantments that prevent interference or otherwise limit opponents' options in combat.
  • Light is Good: Although lately its more negative aspects have been more prevalent, in order to keep the balance with the number of protagonists/villains in other colours, White used to be portrayed as the go-to heroic color for a while, and is still often perceived as this. The primary planeswalker of white, Gideon Jura, seems to be this trope incarnate.
  • Light is Not Good: While white is pretty consistent in regards to Order vs. Chaos (Order, of course), it's fallen on different ends of the Good vs. Evil divide through Magic's history.
  • Light 'em Up: White gets a lot of spells centered on manipulating light, often as blinding bursts or burning beams.
  • Made of Iron: See Stone Wall.
  • Moral Sociopathy: At its worst; White is always moral, but being an enemy of Red, the colour of emotions, and an ally of Blue, the color of logic, means that, at its purest, White has little empathy. Indeed, some pure White creatures, like Angels, sometimes appear rather robotic, following their duties at the expense of everything else.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: White, being the colour of order, can be this at its worst.
  • The Needs of the Many: White will often ask one or few to sacrifice a great deal for even a small improvement for many more.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted with White characters that are evil, although curiously most White villains so far didn't have an explicit specialization in healing magic.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The infamous Wrath effect spells, of which the vast majority are White. Several cards like Magus of the Disk show that this goes deep in White's ideology as well; ultimate order is death, after all.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They are medium-sized to large flying creatures, and are White's iconic large creature.
  • Technical Pacifist: White prefers to disable enemies non-lethally. Unless you really piss it off.
  • The Power of Friendship: With Green and, sometimes, Red.
  • The Power of the Sun: The Sun serves as White’s symbol. Some cards use it literally, with the light being manipulated being explicitly sunlight.
  • Pride: One of this color's main issues. It is the color of zealotry, and White can have a hard time accepting it is wrong.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Inverted; some White cards have artwork that shows White mana spells as purple (most notable with the Zubera cycle of Kamigawa, where the White aligned Zubera has purple mana orbs around it while the Black aligned Zubera has white ones). Makes sense since violet light is the most intense light in the visible spectrum.
  • Rocks Fall Everybody Dies: White prefers to delay any threat, but when it decides to kill something, then it kills everything.
  • Rules Lawyer: White is the color of bureaucracy, so of course white has the most bureaucracy.
  • Star Power: Occasionally, White’s light spells use starlight as their source.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: White is the color of Law, so it likes there to be rules, but it has no problem applying its rule magic unevenly.
  • Stone Wall: White has a long history of tough creatures with low power.
    • White's playstyle also falls into this trope - White has a lot of token generation, and its theme of teamwork manifests through White stalling out the opponent, amassing a huge army, and crushing them in a Zerg Rush or winning through attrition.
  • Soul Power: The White Magic variety, focusing on Einherjar-like manifest spirits and ancestor worship. Tarkir's Jeskai actually refer to it as "soulfire".
  • White Magic: Very much so. White's desire to protect means it has a lot of defensive and healing magic.

    Blue 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/blue_mana_3630.png

Blue is the color of knowledge, illusion, and mental magic. Its specialties are countermagic, drawing cards, and delaying your opponent by forcing them to replay or redraw the same cards, or skipping phases or whole turns. Because of its careful, analytical approach, blue is often reactive, and rarely rushes directly into the fray. Accordingly, its creatures tend to sacrifice brute force in favor of abilities like flying that allow them to gain an advantage in other ways. Because blue has traditionally had many of the most powerful cards, it has gained an unfavorable reputation in some circles, as satirized by this set of comic strips. Read more about blue here and here.

Its philosophy can be summarised as "perfection through knowledge".

  • Above Good and Evil: Being blue often involves ignoring conventional morality in pursuit of perfection.
  • An Ice Person: Not quite as common as water, but Blue gets a good few ice spells, often involving Harmless Freezing.
  • Awesomeness Is a Force: Awesome Presence seems to display this.
  • Blank Slate: Blue believes everyone is born as this.
  • Blow You Away: Together with Green, Blue gets a lot of air manipulation spells, although it uses them for a greater variety of uses than Green, which focuses them mostly on Anti-Air.
  • Crazy-Prepared: A Blue deck with a focus on counterspells and/or draw power almost has to be this by design.
  • Creative Sterility: One of Blue's weaknesses is that it may find the answer to any situation via research, but it lacks the ability to imagine new solutions and, in extreme cases, is incapable of strategizing.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Blue's countermagic is known to be difficult to grasp by new players especially when they do not have a proper idea of what threats are worth expending the counterspell upon, and is often their first introduction to the concept of the stack. Mastering this is usually key to successfully using a blue deck, since otherwise its creatures and removal are relatively unimpressive.
  • Enlightenment Superpower: Being the color of thought, willpower and introspection, Blue gets more than its fair share of this.
  • Ditto Fighter: Blue has access to shape-shifters that function as this.
  • Evil Genius: A blue villain is generally this.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Blue at its worst, especially when mixed with Green.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Blue is the de-facto color of Magitek, after all, and it’s no surprise it gets a lot of metal-based magic.
  • Fish People: How merfolk are portrayed in recent sets, to avoid the “how can they fight land-based enemies when they don’t have legs” issue.
  • Flight: Shared with white. Blue's flying creatures tend to be air elementals.
  • For Science!: Progress for progress' sake is often the only motivation Blue needs or wants.
  • Fragile Speedster: Blue creatures, if they aren't a Squishy Wizard or Stone Wall, tend to have low toughness for their cost but have some sort of evasive advantage like flying or being straight-up unblockable.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: While zombies have traditionally been in Black's portion of the color pie, Innistrad introduced this kind of zombie for Blue, which fit because those zombies are created by Mad Scientists.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Blue is the color that interacts with artifacts the most.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Because many Blue creatures are aquatic, in the early days, many of them had the keyword islandhome, which meant they couldn't attack the defending player unless he or she controlled an island, and died if its controller didn't. It was very unpopular (to the point of even losing its status as a keyword), and development has since put more emphasis onto fun than logic.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Crab creature type is exclusively blue, as is typical for large sea monster-type creatures.
  • Guile Hero: While the other colors focus on neutralizing threats, Blue has a number of ways to take them for itself.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Blue gets some efficient creatures at the high end of the scale, but it isn't known for its mana acceleration, and leviathans in particular typically come with very inconvenient disadvantages.
  • Lack of Empathy: The darker side of blue can be sociopathic; while other colors can at least grasp sadism or extremist insanity, Blue at its worst just doesn't give a damn about anyone.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Blue's freezing is not always harmless; some cards like Frozen Solid can get the frozen creature killed if something hits them.
  • Mad Scientist: What happens when Blue goes off the rails.
  • Magitek: Blue tends to use technology to at least some degree in almost all settings.
  • Making a Splash: Water is one of the elements most associated with Blue: the color gets a lot of water-based spells, in addition to a great many water elemental creatures and aquatic monsters.
  • Master of Illusion: Some illusion creatures are unusually powerful, but have drawbacks to represent their unreality, like returning themselves to your hand after each fight, or being sent to the graveyard if any spell or ability even targets one of them.
  • Mind Probe: One of Blue's specialties is looking at the opponent's hand (which is flavored as this).
  • Mind Rape: Blue's milling ability is often flavored as erasing memories. But, because it goes for the deck rather than the hand, it's gentler than Black's Mind Rape.
  • The Mole: This combo.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Blue is the only color that can consistently interact with spells on the stack. It's a bit jarring to many players, as most interactions happen with permanents already on the battlefield.
  • No Sell: Counterspell and its legacy. When a player's spell is countered, throwing the card away is a common response.
  • Nurture over Nature: As far as Blue is concerned, you can be anything you want.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Blue's characteristic small creature. Used to be the regular, fish-tailed kind, but due to confusion as to how they were supposed to fight on land they were changed in later sets to humanoid Fish People.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: As of the Innistrad blocks, Blue gets zombie creatures in the form of stitched-together Frankenstein-style abominations.

    Black 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/black_mana_837.png

Black is the color of death, ambition, and ruthlessness. Its goal is power, no matter the cost — black will do anything to win, even if it means sacrificing its own creatures or Hit Points to power its spells. Black specializes in death and decay; its power over death makes it excellent at both killing creatures and raising them from the dead to fight again. It's also the best color at attacking the opponent's hand through Mind Rape-styled discard effects, and offers Faustian bargains of powerful creatures and effects that match or exceed other colors' specialties, if you don't mind paying for the difference with something other than mana. Learn more about black here and here.

Its philosophy can be summarised as "power through opportunity".

  • Above Good and Evil: Being black means abandoning morality in the pursuit of power. This leads to amorality and moral relativism, putting it into conflict with White's moral absolutism.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: In contrast to the other colors, Black doesn't concern itself with changing the world for the better, but rather it encourages people to make the best out of their lives in a world that can't be improved.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: A lot of black creature removal will destroy a creature, but only if it isn't black. Not that black actually cares about its own — it's just that black creatures are often impervious to the insanity, horror, and disease it uses to do its work. Alternatively, the black mages who devise such spells take steps to ensure nobody will be able to use the spell against them.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Shares the insect creature type with Green. Black's bugs tend to become stronger as creatures die out, fitting with Black's domain of decay.
  • Blood Magic: In keeping with Black's Cast from Hit Points shtick. When your iconic race is Vampires, it's kind of a given, really.
  • Body Horror: Anything with "Pay X life..." in it, anything Yawgmoth does, a lot of the black auras.
  • Brainwashed: Originally an artifact ability, Black gained the ability to control an opponent's entire turn.
  • Byronic Hero: What black may be when it steps into the light.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Every color gets some, but it's black's specialty.
  • Casting a Shadow: Shadow magic is one of the mainstays of Black magic, alongside necromancy and mind manipulation.
  • Combat Pragmatist: A more mundane application of Black's philosophy, there are more than a few effects that temporarily reduce power or toughness that are flavored as simple "hit below the belt" type maneuvers.
  • Dark is Not Evil: While Black has many villains in its name, and is inherently ruthless, it has also some positive traits and a few characters to embody them. The vampire Sorin Markov is the closest thing to a Big Good the multiverse currently has. He worked to stop a bunch of world-eating Eldritch Abominations, and set up a godlike White mana angel to protect the humans in Innistrad.
  • Deal with the Devil: Yawgmoth's Bargain, Necropotence, Greed, Contract From Below, and so on.
  • Dem Bones: A type of Black undead not quite as common as zombies, and likewise not limited to humans.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Usually under the creature type "Horror" and "Nightmare".
  • Equivalent Exchange: Shown on many cards, in particular those like Sign In Blood. Black as a whole tends to recycle resources, such as making zombies out of deceased creatures.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: An arguable example, but "personifying" Black in certain Wizards articles suggests that Black honestly cannot believe that anyone thinks differently than it does, defending its amorality with At Least I Admit It. White seems especially hypocritical to Black because Black is certain that nothing could really be that dedicated to altruism.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Black's habit of summoning big creatures with big drawbacks can cost inexperienced players a game.
  • Evil Twin: With White. Which is which tends to vary between decks and stories.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: If there are multiple villain factions of different colors in a given block, Black will usually be the one that falls closest to "Oblivion'.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Black occasionally manifests power over gold, especially in Ravnica and Theros.
  • Face–Heel Turn: If a coalition of differently-colored characters is present, the Black one is the likeliest to have pulled on off to join the good guys.
  • Greed: Greed is in fact a card, and Black’s philosophy is very conductive to desiring what others have.
  • Hellfire: See Red's entry.
  • Informed Attribute: Behind the scenes material often tries to stress the idea that Black is "not necessarily evil, and is just as capable of being good as any other colour. Even if it doesn't believe in moral absolutes". In the actual story/game, however, it is almost impossible to find a single Black faction or character that ISN'T a massive Jerkass at the very least, and the most well known factions all seem to revel in being as cruel and horrible as possible. Even the "example characters" used for Black seem to focus squarely on its worst traits (for instance, while they use Bart Simpson as an example of a "Sympathetic Black Character", they focus on his modern interpretation as a child sociopath who actively enjoys seeing others in pain, rather than his older portrayal of a mischievious and amoral but ultimately well meaning character).
  • It's All About Me: Black at its purest focuses on self-empowerment at the expense of all else.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: While White and Green have the best creatures and Red and Blue have the best spells, Black is the most balanced color in both aspects, though this also has its price.
  • Lobotomy: Black's ability to look through a library and exile specific cards gets this flavor, being usually depicted as black unsubtly and damagingly rooting through an opponent’s mind for information.
  • Mind Rape: Any "discard" card or "cap" effect. Flavored as being far harsher than Blue's Laser-Guided Amnesia because it goes for the hand rather than the library.
  • The Necromancer: Besides a number of necromancers as creatures, Black itself is heavily based on necromancy, with many of its spells and creatures being based on reanimating corpses and summoning the dead. This includes black planeswalker Liliana Vess.
  • Nominal Hero: Black may help you, if you make it worth its while.
  • Non-Human Undead: Black is rife with undead creatures, and not all of them are human, such as zombie dwarves or skeletal lizardmen and elementals.
  • No Sell: Black is the color of death, corruption, and fear, so its abilities usually fail against other black creatures who are already dead or corrupt, or artifact creatures who were never alive to begin with.
  • Nurture over Nature: Like Blue, Black believes in the tabula rasa, and that anyone can become anything they choose. At its noblest, it promotes the ideal of self-sufficiency, with power being a means towards that goal.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Black's iconic large creature, in gameplay they require a cost to maintain or they will impose a downside to their player.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: One of Black’s two characteristic creatures, they get bonuses when creatures are sent to the graveyard, representing their thirst for blood and death. Nonhuman vampires have been known to exist.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: One of Black’s two characteristic creatures, they are mindless undead used as minions by powerful Black creatures. Theoretically, any creature can become a zombie.
  • Poisonous Person: Of the "assassin" variety.
  • Polluted Wasteland: When Black gets land destruction, it's usually this.
  • Power at a Price: Black's specialty, whether it be discarding cards, paying life, or sacrificing creatures.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Given that Black is always pragmatic, its heroic characters fall into this trope.
  • Raising the Steaks: The ever-pragmatic Black does not limit itself to raising intelligent beings as undead when animals will do just as well. Skeletal wurms, snakes and griffins, zombie crocodiles, vultures and cats, vampiric dragons...
  • Religion of Evil: Many black cards, while not always evil, certainly look the part.
  • The Sacred Darkness: While Black is often about corruption, it also represents death and decay, the end of the natural cycle responsible for getting rid of the old and making room for the new. This makes it necessary to make a natural plane stable (Alara could afford its absence in some shards due to the unique nature of the plane).
  • Screw Destiny: Its primary conflict with Green, which believes You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Soul Power: The Black Magic variety, focusing on ghosts, haunts and the summoning of the spirits of the dead.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Black draws power from the festering decay of swampland, and while in theory Black — and its lands and creatures — is not actively evil so much as amoral, in practice Black's swamps remain festering pits of fungus and disease, crawling with oversized insects and the undead, and generally very unfriendly places to outsiders.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Once again, while not always "evil" as such, Black tends to have this kind of relationship with the other colors, particularly White.
  • The Unfettered: As part of the opposite of white, where white establishes concepts of "right" and "wrong", black rejects those notions in its quest for power.
  • Uriah Gambit: "Sacrifice a creature" effects, along with creatures with disabilities that hurt you.
  • What Is Evil?: Black is the color mostly inclined towards moral relativism.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Emphasized in the Theros block, with the followers and servants of the Black god, Erebos, making sure mortals meet their ultimate fate: death.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Black's standard creature tokens are 2/2 Zombies. While relatively small, Black has a number of ways to flood the board with large numbers of them. Exemplified with [http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=262669 its namesake card].

    Red 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2277114-red_mana_4489.png

Red is the color of chaos, passion, and emotion. It's aligned with the elements of fire, earth, and lightning, and it specializes in direct damage and the destruction of all things material. Red lives in the moment and rarely considers the future consequences of its actions; this theme is frequently shown through powerful but temporary advantages such as Threaten and Ball Lightning, with creatures that aren't always quite controllable once they hit the field, and with excessive bursts of mana or effects that destroy your lands in return for immediate power. Red is designed to play aggressively and win quickly, and is in danger of stalling out if it doesn't maintain the initiative. Red's reliance on spells that deal with fire and lightning have lead to the perception that red is not as diverse as the other colors, as satirized here. Learn more about red here and here.

Its philosophy can be summarised as "freedom through action".

  • An Ice Person: While this element is often associated with Blue, Red gets some ice spells for the purposes of freezing things to death.
  • Apocalypse How: Decree Of Annihilation, Disaster Radius.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Red has the majority of creatures with the "cannot block" and "attacks each turn if able" abilities, and a variety of other effects like Lust for War that force creatures to charge recklessly into battle. Mono-red decks also have a tendency to "race" with the opponent - attacking with their creatures to reduce their opponent's life faster than their opponent can do to them, without concern for blocking.
  • Be Yourself: Red is the color of unbridled self-expression.
  • Blood Magic: Used in various ways in flavour, though in the cards almost exclusively to deal damage or to control creatures (or both).
  • Breath Weapon: "Firebreathing" is a common ability where you spend red mana to pump up a creature's power. Naturally, red dragons are the most fire-prone.
  • Confusion Fu: Red's chaotic aspect makes it fairly unpredictable and quite handy for an Indy Ploy.
  • Discard and Draw: Red cards that allow the player to draw more cards tend to have the cost of discarding cards in the player's hand. While Blue has this ability as well, they also go in different order: Red discards first and then draws, while Blue does the opposite. (Additionally, Blue also has a ton of plain old "Draw more cards", which Red never has.)
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Along with Green and White, Red has a lot of earth- and stone-based magic, often of the "crushing rocks and earthquakes" variety.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Part of its opposition to blue. In fact, over-thinking and second-guessing yourself can be a serious flaw when playing red.
  • Elemental Powers: Red is by far the color most invested in them, as the aggressive manipulation of raw elemental forces fits quite nicely with its blunt, direct philosophy.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: Being the color of chaos and random destruction, Red gets a lot of this.
  • Fire Is Red: Though, to be fair, as in most other spells, Red spells don't necessarily have the same color as the color itself, and some fire spell artwork has apropriate orange or gold flames.
  • For the Evulz: Red doesn't tend to do plans, so at its worst it often produces motiveless evil. Red villains are more likely to be evil, destructive, or sadistic just because it's fun than black ones.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Although White has domain over light, some Red spells involve piercing the enemies with beams of light, most notably Cleansing Beam.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Oddly, Red has been sharing this trope with Blue for a while now. Unlike Green, Red sees technology as one more way to express its creative vision and, as a result, is actually just behind Blue for number of cards that (positively) interact with artifacts. These themes are particularly prominent with the Renegades of Kaladesh and the Izzet League.
  • Glass Cannon: In contrast to White's Stone Wall tactics, Red creatures either have high power and low toughness or ways to buff only their power to make creatures this.
    • Mono-red decks generally focus on putting down early hard-hitting creatures or creatures with haste (so they can attack right away) and attacking away at the opponent into submission before they can set up their defenses or field their bigger creatures, and finishing the game with direct damage. The moment they run out of steam, have their army taken out, and/or can't reliably damage the opponent any more is often the moment they lose.
  • Great Balls of Fire: Blaze and Fireball are the best examples.
  • Griping About Gremlins: The gremlins of Kaladesh are overwhelmingly Red in color. They're essentially animals and feed off of aether, with their feeding being an important part of Kaladesh's natural cycle. Problem is, most of Kaladesh's technology runs on aether, which combined with the gremlins' tendency to use their acidic saliva to bore a way to their meals has made them the scourge of the plane. Reflecting this, they tend to have artifact-destruction abilities or be empowered by energy counters. Their young are called grubs, and are very cute.
  • Having a Blast: Red is very fond of making things blow up, and its magic reflects this.
  • Hellfire: In a sense. Red, and sometimes Black, has the ability to turn its spells and creatures colorless. This allows it to get around White's protection ability, and is flavored as a sort of ghostly flame.
  • Hot-Blooded: Red characters are frequently this, due to Red being the color of emotion, feeling, and acting now and thinking never.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Word of God is that dragons are the most popular creature type in the game, and each block will ensure red gets at least one, even in settings like Ravnica (where dragons are supposed to be extinct) or Innistrad (where dragons just don't fit with Gothic horror). On top of that, red's dragons get a "dragon discount": they're slightly cheaper than a red flying creature normally should be.
  • Kill It with Fire: Cards such as Incinerate, Disintegrate, and Scorching Lava prevent the burnt creature from regenerating, representing the flavor of burning the body to prevent it from healing. Some go the extra mile and exile the creature instead of putting it in the graveyard, making it so burnt that necromancy cannot reform it.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: It's not touched on terribly often, but Red holds the vast majority of sound-based spells, from battle-cries to honest-to-goodness sonic attacks.
  • Making a Splash: Very rarely, in the form of a torrential flood.
  • Magma Man: Red already has fire and the geological aspect of earth under its belt, so it's only natural that cards involving lava are also red.
  • The McCoy: A common part for Red characters. Red is very much centered on following your gut and doing what feels right. If something’s the right thing to do, then never you mind conventions and potential consequences, that’s what you should do.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Officially Red’s large iconic creature, although they have known to show up in other colors, so it’s not a perfect fit.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Every set brings a new take on goblins, though you can usually count on them being self-destructively insane little buggers.
  • Playing with Fire: Red’s most iconic element. Fire manipulation is a mainstay of Red magic, involving both fire elementals and fire-based spells, usually centered on indiscriminately burning Red’s problems until they aren’t problems anymore. This is what red planeswalker Chandra Nalaar is most known for.
  • The Power of Hate: Hate, like all emotions, is Red in nature. Since it's a lot easier to fit in hate in a game based around creatures fighting, it shows a lot more often than, say, The Power of Love.
  • The Power of Love: Love, like all emotions, is Red in nature. Unfortunately, given that love is nigh impossible to be mechanically manifested, such cases are exclusive to flavor.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: Red cards and decks tend to move quickly and are generally faster than the other colors. Red also has Haste as its most familiar keyword.
  • Salt the Earth: Red has the most spells invested in land destruction.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Since Red never respects laws, its heroic characters fall into this trope.
  • Shock and Awe: Red gets a lot of lighting-based spells (and some creatures, like Ball Lightning).
  • Star Power: Most notably in the infamous Starstorm. Goes well with Light 'em Up.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Kaboom!
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Common in Red's flavor text, particularly with goblins.
  • Super Speed: Follows from Red's emphasis on freedom. Seen on cards such as Burst Of Speed and Accelerate.
  • The Unfettered: Red will feel what it wants to feel and act how it wants to act.
  • Thirsty Desert: Especially in Arabian Nights.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Red runs at two speeds: "hit it" and "hit it harder".

    Green 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/green_mana_2903.png

Green is the color of life, nature, and tradition. Thanks to its mastery of life and growth, Green is the best color at creating swarms of token creatures, and its creatures tend to be bigger than those of other colors for the same cost, especially at the higher end of the scale. Green also has the ability to boost the size of its creatures, both temporarily and permanently, and is the best color at generating extra mana in the long term, often by playing additional lands. It has become the second-best color at card drawing, representing a growth of the mind to match the body. Green magic is rarely subtle and often relies on brute force — while it's perfectly willing to destroy the opponent's artifacts, enchantments, and lands, Green's preferred means of dealing with opposing creatures is to outmatch them in combat as nature intended. Learn more about green here and here.

Its philosophy can be summarised as "acceptance through growth".

  • Dishing Out Dirt: Used to create more lands, or animate the ones Green already has.
  • Death World: What evil Green powers, such as the Green Phyrexians, ultimately seek to turn the lands they take over into—savage wildernesses full of ferocious monsters constantly preying on one another, where there is no law but the law of the jungle and no order but the food chain.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Part of its opposition to blue, green strategies are often about pure smashing, with little in the way of trickery or manipulation.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Green is the domain of dangerous, hostile places like forests and jungles.
  • Evil Luddite: Green is opposed to advanced science, technology, industry and any altering of the world from its natural state on general principles, and this tends to move it into villainous territory when it takes it too far.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Green at its worst and most obsessed with survival of the fittest can become this, especially when mixed with Blue.
  • Evil Reactionary: Green can be this when its focus on tradition and on shunning change is taken too far.
  • The Fatalist: As the color of natural order, Green can be too focused on predestination at its worst.
  • Fragile Speedster: The classic "green weenie" deck involves getting as many creatures out on the field as possible as quickly as possible. It's important to win quickly, because if your opponent manages to stave off your Zerg Rush, you're in for a world of hurt.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Green’s specialty, since its philosophy makes it opposed to anything artificial. One of the most iconic examples of this is the classic card Naturalize (which can destroy any artifact or enchantment in play), or Bramblecrush (which can destroy any noncreature permanent), symbolizing the destruction of encroaching civilization.
    • The Gaea’s Avenger variant also comes into play fairly often, such as with the planeswalker Garruk Wildspeaker or with the card Gaea’s Avenger.
  • Genetic Memory: A frequent concept in Green cards, most notably Descendant's Path.
  • Green Thumb: Druids always have abilities that either generate mana or improve the use and number of your lands. Common green spells pull lands right out of your deck and into your hand or onto the field, and of course there’s a lot of straightforward manipulation of plants.
  • Good Old Ways: Tradition is one of the things that green represents.
  • Healing Hands: Green shares the ability to gain life with White.
  • Hungry Jungle: A common tropical spin on Green’s forests, as a natural result of Green’s love of untamed wilds, its profusion of ravenous monsters and gigantic insects, and its hatred of technology and skill in breaking it down.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Many green healing and card-drawing spells are depicted this way. Green believes that enlightenment doesn’t come from trying to impress your philosophy on the world, but on accepting that the world works fine as it is and learning to listen to it.
  • In the Blood: To go with the Nature side in "Nature vs Nurture".
  • The Lost Woods: The basic Green land is forests, and coupled with Green's love of giant monsters and the untamed wilderness, this trope is definitely in play.
  • Ludd Was Right: Green has a lot of cards for destroying artifacts and enchantments.
  • Make My Monster Grow: One of green's favorite abilities.
  • Mighty Glacier: The general playstyle of mono-Green decks, if not focused on "green weenies" detailed above, often involves devoting their first few turns to getting as many lands into play as possible so they can summon their big creatures a few turns earlier than normal. They may be vulnerable and lack defenses but once they fully utilize their wealth of mana there is little stopping them.
  • Mushroom Man: The Fungus creature type is a strongly Green-aligned one, and as such the game’s various humanoid and intelligent mushroom creatures, such as the Thallids, have been exclusively Green.
  • Nature Hero: In contrast to Blue's Science Hero.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: There are many cards that reflect the life-giving and nurturing face of Mother Nature. There are also many cards that reflect Mother Nature's brutality. Green planeswalker Nissa Revane, anyone?
  • Nature Vs Nurture: Takes nature's side, obviously. Green believes your nature and destiny are dictated by your genes/fate/God/whatever.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted. Like in White, some Green characters with healing powers can be evil.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Green’s characteristic humanoid creature, they usually fit the High Elves (if mixed with White) or Wood Elves types pretty well, but the horned, goat-hooved and extremely xenophobic elves of Lorwyn are much closer to The Fair Folk.
  • Plant Person: Both Dryads and Treefolk are Green creature types.
  • Poisonous Person: Delivered by all manner of venomous critters.
  • The Power of Friendship: Along with White and Red.
  • Science Is Bad: Green's philosophy, leading to Green getting a lot of anti-artifact spells.
  • Super Strength: Green has many terrifyingly large creatures, following from its emphasis on growth. It also has a lot of spells that boost power and toughness, often to a greater degree than other colors.
  • The Social Darwinist: At its worst.
  • Training from Hell: It's not unusual for Green creatures to be permanently toughened up by getting hurt first.
  • That's No Moon!: Green is in love with the idea of land animation.
  • When Trees Attack: Treefolk are a fairly common Green creature type, and of course there's animated forests.


Alternative Title(s): Magic The Gathering Colors

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/MagicTheGathering/ColorTropes