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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 even informally talked about as though they were characters.

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    White 

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.

  • 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.
  • 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 recognises moral complexity.
  • Cast Calculus: Each color's role in the color pie can best be visualized by comparing it to cast dynamics of various sizes.
  • Combat Medic
  • Elemental Powers
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: White is the color that most often rewards the use of its own color, often flavored as white looking out for its own kind and being intolerant of differences.
  • Flight: With blue.
    • Feathered Fiend: Because of this, it is, after Blue, the colour with the most amount of birds. Villainous Aven like Kirtar from the Mirari Saga have so far been only White, and New Phyrexia's birds are also White.
  • The Fettered: Comes with the territory of law and order.
  • 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.
  • 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 Nazgūl that are extremist instead of immoral.
  • Ideal Hero: When white is a hero, it's this.
    • 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.
  • Kill 'em All: Naturally.
  • Knight Templar
  • 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.
  • Made of Iron: See Stone Wall.
  • Moral Sociopathy: At its worst; it is always moral, but being an enemy of Red, the colour of emotions, means that, at its purest, it has no empathy. Indeed, some pure White creatures, like Angels, sometimes appear rather robotic, following their duties at the expense of everything else.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules/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.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: White, being the colour of order, can be this at its worst.
  • The Needs of the Many
  • 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 idealogy as well; ultimate order is death, after all.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They are medium-sized to large flying creatures.
  • Technical Pacifist: White prefers to disable enemies non-lethally. Unless you really piss it off.
  • The Power of Friendship: With Green and, sometimes, Red.
  • Pride
  • 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.
  • Recurring Element: White's iconic creatures are Angels, and its characteristic creatures are Soldiers.
  • 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.
  • Stone Wall: White has a long history of tough creatures with low power.

    Blue 

Blue is associated with 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.

    Black 

Black's 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.

  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero: What black may be when it steps into the light.
  • Body Horror: Anything with "Pay X life..." in it, anything Yawgmoth does, a lot of the black auras.
  • Cast Calculus: Each color's role in the color pie can best be visualized by comparing it to cast dynamics of various sizes.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Every color gets some, but it's black's specialty.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture
  • 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 EldritchAbominations, 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.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Usually under the creature type "Horror" and "Nightmare".
  • Elemental Powers
  • Equivalent Exchange: Shown on many cards, in particular those like Sign In Blood.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: An arguable example, but "personifying" Black in certain Wizards articles suggests that Black cannot honestly 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 Twin: With White.
  • Face-Heel Turn: If a coalition of different-color characters is present.
  • Greed and Envy: Greed is in fact a card.
  • 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 has the best creatures and Red and Blue has the best spells, Black is the most balanced color in both aspects, though this also has its price.
  • Mind Rape: Any "discard" card or "cap" effect.
  • Nominal Hero: Black may help you, if you make it worth its while.
  • 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.
  • Power at a Price: Black's specialty, whether it be discarding cards, paying life, or sacrificing creatures.
  • Pragmatic Hero: When Black is heroic. Black is always pragmatic regardless.
  • Recurring Element: Black's iconic creatures are Demons, and its characteristic creatures are Vampires.
  • 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).
  • Swamps Are Evil: Black draws power from the festering decay of swampland. But again, see Dark Is Not Evil.
  • 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.

    Red 

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 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.

    Green 

Green magic represents nature. 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 preferred means of dealing with opposing creatures is to outmatch them in combat as nature intended. Learn more about green here.


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alternative title(s): Magic The Gathering Colors
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