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Analysis / Magic: The Gathering

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     The Primary Five 
This topic would take too much room on this page, so instead here is a link to Color Tropes where you can find a more in-depth discussion of the colors and their philosophies. But for a quick rundown of the basics:
  • White - The color of society, peace, civility, and order. Also the color of xenophobia, totalitarianism, and the loss of individuality.
  • Blue - The color of learning, perfection, practice, and discovery. Also the color of hubris, lack of empathy, and being subjected to "improvement," regardless of if you wish to be improved.
  • Black - The color of ambition, self-determination, pragmatism, meritocracy and the importance of the self. Also the color of power through any means, amorality, taking the easy way out, and greed.
  • Red - The color of emotions, passion, arts, and action. Also the color of sadism, lack of forethought, and reckless impulse.
  • Green - The color of nature, community, growth, and wisdom. Also the color of predator and prey, hatred of technology, and natural disasters.

     Color Misconceptions 
Often, people have very erroneous views on the colors of Magic: The Gathering — primarily, understanding some colors to be good and others evil. This is most often considering Black and Red as evil, White and Green as good, and Blue as neutral. This is understandable; people like to simplify things, and judging the colors by superficial traits is simple. Black, for instance, symbolizes self-centeredness and darkness/death, which are generally seen as evil, while Green values nature and community, which could be seen as "good". However, this is an overly simplistic take, and if things were actually this simple, there would be a lot less diversity of both cards and characters. This page is intended to explain a little more about the colors, and thus how things actually work.

White is the first color usually to be mentioned (and for some time it has gone first on official card lists). White is easily seen as the "good color", because it is the color of morality: it concerns itself with other people, focusing on forming a community. Its ultimate goal is peace, and its elemental domain is light, which people see as good. However, while White is well-intentioned, calling its methods "good" is... an arguably inaccurate description. To keep the peace, White believes that it has to control its community, using laws and structure to do so; because White is more focused on the group than the individual, it finds satisfying the desires of every single citizen to be impractical in terms of time and resources, and so its laws restrict personal freedoms. Individuality, seen as the origin of conflict, is thus looked at askance by White, which tries to eliminate it to varying degrees. White will readily discriminate against ideas and actions for the sake of them being unpopular or perceiving them as being too individualistic, even if they're largely harmless.

The end result is that White, while caring about the community, has little concern for the individual, sacrificing freedom for peace (hence, totalitarian systems are essentially White in nature). White will even sacrifice individuals for the sake of the group; at the extremes of the color’s actions, an individual may be forced to make a great sacrifice so that two other people will be a little better off. In addition, because it sees its philosophy as not merely superior but morally correct, White feels like it has the right and the duty to impose its philosophy on others, and willingly destroy those that oppose it. White is the color most interested in spreading its philosophy — for lack of a better term, it’s evangelical — and depending on the society in question, it may either do so by converting other people to its cause through diplomacy, or by eliminating even nonviolent outliers that refuse to accede to its hegemony.

In large-scale warfare, it is lethally efficient — White is the master of strategy, organization, and large armies, and has a strict policy of "killing first, asking questions later". Combined with its, ahem, black and white view of the world (derived from its focus on morality: whoever strays from it is considered evil), it is very easy to argue that White is more tyrannical than benevolent, even if it's more Lawful Stupid than Lawful Evil (note that all Lawful alignments are possible within White). So, White can produce a rabid Knight Templar just as easily as it can produce an Ideal Hero, because its light isn't always good.

Blue is the next color in the wheel. Blue is often seen as inherently neutral; its main motivations are curiosity (as it wishes to learn as much as possible) and perfection (as it wishes to change itself and the world for the better). Theoretically, these goals are good, as Blue's attempts to improve both itself and the world often benefit people (Blue being the color of technology and progress). Unfortunately, Blue is generally not very interested in people, other than using them as subjects in its experiments, as it is emotionally disconnected and secretive. Thus, it is neutral with regards to morality; it seeks to improve the world, but tends not to care about what happens to other people as it does so.

Much like Black, it is a very individualistic color, but unlike Black, it is not particularly selfish, as it believes that the accomplishment of its goals will improve others, which ties in with White's need to make the world better for its people. Still, its general lack of interest in what other people think or feel, as well as its desire to learn more, might eventually lead Blue to conduct questionable experiments: to Blue, its curiosity and belief that its actions will make the world better are more important than morality. Furthermore, one person's idea of "perfection" might not tie well with another's; many, for example, would not willingly submit to experiments to make them "better". Thus, it is no wonder that some of MTG's main villains are pure Blue, though there is an equal if not superior number of Blue heroes. Sometimes they’re even the same character.

Black is far and away the color most associated with evilnote . Its core philosophy is that one should only care about oneself; as the color of amorality and parasitism, it believes that it can do anything it wants, regardless of the consequences. Many villains are classifiable as Black, and as it represents darkness and death, many people call it evil. However, Black is just as neutral as the other colors, and in fact can be quite benevolent — at least sometimes. It represents both individuality and ambition. The first means that Black values the needs of the individual more than anything, and the latter means that Black is the color that most encourages one to follow his/her dreams. (Contrary to what some entertainment says, ambition is not an evil; if it was, you might as well not bother trying anything, because then you're being evil.) Hell, even amorality is not actually evil — that'd be immorality. The first is the absence of morality, a lack of concern for the concepts of right and wrong. The latter directly opposes morality, reveling in making the "wrong" choice and being malevolent for fun.

While some Black characters are immoral, most leave other people to their business and expect to be left to theirs. In addition, being identified with a color of magic doesn't mean someone will follow its philosophy to the core; just like many White characters aren't oppressive extremists and many Blue characters don't vivisect people in the name of progress, many Black characters are simply selfish and can feel sorry for doing some actions. A few pure Black heroes do exist in MTG, and the staff behind the game identifies likable characters such as Bart Simpson and Daffy Duck as pure Black. Black is also, funnily enough, the color most likely (next to perhaps Red) to be an Anti-Nihilist or Knight in Sour Armor, or simply believe in Good Feels Good. Unlike White, which feels it's compelled by some universal code of conduct, Black will be nice simply because it wants to be.

"...many of the things black embodies can be used for good. For example, black is the color that stresses the importance of the individual. This is a fundamental part of things like capitalism and the American Constitution. Selfishness has its good uses. Sometimes, people really should put themselves first."
— Mark Rosewater

Another relevant part of Black's identity is its association with death. While this is generally played in the cards as necromancy and killing, Black has been identified again and again with death in its positive form: the acceptance that life ends, and that death is a natural part of the world and thus very necessary. This is best seen in the Kamigawa saga, where the protagonist identifies Black mana with the normal process of decay and its relevance in the natural cycle. In the Theros Block, Black's identity is less focused on ambition and more on the classical notions of acceptance, particularly of Fate; neither the local Black god, Erebos, nor his attendants, the lampads, are evil, and instead closely mirror historical perceptions of pagan afterlives.

Before we're done with Black, it should be said that some people erroneously assume sadism is a feature of Black. While some Black characters are sadists, not all are, and sadism is present in other colurs, most being found in Red. White characters are not immune to sadism, as Akroma clearly shows, and in theory, Green characters could display it too — even some animals can at least seem cruel. The color least likely for sadism to be present is Blue, because it is the colur that is the least concerned with emotions, and causing pain for no other purpose than one's own pleasure is all but pointless. In fact, all four main types of sadistic personality disorders fit neatly into non-Blue colors: Tyrannical Sadism is Black (sadism solely for the sake of power), Explosive Sadism is Red (sadism as a means to vent emotional frustrations and get back at perceived injustices), Enforcing Sadism is White (sadism against rule-breakers and other perceived moral affronts), and Spineless Sadism is Green (in effect, an extension of how frightened animals react).

Red is a color that is easy to understand, but it's also easy to completely miss its point. The color of freedom and emotion, it is very impulsive; while certainly capable of thought, it prefers to guide itself through emotion. This can result in a wildness that allows Red and Green to mingle, the Green value of the strong surviving working just fine with Red. Paying such heed to one's own emotions is fundamentally selfish, so Red shares Black's focus on the needs of the individual above all else; hence, why a selfish, brutish villain driven only by his/her wants and needs can easily be pure Red. However, because Red is driven by emotion, it gladly embraces love, friendship, joy, compassion, and affection — Red characters can care about loved ones as much as, if not more than, themselves, not to mention the fact that being driven by how they feel might make a Red individual unwilling to take certain actions that don't feel right to them. Freedom is what Red wants, to do as it wills without anything between it and what it wants, and as such, it tries to directly destroy barriers to freedom, sharing White's policy of "killing first and asking question later". Of course, lack of order will occasionally cause a few conflicts, but being the color of chaos, Red is fine with that. Red is as neutral as the other colors, being both the color of war and slaughter and of art and passion, and as such, it is as easy to create a Red hero as it is to create a Red villain. Just as easily as there can be a mindless brute, there can be a Hot-Blooded hero.

Just as Black is often mistaken to be evil, so is Red often taken as the "stupid color". Impulse versus reason is a common dichotomy, and Red falls into the impulse side, while Red's enemies, White and Blue, are the colors most directly associated with rationality and self-restraint. However, a person being driven by their emotions doesn't necessarily mean that they're incapable of thinking straight, and in fact, several psychological studies have shown that strong emotions lead to creative thinking (this is why the less emotional Blue is often depicted as uncreative and incapable of actually strategizing, for instance). Examples of smart Red characters are Tahngarth, Starke, Krenko, and Chandra, all of which are very impulsive and emotional people but more than capable of outsmarting their opponents; likewise, Mark Rosewater considers Aladdin to be another example of a Red smart character, and indeed the Aladdin card from the Arabian Nights set, despite having a Blue effect, is red.

Green is often simplified as caring about the environment, but in truth has quite a complex philosophy. Standing between Red and White, it shares two fundamental traits from both colors: impulsiveness (Red) and value of the community (White). It is guided by instinct, and as such is probably the color that least values thinking (although some Green characters can think, they generally prefer to not do so). Yet, being the color of interdependence, it seeks to form a community, caring about the other members of its "pack" or "clan" as much as for itself. And, naturally, nature's well-being is its biggest concern. It is easy to see Green as benevolent: it cares about others and it cares about the surrounding world. And, while it does not really value knowledge, making it a counterpoint to blue, Green is the color of wisdom and insight. Standing against Black, it has little to no interest in spreading its philosophy, and doesn't want to change the status quo; indeed, there are very few pure Green antagonists in MTG. However, like all colors, it has its more sinister side: its insistence in keeping the status quo means it will be opposed to not just progress for progress's sake, but progress as a whole, though evolution is, naturally, acceptable. Being driven by instinct means that Green is often irrational, and this, combined with the raw power it commands, means that a lot of damage and casualties can occur when it goes on a rampage — Green is not very good at precision. There's also a tendency in Green MTG villains to be elitist — elves being the primary example, as they believe themselves and nature to be superior to everything else. Few people in general are pure Green, since very few human beings are purely driven by instinct, but other aspects of Green philosophy, like caring for the community and nature as well as keeping the status quo, are very common. However, many animals are fundamentally Green, as are plants in general. Remember, it's the color of life; it's bound to be plentiful.

Thus, every color's philosophy is naturally neutral, capable of both good and evil. It is very foolish to assume that some colors are entirely good and others entirely evil.

Horror and Evil tropes outside of Black

One of the staff’s stated reasons for the creation of Innistrad is to further spread horror outside of the color most stereotypically associated with it, having somewhat succeeded already in New Phyrexia (and arguably making a failed attempt way back in 1995’s The Dark). While Innistrad has traditional Black horrors, it also has werewolves, which are traditionally Red/Green. But one doesn't need any particular set to prove that horror and evil don't require Dark Is Evil.





Magic: the Love-Hate Pentachoron

Each color in M:tG has its allies and enemies. What's not always clear is why the colors ally or square off the way they do. As a guide to helping the average troper understand Magic's particular Faction Calculus (which, Mark Rosewater tells us, is one of the key aspects of its identity), here is a list of each color and how its ideologies shape not only its alliances, but the gameplay features it shares with other colors.

Magic: the Relations

Colors can also combine into any of ten different trios. Five of them have two colors that oppose each other and one color that both are allied with (shards), usually indicating that the allied color is the "dominant" of the triumvirate. Others consist of one color and the two opposed to it (wedges).

Furthered Complexity

    Magic: Four's Company 
For a long time, there were only five four-color cards in the game. They were called the Nephilim and appeared only in the Ravnica sets. Though clearly set up as something important, they never amounted to anything in terms of plot; player response to them was not enthusiastic enough to warrant revisiting them during the "Return to Ravnica" block. (Maybe in Return To Return To Ravnica? note ) They were also not Legendary creatures, to the disappointment of EDH & Commander players everywhere. However, as of 2016, Wizards finally started created Commander-oriented 4-color legendaries, satisfying one of the fanbase's biggest requests. In doing so, they finally nailed down what each of the four-color combinations stands for. This was done by taking the one quality that each color represents and finding its opposite, which (by necessity) the other four share to one degree or another.

  • Blue/Black/Red/Green: The colors of chaos. White represents order and peace, and tries to keep everything in pigeonholes of its own devising (cf The Evils of Free Will, Screw the Rules, I Make Them!, The Needs of the Many). The other four colors are all fine with varying levels of disorder and ambiguity; Green and Red are content to go with the flow, Black employs deception for reasons of self-protection and self-advancement, and Blue follows the evidence to the truth, regardless of where or what that turns out to be.
    • Glint-Eye Nephilim is relatively unique as creatures go. Many creatures have a "spy" mechanic wherein you draw a single (rarely, two) cards when they damage an opponent. Glint-Eye Nephilim lets you draw cards equal to the damage dealt, something only one other creature can do. Of course, you don't necessarily need all those cards... but that's chaos for you. Besides, its second ability lets you discard those cards to power it up... but, as is suitable for a chaotic being, that power-up only lasts until the end of the turn.
    • Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder marks the return of the Game-Breaker ability Cascade, which basically says, "Every time you cast a spell, Grab a card from the top of your deck. If it has a lower CMC than whatever you just cast, then cast it for free." What is it? What does it do? Is it advantageous right now? Who cares! Random spells in all directions!
  • Black/Red/Green/White: The colors of aggression. They exclude Blue, which is the only color that prefers to slow down and apply Awesomeness by Analysis. The other four colors all embrace conflict in one way or another; Red is a Blood Knight, Black and Green are both Social Darwinists (if for very different reasons), and White has never had a real problem with war (as long as the war's on White's terms).
    • The Dune-Brood Nephilim, true to its name, turns the land itself into an army of sandy children. It can only do that when it deals damage to an opponent, encouraging you to attack.
    • Saskia the Unyielding allows you to designate an opponent who will take damage no matter what you do or who you attack.
  • Red/Green/White/Blue: The colors of altruism. Black believes in individualism to a fault; as The Anti-Nihilist, it believes that we have to make the best of a world we can't change. The other colors, on the other hand, believe in improving the world through The Power of Friendship: Red embodies The Power of Love (at least in flavor; developers have struggled to make this into a mechanic for years), White is all about fostering community, Blue loves to share its knowledge (preferably snottily), and Green encourages interdependence and symbiosis.
    • Ink-Treader Nephilim seems to embody some sort of magic-amplifying matrix. Each time it is the sole target of a spell, every other creature on the battlefield that is a legal target becomes one as well. Its very strength is also its drawback — there's no longer any such thing as a spell that helps only you, or hurts only your opponent — but since when has that ever been news about altruism.
    • Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis are a pair of soldiers from the plane of Theros. They are extremely defensive, and also hand out free gifts by letting every player either draw a card or play an extra land. (In fact, the person who controls them actually gets both options.)
  • Green/White/Blue/Black: The colors of growth. Red is Hot-Blooded; it thinks only in the moment, verging into Suicidal Overconfidence. All the other colors plan for the future in one way or another: White via civilization-building, Green by defending Mother Nature, Blue via For Science!, and Black because It's All About Me.
    • Witch-Maw Nephilim literally feeds on its master's magic, getting permanently stronger each time the controller casts a spell. It starts small, but once it gets strong enough, nothing can stop it.
    • Atraxa, Praetors' Voice has the ability to "Proliferate" — anything that's already got a counter on it, gets another one.
  • White/Blue/Black/Red: The colors of artifice. Green believes that Mother Nature has all the answers we need; Science Is Bad, Ludd Was Right, and Creative Sterility is okay because if you're In Harmony with Nature, nature will look out for you. The other colors have all tapped into the joy of technology in various ways; White and Blue love progress, Black sees everything as fair game, and Red is the color of creativity.
    • Yore-Tiller Nephilim has the ability to overcome death to bring in allies on its side, which, going by its name, seems to be based on an ability to dig back into time itself. This actually embodies a different quality of the other four colors: Green, above all, respects the cycle of life and death, whereas the other four are willing to corrupt or sidestep it in various means and with various levels of efficiency. (As implied above, the Nephilim cards were designed before the foursomes had their themes nailed down, so it's less surprising that some of them stick out like sore thumbs and more surprising that only one of them does.)
    • Breya, Etherium Shaper can consume artifacts to create various benefits. To make sure you can get at least one use out of her, she creates two artifacts when she enters play.

    Magic: All Your Colors Combined 
When all the colors come together, it is of course for something that embodies aspects of all five colors simultaneously. They are usually extremely powerful, versatile, or both, especially for their cost, as the difficulty of "hard-casting" something that has at least one mana of each color means that the card had better be worth it. If it is a spell, it is usually a combo effect of some kind, rarely doing one thing; if it's a creature, it's either extremely large for its cost, has a wide array of abilities, or both.
  • The Slivers, an (at least partially) engineered Hive Mind race of Bee People, have subspecies in each color; the first official five-color card was the Sliver Queen, the mother of the entire species. Each time the Slivers have been brought back in the game (as has happened three times), they have received a new five-color "commander", a legendary Sliver with a powerful ability.
    • A similar idea, but more of a joke one, was done with the Atogatog; other subspecies of Atogs had been printed for each color, but the Atogatog was at once their ruler and a predator upon the species. This has also been done more seriously with dragons — the Scion of the Ur-Dragon, referencing the five legendary Dragons from the Invasion set — and scarecrows, from Shadowmoor.
  • The first card to create an on-the-card alternate winning condition was Coalition Victory, which emphasized the idea that if all five colors could work together, the resulting alliance would be greater than the sum of its parts.
  • The first artifact that was all colors didn't, in fact, have all five mana colors in its casting cost; it had a colorless casting cost, but had rules indicating it was to be treated as being all five colors. The Transguild Courier golem was intended as a diplomatic courier sent between the guilds of Ravnica.
  • The block that dealt the most with five-color cards was Alara, which had six in its latter two sets — which only made sense, as the story was about five demi-planes with access to limited colors of mana being forced back together into a "true" five-color plane. The planeswalker Nicol Bolas began nudging and tugging the shards back to their original state, and the conflux resulted in devastation and powerful new melding of magic and creatures, as well as one of the single most unkillable creatures in Magic history, more or less a Physical God and the soul of the healed plane.
  • The culmination of Urza's work was the Legacy Weapon, the weapon that ended the threat of Yawgmoth forever. In card form, it has a colorless casting cost, but its activated ability uses one mana of each color to exile (as in make Deader than Dead) anything that doesn't have some kind of protection against it.
  • Taysir of Rabiah was billed as the most powerful Planeswalker in Magic before Urza came along. He was formed from a fusion of five versions of the same man from parallel dimensions, each of whom was aligned with one color, and to this day is the only Planeswalker known to have mastered all five colors of magic.
    • The second was, apparently, Urza himself, as he is the first five-color Planeswalker actually printed as a card. He has so many varied abilities that they actually can't be listed on the card; instead you go to a website,, which rolls one of them up randomly. (As his offbeat mechanics imply, Urza is from one of the joke sets, where normal gameplay rules are relaxed.)
  • The Ur-Dragon, the Progenitor of Fire. An entity from the dawn of time that is the primordial essence of all dragonkind. Its five-color nature embodies its connection to dragons of all colors.
  • The most recent Five Color Card is Niv-Mizzet Reborn (and later, Niv-Mizzet, Supreme). Niv-Mizzet has traditionally been Red/Blue, and his personality doesn't seem to have changed too much with his resurrection and ascension to Living Guildpact, so the new colors are likely due to his resurrection requiring the contribution of all the guilds and their colors.

    Magic: the Serious Business 
Of course, the way colors work in competitive, cut-throat tournaments are generally quite divorced from their general archetypes.

General Rules

  • Strict mana curves. Legacy is perhaps the most strict when it comes to mana costs. In general, the mana costs of a legacy deck average at slightly higher than 2. This accounts for how efficient "answers" (removals or counterspells) tend to be in Legacy.
    • Removal needs to cost 1 mana if it is single-target. It can cost two mana if it bypasses defenses (for example, forcing the opponent to sacrifice a creature bypasses pretty much every protection possible). It can cost three mana if it can hit every relevant permanent type (Vindicate, Maelstrom Pulse).
    • Creatures are rarely more than 3 mana. Each creature needs to either have a large body, debilitating effects on the opponent, or be extremely flexible (or a combination thereof). In the cases where creatures are 4 mana or more, they should put you in a game-winning position on the spot, or be largely immune to removal or disruption.
    • In general, spells that cost 4 or more should put you in a game-winning position.

General Single Colors: Legacy

  • BLUE: Is almost exclusively utilized for its ability to draw cards and counter spells. Blue creatures are usually only good if they allow more spells to be played, not because of their aggressive threat. Despite this, it is generally agreed that blue is the most powerful and influential color. While it may not kill directly, the free/efficient counterspells hampering the enemy and draw-spells digging for your own threats can easily turn the tide of a game. The only notable exception is the Merfolk deck, which is admittedly powerful. Blue also lends itself pretty well to combo decks in general due to its draw spells, but more specifically due to one card in particular, Show and Tell, which allows players to put a card from their hand onto the battlefield (while seemingly symmetrical, this obviously leads to you putting the Infinity +1 Sword creature you included in your deck onto the field, while they play a generic, if efficient, threat).
  • WHITE: in legacy is a jack of all trades. It has the most efficient removal in the game (Swords to Plowshares), and the best board wipes in the game (Terminus). It also features many popular low-costed creatures whose effects range from toolbox (Stoneforge Mystic), to anti-control (Thalia, Guardian of Thraben), to flexible hate (Qasali Pridemage), to efficient bodies (Knight of the Reliquary). White in combination with green make up the majority of aggressive creatures utilized in legacy.
  • RED: Is largely limited to burn spells. Red is mostly played for its cheap removal and burn spells. It also sees play for its fast mana in some combo decks, though this role is usually relegated to black. It does feature some nice aggressive creatures, but they are largely irrelevant (save Bloodbraid Elf), and only feature in a couple of decks (which aren't really that good). (Burn, Red Stompy)
  • GREEN: Is played predominantly as a creature toolbox due to a single card (Green Sun's Zenith). In most decks that feature it, its creatures form the actual "core" threat. These creatures are typically very efficient bodies for their cost (EX: Tarmogoyf is on average a 4/5 for 2 mana, and in the late game easily reaches 5/6 or 6/7). Green is also utilized with black for common universal removal spells (Abrupt Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, Pernicious Deed), making it a surprisingly good "pure control" color.
  • BLACK: Is played strongly for its control aspects. It has cheap targeted discard (Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek), and a broad spectrum of removal, from cheap, to more expensive but more flexible. Black creatures are less used than white or green ones, but still see play as efficient threats (Tombstalker, Ichorid). It also features the most powerful legal card draw engine in the game relative to price (Dark Confidant). Black also tends to be the most combo-tastic color because of its access to fast mana (dark ritual, cabal ritual), the most powerful legal draw engine (Ad Nauseam), and the most efficient legal storm finisher (Tendrils of Agony). Separately, its cheap resurrection spells (Entomb, Exhume, Reanimate) are also powerful combo pieces.

General Single Colors: Modern

  • WHITE: White has some of the strongest sideboard cards in Modern, such as Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, and Leyline of Sanctity.
  • BLUE: It counters things and draws cards. Business as usual.
  • BLACK: Whereas blue provides a large number of reactive answers, black has most of Modern's proactive answers. Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek both allow you to sculpt your opponent's hand, removing threats before they can be played, while Surgical Extraction can also remove potential problem cards from a player's library. Recently black has gotten Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, heavy-hitting creatures that can rival Tarmogoyf in efficiency (if you have a well-stocked graveyard, at least).
  • RED: Red is a wonderful color for spot removal. Lighting Bolt makes it difficult to justify a creature with 3 or less toughness in Modern. It's also the color of fast mana in a world without Dark Ritual, providing the backbone of many combo decks.
  • GREEN: Green gets Tarmogoyf, the $100+ monster that is one of the most efficient creatures in the format.

Magic: the Gathering: Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons Learned

In GDC 2016, head designer Mark Rosewater gave talks about various game design points in Magic: The Gathering he observed/made throughout his career. The video can be watched on YouTube here.