How to Play Magic: The Gathering Part 5: Color Philosophy II (Allies)

In the last post I talked about the individual colors. If you want to see that post, click the link below. In this post I am going to take a look at ally color pairs. They are called ally colors because they are next to each other on the MTG color wheel. The plane of Ravnica has made these color pairs famous by calling them guilds, which is a thematic element of the plane. The name of the guilds that we will go over today and their colors are as follows: Azorius Senate (white & blue), House Dimir (blue & black), Rakdos Carnival (black & red), Gruul Clan (red & green), and Selesnya Conclave (green & white).

Azorius (White & Blue)

Remember back to the individual colors? White is the color of order and wants what is best for society and blue is the color of knowledge, desiring to know everything to the point that it doesn’t know when to stop. White understands how important knowledge is for protecting society and relies on blue to provide that knowledge, and it’s through that knowledge that blue is able to survive. The result of this mutual knowledge-equals-protection mentality is government. The Azorius Senate is the governing body of Ravnica. They make the laws and enforce the laws, but remember that blue wants to be unrestrained in its quest for knowledge;  it now has the power to do so in the guise of protecting society, which is okay with white. At the extreme, this is Big Brother.

Azorius colored cards are designed to control the opponent. Most effects are designed to put the enemy behind by returning cards to their hand, countering spells, slowing down aggressive strategies, or overall just being hard to play around.

Dimir (Blue & Black)

We already reviewed that blue is the color of knowledge. Black is a color that is willing to pay any price to get what it wants, which is usually more power. Both colors agree that knowledge is power and that makes Dimir strong. Add blue’s knowledge to black and the color becomes more controlled in its ambitions. It’s now patient and manipulative. It no longer has to actively seek power because it just needs the right opportunity to seize it. House Dimir is so secretive that most inhabitants of Ravnica don’t believe it exists. Its members can infiltrate other guilds and pose as members while they are secretly just gathering information and waiting for the opportunity to strike.

Remember how blue prefers a battle of wits to brute strength? Dimir has made a strategy of using their intellect to defeat an opponent. Most Dimir cards interact with the library and the graveyard causing the opponent to run out of ideas and sometimes use those ideas for themselves.

Rakdos (Black & Red)

We’ve already covered how black wants power, but remember how red wants the freedom to act on impulse? Since black knows what it wants, it’s really the one pulling the strings in this relationship. Red is just all too willing to help and won’t stop to question what black wants it to do. The best way to sum up the Rakdos Carnival is chaos. Remember, black cares little for its own well being so it is willing to sacrifice everything for what it wants. The Carnival does nothing but cause trouble and discord among the inhabitants of Ravnica.

When you think about it, neither red nor black have much regard for their own well being. It’s clear that neither color planned out what would happen once they got together or where they want to go. Perhaps all they both want is freedom. So what if they get hurt in the process? Absolute freedom should not come with rules or consequences.

Gruul (Red & Green)

Remember, red is a color that wants to run headfirst into combat. Green believes in survival of the fittest and strength is everything to green. The problem with red’s strategy is it’s kind of weak, but when combined with green’s strength, the duo becomes a force that can hit hard and fast. The Ravnican wilds are ruled by the Gruul Clan, composed of savage creatures. As long as they are left alone, they won’t bother anyone; but once someone encroaches on their territory, they become destructive.

In battle, the Gruul believe you need to hit hard and if that doesn’t work, you hit harder until it does. It’s just sheer brute force which green has in spades and red is perfectly fine with. I would have to say that gruul is one of the most synergistic color pairings out there, combining the straightforwardness of red and the strength of green.

Selesnya (Green & White)

By now we have reviewed all of the colors, but to recap green and white, green wants to grow and white wants order. Green believes that what doesn’t grow, dies. White believes in preservation. Where these two come together is in a society. White believes in a society and green can see how society and order are important for growth so that’s exactly what the Selesnya Conclave is, a society.

One thing white is good at in battle is numbers. Green prefers strength. Neither color dominates in this strategy, but there is also no balance to it. The color pair does make a lot of tokens, but they can range from 1/1 soldiers and saprolings to massive 5/5 wurms. White acts as a protector which is perfect for green who sometimes just wants to be left alone.

That wraps up the ally color pairs. Which one best fits your play style, taking control of the game, forcing your opponent to run out of cards, create chaos and keep your opponent guessing, go in fast and hard, or create a bunch of tokens? Next time we will be taking a look at enemy color pairs so be looking out for that.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Trickery: Red is the color of pranksters; Red enjoys playing tricks on its enemies and changing the effects of their magic. Blue interferes with magic, too, but it specifically controls the magic for its own long-term profit. Red is concerned more with taking control away from its enemies – forcing them to deal with the unexpected. Sometimes Red can dictate the new effect, sometimes it is random. Such trickery includes temporarily gaining control of permanents, preventing creatures from blocking (” Panic “), and changing the targets of spells, though some cards in this category are truly unique. Examples: Threaten, Stun, Reroute, Confusion in the Ranks .

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