Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Kevin Stringer, and I’m an amateur filmmaker. I’ve been playing Magic for nine years (since the release of Mirrodin), with a few breaks here and there from the game. Even though I started ten years after Alpha was released, I’ve played with cards from every set, so I feel that I have a decent grasp on the history of the game.
To give you some insight into my style, I can demonstrate my likes and dislikes of Magic set design. My favorite sets (in order) are: Legends, Ravnica: City of Guilds, Innistrad, and Invasion. For those of you unfamiliar with any of these sets, they’re AWESOME. Of course, this is subjective, but they are pretty cool. My least favorite sets (this time, in no particular order) are: Homelands, Lorwyn, Shards of Alara, and Avacyn Restored. Obviously, there are things that make each of the eight sets I’ve named unique, so this doesn’t quite give you the perfect look into my brain. It certainly doesn’t hurt, though.
I hate introducing myself, so let’s move onto the “meat and potatoes” of why you’re reading this: the color white. Clearly, I don’t know everyone’s background with MtG, but chances are that you have, at some point, either played or encountered a “white weenie” deck. It’s a great way for new players to learn the game without being overwhelmed, which is part of the reason that I love white so much. To me, white is the most evocative color in Magic. It may not traditionally print the most powerful, format-breaking cards. It may not provide the most ridiculous interactions and combos (see Trix here). But what makes white interesting and special to me is how the cards make sense and bring out emotions in me.
You might be asking yourself what I mean by “the cards make sense”, and the best way to answer that is by a demonstration. Take the card Wrath of God, for example. This card just oozes flavor in every facet of its existence. The name, art, design, effect on the game, and even the color assignment all work perfectly in the original “wrath” card. In the Old Testament of the Bible, when God was angry, stuff went down and people got messed up. In the MtG version, nothing is different. The card is white (to represent divinity and purity, as part of white’s role in Magic), the art describes the title, and the effect that the card has on the game matches all of the above. I get a certain feeling when I see a card designed so perfectly. My brain doesn’t even have to be on for me to understand what’s happening.
This is one of the ultimate examples that show’s white’s great design in the history of Magic. Serra Angel, Swords to Plowshares, Armageddon, and Disenchant all fit this same bill. Now, I know that these are all cards that were printed with Magic’s beginning, but they provide great context for white as a color and as a design style. Plus, they have all been reprinted in another set at some point, showing their importance in the history of the game.
Usually people like to talk about white as the color of order, protection, law, divinity, and purity. This is definitely a good way to explain the color pie to new players, and I even do it myself. But when I’m playing Magic, each mono-colored, multi-colored, and colorless card brings out a feeling in me specific to its colors (or lack thereof). That’s what makes this game so unique. If I wanted to play a card game where every single card was over-the-top powerful, I’d design my own. But I play Magic because of what the cards represent to me, and the escape that it gives me from daily life.
I’ll end this with a challenge for you. Think about your favorite color in Magic: the Gathering. Decide what cards, for you, really define that color’s role in the game and why you enjoy that color most. I’d love to hear what people feel about the other colors in Magic, so please feel free to respond in the comments! Thanks for reading.