Editor’s Note: This should have appeared yesterday, but thanks to computer issues it appears today. Hopefully 1′s and 0′s won’t give me problems next time.
Welcome to the first of 5 (maybe more) posts of The Color Pie Identity Project. Today, the most selfish of the colors gets to go first, or the one that’s first alphabetically; either or, it works, right?
So, I’ll take a look at Black as a color, what it does, what it can’t so, etc, etc. Before I get threatening e-mails, yes this is based off of MaRo’s take on each color. But this is a healthy exercise because sometimes you’re too far in the forest to see the trees. Not saying they don’t know what they’re doing (because they do), but it’s good to hear what an outsider thinks of what a color is by it’s cards, not by what R&D says.
To Black, there’s only one being that matters, itself. It’s a dog eat dog world out there in the Multiverse, and it’s only the strong that survives. Black does whatever it takes to win; if it means sacrificing life, others, it doesn’t matter. “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” to quote Legendary Vince Lombardi, and that’s how Black sees everything. Everything has this need to take care of itself, and Black is only following this to the extreme.
Some might see this color as evil, with the skull being it’s mana symbol and all. But it really understand that death is part of life. If it means raising a army of the undead, or brining the dead back to life to win, then Black sees it as so. Destroying creatures is just the next stage of life to the Black mage. Because it has control over this dark magic, it becomes corrupted more easily to be coming more self-serving. Discarding becomes gaining an advantage against and opponent, making them forget a key spell. The “draining” of life, is just like a vampire, taking the life force of another and keeping it for yourself to bring more powerful effects.
Not only is the Black mage selfish, but it’s creatures are as well. They are power hungry, requiring sacrifices, payment of life to use them, or wanting to use your mana to make them stronger. But Black accepts this, because this is the way to win, buy using others to do your dirty work.
How it deals with:
Artifacts – Unluckily, Black can’t deal with these types of cards very well. Very few Black cards can deal with opponent’s artifacts (Gate to Phyrexia, Phyrexian Tribute, Curse Artifact), so it’s not one of Black’s strengths to destroy them. Sure, it feeds off of them, but it can’t destroy them.
Creatures – Getting rid of creatures is Black’s specialty. From the popular -1/-1 mechanic to the Terror variety, Black has tons of ways to get rid of creatures. Most of the removal has single target and has some restrictions (either playing on the block theme or different variations to make the card interesting). Some (and what players have been clamoring for) is mass removal, but that has been not been the norm, but it’s not out of place. One key piece of Black creature removal is that it does not target Black or artifact creatures, unless one of the variations of a block theme allows it.
Enchantments - Like artifacts, Black can’t get rid of enchantments. There are limitations that even Black can’t deal with.
Lands – Black land destruction does happen, though it only happens about once every block or two. And when Black does get a land destruction spell, it’s double B (XBB) for not to make it too splashable.
Blue – Black sees that Blue has the intelligence to do whatever it wants, but lacks the will power to go through with it. The ability to control the situation with countering and bouncing impress Black, but it’s no long term situation.
Red – Black likes Red’s tenacity to ge things done, but it’s the opposite of Blue, unable to think. If something physical needs to be destroyed or damaged, Black looks to Red.
Green – While Green understands that death is a part of life, Black doesn’t think that Green goes far enough. Sure it’s got creatures, but it doesn’t use Nature’s dark side enough to do what needs to be done.
White – Sure, White’s control is nice, but it goes too far. White is Communism-like in it’s nature, creating rules and giving everyone benefits. It cradles the weak and therefor, should be punished.
Cards that demonstrate the color:
Creature – Nantuko Husk for being selfish. Sacrificing others to benefit itself, how is that not Black?
Enchantment – Subversion for demonstrating the “leech” ability. Slowly, but surely, the Black mage will suck you dry… of your life. Get you mind out of the gutter.
Instant – Spoils of the Vault for showing that pain = reward. Sure it can get your card, but it will cost you, and Black enjoys that.
Sorcery – Mutilate for the -1/-1 theme. This fits in better for Black then Damnation, but that art is freaky.
Hope you guys liked this first installment of The Color Pie Identity Project. Once we get through the colors we’ll be able to design the cards. Gotta walk before you can run a marathon.