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The Color Wheel
By Benjamin Baxter

A model of the color wheel would definitively explain many of the intricacies involved in the ideologies of Magic. Why aren't there hordes of Red regenerating flyers, Black double striking tramplers, or hasted White nightmares with fear? If you think these questions are ridiculous, then you probably have a fairly accurate instinctual knowledge of Magic's color wheel. Of course, there are some of you
gentle readers that have asked those questions on a routine basis.

An Introduction

(If you have time, instead of reading this paragraph, instead check out those excellent articles about the color wheel over at magicthegathering.com instead of my retelling.)

The first attempt to identify the color wheel came when Alpha came out. Each color had an Interrupt that would give three somethings per one color mana. This cycle is
the most famous of all cycles, specifically called the Boons. Black had Dark Ritual, a card that would have been a staple in black decks today if it weren't recently
banned in extended. The same fate awaited burn decks' Lightning Bolt. Green and White had terminally-useless-at-the-tournament-level cards, Giant Growth and Healing Salve. Of course, they remain popular in casual decks, as life gain and quick creature pumping are nice to have. Blue's didn't get reprinted for long, as card advantage was soon realized as a force when Ancestral Recall became used
extensively.

Anyway, through cycles the idea of themes/motifs in the colors was revealed.

Symbolism in the Model

This model shows much of the synergy between colors, with the typically allied colors (GW and RB) depicted on the same diagonal line as opposed to the classic model if the color wheel as depicted on the backs of the typical Magic card.

The intersection of the allies shows Blue as the central color. Regardless of what you think of blue, you gotta admit that Counterspell makes a pretty good argument
for blue being the center of everything in the ideology of Magic, especially considering that they characteristically like control.

The abilities in the non-colored areas show the generally exclusive abilities.

These abilities are generally used in only the color to which they are closest, but do not always follow this pattern. (Look at Double Strike. Most Doublestrikers are
red, but there are a few white ones yet. Rashaka, Golden Cub, for example.) The abilities in this area are usually of one of these two colors. (See double strike and first strike. They're similar abilities that usually appear in either red or white.)

The boxed abilities next to the middle square show the abilities that all but exclusively appear in either of the two adjacent colors. (Regeneration is just about always Green or Black.)

Exclusive abilities, creature abilities that effectively appear in only one color, are charted on this chart inside the respective colors. (ex. see fear in that pastel gray area? Bit lower. Yeah, there.)

Notes:
Piety is just my pseudo-keyword for the decidedly clunky "Attacking does not cause ~ to tap," a distinctly white ability.

The central orange area stands for artifice of all shapes and sizes, central to blue especially in this era of color-wheel shattering artifacts. Which makes this model joyfully obsolete. Oh well.

Those Weird Lines

Spell<---Death--->Creature

(Originally, Death was "Damage," but I kinda liked the synergy between Life<--->Death better.)

If you look hard enough, you'll see funny little words on the parallel vertical lines on this model. The word in the middle of the line on the left is Damage, with Combat on the bottom and Spell on the top. These represent the most common ways of reducing an opponent to 0 health. While all of the non-blue colors have these big stompers that cause mondo damage, it's safe to say that green takes it a a
specialty. Spell just infers damage done through CiP abilities or sorceries/enchantments/instants.

Gain<---Life--->Loss
The white side is Life Gain, the black side is Life Loss.

Life<--->Death
A nice way to look at it. BW is life manipulation (i.e. prevent damage; pay X life,) RG is wore about damage straight up (i.e. when ~ deals combat damage; X damage to
target creature or player.)

Perhaps you may not have noticed, but have you noticed the lack of green and to a lesser extent, red flyers? Perhaps their animosity toward Blue led to a lack of usage of blueís signature ability: Flying. Alternatively, Iím reading too much into this and, in lieu of Magic, I instead need some sleep.

What didnít fit on the model:

Blue abilities: Flying, Index (look at the top X cards in your library, then arrange them in any order)

Artifact Abilities: Modular, Sunburst, Indestructible.

WR Lay Line - Chaos<->Order

GB Lay Line - Growth<->Decay

Read More Articles by Benjamin Baxter!

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