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Blue mana symbol


Perfection through knowledge

— Mark Rosewater[1]

Blue is one of the five Colors of mana in Magic. It is drawn from islands and embodies the concepts of logic and technology.[2] The mana symbol for Blue is a drop of water. On the color pie, it is allied with White and Black and is the enemy of Red and Green.[3][4] With the belief that everyone is born as a blank slate, Blue thinks that anyone can become what they want to be and that the world has the potential to be improved upon; specifically, Blue strives to understand and achieve their perfect self and world through education, prudence, and experience.[5]

In gameplay, Blue's talents of wit and foresight are represented by counterspells and potent draw spells, disrupting opponent's strategies and providing themselves with more of their own stratagems, such as mimicry and theft. Blue, having a proclivity of more mind than matter, tends to wield more noncreature spells than creatures, such as sorceries/instants and artifacts. Blue is the strongest when played defensively; through effects like bounce and tap/untap spells that buy time for setting up evasive saboteurs and value generators, Blue takes control of the game, ensuring an inevitable victory.[6][7]

However, Blue's perfectionism and inaction from trying to obtain as much knowledge as possible before executing a decision make it more reactive than proactive. As such, Blue must wait for their opponent's actions, possess a slow game plan, and have a poor early game, making Blue vulnerable to overwhelming speed. Blue's passivity causes it to be the only color that lacks direct removal, relying solely on reactive counterspells and stalling bounce spells. Blue's introversion also makes it the color with the least number of Creatures and the color with the worst curve in Creatures, leaving Blue's ideas to perish without a community to share with or an impetus to put into motion.[7][8]

The current member of the council of colors for Blue is Megan Smith.[9] For a time, Blue was the dominant color, and R&D was forced to change its approach to the color to bring it in line with the strength of the other colors.[10][11][12]

Flavor[ | ]

Blue's philosophy, like that of each color, is determined by its worldview. To Blue, the world is an opportunity. Within it, hide wonders and possibilities most fantastic: the stuff of dreams. Blue is characterized by the desire to know the world's secrets and to make those possibilities real. The belief that dreams can be reality—to which blue holds fast—is the belief in tabula rasa, the blank slate.

Blue believes that all things begin existence blank, without destiny or purpose. This is contrasted with Green's belief that one's life is predetermined, say, by natural ability. Rather, Blue believes the essence of a thing is given to it, that it is shaped by the storms and eddies of its existence. Those with knowledge and willpower are masters of this: shaping and changing things at will. To them, the essence is as malleable as clay.

Mastery of possibility, mastery of essence, is exactly what Blue pursues. Thus, Blue comes to prize knowledge. It is with the knowledge that Blue will unlock great possibilities and change itself for the better. With all knowledge—omniscience—blue can make itself perfect.

Recurring themes in Blue are illusion over reality (nurture over nature), thought over action (reason over passion), and the possibilities of the future over the past or present.

Blue is the enemy color of red and green. Blue is opposed to red because Blue focuses on thinking and strategy, while red focuses on freedom of action. Blue wants the world to be full of thought and controlled by logic, free from emotions, while red prizes personal freedom and passion. Blue sees emotion and personal freedom as a hazard to the controlled world it wants and plans to destroy red before it causes permanent damage.

Blue disagrees with Green about the nature of change, and that Blue is obligated to shape the universe. Green sees artificial change as an affront to nature and highly presumptuous. Blue sees green's resistance as immovable and non-progressive. This appears mechanically in the game: Blue tends to construct complicated board positions and uses interesting effects from non-living sources, while Green tries to destroy those complications and substitute more basic, primal, living creatures.

This may confuse in the case of cards that represent sea monsters and other water-related creatures; they may, at first, seem to exhibit green feral traits, instead of Blue's attitudes, but are in reality more closely related to the mysterious depths and tumultuous nature of the ocean than the cyclical and tranquil nature of forests. Like the ever-shifting waters, both fragile and frightening creatures of the deep live with and embody change. Interestingly, Zendikari Krakens do happen to embody Blue's other characteristics: they represent free will and self-determination, capable of destruction when willing to violence, but generally spending most of their adult lives in the depths, contemplating and exploring.[13]

Rules[ | ]

A Blue card is defined as any card that has {U} in its mana cost or any card that has a Blue color indicator {CI_U}. Blue is famous for its card drawing and countering abilities. It also has the most flying creatures along with white.

The following evergreen keywords are associated with the color Blue (as well as the colors they share it with):[14][15]

Mechanics[ | ]

Blue's mechanics primarily involve manipulating time and information. The central mechanics that define the color are:[16]

Card drawing and variants[ | ]

Even though "draw a card" can appear on any card, Blue can draw multiple cards, unconditionally, at a cost of only mana. Contrast with green, which has conditional card drawing; and black, which requires some other sacrifice (usually life). Having more cards represents information and options, those things with which Blue is primarily concerned. Since Blue can draw cards at any time regardless of its board position, this allows it to recover from any game situation if just given time (provided an answer is in the player's library), representing Blue's self-fulfilling belief that every problem has a solution. The card drawing mechanic sees many variants, and this category includes any of those effects that get cards from "the top" of the library into the hand. "The top" is a loose restriction here, meant to exclude the tutor mechanic. A notably common variant is the "looter" ability, which draws one card, and then has that player discard one card. This is generalized to spells that draw some number N cards, then discard some number M cards, with M less than or equal to N (though there are exceptions).

Counterspells[ | ]

Blue can counter spells, which entirely prevents their effects (see the stack). This can be seen as the prevention of chaotic action; Blue uses its logic to deny others the ability to express ideas that aren't helpful (in Blue's opinion). Countering can also be perceived as the maintenance of the status quo, such that it can be studied more completely. Finally, it is indicative of Blue's precise understanding of magic, as it understands how spells work so thoroughly that it can interfere with them as they are being cast. Note that spells that counter-activated or triggered abilities also exist and are just as commonly assigned to Blue. However, they are not commonly known by any specific name, except possibly "Stifle," a card which, though not the first of its kind, was very high profile due to the relevance of triggered abilities in the Type II environment of its time. (See storm.)

Change-of-control effects (stealing)[ | ]

Another signature mechanic of Blue is "stealing," which takes the form of gaining control of cards, or in some abstract way, effects. Blue needs to control the world and these effects embody that. Blue sees itself at times as the sage guardian of the world, confiscating those things that others use irresponsibly. At others, it may see the taking of an item as an experiment itself. The constant is that Blue controls something because it believes that it is part of understanding it. This also plays into Blue's talent for subterfuge and deception. Recall that the ideals of Blue are for everything to be known well enough to be controlled. Note that Blue's kind of thievery has its flavor, for while red and black also steal, Blue's is the strongest magic for permanently commandeering permanents.

Library destruction[ | ]

This is an infrequently visited mechanic which consists of removing some number of cards from the top of a library, placing them either in a graveyard or outside the game (called "milling" when the cards go to the graveyard, after Millstone). These cards are depicted as causing mental attacks such as hypnosis or amnesia, although some force the interpretation of stress or anxiety, such as Broken Ambitions. This mechanic brings the "milled" player closer to the losing condition caused by attempting to draw from an empty library. Though mono-colored mill spells are most often Blue (Mind Sculpt), a great many mill spells are blue-black.

Mimicry[ | ]

Blue cards can imitate other cards or aspects of other cards. A game term that collects a wide range of these is "copy", but "mimicry" as used here should be understood to include cards like Shape Stealer, which strictly speaking does not copy anything. Blue's mimicry effects have been flavored as spell duplication, cloning, and magical disguise, though Shape Stealer is not alone in defying such static categories. The tactic of imitation is closely related to Blue's desire to learn. By mimicking its enemies (in multiplayer games, possibly allies), Blue allows itself to know at least what others know. With a mimicry card in its repertoire, Blue ensures that it can do anything that anyone else can. While an individual card may be flavored as a disguise or trick, it is this connection to knowledge that underpins it—even an impostor creature in Blue is motivated by a fancy for illusion over reality, the power of perception to control the world.

Morphology[ | ]

Blue is the color of shapeshifting, nearly all shapeshifters and other cards that change their creature type or other attributes are in Blue. Though the morph ability occurs in all colors, it occurs in Blue more than any other color. An extension of that is spells such as Pongify and Curse of the Swine that replace creatures on the battlefield with creature tokens of a given type, power, and toughness.

Power reduction[ | ]

Target creature gets -X/-0 until end of turn

Blue has a minor theme of reducing the power of creatures using spells (e.g., Meishin, the Mind Cage, Hydrosurge). Flavor-wise, this represents a hex causing weariness or dizziness; unlike Black, Blue does not affect the toughness of creatures. Power reduction was originally in the black, green, and even white (e.g. Sword Dancer) slices of the pie but has shifted to Blue in recent years.

Returning permanents to hand[ | ]

Blue can return permanents to their owners' hands. On the surface, this is mostly a delay tactic—undoing the opponent's actions to set them back, giving oneself more time to stabilize (or win the game). Subtly, observing whether and how one's opponent replays the card can give information about the opponent's game position. However, since these spells can be—and often are—used on one's permanents (say, to protect them from hostile spells, or combat), the interpretation of the prototypical bounce spell is unclear. In addition, Blue can return its permanents to its hand to either Rescue them or for some other beneficial purpose.

Tapping and untapping permanents[ | ]

Blue has cards that can cause some permanents to become tapped or untapped. Usually, both options are present on a card, although some can only untap permanents and some only tap permanents. The latter is flavored as using some harmless means to overwhelm the target, usually wind or rain. Other than those, tap and untap effects are shown as any varied ways that Blue can tinker with "the underlying material of things," giving energy or taking it away. Some effects not only tap a permanent but prevent it from being untapped in subsequent untap steps; these are usually flavored as encasing a permanent in a block of ice. Untapping a permanent gives it an extra use; for creatures, it means the ability to block. Tapping a permanent one takes away its power, preventing creatures in particular from engaging in combat of any kind. These effects allow Blue to win subtle advantages, caused either by the surprise of the changes or, in the case of cards like Puppeteer, the versatility and repeatability of the effect.

Evasion and stealth[ | ]

Blue mana often invests in creatures that are hard to capture and pin down whenever it decides that a force is threatening its existence. Cards like Invisible Stalker and Keymaster Rogue represent Blue's desire for efficiency whenever someone is stifling its creative process and needs a friendly reminder to stop harming Blue. Blue also has the most flying creatures, as seen with Welkin Tern and Jeskai Windscout, it can be very effective at finishing an opponent off quickly, as Blue can make things that can render many of its enemies' options redundant.

Illusions and non-reality[ | ]

Blue can quickly create very large and intimidating threats, like with Crystalline Nautilus, that seem difficult to destroy until Blue's deception comes to light. Cards like Leyline Phantom also have a similar weakness, returning to Blue's hand whenever it deals damage.

Technology and industriousness[ | ]

Blue has the best cards for working with artifacts. Cards like Ensoul Artifact represent Blue's affinity for technology. Blue also can make the most of instants and sorceries, such as through Battlefield Thaumaturge, and does have more specialized creatures, like Illusory Angel.

Time manipulation[ | ]

A minor theme that has been present in Blue since Alpha is time manipulation. Beginning with the Power Nine card Time Walk, Blue has had most of the cards that allow a player to take extra turns (Time Warp, Time Stretch). It also contains cards like Time Stop that end turns.

Interactions with other colors[ | ]

Agreements[ | ]

Blue and White[ | ]

In White, Blue sees color with discipline, forethought, and a genuine desire to make the world better. Both colors respect authority (though they define it differently), and are alike in their regard for continuity and stability in approaching their ends. The colors share a disregard for the experience of life, seeing it as a distraction, and commonly an obstacle, to the more important objective of "acting appropriately" (to logic or ethics). White and Blue can cooperate in a world of peaceful studiousness.

Blue and Black[ | ]

In Black, Blue sees rationality and straightforwardness. Black doesn't imagine the world as being different than it is. It accepts the disgusting truths without wasting (too many) resources denying them, or angrily breaking stuff in accepting them. Rather, Black gets right on determining what to make of the situation. Blue also shares with Black a view of self-determination. Both colors affirm, as a matter beyond all dissuasion, that one forge one's own life. An alliance of Blue and Black comes from mutual usefulness, where the lack of trust bothers neither color the slightest.

Blue and Red[ | ]

In Red, Blue sees a color that wants to explore. Red explores life, taking in experiences, and passionately seeking out new ones. Blue is also an explorer; it explores the realm of theory, seeking out knowledge with its experiments. Red enjoys change, and Blue is always changing (itself or others). The two colors are common in their regard for what is new, and alike in their distaste for those barriers that keep them from investigating it. Blue and red can form a partnership of exploration, colluding in their discoveries and assisting each other in destroying barriers to their wanderlust.

Blue and Green[ | ]

In Green, Blue sees a color that has a deep sense of global good and an encouraging stance toward growth. Green wants a world where all things are free from restraint, to grow into their roles in life. Blue shares Green's distaste for those who pursue personal good with a disregard for outward destructiveness (or inward destructiveness). Blue also can sympathize with preserving the environment, but only to a certain degree and for very different reasons from green: if the environment were destroyed, then Blue would not be able to know things that it could have learned by researching how nature works, how the ecosystem works, what different kinds of species exist in the world, and so on. Blue also acknowledges that there is a lot of unpredictability in the world it resides in, and therefore there is a lot to be learned about how it works, otherwise, it would not be unpredictable. Both colors desire to make more of what is while being careful in the sense that, it is not good to make one thing "better" if it results in the entire system in which it exists breaking down. When Green and Blue collaborate in their efforts to rid the world of its ailments and promote the betterment of the big picture, they shall both be content with the knowledge that all things have fulfilled their most perfect roles and that no better world is than this. The two also value the search for knowledge. Learning is part of the process of growth, and it improves the group and self simultaneously. While Blue's relationship with knowledge is more of a search for easy answers, and Green sees acquiring knowledge as a form of communion with the world around it, both can appreciate the act of learning as joy in and of itself.

Disagreements[ | ]

Blue versus White[ | ]

To Blue, White is the color of fatal rigidity. White is far too stringent on its policy of right and wrong. Blue doesn't see anything wrong with its deceptions in principle. And some things just have to be done for research. But White wants for uniformity so much, that it will persecute ideas simply for being unpopular. That kind of rigidity is discomforting for Blue, an innovator, and a philosopher. When White finds something it doesn't want in its world, it, and the society under it, will turn full force against the likes of Blue. Additionally, Blue believes strongly in meritocracy, valuing the skills and knowledge individuals have accrued. White ignores the strengths of the individual in favor of viewing everyone either equally or according to a hierarchy based upon things other than expertise.

Blue versus Black[ | ]

In Black, Blue sees the color of vicious decay. Black is so distrusting, that it would do anything just to add a little insurance to its survival. This goes too far for Blue, as soon as Black considers things like genocide; things that destroy whole swaths of potential and possibility just for the sake of putting teeth behind a threat. Even if Blue knows nothing is ever personal with Black, that doesn't make such willfully inflicted carnage any easier to swallow. Black reckons with great forces beyond its control, hungry for power and disregarding the risk of great loss. While the two share a thirst for forbidden knowledge, Black is just too realistic. Blue is upset by the fact that Black will disregard a piece of knowledge just because it is not immediately helpful to its own goals. Black has no love for the act of discovery. Blue must be wary of Black accessing great power, just as anyone should be wary when apocalypse becomes a distinctly possible future.

Blue versus Red[ | ]

In Red, Blue sees a very foolish, dangerous color. Red cares nothing for Blue's patient thoughts and slow progress. Red wants to act on its emotions immediately. This short-sighted behavior is very dangerous, as exemplified in the flavor text of the Mirrodin printing of Shatter: "Days of planning, weeks of building, months of perfecting, seconds of smashing." Red doesn't give Blue the time of day to reason out their differences, and so to protect itself from Red, Blue must stop Red.

Blue versus Green[ | ]

In Green, Blue sees the color of stubborn ignorance. Blue wants to change the world, but Green would do anything to keep it the same. No amount of technical papers or empirical findings will sway Green from this incomprehensible dogma. Further, Green insults Blue by saying the world is perfect as it is, and nothing can escape its inherent nature. Everything Blue makes, Green unmakes, brutal and unthinking, wielding the untamed wilds with no regard for what is trampled underneath. Green is a malignant growth in the world, and Blue intends to prune it. Or perhaps, Blue versus Green could represent mental prowess versus physical prowess, brain versus brawn, or mind versus muscle.

Blue-aligned tribes[ | ]

Humanoid/intelligent races

Monstrous/subservient types

Class types

Trivia[ | ]

  • Blue spell with the highest converted mana cost (legal): Blinkmoth Infusion (14)
    • Realistically, this card will almost always be cast for far less.
  • Strongest Blue Creature (legal/non-token): Ludevic's Abomination (13/13)
  • Strongest Blue Creature (legal/non-token, directly castable): Jokulmorder (12/12)
  • Toughest Blue Creature (legal/non-token): Charix, the Raging Isle(0/17)
  • Most expensive Blue card: Alpha Edition Time Walk ($10,000.00 U.S. as valued by Starcity Games)
  • Most expensive Blue card not from an early core set: Arabian Nights Serendib Efreet ($1,000.00 U.S. as valued by Starcity Games)

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (June 30, 2023). "Drive to Work #1048: White-Blue-Black"
  2. Mark Rosewater (August 13, 2014). "I'm a bit confused on the actual ideologies of the five colors. Is there any way I could get a quick summary of them?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Mark Rosewater (August 11, 2003). "True Blue". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (July 20, 2015). "True Blue Revisited". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (June 30, 2023). "Drive to Work #1048: White-Blue-Black"
  6. Wizards of the Coast (Accessed April 3, 2024). "Where to Start". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (June 14, 2024). "Drive to Work #1146: Color Weaknesses"
  9. Megan Smith (February 13, 2024). "I'm officially relinquishing my role as the Green Color Councilor and taking over as the Blue Color Councilor.". Twitter.
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 21, 2005). "The Troubled One". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Randy Buehler (August 15, 2003). "The Decline of Blue". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Tom LaPille (January 08, 2010). "Singing the Blues". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Plane Shift - Zendikar
  14. Mark Rosewater (February 17, 2019). "How big an issue is it if three colors all shared...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (February 19, 2019). "How big an issue is it if three colors all shared...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (March 15, 2015). "Characteristic and iconic creatures for each color?". Blogatog. Tumblr.