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The Magic Arena multicolored symbol

Multicolored (also "multicolor", "multi-colored", "multi-color"; as opposed to "monocolored", "mono-colored" "single-colored") cards were introduced in the Legends set, and use a gold card frame to distinguish them. For this reason, they also can be referred to as "gold" cards.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Description[ | ]

Multicolored cards require mana from two or more different colors to be played. Multicolored cards tend to combine the philosophy and mechanics of all the colors used in the spell's cost. For example Quicksilver Dagger or Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, which combine blue's ability to draw cards with red's ability to deal (direct) damage (aka "pinging").

Two-color hybrid cards have costs that can be paid with either of the card's colors (as opposed to both), and were introduced in Ravnica: City of Guilds. While their mana costs can often be paid with only one color of mana, they are still considered to be multicolored. This means that, for example, if a card has a mana cost of {R/G}, it has a converted mana cost of 1, but the card is considered both a red card and a green card. Design of hybrid cards revolves around the mechanics and philosophies that the two colors have in common. The cards are distinguished by a gradient frame with those two colors.

Multicolored cards tend to be more powerful compared to single-color and hybrid cards, due to the restriction of requiring the player to use all the colors in the mana cost. For sets where multicolor is the major theme, there is usually some form of mana fixing at common to facilitate playing the multicolored cards at common.

Invasion block, all sets on Ravnica, Shadowmoor block, Alara block, Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged, Strixhaven: School of Mages, Modern Horizons 2 Streets of New Capenna, and Dominaria United are the sets where the design is focused on multicolored cards. Alara Reborn was the first, and so far only, Magic set in which all of the cards are multicolored.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

An object with two or more colors is multicolored. Multicolored is not a color. See rule 105, “Colors,” and rule 202, “Mana Cost and Color.”

Color pairs[ | ]

Color pairs are typically used to structure the Limited environment and does a lot for development to create a better product.[8][9] The color pairs' official names were given in Ravnica: City of Guilds, with each pair being named after a Ravnican guild.[10]

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 105.5. If an effect refers to a color pair, it means exactly two of the five colors. There are ten color pairs: white and blue, white and black, blue and black, blue and red, black and red, black and green, red and green, red and white, green and white, and green and blue.

Allied colors[ | ]

Main article: Allied color

{W}{U} White-Blue[ | ]

White-Blue is slow and steady. Typical white-blue decks stall the game and let the users cast their major spells in the late game.

Common mechanics: Flying, Flash, tapping, effects that prevent creatures from attacking or blocking, returning permanents to hand, counterspells, temporarily exiling permanents

Common creature types: Birds, Kithkin, Wizards

Ravnica guild: Azorius Senate

Official name for color combination: Azorius

{U}{B} Blue-Black[ | ]

Blue-black is related to secrets and forbidden knowledge. Blue's emphasis on information and black's solitary nature combine to create a very secretive color pair. The opponents of Blue-Black decks often realize that they are going to lose when it is too late.

Common mechanics: Milling, card draw, discard, library manipulation, casting from graveyard, large creatures with big drawbacks, unblockable.

Common creature types: Merfolk, Faeries, Rogues, Assassins, Wizards

Ravnica guild: House Dimir

Official name for color combination: Dimir

{B}{R} Black-Red[ | ]

Black's will for power at any cost with Red's speedy energy combine to create a very fast and powerful color pair, although with drawbacks. Black-red decks typically prefer overwhelming opponents at all costs, often at the expense of their creatures and even their users' life total.

Common mechanics: Haste, Wither, spells and creatures that are undercosted but have drawbacks that hurt the casters, sacrifice, direct damage/life loss, disallowing life gain, power boosting, +X/-X effects

Common creature types: Demons, Elementals, Goblins, Devils

Ravnica Guild: Cult of Rakdos

Official name for color combination: Rakdos

{R}{G} Red-Green[ | ]

Red-Green is very unthinking because it has red's impulsiveness and green's preference for instinct over the mind. Red-Green decks are typically highly aggressive and attempt to overwhelm their opponents with pure strength.

Common mechanics: Trample, Haste, Reach, Land Removal, Fight, +X/+X effects, Fast mana, one-sided fight (dealing damage equal to the power of a creature you control to an opponent's creature), direct damage to flying creatures, Aggressive creatures

Common creature types: Warriors, Shamans, Goblins, Beasts

Ravnica Guild: Gruul Clans

Official name for color combination: Gruul

{G}{W} Green-White[ | ]

Green-White detests black's individualistic attitude and is the color pair of group and unity. Green-White thrives in being in groups.

Common mechanics: Vigilance, creature tokens, protecting creatures, creature boosting/pump, life gain, enchantments

Common creature types: Elves, Centaurs, Knights

Ravnica Guild: Selesnya Conclave

Official name for color combination: Selesnya

Enemy color[ | ]

Main article: Enemy color

{W}{B} White-Black[ | ]

White-Black as a color pair can represent corruption or dishonesty under the clever veil of mercy and/or kindness. It may also represent the balance of good and evil, where the world is seen as a grey area in times of war or strife. As a mechanic, White-black is about gradually killing one's enemies, with white slowing the game down and black destroying the opponent's creatures and draining their life totals.

Common mechanics: Lifelink, parasitism, life gain, return creatures from graveyard, massive removal, permanent exiling, extort

Common creature types: Spirits, Clerics, Knights, Vampires

Ravnica guild: Orzhov Syndicate

Official name for color combination: Orzhov

Strixhaven college: Silverquill

{U}{R} Blue-Red[ | ]

After combining Blue's desire for progress and red's impulsiveness, Blue-Red is a color pair that focuses on innovation.

Common mechanics: Prowess, Jump-start, Power/toughness switching, reusing instants/sorceries, time manipulation (e.g. taking additional turns), copying spells and abilities, changing targets of other spells and abilities, looting, gaining control of permanents

Common creature types: Wizards, Weirds, Noggles, Dragons

Ravnica Guild: Izzet League

Official name for color combination: Izzet

Strixhaven college: Prismari

{B}{G} Black-Green[ | ]

Black-Green embodies the cycle of life and death and thrives on exploiting the cycle. Black-Green capitalizes on creatures that slowly grow over time or those that have special effects when they die.

Common mechanics: Regeneration, Deathtouch, Undergrowth, +1/+1 counters, reusing creature cards, exiling from graveyard, destruction of non-land permanents, return cards (any, permanent, or creature card/s) from graveyard

Common creature types: Zombies, Insects, Elves, Plants, Shamans

Ravnica Guild: Golgari Swarm

Official name for color combination: Golgari

Strixhaven college: Witherbloom

{R}{W} Red-White[ | ]

Red-White represents enforcement of justice, as a mixture of red's readiness to take action and white's insistence on honor.

Common mechanics: First strike, Double strike, small creatures, bonuses to attacking creatures, damage to attacking or blocking creatures

Common creature types: Soldiers, Giants, Warriors, Angels

Ravnica Guild: Boros Legion

Official name for color combination: Boros

Strixhaven college: Lorehold

{G}{U} Green-Blue[ | ]

Green-Blue is the color pair of progress. Both green and blue enjoy seeing the world evolve. Although, the former prefers reaching it by natural selection while the latter prefers artificial means.

Common mechanics: Flash, Adapt, Shroud, Hexproof, card draw, search library, +1/+1 counters

Common creature types: Wizards, Beasts, Mutants, Merfolk

Ravnica Guild: Simic Combine

Official name for color combination: Simic

Strixhaven college: Quandrix

Color triples[ | ]

Several sets have had major three-color themes, most notably in Alara, Tarkir, Ikoria and Capenna sets. The Alara block focused on the shards in Shards of Alara, but had a strong five-color theme in Conflux and focused more on two-color gold cards in Alara Reborn with its all-gold gimmick. The Khans of Tarkir block only focuses on wedges in its namesake set Khans of Tarkir.[11] As such, three-colored cards can show up now and again in other sets.[12] Starting with the Tarkir block, the new default for showing three color costs is to place a pair's mutual enemy in the middle.[13]

Shards[ | ]

Main article: Shard

Shards are sets of three colors (a color and its two allies) that form an arc or an obtuse triangle. Originally called an "arc," the term "shard" was established in the 2008 block Shards of Alara, and each shard was given an official name based on Alara's major locations:[10][14]

Within Alara, the color that is allied to both of the other colors was considered the "primary" color of the shard by the design team; for example, Bant's primary color was White.

Streets of New Capenna introduced an alternative to the shards in the form of five criminal families. Much like the Alaran shards, the Capennan factions have the central color as their focus.

Wedges[ | ]

Main article: Wedge

Wedges are sets of three colors (a color and its two enemies) that form a wedge shape, or an acute triangle.[15][16][17] The term "wedge" has existed since antiquity, but each wedge was finally given official names in the 2014 set Khans of Tarkir based on Tarkir's major factions:[18]

Within Tarkir, the color that is left-most of the allied colors, when looking from the base of the triangle to the tip, was considered the "primary" color of the wedge by the design team; for example, the primary color of Abzan was White. The "center" color was dropped after pivotal defeats led to rulership by elder dragons in Dragons of Tarkir. As a condition of surrender, the Abzan were forced to cease worship of their ancestors (and their ties to Black) as a practice that could foster rebellion. Similar fates befell the Jeskai losing Red, etc.

While not as large a focus, wedges also saw heavy use in the set Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.

Color quadruples[ | ]

Four color cards are hard to design and are thus the least prevalent cards, relative to other color combinations.[19] There are no official names for four color combinations yet.[10]

The Nephilim from Guildpact were the first four-colored cards.[20] In some circles, these Nephilim creatures have become the nicknames for the different 4-color decks:

Commander 2016 introduced a second cycle of four-colored cards. For the first time, a named mechanical theme was given to each four color combination, which became alternative nicknames for 4-color decks:[21]

For three of these combinations, their cycle components are the only four-color representatives printed, with the other two having more, for a total of fourteen. The fourth iteration of Omnath, an elemental that gained a color with each new card, produced a {R}{G}{W}{U} card in Zendikar Rising as Omnath, Locus of Creation. 2023 had the most non-cycle four color designs starting with a new Atraxa card (Atraxa, Grand Unifier, {G}{W}{U}{B}) in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, followed by Aragorn, the Uniter ({R}{G}{W}{U}) in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, and most recently, the Secret Lair Drop Series: Doctor Who: Regeneration introduced The Fourteenth Doctor ({R}{G}{W}{U}).

Additionally there are the two, not legal, four colour commanders Sol, Advocate Eternal and Elusen, the Giving, from Heroes of the Realm 2018 and 2022, adding one to ({G}{W}{U}{B}) and ({R}{G}{W}{U}) respectively.

All colors[ | ]

Main article: WUBRG

The first card with five colors ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G}) was 1996 World Champion, the first one that was legal for sanctioned play was Sliver Queen.[22]

External links[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (November 14, 2005). "Midas Touch". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Tom LaPille (January 16, 2009). "Multicolor Mana in Limited". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (May 18, 2009). "Golden Oldies". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Zvi Mowshowitz (May 18, 2009). "Top 50 Gold Cards of All Time". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Tom LaPille (April 24, 2009). "Hybridizing Gold". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Dave Humpherys (March 15, 2013). "Grading Gold". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana (April 23, 2009). "It's the Goldest!". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Sam Stoddard (September 27, 2013). "Color Pairs in Limited, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Sam Stoddard (September 27, 2013). "Color Pairs in Limited, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b c Mark Rosewater (May 07, 2024). "What's your thoughts on people still referring to 2 color/3 color combinations with the Ravnican/Alaran names?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2014). "Is there any hope for a wedge block?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2014). "Are three-color cards still going to be printed in standard?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (March 13, 2018). "There's a certain order in which mana symbols appear on multicolored cards.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater (September 08, 2008). "Between a Rock and a Shard Place". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Mark Rosewater (June 06, 2011). "On Wedge". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mike Cannon (August 25, 2014). "Commanders and Khans". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Blake Rasmussen (August 27, 2014). "Wedges, by the Numbers". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Blake Rasmussen (September 29, 2014). "Wedges by the Numbers, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Mark Rosewater (May 13, 2013). "Absence". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater (January 23, 2006). "Now I Know My ABC’s". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Ethan Fleischer (October 24, 2016). "Designing Commander (2016 Edition)". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Mark Rosewater (February 02, 2009). "Party of Five". Wizards of the Coast.