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 frame to distinguish them. For this reason, they also can be referred to as "gold" cards.
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 examples Quicksilver Dagger and Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, which combine blue's ability to draw cards with red's ability to deal (direct) damage ("pinging").
Two-color hybrid cards have costs that can be paid with either of the card's colors (as opposed to both) were introduced in Ravnica. They are considered to be of both colors. This means that, for example, if a card has a mana cost of , it has a converted mana cost of 1, but the card is considered both a red card and a green card. Hybrid 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 and Modern Horizons 2 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
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.
Ravnica guild: Azorius Senate
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.
Ravnica guild: House Dimir
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 cost, often at the expense of their own creatures and even their users' life total.
Ravnica Guild: Cult of Rakdos
Red-Green is very unthinking, considering the fact that 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
Ravnica Guild: Gruul Clans
Green-White detests black's individualistic attitude and is the color pair of group and unity. Green-White thrives in being in groups.
Ravnica Guild: Selesnya Conclave
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.
Ravnica guild: Orzhov Syndicate
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
Ravnica Guild: Izzet League
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
Ravnica Guild: Golgari Swarm
Red-White represents enforcement of justice, as a mixture of red's readiness to take action and white's insistence on honor.
Ravnica Guild: Boros Legion
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.
Ravnica Guild: Simic Combine
Several sets have had major three-color themes, most notably in the Alara and Tarkir blocks. 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. As such, three-colored cards can show up every now and again in other sets. Starting with the Tarkir block, the new default for showing three color costs is to place a pair's mutual enemy in the middle.
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 after its major locations:
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.
Wedges are sets of three colors (a color and its two enemies) that form a wedge shape, or an acute triangle. The term "wedge" has existed since antiquity, but were individually named in the 2014 set Khans of Tarkir after its major factions:
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. Their "center" color was dropped after all were dominated by elder dragons in Dragons of Tarkir; Abzan descendants lost their ties to Black, Jeskai to Red, etc.
While not as large a focus, wedges also saw heavy use in the set Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
Four color cards are hard to design. The Nephilim from Guildpact were the first four-colored cards. In some circles, these Nephilim creatures have become the nicknames for the different 4-color decks: Glint (Glint-Eye Nephilim, no White), Dune (Dune-Brood Nephilim, no Blue), Ink (Ink-Treader Nephilim, no Black), Witch (Witch-Maw Nephilim no Red), and Yore (Yore-Tiller Nephilim, no Green). Commander 2016 introduced a second cycle of four-colored cards and this time also introduced names and themes for the color combinations:
- Artifice ()
- Chaos ()
- Aggression ()
- Altruism ()
- Growth ()
- Magic: The Gathering Combination Names: Tool that allows selecting colors to show the name for the particular color combination, as well as a representative symbol if available.
- Mark Rosewater (November 14, 2005). "Midas Touch". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille (January 16, 2009). "Multicolor Mana in Limited". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 18, 2009). "Golden Oldies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Zvi Mowshowitz (May 18, 2009). "Top 50 Gold Cards of All Time". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille (April 24, 2009). "Hybridizing Gold". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Dave Humpherys (March 15, 2013). "Grading Gold". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (April 23, 2009). "It's the Goldest!". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Sam Stoddard (September 27, 2013). "Color Pairs in Limited, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Sam Stoddard (September 27, 2013). "Color Pairs in Limited, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2014). "Is there any hope for a wedge block?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2014). "Are three-color cards still going to be printed in standard?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (March 13, 2018). "There's a certain order in which mana symbols appear on multicolored cards.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 08, 2008). "Between a Rock and a Shard Place". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 06, 2011). "On Wedge". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike Cannon (August 25, 2014). "Commanders and Khans". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (August 27, 2014). "Wedges, by the Numbers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (September 29, 2014). "Wedges by the Numbers, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 13, 2013). "Absence". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 23, 2006). "Now I Know My ABC’s". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ethan Fleischer (October 24, 2016). "Designing Commander (2016 Edition)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (February 02, 2009). "Party of Five". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.