One of my favorite games ever is good ‘ol Magic: The Gathering. I’ve grown a pretty large attachment to it over the years, to where I’ve reached a point where I’m watching deckbox reviews on youtube for fun. Though, when it comes to Magic, I feel like something that goes widely underappreciated about it, at least in my community, is the lore of the game. Especially when it comes to the meaning behind the big 5 colors of the game. A lot of players brush over the colors, thinking they’re just an arbitrary means of organizing different play styles, when they’re actually much more than that. The colors of MTG each represent different sets of beliefs and ideals, and each card in that color is created while keeping those beliefs and ideals on mind. This time, I’ll be talking about the most iconic color in Magic, blue. The color of MTG’s own posterboy, Jace Beleren.
In MTG there’s this thing called the color pie. It’s an image showing the colors in alignment/opposition with each other, and what each one represents in terms of ideology.
Blue wants knowledge. Blue believes that the pursuit of knowledge is the most important thing in life. Blue believes that the world is ever-changing, and because of that it always wants more information. How will it know what to do in a situation if they don’t know every single possible outcome? Unlike other colors which hold things like morality, emotion, the self, etc. above all else, blue doesn’t care about that. All blue cares about is learning. What’s the most optimal move? What knowledge will it gain from this? So long as blue comes out in the end knowing more, it’s a good trade-off. Blue wants to know anything and everything about the world. This search for knowledge is shown in a lot of the staple cards in blue.
Drawing cards represents this search for knowledge. Each individual draw allows the player to gain more knowledge about the current game, allowing them to better assess the situation. While card draw isn’t an ability exclusive to blue (that would be way too powerful), blue certainly has the best (and probably just more) versions of the ability.
Blue is not just about the pursuit of knowledge, though. Keep in mind, blue doesn’t just look for knowledge; it retains all of it. By searching for so long and learning so much, it knows how to come out winning in many, many situations, to the point where blue has effectively solved Magic. Blue is incredibly smart; borderline omniscient in some cases. Knowing how to beat everything is exactly where another staple abilities of blue come in: scrying and counter spells.
Scrying is a mechanic that allows you to look at the top card(s) of your deck depending on how much the effect lets you, and decide whether or not you want to keep the cards on the top of your deck, or put them on the bottom. Looking at what cards you’re going to draw, and literally changing that if you please, is pretty much as omniscient as you can get in MTG, considering you’re more or less seeing the future. It’s also paired with other beneficial abilities a lot, like a creature with evasion or card draw.
While scry looks into the future, counter spells are the definitive form of blue’s overwhelming knowledge. Blue is able to stop pretty much anything in its tracks because it knows exactly how it works and how to beat it, hence why you have cards that literally just prevent other cards from working. Scry still has to assess some kind of situation, hence why a lot of the time it comes out at sorcery speed (can only be played on your turn). It’s only used at a time where you have the time to assess what to do. Counter spells happen at instant speed (can be played whenever), meaning that blue already has the necessary knowledge to know how to deal with the situation.
There is one card that I feel embodies everything blue is about, and it’s a little card called Cryptic Command. For 4 mana, it lets you do pretty much anything you’d ever want to do while playing blue. Stop an opponent from hurting you, counter literally anything, draw a card… It’s great. And you get to pick two of the effects.
And there you have it, blue’s philosophy in a nutshell. It wants to know literally everything. Because of this, it’s generally agreed upon that in terms of sheer consistency and power, blue is the best color in the game. It’s hard to beat something that knows everything about you.