The Colors of Magic

Hi, my name is Violet Blaze. I am a gender-fluid, pansexual, polyamorous Level 1 judge from Germany. As someone from a number of a number of minorities, as you can see from that brief label list above, I have a vested interest in seeing more diversity in Magic as a whole. As a judge, increasing the amount of diversity also means increasing the strength of the Magic tournament scene, so I intend to serve a dual purpose with this blog. I hope to post interesting thoughts and observations, practical tips, questions and answers, and anything else I come across here. To start, I thought I’d post a brief primer I wrote a while back on the different forms of gender identity and gender expression, as illustrated with the help of some familiar Magic cards. Here is that article.

A (cis-)white card
A (cis-)white card

This is Nightguard Patrol. Nightguard Patrol is a white card. He has a white mana cost, helps your team with typically white abilities, and is a creature type most commonly seen on white cards. Basically, he does what white does, and he does it well. Nightguard Patrol is an example of a (cis-)white card. He was designed as a white card, printed as a white card, and is a white creature when he’s on the battlefield. He couldn’t get much whiter, much in the same way that Conundrum Sphinx, a (cis-)blue card, couldn’t get much bluer. She flies, gives you card advantage, and is a classic blue creature type.

A blue card
A (cis-)blue card

While we’re on the subject of Sphinxes, there’s also Serra Sphinx. She may not appear terribly blue at first, since she has all the attributes of a white card. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t consider herself blue. Flying and vigilance are certainly things that blue creatures can do, so it would be a mistake to call Serra Sphinx white, no matter how well she would fit into that color.

An inter-color card
An inter-color card

This is different from, say, Medomai the Ageless. Medomai is both a blue AND a white card. Ze exists as both colors at all times, whether in the hand, on the Battlefield, or anywhere else. In fact, though Medomai may be both blue and white, it would be a mistake to cal Zir a blue card, or a white card, since you need both blue and white mana to cast Zir. Medomai is inter-color, having attributes of both colors and not uniquely belonging to either.

A color-fluid card
A color-fluid card

Azorius Guildmage Is a creature who feels just as at home in a mono-white or a mono-blue deck. He has aspects of both colors. While it would still be a mistake to call Azorius Guildmage a blue card or a white card, she fits equally well into either role, depending on the situation. He is color-fluid, shifting between blue and white as she sees fit.

A color-queer card
A color-queer card

Then there’s Reaper King. Thon has aspects of all the colors, but properly belongs to none of them. Thon can be cast with any or even none of the colors, and thon considers thonself color-queer.

An a-colored card
An a-colored card

Karn, Silver Golem, can sympathize with Reaper King in one regard: On occasion, neither of them feel like they belong to any color. Though, in Karn’s case, hu never felt like hu belonged to any color to begin with. Karn is a-colored, and hu isn’t bothered by that.

A trans-black card
A trans-black card

Unhallowed Cathar is black. He appears to all the world as black, and, in a sense, always was black. He just had the misfortune of having been cast as a white card. However, at some point in his life, he was able to undergo a transformation that allowed him to finally appear outwardly as the black card he always was on the inside. Unhallowed Cathar is trans-black (a kind of trans-colored), and it’s important to remember that he’s not a Loyal Cathar who thinks he is, or wants to be, black, he’s a black creature who happened to be cast as the wrong color.

A cross-coloring card
A cross-coloring card

Rainbow Crow is a blue creature who enjoys appearing other colors on occasion. She still considers herself a blue creature, and isn’t necessarily trying to pass as any other color, but she will take on the appearance of other colors for practical, theatrical, or personal reasons. She’s cross-coloring.

a non-pentary card
a non-pentary card

Transguild Courier has aspects of all colors and also aspects of none. Frankly, they don’t believe that color roles are all that relevant, preferring to think of themselves as just being, rather than trying to fit into some sort of label. They consider themselves non-pentary. Overall, color in Magic is a spectrum, and just because we may have been introduced to the game through the five colors, doesn’t mean that those five colors are the only possibilities. The reality is much more diverse, interesting, and wonderful than our pentary preconceptions, and embracing that reality can make the game so much more enjoyable for all who play it.

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