So you want to play Magic the Gathering? Part 5 Black

So we are back again for another MTG article, back in Black. This is the 4th color of magic and probably the most controversial, the most self-serving and the vilest, this is Black. Black represents the darkest parts of our nature, no one can really deny the fact that they will wish to preserve themselves, it’s in all our natures, black is all about self-empowerment and self-preservation, not necessarily evil, until you put this into practice. Black looks at the world and see’s that its dog eat dog, it ignores the rules, at its own cost, but also its own gain, through doing this Black empowers itself, and helps itself rise to its true greatness. Black will do anything to gain more power weather that means hurting itself, or hurting those around it, Black is never to be underestimated.


Black likes to feel like its powerful and invincible, but when you look at it, it’s actually scared, why else would anyone go to such lengths to obtain power, because they are afraid, that fear drives them, Sun Tzu warns never to surround an army on all sides, it’s the same with a cornered animal, like Black they have nothing to lose they will unleash everything on you, true you might win, but that victory is going to taste might bitter.


Two major factors in Black are –


Black can take what it doesn’t have, for keeps. If this does not rouse surprise, the reader already understands. Black can take away anything, with one salient limitation worth noting (artifacts and enchantments). All manner of mundane resources are for Black’s taking; so much should be clear. With the power of Black magic, Life itself is just pocket money, stolen as easily. That includes life-force, like the strength of a creature; willpower, won by corruption, terror, or other horrors; Life, as in, being alive; and life total, the game resource with which a player begins the game.


This comes out in two ways – liquidation and nullification. Liquidation is turning one resource into another fluidly and efficiently. Without getting into the specifics of mechanics, Life is a commodity in such “deals with Devils” (in Magic, sometimes Devils are actually involved). This capacity is threatening because sometimes it isn’t how much one has, but what one has that crowns a victor. Resource-exchange is at the heart of the game in all colors, but there are some prices that only Black will pay. Nothing is out of the question for Black.


Nullification is simply that – utter erasure. Black, in its total selfishness, can deny the world what the world denies it. This translates into an affinity for killing, most noticeably. Again, artefacts and enchantments are a bit of a thorn in Black’s side. To put pressure on the Black mage, game design decided that one’s own bargain-striking shouldn’t be so easily undoable. Black isn’t reckless, but it does have a seat-of-its-pants element. Giving a bit of character (and perhaps, game-balancing limitation) to Black magic, it is decided that the removal of one’s own enchantments, and to a lesser degree, artefacts, is difficult in Black. This is enforced typically by limiting the number of such effects available in each non-eternal format.

Right now you’re probably thinking that Black is evil, true its cards and play style may give that first impression, but there are two things to consider here.

1 – If you were going to go about World Domination Blue or White would be more effective, World destruction, then Red would be the wise choice, yes Black can be evil, but it’s far too obvious and honest in what it does to be truly evil.

2 – Black is misunderstood, Black is also the color of the hero fighting against authority, Robin Hood and Che Guevara, could both be associated with Black, they both committed acts which some would consider evil, yet they did so for their own reasons. Black is never ashamed of what he or she is, to others it may be ugly to its self it’s just Honesty, this Blacks true strength, it doesn’t get tied up in other opinions of itself.

Opinions on other colors


Here they find little common ground, except their respects for religion and sacrifice, they more often disagree. Black see’s white as to nurturing of society and its inability to take action when it is really needed.


Blue and Black see and accept the worlds ugly truths and both know that knowledge is power, Black just wishes that Blue would understand that the end justifies the means.


Here are two people that will agree that death is part of nature and that survival is for the strongest not everyone, if only Green could free itself from being bound to all those around it then it could become truly powerful.


Between red and Black you get pure hedonism, they are two guys who would paint the town red, very dark shades of it. While Black enjoys being free, they are always in control, Red is too chaotic for Blacks tastes.

Black is a very fun color to play, but you better be willing to make sacrifice, or you’re not going to win. In black you can force your opponent to sacrifice his own cards, regenerate your dead creatures, even make yourself stronger through lifeink, every time you attack you gain health for the damage caused, you find this ability on most vampire cards. Following its homicidal instincts, Black will have a lot of pure all out creature destruction, and several control techniques, Black in many ways is a more aggressive Blue deck.

Sorin Markov is a very heroic character in the series yet he himself is Black aligned.

Sorin Markov is a very heroic character in the series yet he himself is Black aligned.

So if you’re willing to play a hard game and weaken yourself in order to gain the big win, Black is the perfect colour for you – ‘No sacrifice, no victory.’

Categories: BoardGames

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