Duality In Magic - Blue / Black (Dimir)
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
As part of my Duality in Magic series, I intend to discuss all ten combinations of colors in Magic, bringing to life the philosophies behind each of them. In this article, I will illuminate the combo that looks for advantages in places others may be scared to look. I am, of course, talking about Blue-Black, the pair lurking around every corner.
So, before we get into our main subject matter of this article, I feel it is important that we lay the groundwork by giving a brief explanation of the colors being discussed. Firstly, let's discuss the infinite potential of Blue. You see, Blue is the color that doesn't put a limit on its self-improvement, and believes that everyone has latent talents within; it is just a matter of putting the time and effort into learning. Through the use of magic, technology, and a never-ending desire for discovery, Blue is always able to grow and foster an environment where those willing to put in the work may better themselves.
Black knows what it wants from life, which is the power and control to do as it wishes. In the end, we all want the most from life, but because of social constraints, we hold back from some of our deeper desires. Black, on the other hand, says that there is no need to limit ourselves from getting what we desire. Black does not shackle itself with morality or kinship as others do. It knows how the world works, which is to say, those who do what's in their best interest get what they want.
In this pursuit of knowledge and power, Blue-Black can be a dangerous force, and it's not hard to imagine what these two colors have in common. A desire for power, self-improvement, and discovery, a goal not held back by the laws that govern most. When talking about color philosophy, it's not often that we get these truly dangerous combinations in Magic: ones that cannot be trusted. With Blue-Black around, it's best to always watch your back and never trust any deal they bring to the table. Now, this doesn't mean they are chaotic evil in the way that Red-Black was. In fact,
Blue-Black isn't truly evil, its just that it has no qualms with doing whatever is in its best interest, which may not always be in yours.
Now, this isn't to say that that Blue-Black is a totally selfish pair, as one would assume based on Black's influence. I think because of Blue, with its formations of colleges and guilds, the combination sees the value of working with others who are on the same path.
They know that they can accomplish so much more together than alone.
What we end up seeing are spy rings, dark guilds, and shadow governments who look to exert control over others in order to further their own goals.
There is no better example of this than on Ravnica, with House Dimir, as they represent all three of these things. This group gathers information on others and turns it into control through blackmail, or kills opponents in order to manipulate or remove threats. You see, Blue knows that knowledge is power, and Black is never afraid to put a blade to the throat of those in its way.
Blue-Black looks to the shadows to gain control over others, and you'll never know your time is up until it makes its final move. To this end, Blue-Black uses those adept at working in the dark corners of the city, calling on its rogues, assassins, and on some planes, ninjas. These adept masters move in silence, gathering information, sabotaging, and killing, all in order to serve their guild or ring.
This isn't to say that the only knowledge that Blue-Black seeks is that which can be used to control others. In fact, this pair is still quite the practitioner of magic. Obviously, with the inclusion of Blue, there would be mages and artificers; it's just that Blue alone may be afraid to look into the darker places to find such magic.
With the guiding hand of Black, they are able to use magic once off-limits to Blue, or create machines that it would have otherwise overlooked.
This may manifest itself on some planes as the necromages or liches, undead mages who personify the bridge between life and death. Perhaps it's in the use of shapeshifters, beings who steal the form others. On some planes, we may even see artificers who craft machines that can kill rather than make life easier, like the planeswalker Tezzeret. Imagine a scientist not bound by law or morality, and what they could create.
But most dangerous of all the forbidden magic is the manipulation of mind and memory. We recently got to see an example of this on Theros in the mind master Ashiok, who has the ability to manipulate a person's dreams, blurring the lines of reality. When it comes to Blue-Black's identity, manipulating the mind through psychic abilities has always been an integral part of their design. It takes the literal interpretation of manipulating the deck, the mind (which is something very Blue) and the hand, or memory (something Black). What better way is there to control and gain power over others than having access to their very thoughts?
Blue-Black sees the potential in the shadows and the power in those forbidden places. It uses an adept hand and a slippery tongue to gain control and power over others. There is much that can be achieved when an insatiable thirst for knowledge meets a desire for power. If you find yourself on a plane with Blue-Black, traveler, stay vigilant, because not even your thoughts are safe.
[Edited by Cameron Davis]