Duality in Magic - Green Blue - Simic
When the game of Magic: the Gathering was first created, it was divided into five colors for mechanical reasons, with only the most basic of thematic connections. Over the years, the color identity of the original five has solidified, but alongside it, something else evolved from the original concept: the idea of multicolored cards.
These cards are much less set in stone and more a product of their environment when it comes to their philosophy. In a previous post, we discussed the duality of Black and White, but today we will discover what happens when Green and Blue collide, and what mutations will spill forth. So, sit down, get comfortable, and join me, Dice, as we witness the fusion of progress and tradition.
Just like the other articles, we will need to briefly discuss the core philosophies of each of our subject colors. First, we will start off with Green, the color that values the natural order above all else.
Green knows that there is no secret to life; it’s quite obvious, isn't it? The world is perfect as it is
with every single thing down to a blade of grass serving a greater purpose and nothing above the other. In this way, Nature shows us that community and traditions are important for nearly the same reasons. The individual is nowhere near as strong as the group, and we must all strive to find our place within it, as it has always been for centuries.
When it comes to Blue, the reasoning behind its philosophy is quite simple and boils down to one thing:
progress is the most important thing in this life.
Blue takes to learning with a ravenous curiosity, and with the help of magic and its many mechanizations, it is always growing and improving. For to grow complacent is the greatest sin to Blue.
So, what we have here are two very different colors: one that looks to the future, while the other looks to the past. Such opposing ideals create difficulty when discussing enemy colors... but also creates fun. It may be less apparent where these enemy colors intersect, but the answer is there. Surely you’re asking yourself
“how can the natural order coincide with progress, when these are things that are traditionally at odds with each other, at least on our world?”
And yes, you would be right, partially. Green may see a world that it deems perfect (one that needs no tampering) but it is Blue’s philosophy that believes there is always room for improvement. Sure, nature does better itself through the act of evolution, the cutting of mountains, or the formation of a river; it just does it at a very slow and deliberate pace. But when you add Blue to mix, something special happens: that process of change speeds up, and boy does it speed up quickly.
This happens in one of two ways. The first is selective breeding, which gives us the many efficient and brutal creatures of Blue-Green. These monstrosities have their weakest elements bred out between each generation until only a perfect creature remains. Is this not the very definition of evolution? This is something Green, but it is helped along by a mage’s hand, which is something very Blue.
So, I would say that selective breeding is the more Green-centered side of this natural improvement, but what happens when we lean more into Blue? What we get is mutation, a process where the maker takes a heavy hand in creating something new or improving upon something until it is unrecognizable. This is why you will see many mutants in Blue-Green. Creatures other colors may call them abominations, but not Blue-Green; they only see something beautiful, the culmination of many iterations.
Mutation isn't only something forced onto others, either. Blue is always looking for self-improvement and Green looks to nature for inspiration. When combined, what we get is self-mutation: taking what works from nature and adding it to oneself. In this regard, the possibilities are endless, and when we can supplement ourselves with the magic of nature, we can come closer to perfection.
Now, let’s step away from the concept of tampering with the natural order for a bit, and let’s move to what happens naturally on some planes when Blue and Green come together. Think for a moment what race combines magic with nature, that is elf-like in its connection with its surroundings, yet lives in the sea.
Of course, I’m talking about the merfolk.
They may span many different worlds, but they all hold the similarity of being one with the sea and the creatures within it, something quite Green. At the same time, their capabilities in magic are quite spectacular, something quite Blue. The Merfolk are a perfect example of a race exemplifying a color combination, as vampires are to Black-White.
Furthermore, where Mutation is taking something Green and adding Blue to it, I would say wizards are something very Blue influenced by Green. Sure, every color has them, but when thinking in this framework, we must see how they come to be so abundant in Blue-Green. Where Blue by itself often uses artificers to create artificial mechanizations for self-improvement, this is something that is the antithesis of Green.
You see, it’s ok to bend the colors when finding common ground, but the designers always keep an eye out not to break the rules they have set for themselves, and artificial meddling is a break for Green. So, when finding the middle ground between the two colors, what you then get is wizards that use biological or natural magic.
These wizards know that they need not look any further than their surroundings to unlock the secrets of the universe and all the power found within.
It’s not always so apparent where colors find common ground, but when you sit down and flip through all the cards, patterns begin to emerge. With Blue-Green, we begin to see a force for change, one that is always looking to improve its surrounding and itself, always using nature as an example. To us, and to many of the colors of Magic, nature seems like something unfathomable, something vast and timeless. Yet it is something that is always changing, always improving, and if it needs a helping hand, then Blue-Green is the color combination to provide it.
[Edited by Cameron Davis]