Duality in Magic - Red-Blue (Izzet)
Updated: Apr 6
The colors of Magic: the Gathering represents five sides of every world. Each one can act as a way of bringing familiar philosophies to a new place. Over the lifespan of this game, the developers have broadened the spectrum by combining those colors, and in turn, created ten new philosophies. In this article, I will be discussing the color combination Red-Blue, the pair that that finds inspiration in unlikely places and one who is driven by a never-ending curiosity.
The colors of Magic: the Gathering are a fascinating subject, especially due to the fact that mixing and matching those colors can create a wholly new ideology. In a lot of ways, it’s what makes this game truly unique and interesting. But before we can talk about any color pair, it is important to lay the groundwork, especially when talking about enemy colors. So, let’s briefly talk about the core beliefs of the two pieces of the pie being discussed, beginning with Red. If you want a more in-depth explanation of the individual colors being discussed, feel free to check out my videos on each of the individual colors of the pie.
Blue sees itself and the world around it as incomplete, which isn't a bad thing. You see, when you believe that everything can and should be improved upon, there is nowhere to go but up. Blue is rigid in the belief that there is only one path to self-improvement, though, and that is through studying, practice, and patience.
These enemy colors couldn't be further from each other in a lot of ways. You have Blue on one end, a color that is slow to act; one who knows there is a right way of doing things but just needs time to figure that out. Then you have Red, who believes the only right way of doing things is to simply just do things, throwing caution and forethought to the wind. How, then, can these two opposing philosophies get anything done? Well, like any enemy colors coming together, it’s in that middle ground that we find out how one color’s difference fixes the other’s weakness. It turns out that if Red’s passions can be turned into something constructive, and if Blue can be compelled into action, we can get some amazing acts of science and magic.
This leads us perfectly into why Red-Blue is such a force of discovery, and that is its curiosity mixed with its desire to learn and improve. Within us, all is that wonder that we had as a child, which slowly dampened with age. This isn't the case for Red-Blue; in fact, the more it discovers of its world, the more it wishes to find out more. It takes that underlying desire to know more that is within us all and amplifies it. Blue, of course, is curious on its own, as it wishes to know more about the world, but its curiosity is rooted in a desire to gain something.
You see, Blue's curiosity is derived from a need to improve, not from that curiosity itself.
When we bring Red's influence in, that curiosity and wonder become the focus. The search for answers becomes more important than the answer itself. The whole process then becomes an obsession, something it cannot turn away from. Then, when its Blue side does find an answer, it undoubtedly leads to another question, and then Red takes over and the cycle continues. When you enjoy what leads you to an answer as much as the answer itself, you have the core of what drives every aspect of Red-Blue.
So now, what to do with all of that curiosity and bubbling need for discovery? Well, time to put it into action. This is the part where Red-Blue excels and at times catastrophically fails, but at the end of the day, the experiment is as important as the result.
Red is all about action, and Blue is all about results, so this leads us then to experimentation and discovery. It is a voracious need to put thoughts into action, to test what is known, and to find out more. It is making things happen which could in turn create questions that need answers, as opposed to the cautious studying of a subject. These experiments aren't always scientific, either; it’s just the name given to a purely impulsive action based in curiosity. There is a level of play here; it’s having fun with discovery, and pushing the limits past where you might feel comfortable. For some, that may be a mage trying a new spell, a goblin alchemist messing around with matter, or an artificer pushing the limits of what a machine can be. This method of doing things is nothing if not reckless, and Red-Blue would not have it any other way, if you’re not having fun, then what’s the point?
The upside to this way of thinking is that it leads to moments where Blue on its own may struggle: it’s those “eureka” moments found within the chaos of experimentation. Where some colors may find themselves crippled by rigid planning, Red-Blue instead finds inspiration in those unexpected results. It is only through pushing yourself past where you thought you could go and throwing caution to the wind that you may find that special place where true magic can happen.
Red on its own might be too consumed with action to even care about discoveries, but with Blue at its side, its impulse turns to imagination. Flitting from one idea to the next is where this combination can flourish, and with Blue in the mix, this pair has the ability to articulate these ideas into something concrete. Red-Blue doesn't think about if it should do something; it simply does it.
In this way, Red-Blue is closer to an artist than a mage or an artificer.
It’s like lightning in a bottle; it sparks so bright but can go out in just a moment. It is no mistake that the Red-Blue god of Theros is Keranos, the god who is the fury of a storm, and the sudden blaze of inspiration. We see some of this reckless self-improvement or improvement of the world around it in the weirds of Ravnica, beings of pure imagination, crafted unlike any other. It’s this power of imagination and the spark of inspiration that makes Red-Blue something to be fascinated by… just don't get too close.
Red-Blue, in essence, is the color pair that is driven by curiosity to make impulsive experiments in an effort to build on its ideal of reckless self-improvement. There is no need to worry about where discovery may lead; it’s more important to make that discovery in the first place. This is why Red-Blue is the color with so many wizards, artificers, and the oddities that those minds create. This quote sums up this combination best: The passionate intensity of the Ghitu tempered by the cool insight of Tolarian training.”
[Edited by Cameron Davis]