Duality in Magic - Red White (Boros)
Updated: Apr 6
Beyond their function as a mechanical device, the five colors of Magic: the Gathering are at the heart and soul of every plane in the Multiverse. The philosophies of each of the five colors dictate the actions of the characters that fall within them and provide familiarity to new worlds. This core concept is then taken a step further by combining those colors, which gives us ten new philosophies to describe factions and characters with. In this section of my ten-part series based on the ten color pairs, I will expand on the combination Red-White: the color pair of peace through action.
If you're familiar with this series, then you know what’s next, but for those of you who are new here: I will first be giving a brief explanation of the two colors being discussed in this article, so we all have a framework to better understand the pair as a whole. If you're looking for a more comprehensive outline of these colors, then don't worry; I’ve got you covered there, too. A while back, I made a series of videos explaining each individual color in detail, which you can watch any time on my YouTube channel. OK, with that out of the way, let’s start off with White.
White's beliefs couldn't be simpler and more upfront. It wants to create a world of order and peace, one where all can be free of suffering. The issue is that not everyone shares their ideal, and so laws must be created and enforced to ensure this lofty goal.
As you would expect from an enemy color, Red does not see things this way. It wants a world of absolute freedom, both in action and in thought. Red believes that we should be motivated by nothing but our impulses, for that is our true, unhindered nature.
So, just like any other time when you’re combining enemy colors, the result may seem impossible at first glance; freedom and order are obviously quite contradictory. So let’s not concentrate so much on the concrete translation of their ideals, and instead look at the root of their beliefs. White ultimately just wants to protect people and defend the weak, OK, well that’s something that Red can understand, as they are all too willing to go to the ends of the earth for those they love. On the flipside, freedom of thought and action really just translates into an unhindered passion. White can understand this, as it feels so strongly about its beliefs that it will devote its entire life to its ideals. Now we’re starting to get somewhere. Let’s just dive in a little bit deeper and see where these ideas lead.
The best place to start when trying to understand Red-White's motivations is its view of the community, which manifests itself in different ways. No matter the community, whether that be their family, a brotherhood, an organization, or within a city structure itself, Red-White is passionate about upholding its fellow man.
At its core, White on its own is the color that puts the needs of all before their own, and this isn't too much of a stretch for Red.
Sure, on its own, it doesn’t want to be part of the rigid structures found within a city, but they can show undying love for their kin. So what happens when White is brought into the mix? Well, this familial connection is then broadened to an undying empathy for all. This empathy would normally lead White to the creation of structures to keep others safe, but Red says that this is not enough, and is firm in the belief that only action can keep others safe. They don't need systems to protect others, they simply stamp out those who would do harm, much like a mother bear protecting her children from an aggressor that comes too close. Now, besides this desire to protect the weak, Red-White will find others who share their values and create a brotherhood of like-minded individuals willing to lay down their lives for each other, much like a police force, or as we see in the Multiverse, soldiers.
Soldiers represent the side of Red-White that is selfless, based on its undying convictions. With this self-made kinship formed of like-minded individuals, they may in turn do their duty, something to which they have devoted their lives. This allows Red-White to hold each other up and, in turn, they may help those who aren't able to help themselves.
Whether alone or in a group, Red-White believes that peace can only be achieved through action, as there will always be those who oppose order and who are all too willing to prey on the weak, which in Red-White's eyes is unacceptable. In a lot of ways, Red-White sees anyone that has crossed the lines they have drawn as enemies and will exact punishment without mercy.
They believe that anyone who preys on the weak deserves no mercy. It is the fiery anger of retribution.
It's that red hot fire in your belly when you see injustices, or when you know something must be done and that it is on you to do it. This is best illuminated by the angels of Red-White, beings of pure conviction who will do anything to help those in need, but to those that do harm to the vulnerable, they will purify them in flame.
It is a code of justice without quarter; it is retribution for those who cannot fight for themselves. In many ways, action is the only way that Red-White can express itself. You see, Red is prone to outbursts of emotion, triggered by what is important to it, and to White, what is important is standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. It's acting on their convictions in the only way they know-how.
Even within the confines of White’s stringent morality, there is still room for prideful action; action which is for the good of the group. What do I mean by that? Well, in times when things seem their bleakest, a Red-White personality may step forward and act outside of their position. They may break rank or do something that may seem foolish in order to turn the tide in their favor. It is in these moments, though, that heroes are born. In times of tribulation, Red may express itself, and White may inspire others to greatness.
In this way, Red-White may find freedom through order, or self-expression through inspiration.
What this means is that others may hear of this tale or witness this example, and in turn that action becomes a higher code in which others may live their lives. A single moment may create a figure in which people hold themselves to a higher code. White on its own may be too rigid for acts of spontaneous action, but Red allows this combination to take on seemingly selfish and prideful actions, which ends up being for the good of all. Sometimes it takes a leader rising above despair so that others may be stronger because of it.
In the end, what this all comes down to is a combination that will go to the ends of the earth for its family, its brotherhood or anyone in need. What this means is that Red-White is the color combination that believes that only through action can we help others. It is the person who runs into a fire to save a life or puts themselves between danger and the innocent. Where some may simply set up structures to help others, or let nature run its course, this just isn't the case for Red-White. For if we do not act on our convictions, then do we truly even believe in them?
[Edited by Cameron Davis]