Sultai Color Philosophy - Slicing the Pie
Hello friends and new viewers alike to the next installment of Slicing the Pie, the series where we dissect and discuss the Shards and Wedges of Magic the Gathering. In today’s article we will be tackling the ever-mysterious Wedge of Sultai, a Wedge that started out as an enigma to me and has evolved into an ideal that I think I will be taking with me for the rest of my life. If you couldn’t tell by my voice, I can’t wait to get into it. So, sit down get comfortable and let’s talk Sultai, the Wedge of ambition routed in perspective.
Sultai is a Wedge that I believe most people have a very narrow view of, and that’s not your fault. I think that even the Magic team has trouble understanding this Wedge, you can tell by the real lack of variety present in the flavor of the cards we have, even more so than any Wedge we have covered so far. Because of this it becomes doubly important to set up our framework so that we at least have a guideline to go off of. For my new viewers, the framework is my way of setting up a basis for our discussion, by breaking down the aspects present and absent in the Wedge or Shard. From there we have a solid foundation and understanding to base all future discussions on. Now don’t worry I will expand on each step as we go, and as we do, everything will start to fall into place, and you will begin to understand what I mean, while not bogging down returning viewers.
The first step, and most important piece of construction, is talking about the allied pair within the Wedge. You see present within every Wedge are three colors, two allied and one enemy. What’s important to understand here is that the Allied pairs will have the most sway within the combination as they already are two colors that can more easily find common ground. Now, this isn’t to say that the enemy color has no say, of course not, but in this regard its more of an outside influence. In the case of Sultai our three colors are Blue, Black, and Green, with Blue and Black as the allied pair. So, lets break down this combination to find out more about the Wedge of Sultai.
Blue Black is the combination of manipulation, control, and most of all ambition. It takes blue’s need for constant improvement and iteration, and Black’s insatiable desire to obtain the power to achieve its every need. Together becoming a force that is never satisfied with what it has and never questions what is right. This combination is also the pair most comfortable with dark and forbidden magic, or any tools that can be used to further its ambitions, tools others might be to morally object to utilize. So, what does this tell us about Sultai, well of course it shows us that there is nothing off limits to this Wedge, whether that be morally or functionally. It will be a Wedge that knows what it wants and will go to any length to get there.
Next, it is important still to lay out the beliefs of the enemy color present, in the case of Sultai that is Green. This is because, while an outsider, it will still influence and add nuance to the combination’s philosophies. So, what does Green believe in and what does it bring to the table? Well Green is the color of acceptance of its place within its given ecosystem. It looks to the past for answers and solidifies its future in traditions. Green is the color that does not look to change itself, or the world around it, as everything is perfect the way it is. So, what does this influence have on Blue and Black and what can we infer about Sultai because of it. Well, Green’s influence adds perspective to the combination, it’s not just about the future, or what it needs, there are bigger forces at play. Now, of course this will not change Sultai’s forward momentum, but it will open its eyes to the world around it.
As you can see Sultai is remarkably interesting indeed, what sort of mindset is created when these colors come together? Well to get to that point we have to finish the final part of our foundation, as you see to truly know a wedge or Shard it is quite important to reflect on the colors that are absent, as these missing ideals will place the final pieces of our puzzle. In the case of Sultai our missing colors are Red and White. So, then let’s take a closer look and see what the absence of these colors tells us about Sultai.
Let’s begin with Red, red is the color of emotion pure and simple. It is the heart that does not question its actions for better or worse. So, with a lack of Red mana present we know that Sultai is guided by another force, it instead is guided by its mind, its desires, and the grander plan.
Next is White, white is the color of peace, and order. With a lack of White mana, we know that Sultai does not concern itself with the moral boundaries that other place on themselves. Black sees only itself, Blue sees only the future, and Green see only the world and not the people.
I bet your already starting to understand Sultai, and a philosophy is beginning to form in your head, well hold onto the creative spark and let me know in the comments what you imagine when you think of Sultai, I would love to hear your perspective. That said let’s dive into three ideals that I formed while digging into the potential philosophies of the Wedge of Sultai, beginning with…
…power through manipulation. There is no way to talk about a combination that holds Blue Black within it, without bringing up ideas of manipulation, control and of power taken from forbidden places, and yes that even happens when Green is involved. In fact, Green places this control in the space of what is ancient, transforming it into a Wedge that looks to the dark corners of nature for what it needs on the path to what it desires.
We see this sort of perversion of nature take place when Green is combined with either Blue or Black. As either of those pairs look to how they can take what nature is, and bend it to either something new, or something of use. They do this by either forcing evolution or by looking to the end of nature’s cycle, that which has died and begun to rot, and breathe life into something new by either the staving off of death, or the transformation of that which has died into a new form.
You start to see that Sultai then takes all of these aspects and manipulates all that lives, all that rots and all that has died, creating new forms from each place within Nature’s cycle. It, of all the Wedges and Shards covered, is the most focused on how it can manipulate that which is discarded, forgotten, or forbidden. So, how does this come to be with the colors present, let’s take a look. In Blue there is the need to utilize all at its disposal, always seeking new tools to achieve ever changing heights. In Black you have the amoral outlook that is willing to act on any avenue that will facilitate its needs. Finally, Green provides those tools that Blue and Black seek. It is natures gifts ready to be used, it is long forgotten magic as old as the gods.
Now I hope you are beginning to form a picture of what I speak. Sultai is the combination that finds power and truth in dark and ancient corners, it’s the forgotten places where the old gods whisper, the dead moan, and the rotting creatures howl, and if these places strike fear in you, then perhaps Sultai is not your Wedge, for a weak heart has no place where even shadows fear tread.
Ok that was fun being super dramatic but hey this is by no means the only side of Sultai and in fact this is the one that you may have expected me to cover. So, let’s start to take things in a direction that is less about the dark actions taken and more of a broad outlook that you could apply to your life, a sort of perspective that allows you to see things more clearly, and that is an ideal I call…
…perspective through acceptance. Sultai is a combination that is able to manifest a clear path. What do I mean by this? To put it plainly, Sultai has within it, the combination of colors that represent the flow of humanities existence, and in that an understanding, it is able to see things clearly, in fact more clearly, it would claim, than any other Wedge or Shard. You see in Sultai we have Green, the color that is the basis of life, the foundation of all that is. Then we have Blue, the color that manifests itself as the mode in which we desire to always press forward, fueled by curiosity. At the end of the track, we have Black, the color of finality, death, and the eventual end of all things. What we have then, is an understanding of the process in which the Human condition is laid out for us like a map, but what good is this?
Well, Sultai is able to gain clarity by appreciating what has come before it, by marching ever forward and by being at peace with its eventual end. It can then act in a manner that is free from question, it’s the ability to almost see things from far above, with a clarity that is mostly reserved for gods. In knowing this and appreciating its unwavering nature it is able to utilize the full extent of all that has come before and all that will be, in a manner that facilitates its ambitions. It is a mindset that can build upon the traditions of its forefathers, march forward with a clear conscious and finally be at peace with it all eventually ends. All while knowing that it gave everything it could, a life with no regrets.
So, what does this sort of philosophy mean then, for you and for me, and why is it important? Well, think of it this way. First with a clear outlook as to the course of our lives we can be free of all doubts as to the meaning and purpose of our existence. If all roads lead to an eventual end, then it becomes a matter of getting the most out of what your life can be. With Green in mind, we can look to proven paths to find our way.
What I mean by this, is that in philosophies and traditions that have worked so well for others we may have a stronger start. Then We move onto Blue which fills us with purpose and drives us to be the most we can be, through curiosity and the need to improve. Finally, in Black we are given the knowledge of death and its finality, there is no second chance and so in that we make the most of our lives and accept that hand of the reaper when it comes. Do not fear death for death is unchanging, fear instead fear a life not lived.
I hope this side of Sultai gives you a bit of inspiration or at the very least a something to think about. As opposed to the grander idea that I covered first, this is one we can take to heart in the real world, and hopefully with it a new perspective, but we are not done yet. Let’s cover one more philosophy of Sultai before we close things off and that is…
…rooted ambition. One of Blue Black’s biggest strengths and weaknesses is its unrelenting focus on its ambitions. It always has an eye to what it wants, and, in every action, it makes, it moves ever closer to towards its goals. The issue is that this creates a personality that is narcissistic and psychopathic, one that only see others, and the world around it as a means to an end. It takes Blacks focus on self that and Blue’s cold calculated outlook and creates a way of thinking that has a sort of tunnel vision, where there is only the self and the goal. This is where Green comes in and helps Sultai along to be more, well, grounded. Green adds to this ambitious and unrelenting outlook a sense of calm, and a wider view of things.
Like always let’s go to the colors present to get a better picture of what I am saying. In Black there is the need to do what is right for you, to take care of your needs first. In Blue is the desire to improve at a constant rate and in Green we have the perspective and Harmony to slow things down.
With this mindset in place Sultai is able to still act on its convictions but is able to know when to consider its impact, on not just the world around it but how its actions shape itself as a person. What I mean is that if it were just Blue-Black going it alone, it would find itself more and more detached from the world and people around it and would succumb to its more narcissistic and unfeeling side. Think of what sort of a shell of a person you become when all you are is consumed with is your goals, with no time given to stop and breath, to smell the flowers and find peace.
Now don’t get me wrong, ambition is important, taking care of yourself is important, but if all you have is self and need then your humanity will surely ware down to nothing, until all you are is a soulless person who only hungers for money and power. There is more to our lives than that and Green is here to at least tell you to go for a walk, open your mind and find value in things that are less tangible.
Sultai is an interesting case, in that when it is applies to more fantasy settings it has a way of getting ahead of itself and acting almost like a super villain, but if we apply it to real world thinking we can begin to see what power it has. It’s a philosophy that is driven and curious but is still able to be at peace due to its unique perspective. It is a philosophy that views the breadth of its life and in turn living a life free of regret. To me Sultai is a way of looking at things and seeing value in both the cultivation of self and the joy found in that which nature provides, for there is value to be found in places others might to too afraid to look.
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