Printed Colour Pie: Are you happy?

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Its hard to play Magic and not hear about "The colour pie".  What mechanics match pie, which ones don't and which ones actually do, but don't seem like they do.

If you're like me and you read Making Magic, you hear a lot about how much work is done with the colour pie, but as a player, I don't see much of it seeing print.  Example: Strangleroot Geist.  I can't tell you how many people I've heard say that it should be red.  It has haste and haste isn't in green's colour pie.  Truth be told, it is, but it hardly if EVER sees print.  I was suprised to see Elderscale Wurm.  My first thought: That should be red! Like Form of the Dragon, Fortune Thief and Ali from Cairo, setting a new base life is traditionally a red mechanic... Then I thought about how I could only think of three red cards that did it and considered how rarely red, green or even white get to see parts of their own colour pie.

I love Magic: the Gathering.  It's a great game and taken tons of my time and money, but I really wish that we saw other parts of each colour's "pie" more often.  At least once in each Standard (once each other year).  Does anybody else feel this way?
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Haste is in green's color pie, it's just not as common as it is in red
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Green gets some haste. I agree they should get more. THe thing is the haste they get is usually pretty good.

Maro did say in his last article that the color pie is so big that they can't fit every aspect of each color's identity into each block. I think for the lesser used stuff that makes sense, but for evergreen mechanics I think they should try and put more in.

The big change to the color pie has to happen in green. I still think for game balance green needs some sort of no strings attached creature kill wether it be burn or a Doom Blade type of removal. The problem with green is that it can't deal with the most problematic and common card type (not counting lands). Blue can bounce, counter, or tap down creatures. White can exile or destroy creatures. Red can burn creatures. Black can flat out kill or shrink creatures. What can green do...fight and get good flyer only kill.
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GoTexans, I agree with you a lot.  The Evergreen stuff does need to see more regular print.  The thing is, that we'll get maybe one or two wierd things that each colour does per block, which makes getting to all of them almost impossible in any regular form...  One of my favorites is that Red normally needs some sort of Ball Lightning.  Unfortunately this has been Arc Runner or Spark Elemental most of the time these days.  My personal favorites are Splinter Twin and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.  They make Ball Lightning Clones.  Red should get more clones, but as they've already been showed, they are unstable and go "pop".

Blue and Black get almost all of their colour pie each block (even if not well), which leaves them with pleanty of diversity (which also makes them the best colours for combo), while the other colours seem afraid to try anything different.

I don't think that green exactly needs a good instant or sorcery to kill though.  I think the occasional creature form of removal would do great.  Like a Cudgle Troll with a fight ability, or some sort of Ambush Viper who can fight instead of flash (It's green Doom Blade and I love it).
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Personally, the mechanic you described always felt very , mechanically speaking. This rings strongly with white's iconic spell Healing Salve. And flavorfully it has always felt :gwm:. Grixis colors don't just ignore preservation, they almost oppose it (red throws away cards recklessly, black eats itself alive trying to obtain power, and blue throws away things that aren't useful to it anymore).

In white you have:
Worship
Sustaining Spirit
Touch of the Eternal
Phyrexian Unlife

And in every color you have:
Eternity Vessel
I don't waqnt to spend too much time arguing about corner cases, but I think that you're looking at the specific mechanic a little too broadly.

For the most part, in order from greatest to least, the colours that care about life totals are: White, Black, Green, Red and lastly, Blue.  We're ignoring artifacts, because they can do almost anything, just poorly.

White does everything involving life.  It sets life totals (typically to twenty), doubles life or life gian, balances as well as prevents damage and gains life.  You even have stuff like Serra Avatar which reflect your life total, or Test of Endurance which will win for you if your have enough life.

Next up is black.  Black steals life, occasionally has lifelink and swaps life totals, typically in the flavour of vampirism.  Then Black also sets life totals (typically to ten) and makes everybody balanced in life.  It also makes people lose life as one of the "anti-white" colours.

Green and red both hardly care about life totals.  Green being the colour of "life" cares a little bit more though, especially in modern magic (we can see this in Wellwisher, Leyline of Vitality, Hunter's Feast and Nourish.)

Red then hardly cares about its own life total, but does set a baseline for you.  You can make it in the flavour of chaos, luck, determination, etc, but you do have cards that make you stick to 1, or 5 life.

Blue then cares the least.  The only life-based card in blue that I can think of is Magister Sphinx which gets its life ability from both white and black, not from blue.  In mono-blue, there are 38 cards that include the word "life", typically coming from "Proliferate" or Phyrexian Mana.  Otherwise this is in reference to paying life.


This is actually a great example of stuff that is/is not part of colour pie vs. what sees print.  A lot of people who either don't research Magic, aren't Melvins, or haven't been around since pre-Time Spiral don't notice a lot of what is missing from the colour pie.  Things get put under the heading of "life" which makes it white or black, and not how each colour handles things.  Most colours have something to do with all magor points of the game, but to different degrees.  White is the master of life, and the weakest link in card draw, while blue is the opposite.  Thank you for helping me point that out.
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I think red needs a bit better card draw than they've been testing giving it, and I think green needs to keep some way to fight in nearly every set, and those colors will be alright. Black might need something, but I don't know what. White and blue are more than fine currently.
Fortune Thief and Ali from Cairo really can't be used. Arabian Nights was top-down, and when talking about the color pie, if you cite the Time Spiral block, a general rule is Planar Chaos > Time Spiral > Future Sight. Form of the Dragon is flavor, and basically Worldfire is supposed to be a Johnny version of "Flip a coin. The winner wins the game.", usually by some Oblivion Ring/Blisterstick Shaman combo.

Setting life totals has been white and green. Black has more recently used this mechanic too.

The mantle is the interesting part. I've always said white should have creature steal, flavored as indoctrination. tortures you (without actually "torturing you" under its own, ah, tortured definition) until you denounce the evil that is , or infiltrate your own side, Manchurian Candidate-style.

In command zone sets, white gets "teammate" effects and inherently political mechanics like join forces.

White's removal, besides stealing, is basically temporary, has a "nonwhite" (often "black or red") requirement, or is Divine Verdict-type things.

On green, I say just give green flying. It's a creature mechanic, and bees and hummingbirds are at the very least central to the reproduction of most angiosperms. Leaf Arrow falls into "stupid card is stupid". You can't say green gets "the best" anti-flying, when red gets a strictly better card in the same Standard. You can't say green gets "the best" creatures when blue gets a strictly better card in the same Core Set at common! If you have to give green removal, the two options are fight and Drop of Honey-like effects. (You could move -X/-X, flavored still as plague, to green, but that's just splitting hairs.) Hurricane is close to green, honestly, but not for the "each creature with flying" as much as the "deals X damage to each creature".

White can also get sweepers in any permanent type and Balance-like effects, but the latter only affect one advantage at a time, to avoid why Balance is so bonkers.

Green also gets any form of ramp it wants, and can steal lands, but no other permanent type. Also, Disciple of the Vault-type effects that trigger whenever an opponent's artifact is destroyed.

An aside: I want green to have lifelink more than white. White can get it at uncommon, but green should get it at common, flavored as packs of predators (wolves, lions, pygmy chimpanzees) sharing game. (Black gets it at common, flavored as sadism.)

Green should not get positive, linear artifact interaction. This includes golem/myr/construct tribal, Tempered Steel-like effects, artifact counting, etc. Green does get affinity, but only for creatures, green enchantments, forests (and other basic land types in a multicolor set, and even a domain form à la Draco), and the graveyard.

Interestingly, I disagree with MaRo about change. Retroviruses are very green; they don't think and basically just reproduce. They also mutate so rapidly that they overwhelm your immune system.

On red, I say just give us better land destruction. Seriously. Craterize is stupid because Demolish exists, and was LD really ripping up Standard in recent history? Other red effects might include copying instants and sorceries and creatures but only temporarily. The downside of "sacrifice at EOT" is clearly red. I might also suggest self-mill (and only self-mill), to be used with () reanimation effects! Red can also get blinking and bouncing of opponent's creatures.

Red should also, like white, benefit from being behind in some way. This is more because of red's masochistic streak.

Black can get paying life for mana, but here's the trick: It can't be all life possible. Black can also sacrifice creatures for mana, and again, this should be limited by tapping or sacrificing the mana source.

Blue can synergize with artifacts in any way it wants.

I'll have more later.
139359831 wrote:
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I have a Friend that uses Planar Chaos as a Refrence to what colors get and do not get
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One of the problems with definining the color pie is the design team is limiting themselves to what they can and can't put in a set. If they come out with some forumula players will complain if maybe red gets 2 less haste creatures this set than usual or if black doesn't get a discard spell in a set. I think these limits are why wotc will never clearly define the color pie and what aspects of the color pie belong to each color. They don't want to build expectations and then make changes because that outrages players. I know something like that seems silly to us on the forums, but we all tend to think alike, or at least have more knowledge of the game than 3/4 of the player base. We know the color pie changes are for the better of the game but the casual player will see them as unecessary and part of some greater conspiracy.
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My only problem is that every color should get good card draw, its just that blue should be the only color with straight draw.

My other only problem is that in the modern pie blue gets bad counterspells, and basically no other removal, so it always has to splash other colors or suck.

My other other only problem is that green needs removal. Although fight is starting to take care of that, so thats okay.

White is mechanically boring. I havent seen an interesting white card in a really long time.
Green gets haste for Constructed, Black gets it for Limited, Red gets it for both
I don't waqnt to spend too much time arguing about corner cases, but I think that you're looking at the specific mechanic a little too broadly.

For the most part, in order from greatest to least, the colours that care about life totals are: White, Black, Green, Red and lastly, Blue.  We're ignoring artifacts, because they can do almost anything, just poorly....



Sorry, but I have to disagree with Green on this one.  Green has cared about lifegain from the beginning; an example being Stream of Life + Hurricane, which was a deck wincon.

The primary concern for green is winning with creatures (no argument with that at all), but there is enough lifegain going around that I don't think it's right to say Green doesn't care about it.

I'm a beast aficionado, so I'll list more examples using them.

Obstinate Baloth
Ravenous Baloth
Thragtusk

In regards to OP, I think Elderscale Wurm is a great creature for Green.  Lets you beat on the opponent, while also letting you have some survivability.
Setting life totals is a subset of life gain, perfectly green. It's basically a giant wurm with weaker lifelink.
Frankly, yes. The more the game designers muddle the mixture, the more clear it becomes that color is a pointless asset to argue semantics about. The very concept of color is to limit the cards playable together so that the game doesn't degrade into just playing all of the "best cards" together (like a couple of other card games I know), this has been adopted by several several other TCGs because it adds an element of identity, but at the end of the day, it's just a way of making sure that players use specific strategies and cards seemlessly, or have a difficult time just cramming the best of everything together. I really think the identity crisis of color is an immature thing to further develop upon, and that spells should be build more with their functionality in mind than their color. In this way, I think Strangleroot Geist is one of the finer designs of the last year- It adds resilience and real power where there wasn't so much just before.

Color, card type, mechanic etc are all just tools, not laws or religions surrounding the design, and so critters with Haste, creatures with Flash and hard removal spells in every color are good for the game.
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I have a Friend that uses Planar Chaos as a Refrence to what colors get and do not get
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Im joking, that would be a very weird friend



Actually, Planar Chaos is fairly loyal to the color pie. At least compared to Time Spiral, because of all the old cards. And Future Sight, which has a lot of rules issues.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
I don't think the color pie is pointless, but people tend to believe in it too rigidly.

And part of the reason color pie is good is not just mechanics, but flavor. Some cards break the color pie for flavor reasons which was specifically the case with Form of the Dragon.
I don't think the color pie is pointless, but people tend to believe in it too rigidly.

And part of the reason color pie is good is not just mechanics, but flavor. Some cards break the color pie for flavor reasons which was specifically the case with Form of the Dragon.



I agree with this.  The color pie isn't some stated Law or de facto ruleset.  The color pie bleeds and shifts occasionally, and I'm cool with that.

Flavor, especially set flavor should always allow for bleeding.  That's what makes each set/plane feel different.

Lorwyn had elves that hated anything not "beautiful" so they had a black feel.  Innistrad had zombies created by experimental magic, and were blue.  Two very unique color concepts for typically mono-colored ideas.

If anything, I'd love to see green get some creature killing, mostly by fight abilities.  I love that, and think it fits extremely well with the "savage nature" theme.  It used to be a red idea, and still is, but I think that the color wheel is shifting the right way by making it prominantly green.
I think that all mechanics in the game should be posible within all colors.

For the flavor of it some colors should have less power within certain mechanics.

It's sort of like one problem I have alway's had with sorceries, instants and creatures.

Because sorceries and instants have so many versions that deals with creatures, but creatures have almost no way to deal with instants and sorceries!

That means that that aspect of the game is largely unbalanced and that the ratio of creatures vs ins/sor will always stagnate into a very set pattern.

The same happens when some colors are restricted from certain mechanics.

You end up with very similar ratios of colors being played, which is kinda sad!

The solution to critters vs sor/ins ?

Wicked bear 1G

*this* comes into play with 2 immunity counters on it.

Whenever an instant or a sorcery spell is played, remove a counter from *this*,
then counter that spell.

2/2

I don't think the color pie is pointless, but people tend to believe in it too rigidly.

And part of the reason color pie is good is not just mechanics, but flavor. Some cards break the color pie for flavor reasons which was specifically the case with Form of the Dragon.



The entire "equality" concept is why white can remove any permanent type, so long as it's a sweeper.

Natural Selection should've been a "power/toughness less than N" sweeper, just because of the name.

The early color pie is weird, though. Green gets a lot of creature removal, flavored as "the power of nature", which is fine, until you realize the only completely unnatural color is white. Mind, death, chaos, all are part of nature. Society...isn't. Green is more "life magic", so its removal is reduced.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
BAY_FALCONER:

Ah, but symbiosis is green, and without symbiosis, societies are simply not possible.

It's all green
Perhaps, but nobody told the Escherichia coli in my gut "Thou shalt not blah blah blah..."
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
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