Multicolour Magic

In last night this morning’s post I talked a bit about how I missed Magic: the Gathering’s ability to support mono-colour decks during the recent tri-colour-focused Alara block. So now I’m going to jot down some thoughts about how a Magic expansion could revisit a multi-colour theme (which it probably will) without giving up the reward for focusing on one colour.

The high concept is a plane that’s struggling against segregation based on mana colour alignment. (There’s an obvious political/moral statement in here that Wizards would probably be well-advised to avoid.) The inhabitants of the plane have, for most of their history, kept separate communities that are very strongly aligned with one colour. However, in more recent times a growing number of radicals have started coming together as a “mixed” faction that blends all five colours.

Naturally, there’s tension between these groups. The new faction sees this as an opportunity to combine the best of each of the colours, compensate for the weakness of each, and create something new that’s better than the sum of its parts. The traditional, segregated communities (most of which consider their own colour to be self-evidently superior to the others) see this multi-colour business as heresy, a watering-down of the pure, separate sources of mana that are at the foundation of magic. Paradoxically, there’s a kind of uneasy consensus among the mono-colourists that the new threat is a bigger problem than their existing diffences; they’re not going to actively cooperate with each other, but they might develop attacks that are more effective against “mixed” heretics than against each other (example).

Mechanically, the cards (not all of them, necessarily – there could be some non-aligned cards, like in Ravnica block) would fall into two categories. Mono-colour cards would reward a heavy investment in that colour, with abilities like Chroma and heavily coloured costs like Overrun. Multicolour cards would reward colour diversity, revisiting Domain and WUBRG cards (Mark Rosewater said recently that he would have taken the five-colour theme out of Conflux in hindsight, so they could plausibly take another swing at it), and other shenanigans like Sunburst. Mana fixing and multilands would mostly fall in the latter category – something like the Ravnica block bouncelands that makes multi-colour costs easier to pay while making it hard to generate lots of the same colour.

The optimal decks – for constructed play, at least – should be (a) mono-colour and (b) five-colour. Ideally, both (technically, all six) of these archetypes should be feasible in draft as well. (I’m not sure how this would work for sealed.) Drafting a mono-colour deck with no splash would probably be a lofty goal rather than something you achieve in most drafts, but there should be cards that reward you the closer you get to it. (Quick idea: an undercosted mono creature with “whenever you play a non-[this creature's colour] spell, sacrifice [this]“.)

Anyway, that’s the idea. Thoughts? Job offers from WotC?

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