Taking a look at Black and White in Magic the Gathering

In Magic the Gathering, each color has a different philosophy and ways of thinking.

White is the color commonly attributed to light, law, and general goodness. White’s ultimate goal is civilization. It seeks to establish order, peace, and justice; or at least what white considers justice. White’s philosophy focuses on personal responsibility. Everyone plays a part in the community. There are laws that must be obeyed for the safety of said community. There are those that govern and those that are governed. All citizens must find a way to contribute to the greater good of society and must ask for nothing in return. White values selflessness and altruism.

Black is the color commonly attributed to darkness, selfishness, and general evil. Black’s ultimate goal is power. Everything black does, it does for itself or its interests. Black’s philosophy is focused on the self. Unlike White which seeks to build a utopia, Black does not consider selfishness the ideal, only the reality. Black knows that people are innately self serving. Any desire, no matter how selfless it may seem, is concerned with some reward. Even if said reward is indirect (like an emotional sense of accomplishment).

This isn’t to say White is always good and Black is always evil. Even as White talks about peace, equality, and working together for a better world, it’s goal is ULTIMATELY to establish a system. White values the whole over the individual. It has a tendency of fanaticism, even fascism, when it comes to it’s focus on the community. White values sameness and conformity. Those who either don’t fit in (Red) or disagree (Black) are made outcasts and become persecuted. We can see this in the game when it comes to White’s concern with Tribalism.

Along side this, for a civilization to work, there must be a hierarchy. Someone must be at the very top. And someone must be at the very bottom. White requires to have someone do the grunt work. Instead of getting it’s own hands dirty, White assigns these lower society jobs to an entire group of people. This assigning can take one of two forms. The first is that those of a lower social class take on these jobs. In white’s society, wealth and finance is social status and social status is power. The second is the use of criminals and prisoners for unpaid labor, calling it a prison sentence or community service. This opens talk on retributive or restorative justice. Then third, there’s the use of immigrants or slave labor, often going back into the concept of tribalism.

Black may be self concerned, but that’s not a bad thing. Where as white requires all citizens to work and contribute to society for the sake of it, Black understands that NO ONE does anything without there being something in it for them. Black knows white makes promises of prosperity, protection, and comfort. Either that or it tries to use threats or intimidation. What Black knows that White does not is the lengths living beings will go to protect themselves or provide for their families. When White doesn’t do its job in taking care of it’s citizens, those at the lower ends of the proverbial pyramid of society suffer. And when people suffer, they fight back.

Black has no qualms about living in White’s society. Black can get along with others. Black can do good. Black can contribute to society and obey the law. After all, it’s better to live within a lawful society than to exist in an utter jungle. The reason is because Black is flexible and knows how to compromise. In the game, we see Black performing some form of equivalent exchange to further its own ends. It pays life to draw cards and sacrifices creatures for various effects. Living by White’s laws is just another compromise to Black. And with every deal, there must be a pay off. This goes back to White doing its job. White promised prosperity, safety, and comfort. Black’s compliance is all under the condition White delivers.

White and Black have some strong commonalities. They won’t be seen in first glance, but they’re there. We see in the game how both colors are willing to get rid of any creature that gets in their way. Though White’s creature removal is not as unconditional as black. However, ultimately, they seek power, control, and influence. Black is honest with it’s intentions. It’s only goal is to seek power for the sake of seeking power. This isn’t always a sense of megalomania. Sometimes Black seeks power because it knows how cruel and competitive life is and just wants to have enough to protect itself and those it cares about.

When White seeks power, it usually makes some excuse like “It’s for the greater good,” or “It’s the will of God.” Still it’s all the same to Black. White may seek to create a better society, but it wants to put itself at the top and put someone else at the bottom. To White, this is righteous victory. To Black, this is no different than the basic competition for power, but with White’s hypocrisy and messianic ego.

To White, Black is at best cynical and pessimistic. At worst, it’s immoral and cruel. To Black, White is at best naive and shallow. At worst, it’s hypocritical and fascist.


Interesting, i grew up playing mtg with my dad. I always found the settings interesting and like how they have occult references if you look closely. Im Glad that others look into the current pop culture for further development and inspiration.

Black is my go to color. I’ve gotten some comments as to why I play black if I’m always about fairness. I hate how closed minded people are on good and evil. It’s like they think because a cop has a badge, he’s automatically doing good. White is good most of the time because that’s what people like to see. It’s what they’re use to.

My favorite story is Ravnica because the white guilds are just as bad as all the other ones.

I run monoblack vampires.


I used to play many years ago. I recall black had a demonic tutor card, so at least they got one thing right. I had a couple decks I used to like to play. I had a black deck with thralls and a white and green deck with combo creatures.