White

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White is the one of the five colors of mana in Magic. It is drawn from the plains and embodies the principles of morality and order. On the Color Pie, it is allied with green and blue, and is enemies with black and red.

Contents

Flavor

White is an easy to define color, judging by the fact that you can simply grab a hand full of White cards and be able to get a feel for what White is about. To be clear, White puts value in the group, the community, and its civilization as a whole. White's ultimate goal is peace, harmony, and perfection — a world where everyone gets along and no one seeks to disturb the bonds of unity that White had worked so long to forge. To govern and protect it's community, White makes use of and puts value in a number of broad concepts; morality (ethics, religion), order (law, discipline), uniformity (conformity), and structure (government, planning).

In White's belief, there is very little grey area in morality (as morality is defined, clarified, and guided by rules of ethics) and thus very little room for straying from the path. White does not focus on the individual, but instead on the whole. Individuals are indeed encouraged to act on behalf of White and stop those who oppose it, even inside its own borders, but their personal views and feelings are often disregarded and even discouraged in a manner, in order to preserve the health and bond of the group. To expand on that note, while Black can be perceived as an advocate of the underdog (the individual who stands against the group), White does stick up for the little guy, and feels that it deserves a fair share of the pie as much as anyone else. It doesn't care so much what the little guy has to say about anything, but it doesn't want anyone picking on the little guy, because that wouldn't be fair or moral.

One can view White as a large clock tower composed of many cogs, which is structured rigidly to the point that there is no room for divergence or deviation, and on the outside looks striking, beautiful, strong, and glorious, attempting to make others want to come into its fold and under its wing. White seems to say "Look at us, we're doing great in here, nothing could be better. Come join us, come be a part of this magnificence." Inside, every cog is content with it's job, because it's job is no more important than any other cog's job, and each cog is kept entertained by what it's supposed to do. However, not one cog can see outside those walls to see what the grass on the other side of the fence is like, so they won't ever know if they're truly happy as they can be. To the cynical on the outside of the tower, they recognize it as a symbol of fascism, lack of individuality or divergence, oppressive, and generally no fun.

Leaving that analogy, White cannot afford to allow the individual much power in its jurisdiction, for the individual inherently holds it's own well-being and satisfaction above all else. This is dangerous to White's way of life, and thus White uses more tangible civil laws, so that individuals do not disturb the whole with their ambitions (Black) or their craving for freedom (Red). This shows that White is very concerned with the society it watches over, in that the good of the society is much more important than the rights and welfare of a single individual. The term, "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few", certainly applies to the White way of living. This again implies that any dissident will be dealt with swiftly, so that no opposition can form within the White society (where such a "cancer" is most dangerous and most difficult to remove).

To defend itself from such an occurrence, White creates a deeply immersed political system, a bureaucracy littered with taxes in the fees, in order to prevent much changing of the ways of its society from within. White is typically very open and honest about what it is doing, and tends to enjoy displaying its laws for all to see and to obey without question. The fact that these laws are so widely available and so often reminded justifies White, in it's opinion, to enforce them to any degree they deem fit and to warrant punishment of equal veracity. White is also very defensive, and chooses to strike only when struck first or when a significant threat is posed. However, it has been known to stretch this belief with the reasoning that a preemptive strike is the best way to defend itself — "the best defense is a good offense" one might say.

White also holds balance and equality in high regard in order to maintain it's society, likely based on the functions and workings of its enemies. Equality, if disregarded, can result in diversity and individuality. While not a clear problem to most, it is a worry on White's mind, because it fears that diversity and individuality will cause for tensions between people and make people uncomfortable with one another due to the fact they are no longer visibly united. Regardless of whether or not these fears and suspicions are grounded, White finds it smarter to play it safe and not chance it. Balance, though synonymous with Equality, is important for much the same reasons. If one citizen excels above the others, the others will desire to become something more (or worse, feel inadequate and suffer a loss of morale), which also leads to others fearing for their own positions with the threat of being replaced. White attempts to prevent this not only through Equality and Balance, but through intolerance for nonconformity. Of course, White's enemies are not expected to play nicely, so sometimes the scales need to be balanced by force.

White is not a racist color; instead, it is proud to the point that it is elitist. White sees itself and its people as "the chosen people", better than everyone else. White believes itself to be the best because it fights on the side of righteousness. White sees everyone else as unclean or incorrect in some manner and seeks to defend itself from those impurities, as opposed to persecuting and leading an otherwise unjustified assault on them. White doesn't discriminate against anyone directly (like Black; Engineered Plague and other effects) nearly as often as it spends time promoting its own. In doing so, it may even promote its enemies if they happen to share similarities. Shared Triumph is a good example of this, as is Celestial Crusader and the Radiance mechanic.

Strengths

White's strengths lay in two areas — its ability to handle laws and its organization. In explanation of the latter, White's ability to organize enables it to grow incredibly efficient, which explains certain differences in-game between cards like Leonin Skyhunter and Foul Imp or Veteran Armorer and Sell-Sword Brute, as well as a plethora of one-mana removal spells. This is also an argument for Wrath of God and similar effects being in White, where-as other colors have a difficult time doing things with such ease. In explanation of the former, White's ability to create laws is one of its primary attributes, but its strength lays in its ability to work and defeat its opponent under these laws when others cannot. In the case of another law being formed or even White's own laws working against it, White is the best color at enchantment destruction, granting it the ability to abolish them should it prove necessary and further illustrating its strength at handling laws.

Other strengths that White features to a lesser-extent (without the assistance of another color) are its numbers and strategies. White uses Religion and its concern for and control over the group to motivate large numbers of creatures to fight for its cause, allowing it to outnumber the opponent. To White, the loss of one person in an attack is irrelevant if it allows several others to succeed, further expressing White's lack of concern for the individual. In terms of strategies, White is a great military strategist due to the discipline it implements in its troops, but it is much more skilled at defensive strategies. Its offensive strategies are rarely focused upon, and most manners that White uses to support offences are equally, if not more useful in supporting defensive strategies. (See Glorious Anthem and Warrior's Honor.)

Weaknesses

White's weaknesses lay in multiple areas but at different scales. Its first weakness is its lack of focus on the individual. White will attempt to make a sales pitch for its ideal and goal to a large group of people, and it is likely to succeed. However, making the same pitch to an individual would result in "So... what do I get out of this?" It's far more difficult for White to appeal to a single person, so to compensate for this weakness it ignores that step and tries to appeal to as many people at once in hopes of them disregarding their own desires in exchange for the desires of the community.

Another one of White's weaknesses is its lack of creativity. It can grow xenophobic to the point that it will not tolerate differentiation of any kind, even condemning such innovation or individuality as blasphemous or evil in hopes of turning the community against it. It does so in order to protect the group and keep it under its jurisdiction, in certain fear that differentiation can only serve to destroy everything White has built and worked toward. This makes White very slow to react to new threats. White's rigid structure also accompanies this weakness, handicapping White as much as it does its enemies. If xenophobia does not set in or stand in the way of change (even changes potentially beneficial to White and the group), then law, structure, and tradition will.

Individual expression

(For the sake of not overusing the term, to give a sense of humanity and to better explain the subject at hand, the "White individual" in question will be named Charlotte. The two terms are interchangeable.)

Attributes

A White individual is often proper, has a strong sense of morality and religion, is faithful, loyal, and honest, and is typically willing to help others before he or she helps themselves. A White individual is not only comfortable with the law, it encourages its enforcement and is very cooperative. Charlie is optimistic and strives for purity of all forms (spiritual, physical, and a clean living area). Charlie is also organized, and prefers a sense of balance to things. Remember, however, that all traits of an individual reflect the color but to a lesser, more humane degree. Unless an obsessive compulsive disorder is present, if there isn't an exactly even number of bristles on Charlotte's toothbrush, she will probably shrug it off. White is also somewhat focused on appearances, both of itself and of others since appearances can be used to generalize, group, and categorize others, thus preserving a feeling of order. Charlotte's own appearance is focused upon in order to attract others to the group and to increase it's numbers and thus it's strength. Card examples of this would be Celestial Convergence (which also displays unity and conformity) and the flavour text in Cyclopean Snare (Orzhov's focus on appearances).

Relationships

Love's representation in the game of Magic is occasionally disputed flavor-wise. In examination of White and its characteristics, love can be found along the lines of agape. White commonly displays love for the divine, though this is not restricted to a love for a god, spirit, or ideal. Charlotte displays a very comparable and similar love for her family and friends, though most visibly her children. It is an unconditional, protective and self-sacrificing love of almost blind loyalty and absolute devotion. Accordingly White shares of sense of respect for its fellow man, and often effectively embodies platonic love. Though other colors are not incapable of representing that trait, it is most apparent in White.

Strengths

Charlotte typically acts in conjunction with the group, and thus (for a rough example) if you were to get into an argument with her, you would likely be the underdog in the fight, since it's not a 1-on-1 argument anymore; it's you versus everyone. The group is not Charlotte's only strength though — Religion may often play a strong role in her views, resulting in a dangerous situation in which the argument can quickly grow uncomfortably heated. In that sense, standing against Charlotte can seem much like standing against the majority, in addition to any profound higher power that may or may not exist.

Aside from the argument example, a White individual is also very easily accepted by groups. Charlotte is into what's popular and what is well-accepted by everyone. Charlotte's image (e.g. style of dress) often reflects that of the general populace, and unlike the ugly duckling that was not accepted by its "family", Charlotte fits in well with her friends. That said, getting into a fight with Charlotte (or any popular person for that matter) will likely result in more of Charlotte's friends joining in the fight against you, which brings us to another example. Charlotte will not act out against the law or the rules. This puts a White individual's enemies at a disadvantage — though they are both restricted by the same laws, Charlotte is accustomed to them and they do not bother him.

Weaknesses

Charlotte, being a part of a likely similar group, will have difficulty developing significantly new ideas (or trends, if you must) due to a lack of exposure to individuals unlike herself. In addition to this, there is a certain fear and caution amongst White individuals pertaining to the strange and unknown, both in a xenophobic manner as well as a fear that if they take any interest, ideas or suggestions from outside sources they may be cast out from their group (an extreme example would be the Salem Witch Trials, a common example being a popular girl who talks to a nerdy girl because she's wearing a nice skirt, and loses the respect of her friends as a result). That said, Charlotte is rather uncreative, though note that this trait shows up in other colors in other forms and for other reasons (Spike in Black, for example). However, a White individual without a group is often a helpless cog without a spindle or other cogs to hold it in place. That said, a White individual without a group, if offered companionship by someone (e.g. a black individual) looking for a subordinate (not an equal) would surely accept this offer, in need of a group like an orphan to a family. With that, Charlotte is impressionable, and will adapt to current popular trends in order to fit in and belong — even if they are in opposition to her other traits and beliefs.

White individuals are stubborn for varying reasons; partly due to faith and partly due to the belief that the majority is often or always correct. In Charlotte's eyes, "everyone's doing it" is a solid reason to do something, and if everyone jumps off a cliff, Charlotte will do it too, because she wants to belong. It's important for parents to note this when a child engages in questionable behaviour because his or her friends also engage in said behaviour — it is based upon a need to belong, and belonging should be encouraged, but not if it opposes other White traits, such as ethics and morality. If this occurs, then a conflicted (enemy colour) personality will likely develop, which can result in confusion and self-conflict. Charlotte can also be considered shallow, due to her focus on appearances and lack of will to consort with outside forces so much as it wants to conform them to it's community. Appearances are also used to hide Charlotte's weakness as an individual by intending to look as if it belongs to something greater (the popular crowd).


Misconceptions and Controversies

A common misconception is that White stands for Good and that it is a fact without doubt. Granted, if you take a random lot of White cards and compare them with Black cards or Red cards, they will likely give off more of a "Good" feel than the others. However, taking the time to really look into what White is based upon, then you will see that White is not always good. There have been several popular movies where White has been the fascist oppressor, the overpowering government, and the antagonist. Daimyo Konda from the Kamigawa book cycle was a prime example for a White antagonist, obsessed with the mysterious disk he held and bringing his nation glory, but losing sight of the individual; his very own daughter. In many movies White has been an antagonist in the form of law enforcement, government, or a cult (The Fugitive, 1984, and the Wickerman, respectively).

White doesn't always stand for "Good", but it invariably stands for "Good" in its own mind. For the sake of a real life example, however, fascism is very White in essence, and many would argue that fascism is quite evil, though others would certainly disagree. Suicide-bombers are also very White, demonstrating self-sacrifice and zealotry for their Religious beliefs, and it's certainly difficult to say that they demonstrate "Good," though there are people who would also contest this as well. Communism is also a firmly White doctrine, but often reverts to oppression for the sake of "the good of the nation" as they see it.

Rules

The following keywords are primarily associated with the color white:

The following keywords are associated with the color white (as well as a second color):

(This only currently lists recurring keyword mechanics)

White is an inherently defensive color, which can bee seen throughout the color, and if one looks closely is what motivates nearly all of white's mechanics.

One of these defensive mechanics is Life Gain and its ilk. This comes in the form of life gain directly to the player, life gain to a creature (also know as healing) and damage prevention. Examples of cards that do this are: Healing Salve and Heart of Light.

Furthermore, White can be quite rough on attackers, which all of its newer removal targets. Cards that exemplify this includes: Chastise and Condemn.

White is also the foremost color of protection, show in cards such as White Knight, Paladin in-vec and Absolute Grace.

White also features defensive enchantments that again punishes attackers, such as Teferi's Moat and Worship.

White is the bane of enemy enchantments, which serve to prevent White from having its way. This comes in the form of Demystify, Erase and Scour and more.

White also uses "taxing", which are spells that stop an opponnent from doing something unless they pay a price. Examples of this are Kataki, War's Wage and Ghostly Prison.

As the most political of colors, White also uses rule-setting enchantments that change how the game of Magic is played. Cards like Rule of Law and Humility do this.

White is also, historically, the global resetter, which means that it has ability to reset the board so that all sides have an equal playing ground. Cards like Wrath of God, Armageddon and Balance show this mechanic, which comes in many different forms.

White's army is made up of small individual pieces, which mechanically explains why White has the most small (weenie) creatures. The color can, however, use its organizational skills to build a massive, united whole. Most of the mechanics the white creatures have makes them work better together. These mechanics include First Strike, Vigilance and damage prevention. It also include, what Mark Rosewater calls "Rangestrike", which is {T}: deal damage to target attacking or blocking creature, and boosting from creature to creature ({T}: Target creature gains +x/+x).

(To be expanded.)

Interactions with other colors

Agreements

White and Green: White and Green converge due to what represents their common enemy; Black. Black represents the need of the individual, and at its worst, selfishness. White enjoys the companionship of Green because it agrees that the value of the group outweighs the value of the individual. White also enjoys the idea of an agrarian society, which both serves to employ many of White's citizens while simultaneously feeding everyone, further encouraging the idea of selflessness and extending it to a concern for nature as well. Green also values other White ideals, such as peace and tranquility, which White strives to work toward. White and Green both seek to protect Order, though of different forms. White can see that Green cares as much for the denizens of the forest as White is concerned about its people, and most fascinating of all, Green puts as much emphasis on Spirituality as White, though it is admittedly more free-form than Religion.


White and Blue: White and Blue join to quell and control a common enemy; Red. Red fights for personal freedoms, for the right to express its emotions, whether it be through screaming as loud as it can or through a pen or paintbrush. This threatens both Blue and White's ways of life, because together they find common ground in thought, planning, and discipline, both in the form of self-restraint and rules. White enjoys the company of Blue because of it's thoughtfulness, it's recognition of the importance of law, structure, and rules, and it's ability to plan for the future. All of these traits are undoubtedly useful for White's society, and thus it values Blue's assistance. Blue would prefer things be done in a quiet, neat, and orderly fashion, and though it may lack the warmth that White would occasionally like to display, such is the price it pays to control its citizens and to prevent them from getting too comfortable. White seeks peace and Blue seeks prosperity, together falling hand-in-hand for what they believe to be the common good of the people.


White and Black: White respects Black on several different issues, some obvious and physical, and some not so apparent. White respects Black because it puts importance on religion — Black individuals are not necessarily godless, and thus not without aim or sense, like Red. Black's faith also demonstrates loyalty and a desire for self-improvement — aspects White can relate to. They, too, are fighting for the values they believe in, and that deserves acknowledgment and respect. White respects Black's affinity for sacrifice; the grim necessity for death in order to achieve one's ultimate goal. White also understands Black's stance in terms of its conflict with Green, Parasitism vs. Interdependence, working together as opposed to leeching from others. While within it's walls, White encourages cooperation amongst it's citizens and will work together with allies, but on larger scales outside of the community, it understands that in order for it's nation to win another nation must lose, the grim facts of life that Black has already grown well-accustomed to.


White and Red: White respects Red for the simple similarities that the two share. White can see that Red is very driven and that it's followers are willing to die for the cause it fights for, and can relate because White's followers can be equally zealous and will proudly die in the name of Religion or Morality. White is fascinated by Red because it shows respect for the power of numbers and the group, while Black stands alone and for itself. Red also has a "strike first, ask questions later" mentality that White can understand, because it recognizes a preemptive strike as an effective strategy for self-defense. White also respects Red because of the importance it places on emotion, because White wants to show its followers that it cares and is concerned for them. White is also aware of the dangers of inaction and realizes that to achieve peace, it must prepare for war — truths that Red embraces.

Disagreements

White versus Black: White and Black do battle on several premises that divide them; many of which are obvious, some of which that are more subtle. In Black, White sees a foe who spits on the moral laws that White proudly displays, making a strong statement about itself and where it stands. In White's opinion, Black selfishly disregards morals for its own benefit and must be destroyed lest Black set a dangerous example for White's impressionable citizens. This is not the only issue at hand, however, as Black and White despise one another not only because of what they fight for, but how they act. Black's amorality and dishonesty means Black uses underhanded tactics in fighting, while White fights with honor and respect. White sees Black as deceitful, malignant, and believes it to be a cancerous seed, while White believes itself to be open and honest. However, the most subtle but most intrinsic difference is Black's value in the needs individual over the needs of the group, which flies directly in the face of all that White holds dear. After all, how will White ever maintain and uphold a civilization if it must tend to the whims and needs of every citizen within its borders, one at a time? To White, the ideal is absurd, and its believers must be vanquished.


White versus Red: White and Red clash on simpler, but much less recognized grounds. White looks at Red and sees an enemy that does not respect civil laws and does at it pleases with little regards to the rules and well-being of the community, let alone itself. Red is unnecessarily aggressive and its brash and unthinking action often leaves White's citizens injured, homes burnt, and crops ruined. As a contrasting defensive figure, White will not tolerate such action. In combat, White favors strategy, structured ranks, and planning while Red prefers not to plan ahead and strike without warning or lines, before the opportunity leaves. Red claims to be an advocate of Freedom, but in White's ears the word is synonymous with Chaos. White believes that if Red is to be allowed freedom to express its often radical and inherently selfish emotions, it will incite similar emotions in others within White's community, leading to unrest, or worse, insurrection. If White is to ever achieve Peace and Order within its community, the forces of Chaos must be destroyed.


White versus Green: Like all allies, differences rarely surface but will surface none-the-less. Between Green and White, the conflict is thinking versus feeling. White believes that Green should spend more time thinking on its actions and not act so brashly at times. Green acts based on instincts (a word White generalizes as being almost synonymous with Emotion), which will heed to no law and knows nothing of morality. This ruffles White's feathers, because Law and Morality are fundamental to White's working. If Green were to have it's way, only the strongest and the fittest would survive, and the weak and those with no natural purpose would be consumed. This goes against White's interest in giving everyone a fair chance, no matter what the size.


White versus Blue: White and Blue do not always see eye-to-eye either. The conflict between the two is interdependence versus parasitism. White is very interested in working with the community in order for it prosper and succeed, but what Blue sees when it looks at the community are merely subjects to be observed and notes to be recorded. The people are merely a means to acquire the knowledge Blue seeks and it's not particularly concerned about them beyond that. This upsets White, because it believes that Blue should be more actively involved and open about its projects, but Blue is secretive and often deceitful, which makes White even less comfortable. Above this, Blue sees value in the individual and in doing things (and keeping things to) itself, but White feels that putting any value in the individual can only serve to devalue the group. Also quite notable is that Blue puts the most importance on facts, data, and solid information, which makes it the most scientific (and thus arguably the most secular) color. White puts importance in Religion, which can be used to fervor its own with zeal and purpose while maintaining moral and civil order, but White fears that if Blue were to have its way, the community would be entirely comprised of atheists. This is simply intolerable.


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