A New Frontier – The Colour Pie with Max Ogden

A New Frontier – The Colour Pie with Max Ogden


Hello there. As I’m new to the site, I feel as though I should tell you a little about myself, and what my articles are going to cover in the foreseeable future. My name is Max Ogden, I’m an Archaeology undergrad at Nottingham University and I began playing Magic during 7th edition, but only played with my brother with what were essentially made up rules. We played on and off until the first Mirrodin, but then our interest waned and we moved on to other things.

Fast forward 7 years, and I’ve moved to University and have been playing the Legend of the 5 Rings card game for about a year. As I’ve just moved to Uni, I decide to wander into my local games store to try and find myself a new playgroup (as you do). While I was there, I saw people playing a card game I recognized, and began chatting to them about Magic. Soon I was seated and messing around with cards, and I’ve been playing the game ever since.

And that more or less brings us to why I’m writing this article – it’s about my experiences coming into the game, and my attempt to make life easier for other people who have just started. I’ll be discussing a variety of formats, and giving my own opinion on various decks in each of the formats, especially focusing on how they affect newer players.

In today’s article I’m going to focus on one of the most basic elements of M:tG – the colour pie. This is one of the foundations of Magic and, while it occasionally gets smudged (I’m looking at you, Phyrexian Mana), it is fairly constant throughout all sets. This is invaluable when it comes to introducing new players to the game, as it is a ready-made tool with which to show players the various aspects of the game.

Each colour also has various mono-coloured archetypes associated with it, as well as a tribe or two. A tribe, for those of you who don’t know, is a creature type that is associated with a colour and has cards that affect that creature type specifically (it is worth noting that some tribes are cross-colour, but for the sake of this article I’m only going to talk about mono-colour). This makes constructing a mono-coloured deck both easy to do and relatively effective at what it is try to achieve, making them ideal for new players as it gives them a taste of a colour and an idea of what each colour is trying to do.

Here is a brief look at what each colour does and it’s tribes:

Colour (abbreviation) Function Mono-colour Archetype Tribe
Red ( R ) Burn (direct damage) Sligh, Burn, Big Red Goblins
Black ( B) Hand distruption, creature destruction,  Graveyard manipulation Mono Black Control (MBC),Vampires Vampires
White ( W ) Cheap creatures, removal, life gain White Weenie Soldiers, Knights
Blue ( U ) Counterspells, card draw Mono-U control, Mono –U agrro Merfolk, Illusions
Green ( G ) Ramp, Big creatures, token generation Elves!,  Eldrazi Green Elves


And now more detail. First up, Red.

Red’s primary role in the colour pie is to lay the maximum amount of hurt to the opponent in the least amount of time in the most direct way. This is done through burn spells (spells that can do damage directly to either a creature or player) such as Lightning Bolt and Lava Spike. They also spice up the direct damage with small, mana efficient cards such as Goblin Guide and big fatties such as Bogardan Hellkite.  Each of these various methods has a mono-red deck built around them; how convenient!

Sligh, named after the man who first found success with this kind of deck, revolves around hoards of smaller, under-costed creatures.  In the current standard metagame, this deck is Goblins, although in the recent past it has include normal Red Deck Wins (RDW) as well as a Immolating Souleater. Burn is the simplest of all red strategies. Pack your deck full of pure, straight to face damage. While this is a fantastically fun deck, it is somewhat fragile and easy to disrupt.

Big red is a deck that uses ramp (something that is often associated with green) to power out big fat red monsters that lay some serious hurt. This deck has been a “thing” several times in the past, but at the moment red decks lack the sufficient ramp to make this a mono-coloured archetype (there are several deck which are multi-coloured which do a similar thing to this, which I will cover in future articles).

Here is the deck I would run if I wanted to get a taste of what Red is about – standard Goblins.

4 Goblin Guide
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Goblin Fireslinger
4 Spikeshot Elder
4 Ember Hauler
3 Goblin Wardriver
3 Hero of Oxid Ridge
4 Goblin Grenade
4 Searing Blaze
3 Teetering Peaks
19 Mountain


Now for Black. Black is one of the most versatile colours, and in my opinions one of the more powerful. Black can do a lot of things – it has powerful creatures, graveyard shenanigans, hand disruption and creature removal. That’s a pretty powerful combination right there. Black aggro currently comes in the form of Vampires. Often combo’d with Red for some of the powerful spells provided by the colour, mono-b Vampires can still be a deck.

MBC, is, historically, one of the most powerful archetypes in the game due to some broken cards that got printed (Dark Ritual and Necropotence), and while it may not be a tier 1 deck at the moment, it is certainly a fun archetype to mess around with, and with a horror theme set coming up with Innistrad who knows….

If I was gonna make an MBC, it would probably look something like this:

4 Vampire Nighthawk
2 Phyrexian Obliterator
4 Grave Titan
4 Gatekeeper of Malikir
4 Sign in Blood
4 Duress
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Go for the Throat
2 Geth’s Verdict
4 Dismember
2 Tectonic Edge
22 Swamp


In the next article I’ll finish talking about the colour pie and talk more about Blue, White and Green and what mono-colour madness you can get up with them!



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