A brutal warlord burns the countryside, leaving not even a single survivor to tell the tale of their destruction. A scheming advisor quietly laces a cup with poison, passing it off to a servant he's already paid off. A powerful judge of the high court sentences all before him to death, their pleas of rightful innocence fall on deaf ears. A grizzled outlander gathers the ancient and angry magic of the forest to topple the gleaming towers of a city, regardless of the lives existing within.
Take those images, and translate them into magic terms. In order, if I did my job right, you should see Red, Blue, White, and Green. Today I'd like to talk to you all about a really stupid bias that Magic seems to have about Black.
Throughout Magic history, black has always been the color of villains. Most Black aligned characters end up villains. For context, let's break it down by the numbers. Out of all legendary creatures and planeswalkers ever printed, here are the number of each that are villains. (Multicolor count for each color) (Characters with uncertain standing/stories not counted)
W - 24
U - 48
B - 93
R - 49
G - 30
Look at these numbers, it's not even close! Black has almost 100 villains among their printed legendary cards. Next, let's look at the Color Pie, specifically one supplied by Wizards themselves during the You Make the Card Event back in 2013.
This is genuinely a ridiculous wheel to me. Given, it is a little outdated, but I think this is still how most people see the colors. Black should not be the inherent "evil" color because let's face it, that's not what the cards represent functionally or flavorfully. Evil is subjective, Black doesn't do anything inherently evil, it just wants to win at any cost. This can be framed so many ways instead of as a villain! Imagine a roguish thief sacrificing themself to save their friends and to defeat the true villain. Winning at any cost, including the self. An inherently Black trait shown by cards that let you pay life!
And, just for gravy, villains would be way more interesting if they came in all colors. As I attempted to show at the start of the article, all the other colors have villainous traits within them.
White cares only about the good of the many, it sees the laws as absolute and unbending.
Blue is logical, it doesn't see emotions or personal conflicts as important.
Red is chaotic and destructive, the consequences of its actions don't matter as long as it's having fun
Green wants to reclaim society. Tearing down all facets of civilization without caring about casualties.
I implore you all, as people creating cards of our own, branch out with your antagonists. Black is fine to include, I'm not saying don't, but maybe think about how to make monocolor villains in the other colors. Or hey, maybe even try making a Black-aligned hero once in a while.
That's all for this month, let me know what you think about the color pie and it's characters in the comments below. You can find me on twitter @East2Westmtg or email me at East2westmtg@gmail.com. As always this has been East2west with CCC, I'll see you guys on the battlefield.