A Beginners Guide to Magic: The Gathering, Part 1: Choosing Your First Color

Magic: The Gathering, often abbreviated as “MTG”,  began in 1993 and was created by the legendary Richard Garfield, spawning what is now considered by many to be the greatest card game ever invented.

This is a bold statement indeed, but until you have truly played Magic: The Gathering, you cannot so easily dismiss this statement, as it is a game that can be easily learned, but incredibly difficult to master.

It is often compared to chess with variance and for good reason, it is a game that has so many lines of gameplay and options, ultimately that will lead you to defeat or epic victory.

However, that is not the focus of today’s article.

Today’s article is for those who have read the previous bold statements and are curious to learn more.

Today, we begin the multi part journey, that will ultimately help you reach your destination in compiling and creating your first ever MTG deck.


Magic The Gathering Colors

Choosing Your Color

Magic: The Gathering contains a myriad of “color” combinations in which players can choose from, mixing and matching to create a dynamic deck that has numerous options.

However, most players simply choose to pick one color when beginning to create their first deck of choice. This is a good idea, as it allows you to ease yourself into the game, without sacrificing deck strength.

The four primary colors in MTG are as follows;

Magic The Gathering Colors

The abbreviations for each color is shown next to it, as this is often how they are represented in the various articles that you will read around the internet.

Blue is represented with the letter (U), simply because the color Black got the letter (B) first and the next different letter in the two words was (U).

Each of these colors specializes in a different strategy and thus has its own strengths and its own weaknesses.

We will now highlight what each color represents, to best help in assisting your choice in choosing a starting color that best suits your desired play style.

Red, the Color of Destruction

Magic The Gathering Red

The first color we are going to discuss is “Red”. This is a common starting choice for many players new to Magic: The Gathering and for good reason, it features an incredibly fast play style.

Red is known as the “Burn” color, as it features a large assortment of cards that allow the player to either instantly kill their opponents creatures or attack their opponents face, lowering their health in the process.

Also, the color Red is known for its fast striking, low cost, low toughness creatures, that hope to “go under” an opponent and kill them before they even know what hit them.

This is a great starting deck for many new players, as it is a very fun and easy color to learn, but also allows ample room for gameplay growth.

White, the Color of Protection

Magic The Gathering White

Another great color to choose is the color “White”.

These decks are known for their low cost creatures that can help “buff” each other once they arrive on the battlefield, quickly resulting in a boardstate that cascades out of control, winning you the game in the process.

Even though many White color creatures are relatively weak, they are backed up by a large variety of spells, enchantments and auras that help make them even stronger, or that make them simply “indestructible”.

White is often known as the color of “protection”, however, don’t let this fool you. As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense.

Green, the Color of Stompy

Magic The Gathering Green

The color “Green” in Magic: The Gathering is known for its ability to use its creatures to create additional sources of mana, quickly ramping up your gameplay and allowing you to get some insanely large, powerful creatures onto the battlefield well in advance of your opponent.

If left unanswered, this will usually result in the Green color player simply attacking their opponents and winning within a matter of a few short rounds.

Green creatures will often feature large creatures with the keyword “Trample”, that allow you to apply excess damage to your opponents health, even when blocked by another creature.

The color Green is great for anyone who likes to have the biggest, toughest baddy on the battlefield at any given time.

Black, the Color of Death

Magic The Gathering Black

Like to kill your opponents creatures instantly?

Like to sacrifice your minions for a greater cause, only to have them come back to haunt your opponents at a later date?

Like to make your opponent discard cards at random, or by your choice?

Then the color “Black” is the color for you in Magic: The Gathering.

This color can be incredibly frustrating to play against, while at the same time, insanely fun to play as.

Many Black creatures will have the keyword “Deathtouch”, which mean no matter how much damage they do, they will kill the creature that they do combat with.

This means that your low cost, weak creature will kill even the strongest of creatures, quickly swinging the board state back into your favor and infuriating your opponents.

The color Black is one of our personal favorites and is a great choice for players beginning their MTG experience.

Blue, the Color of Control

Magic The Gathering Blue

Even mentioning this color makes us wince.

The color “Blue” is the bane of many Magic: The Gathering players, as it is known as the “no you don’t” color.

Blue is all about control. Controlling you, the cards you cast (or rather can’t cast) and controlling the board state.

Blue is able to do this by simply “outdrawing” many of their opponents, as they have many cards that allow them to draw additional cards per turn, while at the same time possessing cards that “counter” the cards you try to play.

The ability to “counter” your cards means that they will often stop and grind players out of the game, ultimately winning in the end by simple attrition.

Blue players are for those who like to be in the driver’s seat, dictating how the game will play out.

Multi-Colored Decks

One of the many aspects that makes Magic: The Gathering the incredibly diverse game that it is, is the fact that you can mix and match any color, or as many colors as you like.

However, since this is a beginners guide, this is not recommended, as the more colors you add, the more difficult it becomes to “cast” your various cards, as your mana requirements will become more and more demanding and difficult.

This is something that we will discuss more in a later article.

An example of the two color combinations, along with their names can be seen below:

Magic The Gathering - Multicolored decks

Please note, this is not all, as there are three color mana combinations and even four mana colour combination decks that are completely viable, but are considered for more “seasoned” players of the game.

In Conclusion

Now that you have a general idea of the various colors that represent Magic: The Gathering and what they best focus on, we hope that you are able to find one that best matches the gameplay style you hope to represent.

Once you have decided on a color, you can begin the process of putting together and creating your first ever 60 card Magic the Gathering deck, which will be the focus of next week’s article and part two of this beginners guide!

So which color best represents you? Which color sounds the most exciting to begin your journey into Magic: The Gathering? We’d love to hear!