I’ve been thinking about why I like certain colors so much more than others. I really like to play red, even though I don’t really like the low-curve, Sligh-style decks, there’s something about it that really works for me. Same for black. At the same time I dislike white quite a bit. So why is that?
One reason is that white never takes risks. Black and red are all in. Another is less obvious. Black and red are fun. Every color clearly has a sense of humor, but while blue enjoys it’s sarcasm as a form of wit, green enjoys big things smashing smaller ones and white… I don’t know about white actually… black and red go for the self-depricating, transgressive humor I really enjoy myself.
Of course, red is the color of emotion, so humor sort of falls under its perview. It doesn’t mean that it has a monopoly on it, but just consider comedians like Louis CK (eds. note from the future: that didn’t age well…). Although everything he does on stage is carefully written, tested and rehearsed before filming a special, for example, there is still a sense that he is talking from his heart. He is being red. But actually, since most of the good stand-up is based on pushing the limits of the audience just a little bit (although its becoming harder and harder, as the audiences become more and more cynical), there’s some black in there as well.
My usual way to look at colors is through the Ravnica Guilds. Why? They might not be the end-all-be-all of color pairings, but there’s definitely an easy-to-understand version of how they interact in there somewhere.
Which Guild has the most fun? Due to their reckless nature, Rakdos seem to be on top of this. Their cards tell a story of cruel sense of fun, but it’s definitely there. The fun seems to be quite red, while the cruelty seems to be quite black, although several key cards are mono red.
What about the others?
Gruul seem to enjoy violence as well, but from a slightly less cruel angle. Izzet, on the other hand, seem not to be very serious about their work, instead finding the exercise itself quite fun. It takes white to spoil the fun in the form of Boros, who seem to even drain the fun out of goblins.
Black’s other guilds seem to have pretty similar outlook. Golgari have a dark sense of humour about the inevitability of death, while Dimir seem to have a quite dry sense of humor with a lot of cynicism from the blue. Orzhov… none to be seen.
This leaves us with Simic, Azorius and Selesnya. They just seem to lack the capability for laughter in the same way as the red and black guilds. Not that you’d ever actually want to meet a Rakdos, Gruul, or Dimir member laughing.
Anyhow, this is a big part of the appeal for those two colors for me. Its just sad how much damage white does to them in Mardu. Actually, none of the clans seem to have very much fun.