Magic colors,clans and shards…What do they mean/do?

Eliteomega8 October 29, 2021 7 min

This is meant to be a reference. 

What color play is best suited for you and why.

Mgt colors, color combos, and a brief synopsis of what they stand for. Also: how to label your deck.


White: Peace, law, structure, selflessness, equality
Damage prevention and life gain:
Total protection
Small creatures (Weenies):
Rules-setting and "Taxing":
Artifact and enchantment destruction:
Balance and uniformity:
Combat superiority
Total defense


Blue: Knowledge, deceit, caution, deliberation, perfection
Card draw:
"Return to hand" ("Bounce") effects:
Tapping and untapping permanents:
Gain control ("Stealing") effects:
Trickery tactics:
Combat trickery
Reality changing


Black: Power, self-interest, death, sacrifice, uninhibitedness
Creature destruction:
Culling the weak:
Cloak & dagger
Card advantage
Faustian Bargain:


Red: Freedom, emotion, action, impulse, destruction
Direct damage (Burn):
Artifact and land destruction
Aggressive creatures
Martial superiority
Gambits and short-term mana acceleration


Green: Nature, wildlife, connection, spirituality, tradition
Powerful creatures:
Token creatures
"Pump" effects
Instinct attack
Natural evasion
Natural blessing
Permanent mana acceleration
Mana fixing
Artifact and enchantment destruction:


The 2-color names


White-Blue: Azorius (Senate).            Being aloof, bureaucratic, excessively formalistic, and fastidious.  Looking for a deck that’s extremely controlling? Azorius, also known as blue and white, is a good combo for you, then.When you run blue and white together, you get access to white’s powerful board wipes and blue’s overwhelming counterspells. Plus, blue is excellent at card draw – something that white could really use some improvement in.Common Azorius creatures include cats, griffins, sphinxes, and spirits.
White-Red: Boros (Legion).                 A righteous, zealous standing army   In gameplay, Boros tends to be very combat-focused. Like Gruul, this makes it a simple color scheme to work with. Some examples of Boros tribes are angels, soldiers, and knights.
White-Green: Selesnya (Conclave).   Decentralized collective variably described as a "selfless, nurturing, spiritual group" or a "brainwashing nature cult."  Want to make an army of small creature tokens to flood your opponents with? Then what you’re looking for is Selesnya, which is green and white.
Selesnya has a lot of access to cards that remove artifacts and enchantments. It’s fairly straightforward to play, as these decks tend to focus on making tokens. Some of the most efficient creatures in the game come from this combo, including elves, saprolings, and cats.
White-Black: Orzhov (Syndicate).     Where the values of white and black meet and the dead exist solely as capital.  These decks often interact with players’ graveyards, possessing a strong ghost theme. It’s also life-based, with many cards that allow you to gain life. Orzhov creatures include things like vampires, spirits, and angels.
Blue-Red: Izzet (League).               Obsessive, keen, and creative intellectuals, who often have short attention spans — are known to perform magical experiments, ever with reckless abandon and sometimes with spectacular but severe results.  If you could briefly describe Izzet, the marriage of blue and red, it would be something like “the madness of genius.” This guild is all about crazy combinations and creatures that play off each other. Izzet can be speedy like red or controlling like blue. Oftentimes, it is both. The most common Izzet-colored creatures include elementals, dragons, goblins, and faeries.
Blue-Green: Simic (Combine).        Steward of nature and the wild.  One of the most competitive color combinations in the game is easily Simic, or green and blue. Imagine if you had the mana-ramping ability of green and the counterspelling ability of blue. You can see why Simic is such a popular guild with Magic players.   The problem with Simic is that it can be a trickier guild to use effectively. For that reason, it may not be the most beginner-friendly of the guilds. Common Simic creatures include merfolk, basilisks, kraken, and other sea creatures.
Blue-Black: (House) Dimir.             Secrecy, manipulation, and underhanded deals, espionage, smuggling, burglary, counter-intelligence, assassination.  Dimir decks are controlling. They have all the destruction associated with black, and all the counterspelling associated with blue. Faeries, zombies, vampires, spirits, and shapeshifters are commonly found in this combination.
Red-Green: Gruul (Clans).              To cause chaos, any reason to destroy a symbol of civilization.  Gruul can be boiled down to three words: smash, smash, and smash. In short, red and green come together to make a fast, strong deck. There’s also often a pervasive land theme in Gruul decks and cards, in which there are effects that care about lands.Gruul is probably one of the easiest color combinations to use. Common Gruul creatures include hydras, elementals, and werewolves.
Red-Black: (Cult of) Rakdos.         Extreme utilitarians or hedonists, the Cult of Rakdos are a guild that places a premium on personal pleasure, or "fun", even if it cruelly causes pain and suffering to others and themselves.  Rakdos decks are generally fast-moving and quick to deal damage to other players. Sometimes, they even hurt their own controllers. Common creatures that come in these colors include demons, goblins, vampires, and dragons.
Green-Black: Golgari (Swarm).     The embodiment of life and death. Golgari deck will feature many mechanics that make it possible for you to reuse cards in your graveyard. Zombies, skeletons, horrors, elves, and gorgons are common tribes from this color duo.


Three color


Abzan: White/Black/Green.       Feature tough creatures and control elements as well as a clan-specific mechanic that help you win the long game. f you use white, black, and green, you’re playing with Abzan. This color combination has a lot of graveyard interaction and +1/+1 counters, which add a small bonus to your creatures’ power and toughness. Nowadays, you can also use Abzan to generate armies of tokens. In the end, though, it’s another creature-focused combination.
Bant: White/Blue/Green.            They have structured combat to resolve the issue. Rather than risk the health of entire armies, each group picks one champion and sends him or her as their representative. If you want to make a deck that’s defense-focused, Bant is one of your best bets. Individually, the colors have a lot of wall creatures, or creatures that can only block and have a high toughness. Bant also has a lot of cards that bounce. In other words, you can use this color combination to pull cards temporarily back into your hand to protect them from board wipes. In general, this color combo is heavily focused on creatures and enchantments.
Esper: White/Blue/Black.            Purpose and control have triumphed over savagery and chaos.  Artifacts are incredibly popular and powerful because there’s pretty much an artifact for every deck. If you love using this card type, you’ll love white, blue, and black – also known as Esper. If it’s not focused on artifacts, Esper decks will tend towards the controlling side. It has the power of blue counterspells, the removal power of black kill spells, and the addition of white removal spells on top of that.
Grixis: Blue/Black/Red.                Death, darkness, undead, hatred, envy. Jund also gets its name from a plane. It is comprised of red, green, and black. Dragons and goblins are major deck themes for Jund, so this is a great combination for you when you want to use heavy-hitting creatures.
Jeskai: White/Blue/Red.               Cunning.    Red, white, and blue, also commonly (and jokingly) referred to as USA, is called Jeskai. Jeskai is mostly focused on casting non-creature spells, despite the fact it uses red, which is a strong creature-oriented color. There’s a huge flying theme throughout this color combo. It has powerful instants, sorceries, and enchantments. Because of a couple cards, Jeskai can also be used to generate tokens.
Jund: Black/Red/Green.               Instinct is the choice over control and deliberation.  Jund also gets its name from a plane. It is comprised of red, green, and black. Dragons and goblins are major deck themes for Jund, so this is a great combination for you when you want to use heavy-hitting creatures. Like Gruul, Jund is a very straightforward color to play. The strategy is usually to bash your opponents with creatures.
Mardu: White/Black/Red.             Very fast, aggressive strategy.  Mardu, which brings together red, white, and black, is oftentimes a fast, aggressive color combination. It tends to have an abundance of quick creatures like vampires and goblins. We would also call this one a beginner-friendly combination. Mardu decks tend to revolve around getting creatures out fast and swinging with them repeatedly.
Naya: White/Red/Green.               Nature is revered.   Naya is another plane. Only, in the lore, this one is filled with cats. Red, green, and white decks tend to care about large and aggressive creatures, such as dinosaurs, beasts, and wurms. This is also a creature-heavy color combination. It’s good for dealing a lot of damage with quick and aggressive creatures.
Sultai: Blue/Black/Green.             Manipulate resources.   In Sultai decks, graveyard interaction is particularly popular. But because all the best colors in the game are used here, a Sultai deck can do pretty much anything a good deck should be able to do. It has kill spells from black, ramp from green, and counterspells from blue.
Temur: Blue/Red/Green.               Ferocious creatures. Temur, the combo formed by green, blue, and red, is a bit harder to describe. It’s kind of off the rails. But some common themes you’ll find here are hard-hitting creatures, speed, and weird combinations. If you want, you can make a Temur deck focused on creatures. However, you can just as easily make a spellslinger deck if that’s more to your liking.


4 color


Glint: No White.     Obscure combinations
Dune: No Blue.      Creature focused
Ink: No Black.        Plays politics to prevent themselves from being targeted
Witch: No Red.      Extremely controlling
Yore: No Green.     Common as artifact based


Reference. Mgtwiki.   Amazing Game Room,  Wizards of the Coast


This MTG related article is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast - ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.


Portions of the material and content are property of

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Home brewed and meta decks




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