Written by Dr. Eli Reding
Hi all Eli/FiveColorQueer/Dr. Dragons here,
I’m so excited to be sharing one of my passions with you in our new blog series. While topics are likely to range across the mental health spectrum, I thought a little fun discussion of personalities in one of my favorite games, Magic: The Gathering would be a fun place to start. Magic: The Gathering is a collectible trading card game that has shaped the world of gaming since 1993. It boasts five colors, each of which have a unique play style and color identity (although like personalities, these traits get muddied across the board from time to time). These colors include White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Even if you’re not a Magic player, if you ever try it out, maybe this post will give you a place to start. So before I blather on too much here are the goods!
White players love to play the game fairly and want everyone to have a good time. They trust the other players to play in good faith, even with evidence to the contrary (looking at you Black and Blue players). Often, White decks excel in an open and honest playstyle, a direct mix of little creatures and spells that eventually grow by working together. This altruistic sense of play is likely present in your day-to-day life and White players tend to be good community builders, working to unite the other styles into a community that works for everyone. White players tend to be courteous and are the most likely to patiently show a new person how to play. They tend to steer away from the conflicts that are hallmarks of the other styles. Instead, they carefully reduce your life total with numerous creatures over time, arresting and removing obstacles in their way. Due to a lack of flashiness and focus on protection, White players are frequently underestimated at the table and there is nothing they love more than showing that the best offense is a good defense. Quick with a smile and a handshake, a White player is likely to give you a “Good Game” after absolutely trouncing your deck and you will often want to scream obscenities at them if you are not also a White player. The weakness of the White player lies in their goodness and their trust that others are playing a fair game as well as their predictability. However, when their patience runs out, you’ll find your creatures exiled and your counterspells failing against waves of tiny soldier tokens.
Blue players are the best players (this is my personal bias as I’m a Blue player largely). However, I specifically mean that Blue players work to play any game in the “best way possible.” They tend to love new play ideas, appreciate interactions, flex with their knowledge of the game, and their playstyle is likely to feel unique, even when compared to other Blue players. While their decks may seem low powered, they excel as synergy and manipulation of others play styles to gain the win. For Blue players, however, the win may be secondary as their true desire may be to learn and appreciate their opponent’s style, so as to crush them with their own weaknesses in the end. As long as you suffered in playing them, the Blue player has won in their heart. Blue excels at using all different styles of play but you’ll likely see them respond quickly and decisively to problems, using instants and sorceries to counter and bounce key pieces at the most opportune times. Their weakness is their double-edged sword, as Blue players love to toy with opponents and set up convoluted conditions to win, often falling to faster and more direct styles of play. However, the Blue player is likely to label a loss as just another piece of information and continue playing metamagic as they “get lost in the sauce” of the game. If no one is having any fun at all, it is likely that the Blue player is in the lead. This makes veteran and highly intelligent Blue players especially dangerous, leaving you desperately trying to scrape a win while they sit there with a hand full of cards and an answer to a play you didn’t even know was possible.
Black players love to feel powerful. These players are always working towards a final plan with no regard for the sacrifices (lol) that they have to make to get there. Black players often must keep composure and work with multiple pieces to achieve their final goals. They often deliberate carefully and are masters at reading a changing landscape of play, both in Magic and in their real lives. Rarely spontaneous unless forced to react, a black player may seem collected and competent, playing the right cards at the right time. This is largely due to a willingness to make sacrifices and to look at the long game rather than get lost in the ups and downs of the early game. Where White players expect rules to be followed, Black players often make rules that both they and everyone else must follow. Because they rig the system for themselves, they often succeed if the game is long and drawn out and facing a Black player in the long game is a bit like slaying a giant. Sure, it happens, but nine out of ten times that giant is coming out on top. The thing about Black players is that you never really know when you lost control of the game. The perfect plan often needs the perfect pieces and if Black players do not draw their cards right or have the right tools to correct a situation, their perfect setup can quickly erode, leaving them with next to nothing. However, when excelling, a Black player is smiling while telling you that your best resources are gone and there are still six more turns until you will actually lose, giving a sense of inevitability and smug satisfaction to their wins.
Red players love to go fast and take chances. Red players love to ramp up quickly and then hit again harder. Unperturbed by the consequences (such as watching their creatures die or their life total drain), playing Red is about grinding your opponents down before they have a chance to respond. Red players tend to be quick on the draw, excited by new opportunities, comfortable with taking risks, and working with few resources. Due to the fact that these players tend to like upfront and dramatic playstyles, they tend to be weak in the late game and their lack of appreciation for long-term satisfaction may be evident in their personal lives, jumping from activity to activity with a general preference for highly stimulating activities. Red players tend to amp up people around them and can also lead others to take risks (although this may or may not work out for them). Generally, a Red player’s weakness is a lack of foresight for the long game, both on the table and in their lives and they know that sometimes taking risks doesn’t work out in their favor. When at their best, however, a Red player is likely to leave your strategy in a smoldering crater, having hit you where it hurts before you can even react and gleefully dancing away with a quick win.
Green players tend to be reserved for a time, setting up movements until they can overwhelm you with pure force. Because of this play style, Green players may seem shy or reserved at first and then really shine after you get to know them. Appreciative of multi-step plans but also enjoying simple, straightforward strength, Green can be the middle of the road compared to other play styles but because of this draws others into their sphere of influence. While other players want you to react to their plans or try to outsmart you, Green players focus on powerful creatures and breathtaking enchantments to turn the field to their advantage, either right after Red and White run out of steam or before Blue and Black get their claws on the end game. In life, Green players may like similar things, being the center of the crowd and working with big, flashy ideas and pursuits. Standing in the Goldilocks zone of just right, Green players tend to be weakest to key pieces of the midgame strategies getting taken out, prolonging the game. A Green win is likely to feel absolutely dominant, with a few big creatures taking a chunk out of their life and literally running over the competition.
I hope you all enjoyed this post and know that it’s all a bit of fun. These personalities are not hard and fast rules but hopefully it gives you a little insight into not only this game but how psychology can be fun and applicable to daily life, rather than just therapy and hard work.
Your internet psychonerd,
Dr. Eli Reding
All of the clinicians will be contributing to the blog!