Are Worldfire and Bearer of the Heavens Color Pie Breaks?
Posted on Sept. 14, 2023, 8:49 p.m. by DemonDragonJ
I believe that both Worldfire and Bearer of the Heavens are color pie breaks, because both of them do things that red is not supposed to do: i.e., they both allow red to destroy creatures, enchantments, and planeswalkers (red is not supposed to be able to destroy enchantments and is supposed to deal with creatures and planeswalkers via damage, not outright destruction) and Worldfire interacts with zones in ways that red does not typically interact (i.e., red is not supposed to exile cards from hands and graveyards, nor does it directly interact with life totals outside of dealing damage). If Bearer of the Heavens was white, it would have been perfectly acceptable, so I feel that it is a very weird oversight that it is red, although I am not certain what colors that Worldfire would need to be in order for it to be in-color; red/black would cover everything except for exiling enchantments, while black/white would allow for all effects, but would not make sense from a flavor perspective, being styled as a fire-based spell.
Red has a lot of insane “chaos” effects that mess with the entire boardstate, restricted to just being at extremely high mana costs, and i’d say that these both fall into that bucket. You would never see this kind of stuff at lower mana costs for red, but these cards still squarely fit into the red colour pie for what they’re currently doing imo. Note red has a LOT of old cards doing chaotic stuff like this.
Note also that both of these cards are very old now, and I don’t think either would be printed into a standard-legal set today (imo mainly due to the global-land destruction). I think the types of chaos effects red implements these days are less destructive, and less self-damaging. That’s not to say that red can’t do these kinds of effects at high-cmc, but more that wizards has just soured on how these interactions play-out on the board.
September 14, 2023 9:13 p.m.
I'm not sure there's a place for "destroy everything" or "exile everything" in the current color pie. "Destroy everything nonland" and "exile everything nonland" have recently shown up in with Ruinous Ultimatum, with Ondu Inversion Flip and Devastating Mastery, and flavor/Universes Beyond approaches in and (Urza, Planeswalker Meld Meld and Exterminatus, respectively). is more or less the color of full board clearing at this point.
So from the point of view of the current color pie, I guess they are out of pie by default, since the effect doesn't have an associated color or color set. At the time, was the best fit. This is more a sign of color pie evolution instead of deliberate bend/break.
September 14, 2023 11:09 p.m.
The Worldfire one is most likely portraying an apocalyptic inferno, burning away everything in existence down to ashes. When the world itself is burning, no graveyard will survive. The flavor text mentions it started as "the smallest spark" and recklessly consuming all with no heed for your surroundings or the future, does sound like the ultimate expression of the red philosophy, mechanical card implications be damned! Burn those to a crisp too!
At least that's my interpretation :P
September 15, 2023 5:09 a.m.
One point to keep in mind with these color pie discussions is that older cards were generally not multi-colored. Now that most lands produce at least two different types of mana, each of these cards would likely be multiple colors.
September 15, 2023 10:28 a.m.
@FormOverFunction: Note that Worldfire was printed in the set immediately before Return to Ravnica (the earliest set allowed in the newer Pioneer format), and later on, Bearer of the Heavens was printed in the second-to-last set with "Modern" frames.
These are hardly "older cards" in the context in which you speak. Or in other words: wrong era for that argument. The OP is discussing late-Modern-era cards of 9~11 years ago, not the sometimes insane cards that came out of the mid-90's; 25~30 years ago..
September 16, 2023 8:02 p.m. Edited.
Metroid_Hybrid - note that 9~11 years is still an insanely long time in terms of game development and evolution. Colour-pie philosophies will have evolved, adapted, and changed multiple times-over between then and now.
9~11 years is still very old - just maybe not as a percentage of the games total lifespan. I think FormOverFunctions point isn't invalid at all - if either of these cards were printed today they could very easily be WR or even BWR
September 17, 2023 2:54 a.m. Edited.
Metroid_Hybrid I definitely get what you’re saying, especially since my magic experience goes a ways back before then. I was more focused on how lands that produced two or three different colors used to be less-than-ordinary. Today they’re far more commonplace, making a two or three color spell a lot more feasible. A deck with Chromium in it used to be hilariously difficult to pull off, leaning on whatever dual lands you might have (I hadn’t seen one in play until something like 2010) and a couple Celestial Prisms.