Does Red/White Need to Have its Identity Expanded?

General forum

Posted on Jan. 9, 2021, 9:54 a.m. by DemonDragonJ

Many players have been saying that white is underwhelming compared to the other colors in recent years, especially in EDH format, but I personally feel that red/white currently has too narrow of an identity, and needs to be expanded.

The majority of red/white cards focus on combat phases, or on creatures that are either enchanted or equipped, which I feel is too narrow of a focus. Feather, the Redeemed was an excellent card because she provided something completely new for red/white, so I would like to see further cards in the future that help to provide red/white with greater variety for its identity.

What does everyone else say about this? Does red/white need to have its identity expanded?

TriusMalarky says... #2

red/white? not the color pair, not really. I feel like there's a good number of reasons to be using red/white anyways.

One of the best(dockside x Emiel) forces you Naya, but I feel like that's a bonus in that case. Those two cards alone are crazy good.

Also, in the last couple sets we've been getting a ton of good red/white cards, and I feel like there'll be a couple that become competitive.

I think the problem is that red is carrying the combination. We just need a few new unique white staples. Emphasis on unique, in particular permanently unique or unique to white's identity. I feel like everything white's gotten recently was then given to the other colors as well, and we can't have that.

January 9, 2021 11:07 a.m.

What TriusMalarky wrote seems correct, but it is also pretty interesting: I've heard many times that white is a great support colour. Still, red is the colour carrying the combination. What is the reason for that? I have no idea, but I can imagine the following:

The one big thing red and white have in common are small, aggressive creatures. That is a strategy that doesn't work well in EDH. What are the other Boros strategies? Enchantress and Equipment, both of which can be summed up as Voltron. Another strategy that isn't the most powerful (Though definitely very fun to play).

Maybe this is the big problem Boros has: The strategic niche it resides in due to its components aren't very powerful.

January 9, 2021 11:27 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #4

I do not think Red or White need their identity expanded - just for Wizards to explore under utilised aspects of their identity. Take ramp, something White is supposed to be bad at, and Red should be erratic with. Players often complain that these colours should have their identity modified to provide more consistent ramp, but there is another in-identity path Wizards could explore.

You don’t need to match someone else’s ramp to make the playing field even; you can also drag others down to your level or punish people for their dominance over you. White has asymmetrical taxes to drag others down to its nonexistent ramp; Red has land destruction to do the same and various effects that hinder mana generation like Blood Moon or War's Toll. Red also has burn effects related to opponent’ mana generation.

There are solutions to these colours problems in-identity; Wizards just doesn’t really like to do them.

January 9, 2021 1:02 p.m.

Expanding upon Caerwyn's point--we're starting to see the ways in which Red can "draw" (impulse draw), and White can ramp (search for a Plains if you have fewer lands than an opponent): we just need for WotC to expand upon these notions so players have enough options to build a deck utilizing them. ALSO, White needs to figure out how to flavorfully draw (Mangara effects??), and Red to flavorfully ramp.

January 9, 2021 1:24 p.m.

Gleeock says... #6

More one time phase-based ramp-for-damage (not only combat dmg) effects would be great :) I also would love to see afflict make a return with a high afflict life loss but then a bombe effect if the creature is blocked.... a different topic there though

January 9, 2021 4:23 p.m.

wallisface says... #7

In modern RW has decks in both Boros-Burn and Prison. Expanding to add a third colour also yields Mardu-Pyromancer, Mardu-DeathsShadow, and RWG-aggro. I think their colour identity is fine

January 9, 2021 6:21 p.m. Edited.

wolfhead says... #8

I feel like all my favorite RW cards are 6+ mana for an effect that should cost 3-4
The second ravnica in particular had some awesome boros flavor

January 9, 2021 7:01 p.m.

abby315 says... #9

I used to be a person who laughed at the "white is always shafted by WotC" common feeling, but to be honest, after this year and after playing a lot of ABU cube (I know), I do think WotC is a little lost. From Alpha to current day, a lot of things they've tried to make part of white's color identity just haven't turned out to compete with the other color identities: damage prevention, lifegain, weenies (for the most part, especially with all of the new power granted to Green and Red for creature aggro).

And, as Caerwyn mentioned, the stuff that does compete, like mass land destruction and Balance effects, WotC thinks creates unfun gameplay, so they don't really do it anymore.

It seems like they've tried to reverse-engineer Balance with cards like Oreskos Explorer and Alms Collector, but white can't always just play catch-up to other colors IMO. And they've tried making life-gain good by making it a supported archetype, but it doesn't change the fact that gaining life on its own just isn't impactful (unlike drawing cards or, arguably, burn).

I'm not so hung-up on white getting access to things other colors can do, although I don't mind that WotC is bending the color pie recently. I'd rather WotC either go back to what white does well and damn the unfun gameplay, or just put new and exciting mechanics in white, try out some new stuff or expand effects like Silence. TBH I think it'd be fun to brainstorm new aspects of the game that white could interact with.

January 9, 2021 7:30 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #10

Asking white to ramp is like asking green to have counterspells.

Each color has a strength and a weakness. The problem is that the weakness of white is too much of a burden for EDH. Mark Rosewater has stated time and time again that white is designed for limited formats such as Standard. That what white is good at is curving out small bodies to keep board states in check, interacting during combat - one of the most crucial moments in a typical game, and being able to handle most threats through exile and prison effects.

On a 1v1 limited match, white can be and has shown to have been very solid. However, in what amounts to a 1v3 game of EDH, these limited interactions fall apart. A couple of 1/1 Soldiers at instant speed or an exile enchantment means nothing when there are three draw steps, three combat phases and six main phases before it gets back to you.

White is not weak, nor broken, nor forgotten. It's designed for 1v1, not 1v3.

January 9, 2021 10:12 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #11

Consider the following: Jund has an extremely potent following in Modern for it's speed and control. If you want to win in 3 turns or less, Jund will do it for you.

But this same application in EDH is more difficult as you're going from one opponent with 20 life to three opponents with 40 life (120). Winning with Jund on turn 3 in EDH is nearly impossible. Barring a hand that wins you the game which is incredibly rare for any deck, Jund's speed and aggressiveness falls to the wayside because the decks are larger, limited, and more interactions are going on.

Is Jund good in EDH? Sure. But is it Modern-levels of good? Absolutely not.

Yes Jund will give you a lot of interactions. Wrath's, artifact and land destruction, aristocrats, pingers, etc. But not competitive 3-turns-or-less power as within Modern.

Similarly, the slow grind of Esper doesn't translate well into Modern, but it does for EDH as you have more time to set a boardstate up and develope large pools of mana.

Some colors and combinations are better suited for one format over another. Some, like Azorius, are good everywhere due to their snappy control and draw.

And note that both Esper and Azorius have white, and both are extremely powerful in EDH. As is Jeskai.

White isn't weak. It just needs help by other colors. Either red to speed it up, or blue and black to slow others down.

January 9, 2021 10:21 p.m.

Considering EDH is such a popular format, shouldn't WotC get to update White, though? Just saying that something can't be another because it isn't is kind of circular logic.

I really don't see ramp as something that flavorfully only fits into Green, it's just the acquisition of mana through magic means, in a flavor context. Every color should be able to do it, each in their own way.

If Esper is having a hard time in Modern, Wizards should consider giving it a boost. There should be no reason a color or colors are "unplayable" in your chosen format.

January 9, 2021 10:44 p.m.

Mcat1999 says... #13

Oh I agree. Wizards of the Coast should by all accounts design more flexible white cards and draw in a larger fandom.

I'm just saying, as it stands right now, that's why it is the way it is.

January 9, 2021 10:51 p.m.

wolfhead says... #14

As far as ramp for white, I think WotC has been trying REALLY hard at it lately, and I'm just glad they haven't printed something broken and embarrassing yet
Personally I think they should currently be focused on functional reprints and enablers rather than a perpetual branching out of the color pie to give white more definition

January 10, 2021 12:41 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #15

Red carries White in RW EDH decks with cards like Dockside Extortionist, Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast, Deflecting Swat, Gamble, Faithless Looting, Captain Lannery Storm, 6 of the 10 playable rituals, Wheel of Fortune, Wheel of Misfortune, Reforge the Soul . . . Red, in more tuned EDH, shifts from the aggro role it has in other formats to a color that wants to dump its hand to generate advantage and then cast a wheel effect to go back to 7.

If you get into cEDH, red is the color that drops Mana Crypt into Simian Spirit Guide and Rite of Flame to cast Fellwar Stone and then Wheel of Misfortune, meaning they ended net -1 cards to get a land, a crypt and a rock out. Starting t2 with 5 mana and a full hand is pretty good.

White can . . . get Deafening Silence out t1. Or maybe Rule of Law. Not bad, but it's not exciting at all and it also doesn't synergize with red in any way.

So the cards red/white gets from white are the generic support cards and a couple high-power tutors that Red misses. Cause who wants to play Deafening Silence when your whole strategy is 'cast your hand'? RW isn't bad in EDH, but it is pretty much just R+.

January 11, 2021 10:37 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #16

Caerwyn, denying other players a basic resource needed to play this game is extremely un-fun and unpopular, so that is why WotC rarely prints such cards, any more, and I believe that some recent attempts to improve white, most notably Boreas Charger and Keeper of the Accord, are ideal ways to improve white while maintaining that color's identity.

For that reason, I have no problem with Underworld Dreams, which punishes players for seeking to gain card advantage, but I have great problems with Hullbreacher and Opposition Agent, which completely prevent a player from gaining card advantage, and I really wish that WotC had not printed those cards.

January 11, 2021 5:08 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #17

Opposition actually prevents card quality, not card advantage. Slight detail there.

Also, if Magic didn't have such interactive cards, then it really wouldn't be Magic. The tools you have to deny your opponent(s) certain aspects of their strategy is what defines formats.

I mean, Legacy has Force of Will. Modern, instead, has Force of Negation, which helps keep storm-ey combo decks in check while also providing a card that you can easily step around if you want to.

We have Force of Vigor, which means that both artifact/enchantment heavy strategies have a bad time post-board against Green decks, but it also means that we have an easy way to crush any Stax strategy with one card.

In EDH, Hullbreacher needed to be that good to have seen any play. Do we need card-draw hate spells? Well, maybe the fact that Turbo Naus is a strategy in cEDH means that any way to draw 20+ cards is pretty insane.

I think the real problem is not that the cards are "annoying" or "too powerful", it's that too many players decided to complain instead of realizing that Lightning Bolt and Naturalize are pretty darn good at getting rid of most of these annoying strategies.

Not Pox tho, only countermagic beats Pox, but Pox is Pox so . . .

January 12, 2021 11:15 a.m.

Suspence89 says... #18

100% yes. White needs it more than red. There are really easy ways to expand the amount of viable effects both colors can utilize. Red for instance has been given many fantastic impulse draw effects such as Outpost Siege and Valakut Awakening  Flip that feel very red and carry very useful value in edh. White on the other hand is still relying on cards like Well of Lost Dreams or or the newly printed Cosmos Elixir to extract card draw off it's lifegain... Oh wait those are artifacts that any color can use. Yet another obvious neglect of white effects. That being said white and red together should pose sheer speed and pace on the fast end, and widespread destruction or dictation on the slow end. No color combo should become more narrow just because it "fits the bill"

February 2, 2021 3:51 p.m.

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