Monday, August 17, 2015

The Case for Purple

Purple in Magic has been a major rumored color planned to be included in Planar Chaos. Of course, it was taken out before the set was released. Since then, there have been several players who have wanted to see purple appear in a set.

Here's a theory though... It was planned in Planar Chaos when time and space were being manipulated by rifts, and the Blind Eternities would have some connection to this. If spells, creatures, and artifacts from the past, future, and alternate timelines could pass through the rifts, then some must have had a connection to the Blind Eternities.

Given that point, what if the Blind Eternities is full of purple mana and the Eldrazi are at the center of it?

Based on the article by Paul Sottosanti, purple would take away from each color individually. The suggestion was that Purple would take lifegain from White, countermagic from Blue, discard from Black, haste from Red, and trample from Green. Later, they discussed how Purple would play like the combination of Blue and Red where it gets direct damage from Red and countering from Blue as well as some enchantment destruction from White/Green. It would also gain "edicts" from Black which force opponents to sacrifice creatures. Let's look at the Eldrazi Titans thus far...

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn  Kozilek, Butcher of Truth  Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

So far, edicting/destruction (Black/Red/Green/White) is a big thing with the Eldrazi and Annihilator. Kozilek has a draw ability, typically found in Blue, and Emrakul has extra turns, another Blue ability. Emrakul also holds protection, typically found in White.

Let's apply the same process to Oblivion Sower:

Playing lands (Green) is a piece, and exiling the top cards and being able to put them into play or playing them is today's form of Red card draw (in addition to draw/discard or discard/draw effects).

Needless to say, the three titans reflect the color pie and are colorless. I'm not done proving my theory, but I'm part way there by showing how Purple would take certain aspects of each color, the connection of Planar Chaos (the set that would have had Purple) with time rifts and how they could plausibly connect with the Blind Eternities, and how the Eldrazi (beings of the Blind Eternities) connect to the aspects purple would take from each color. Let's keep going!

Barring the plausible coincidence of the Eldrazi being purple in appearance (some creatures reflect the mana color in the art), they ingest mana, especially that of the mana-rich plane of Zendikar. If they travel the Multiverse and destroy planes, sucking up mana, what if destroying planes generates the Purple mana that flows throughout the Blind Eternities? Since there is no basic land that creates Purple (well, right now), maybe there isn't one because destruction of a plane creates it or the Eldrazi can artificially create it by absorbing a plane's mana? So what about no purple cards? That is the interesting point I want to explain next.

The "colorless" Eldrazi ARE Purple, we just can't see it. In effect, we're blind to that color of mana. Even creatures in our real life planet Earth can see different light wavelengths than us. Even some humans have been known to see a different color spectrum (the ability to perceive this is known as Tetrachromacy which involves having four types of cone cells in the eye versus the normal three. The four colors perceived by the cone cells are the typical Red, Green, and Blue cells, but with the added cells for... Ultra Violet). If we, planeswalkers, can't see Purple mana, our planeswalker companions (the ones on the cards and in the stories) can't see Purple, and other characters and creatures can't see Purple mana, maybe instead it's replaced by colorless. We can already see colorless in the various artifacts in the game, so with our inability to perceive Purple mana, we fill it in with a "color" we can see.

Swamp  Eye of Ugin

I keep stressing "mana" with Purple solely because you might say "but there IS Purple in the game. It's right there in that art!" Of course, Planeswalkers are already special. They're rare. Very few possess a spark and even fewer ignite. Some of those that ignite don't even travel from their home plane and instead prefer to stay where they were born. Out of the trillions (or even more) inhabitants of the Multiverse, some can perceive and utilize mana. Think of it this way: Everyone sees colors. Most of you who read this article is a Trichromat while the rest of you are colorblind (either as an Anomalous Trichromat, Dichromat, or Monochromat). Sorry to have have to tell you this way... Maybe one of you, if I'm lucky, is a Tetrachromat. Meanwhile, us Trichromats perceive Red, Green, and Blue and these colors make up all the colors we perceive. What if in the multiverse of Magic, being a Tetrachromat means seeing and using mana? Furthermore, what if a Pentachromat sees and uses Purple mana?

In our world, there are very few identified Tetrachromats. So something like Pentachromacy and Purple mana is within the realm of possibility for Magic as a result.

Remember how I said that creatures on Earth can perceive different colors (and as a result have Tetrachromacy)? Maybe one being we know of has figured this out...

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Sorry... I like the promo art the best.

Ugin is colorless. He's more of a "true" colorless being, much like Karn (Karn was built, is an artifact, and therefore must be a true colorless being, having been created. There are colored artifacts, but those are imbued with colored magic). Of course, the spell "Ghostfire" is quite interesting. It's Ugin's signature spell. After all, it is his +2 ability, but it's quite the interesting card.


Ghostfire is colorless, except it costs Red mana. Maybe Ugin, having specialized in "colorless magic" which helped in sealing the "colorless" Eldrazi, is on to something. Maybe he figured out that "colorless" is just a color that can't be perceived. Maybe he can even see and use Purple mana. Maybe he's the one Pentachromat we know of in the Multiverse but he's either keeping it secret or has no way to explain what he sees (if I tell someone that a flower is yellow and they are a Tetrachromat, they'd have a hard time explaining or convincing me that it isn't since they see things differently from me). Without coming off as crazy, maybe keeping a sixth color to yourself is the best option.

Perhaps as we progress through future sets, especially Battle for Zendikar, there will be more to add to my theory, but for now, here are the points/highlights to take away:

  • The plans for Purple in Planar Chaos seem to have been put into the Eldrazi titans
  • As a result, Eldrazi are likely Purple creatures inhabiting a realm where Purple mana exists
  • This "realm" is the Blind Eternities, the place where the Eldrazi once inhabited/currently inhabit
  • Purple mana is created through destruction of planes and absorption of colored mana, something the Eldrazi had been doing prior to being trapped on Zendikar
  • Purple manifests as colorless much like the ultraviolet seen by Tetrachromats on Earth would manifest as colors from the Visible Light spectrum for us Trichromats. We don't see it, so our eyes see it as a "color" we can already perceive.
  • Ugin can either see and use Purple mana, or else he has figured it out and that it works in a similar way to his signature spell Ghostfire.
  • Purple the color and Purple the mana are different. We see the color but not the mana. "Color" in Magic is used to define "mana" whereas for the purposes of this theory/article, the normal meaning of "color" is independent from the meaning of "color" when referring to colors of mana.

So it's feedback time. What do you think? Are there any potential holes that could break down the theory? Could the Eldrazi be the embodiment of a color of mana we can't even see? Go ahead and discuss in the comments below. I wan't to hear your thoughts on this and discuss more about this topic. Maybe you have more evidence to contribute that boosts my theory. Go ahead, don't be shy!

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