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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:02 pm 
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I have heard numerous times from many of the friends I play with in real life and from official channels that making a good five mana colored deck is very difficult and straight up impossible in some formats. However, gameplay and story segregation is very much a thing in MTG. So, are five-colored mages in-universe the most powerful mages? I would assume so, but I want your opinions on the matter.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:11 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
I have heard numerous times from many of the friends I play with in real life and from official channels that making a good five mana colored deck is very difficult and straight up impossible in some formats. However, gameplay and story segregation is very much a thing in MTG. So, are five-colored mages in-universe the most powerful mages? I would assume so, but I want your opinions on the matter.

In old continuity, being a 5c mage usually went hand in hand with great power.

Taysir was very much a 5c Planeswalker and was the most powerful Planeswalker ever to exist (With some caveats as postrev material came into play)
Marsil flaunted being a 5c mage as a mark of his power.
I'm pretty sure Jodah could touch on all 5 colors as well, but he was less forward about it.
Some people make cogent arguments for Urza being 5C (though I for one see him more as non-green) and he was also the top of the PW power rankings. His Legacy, one of if not the most potent magical works ever produced, needed all five colors.

The exception is Feldon, who explored and learned all five colors while being a fairly modest mage.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:20 pm 
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I would say that the determining factor is how much on the power scale you value flexibility. Being able to abracadabble across all the colors might open up a lot of opportunity for power that the raw focused power of, say a task mage, might miss.

EDIT: Like, to an elementalist task mage like Jaya, fire is the tool and all the problems are kindling. Does that make her more powerful that a wizard who has tried out many colors and has an array of spells to solve specific problems?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:00 am 
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Overall, it seems to be that mastery of all 5 colors (or at the very least synthesis of all 5 into an effective gestalt form) is evidence of great power.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:51 am 
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A reasonable aptitude in all five colours shows that you put a lot of skill points into your magic, but says nothing about how wisely you've spent them. Pentachromatic casting might be a sign of great power, but I think going 5 color comes from being talented and not the other way around.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:53 pm 
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The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:02 pm 
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MTG gameplay is a VERY abstract and minimalistic thing. I think we must thank it for all flavor connection it provides, but aknowledge that MTG duel is a bad model of a duel/battle/war between two mages/warlords/leaders that can, unlike their troops, travel between worlds.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:10 pm 
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I think it's best to think of it in terms of the game. A five-color deck gives you a wide range of effects, but limits your options at any given moment, because of the availability of resources (if you have a blue spell, a green spell, and a black spell in your hand, but only have plains and mountains on the board, you're in trouble.) Even if you take resources out of it, though, you can still run into the problem of overchoice, where it becomes exponentially more difficult to make a decision with the more choices you have available.

BlackAion wrote:
The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.

The issue I would take with this is one of specialization. I would argue that if you take two mages of roughly equal experience and power, one a 1-color mage, one a 5-color mage, then by definition, the 1-color mage is approximately 5 times better at using his color than the 5-color mage is. Therefore, not only is the 5-color mage not incapable of losing, but is, in fact, quite likely to lose.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:44 pm 
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I think it's best to think of it in terms of the game. A five-color deck gives you a wide range of effects, but limits your options at any given moment, because of the availability of resources (if you have a blue spell, a green spell, and a black spell in your hand, but only have plains and mountains on the board, you're in trouble.) Even if you take resources out of it, though, you can still run into the problem of overchoice, where it becomes exponentially more difficult to make a decision with the more choices you have available.

BlackAion wrote:
The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.

The issue I would take with this is one of specialization. I would argue that if you take two mages of roughly equal experience and power, one a 1-color mage, one a 5-color mage, then by definition, the 1-color mage is approximately 5 times better at using his color than the 5-color mage is. Therefore, not only is the 5-color mage not incapable of losing, but is, in fact, quite likely to lose.


You argument is flawed. Yes the 1 color mage may be better at his particular color but theoretically speaking they cannot be equal in power. Your argument also does not take into consideration the Flexibility vs Specialization argument nor does it consider the combining of colors as a specialization. E.g. Let's say 2 mages of modest talent fight each other. One is a one color mage-color is irrelevant-and the other is a five color mage. The one color mage throws intricate spells at his opponent but the five color mage counters while at the same time summons a big creature or several small ones, throws a burn and/or death spell, and possibly two other things. The one color mage only has enough mana left after casting such a intricate spell to counter one spell or possibly two. He has to dodge the rest and then fend off any possible creatures and/or hide to gather more mana. While the one color mage is doing all that the five mana colored mage is preparing a spell that can't be countered, hits everything, and makes a slew of big ass creatures as a side effect with possible lifelink/death touch/hexproof/indestructible etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:46 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.

I'm not sure that works out to be necessarily true. I'd bet on the mage with over the one with

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:49 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
You argument is flawed. Yes the 1 color mage may be better at his particular color but theoretically speaking they cannot be equal in power. Your argument also does not take into consideration the Flexibility vs Specialization argument nor does it consider the combining of colors as a specialization. E.g. Let's say 2 mages of modest talent fight each other. One is a one color mage-color is irrelevant-and the other is a five color mage. The one color mage throws intricate spells at his opponent but the five color mage counters while at the same time summons a big creature or several small ones, throws a burn and/or death spell, and possibly two other things. The one color mage only has enough mana left after casting such a intricate spell to counter one spell or possibly two. He has to dodge the rest and then fend off any possible creatures and/or hide to gather more mana. While the one color mage is doing that the five mana colored mage is preparing a spell that can't be countered, hits everything, and makes a slew of big ass creatures as a side effect with possible lifelink/death touch/hexproof/indestructible etc.
Conversely, in actual play, people still fear and respect the humble Mono-Red Burn deck in pretty much all relevant formats. In Standard, my Mono-White deck runs roughshod over many of the multi-color decks that are out there. Mono-Color Devotion Decks in Theros were, and probably still would be stronger than many of the multi-color decks that sprang up later thanks to the Khans of Tarkir block doling out fetch lands.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:58 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
I think it's best to think of it in terms of the game. A five-color deck gives you a wide range of effects, but limits your options at any given moment, because of the availability of resources (if you have a blue spell, a green spell, and a black spell in your hand, but only have plains and mountains on the board, you're in trouble.) Even if you take resources out of it, though, you can still run into the problem of overchoice, where it becomes exponentially more difficult to make a decision with the more choices you have available.

BlackAion wrote:
The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.

The issue I would take with this is one of specialization. I would argue that if you take two mages of roughly equal experience and power, one a 1-color mage, one a 5-color mage, then by definition, the 1-color mage is approximately 5 times better at using his color than the 5-color mage is. Therefore, not only is the 5-color mage not incapable of losing, but is, in fact, quite likely to lose.


You argument is flawed. Yes the 1 color mage may be better at his particular color but theoretically speaking they cannot be equal in power. Your argument also does not take into consideration the Flexibility vs Specialization argument nor does it consider the combining of colors as a specialization. E.g. Let's say 2 mages of modest talent fight each other. One is a one color mage-color is irrelevant-and the other is a five color mage. The one color mage throws intricate spells at his opponent but the five color mage counters while at the same time summons a big creature or several small ones, throws a burn and/or death spell, and possibly two other things. The one color mage only has enough mana left after casting such a intricate spell to counter one spell or possibly two. He has to dodge the rest and then fend off any possible creatures and/or hide to gather more mana. While the one color mage is doing all that the five mana colored mage is preparing a spell that can't be countered, hits everything, and makes a slew of big ass creatures as a side effect with possible lifelink/death touch/hexproof/indestructible etc.

You are putting together a highly specific circumstance to attempt to prove your point. You are also assuming that the 5-color mage has both access to and the ability to cast all of those spells at the precise time he needs them. I absolutely agree with you that the versatility of a multi-color mage is an advantage over a single color mage, but there's always a cost to be paid. If I'm a mono-green mage, yeah, I can't really counter spells except in very specific circumstances. I'm not going to have many or any fliers, or be able to do much direct damage. But the odds are good that I'll hit my curve in the beginning of a duel. A five-color mage just isn't going to have that kind of reliability.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:59 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
The way I see it, the more colors you are aligned to the more power you have. Let me explain. The act of absorbing mana comes from viewing one's memories of whatever landscape they lived in. But they are only so many of one land type on any continent/world/plane so a one color mage is limited not just by type of mana but how much mana he can possibly gather. A two color mage can theoretically tap into twice as much mana, a three color three times as many and so on. So a hypothetical five-color mage would not only be super flexible as AzureShade mentioned but also incapable of losing against any one color or two color mage in a straight up power duel. Theoretically. This is only true if you have traveled all over world/continent/plane and lived a certain amount of time as a five colored mage.

I'm not sure that works out to be necessarily true. I'd bet on the mage with over the one with


I can understand why you'd think that. If he/she has that many blues then I'm going to assume the mage has lived a long time, building up his reserves of Mana to incredible levels. Against such an opponent a five color mage has a good chance of losing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:12 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
I think it's best to think of it in terms of the game. A five-color deck gives you a wide range of effects, but limits your options at any given moment, because of the availability of resources (if you have a blue spell, a green spell, and a black spell in your hand, but only have plains and mountains on the board, you're in trouble.) Even if you take resources out of it, though, you can still run into the problem of overchoice, where it becomes exponentially more difficult to make a decision with the more choices you have available.


The issue I would take with this is one of specialization. I would argue that if you take two mages of roughly equal experience and power, one a 1-color mage, one a 5-color mage, then by definition, the 1-color mage is approximately 5 times better at using his color than the 5-color mage is. Therefore, not only is the 5-color mage not incapable of losing, but is, in fact, quite likely to lose.


You argument is flawed. Yes the 1 color mage may be better at his particular color but theoretically speaking they cannot be equal in power. Your argument also does not take into consideration the Flexibility vs Specialization argument nor does it consider the combining of colors as a specialization. E.g. Let's say 2 mages of modest talent fight each other. One is a one color mage-color is irrelevant-and the other is a five color mage. The one color mage throws intricate spells at his opponent but the five color mage counters while at the same time summons a big creature or several small ones, throws a burn and/or death spell, and possibly two other things. The one color mage only has enough mana left after casting such a intricate spell to counter one spell or possibly two. He has to dodge the rest and then fend off any possible creatures and/or hide to gather more mana. While the one color mage is doing all that the five mana colored mage is preparing a spell that can't be countered, hits everything, and makes a slew of big ass creatures as a side effect with possible lifelink/death touch/hexproof/indestructible etc.

You are putting together a highly specific circumstance to attempt to prove your point. You are also assuming that the 5-color mage has both access to and the ability to cast all of those spells at the precise time he needs them. I absolutely agree with you that the versatility of a multi-color mage is an advantage over a single color mage, but there's always a cost to be paid. If I'm a mono-green mage, yeah, I can't really counter spells except in very specific circumstances. I'm not going to have many or any fliers, or be able to do much direct damage. But the odds are good that I'll hit my curve in the beginning of a duel. A five-color mage just isn't going to have that kind of reliability.


You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with. To be fair though for both us we didn't clarify how many lands they have been to and how potent those lands are. E.g. if the scenario is like this: vs. than I know who is more likely to win. However if it's something like this: vs. than again I know who is more likely to win.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:19 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with.
In the game of Magic, that the flavor is built around, you can't. You get the first seven things from your library that come to mind (your hand).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:29 pm 
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AzureShade wrote:
BlackAion wrote:
You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with.
In the game of Magic, that the flavor is built around, you can't. You get the first seven things from your library that come to mind (your hand).


If I was a five color mage facing a blue color mage for example, knowing what I know, the first few things that would come to mind is a counter and several low cost burn/death and creature spells. Gaining what I know about the types of magic can be learned on any plane with a more than basic understanding of magic.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:33 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
AzureShade wrote:
BlackAion wrote:
You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with.
In the game of Magic, that the flavor is built around, you can't. You get the first seven things from your library that come to mind (your hand).


If I was a five color mage facing a blue color mage, knowing what I know, the first few things that would come to mind is a counter and several low cost burn/death and creature spells. Gaining what I know about the types of magic can be learned on any plane with a more than basic understanding of magic.
Knowing that they are a Blue Mage (unless they dress cornishly in Blue), what kind of Blue magic they specialize in, and what they are likely to cast means you have had some pretty advantageous study of your enemy. Assuming that they are also not an idiot, they will also have prepared to stop you, meaning that the playing field is again level.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:40 pm 
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AzureShade wrote:
BlackAion wrote:
AzureShade wrote:
In the game of Magic, that the flavor is built around, you can't. You get the first seven things from your library that come to mind (your hand).


If I was a five color mage facing a blue color mage, knowing what I know, the first few things that would come to mind is a counter and several low cost burn/death and creature spells. Gaining what I know about the types of magic can be learned on any plane with a more than basic understanding of magic.
Knowing that they are a Blue Mage (unless they dress cornishly in Blue), what kind of Blue magic they specialize in, and what they are likely to cast means you have had some pretty advantageous study of your enemy. Assuming that they are also not an idiot, they will also have prepared to stop you, meaning that the playing field is again level.


Oh, sorry, I was assuming I was a fighting someone who dresses in the color of magic they wield. My bad. Anyway, I will concede you have a point in that circumstance. I would still argue though that if I as a five color mage was facing any mage of any color whether I researched them or not at least one counter would always come to mind.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:52 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
BlackAion wrote:

You argument is flawed. Yes the 1 color mage may be better at his particular color but theoretically speaking they cannot be equal in power. Your argument also does not take into consideration the Flexibility vs Specialization argument nor does it consider the combining of colors as a specialization. E.g. Let's say 2 mages of modest talent fight each other. One is a one color mage-color is irrelevant-and the other is a five color mage. The one color mage throws intricate spells at his opponent but the five color mage counters while at the same time summons a big creature or several small ones, throws a burn and/or death spell, and possibly two other things. The one color mage only has enough mana left after casting such a intricate spell to counter one spell or possibly two. He has to dodge the rest and then fend off any possible creatures and/or hide to gather more mana. While the one color mage is doing all that the five mana colored mage is preparing a spell that can't be countered, hits everything, and makes a slew of big ass creatures as a side effect with possible lifelink/death touch/hexproof/indestructible etc.

You are putting together a highly specific circumstance to attempt to prove your point. You are also assuming that the 5-color mage has both access to and the ability to cast all of those spells at the precise time he needs them. I absolutely agree with you that the versatility of a multi-color mage is an advantage over a single color mage, but there's always a cost to be paid. If I'm a mono-green mage, yeah, I can't really counter spells except in very specific circumstances. I'm not going to have many or any fliers, or be able to do much direct damage. But the odds are good that I'll hit my curve in the beginning of a duel. A five-color mage just isn't going to have that kind of reliability.


You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with. To be fair though for both us we didn't clarify how many lands they have been to and how potent those lands are. E.g. if the scenario is like this: vs. than I know who is more likely to win. However if it's something like this: vs. than again I know who is more likely to win.

I specifically specified "two mages of roughly equal experience and power." Neither of these are balanced. You would need to compare with , five lands to five lands. The white mage would be able to cast nearly anything in his deck, especially with an archetypal "White Weenie" deck. The might be able to cast the majority of his, assuming the cards he put in never needed more than one mana or any one type. So Counterspell? Out. Cancel? Out. Now again, if you're talking gameplay, the odds of a 5-color mage getting one of each of the five colors in a row is low, but even then, what if they don't get the they need? No counterspells. No ? Well, then, no burn. As I've said, the more complex you make your options, the less likely it is you'll have the resources you need when you need them.

You seem to be thinking of this thought experiement in the sense that each said mage could cast any spell, at any time, in the color they have access to. When put in terms like that, yeah, the 5-color mage has a massive advantage, because they can do anything. That's not realistic, even in the realm of an unrealistic concept like magic. And the overchoice phenomenon still applies anyway, because if you have thousands of viable options it becomes difficult for someone to settle on one.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:59 pm 
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BlackAion wrote:
You are putting together a highly specific circumstance to attempt to prove your point. You are also assuming that the 5-color mage has both access to and the ability to cast all of those spells at the precise time he needs them. I absolutely agree with you that the versatility of a multi-color mage is an advantage over a single color mage, but there's always a cost to be paid. If I'm a mono-green mage, yeah, I can't really counter spells except in very specific circumstances. I'm not going to have many or any fliers, or be able to do much direct damage. But the odds are good that I'll hit my curve in the beginning of a duel. A five-color mage just isn't going to have that kind of reliability.


You are assuming the mage can't choose which spells he/she starts with. To be fair though for both us we didn't clarify how many lands they have been to and how potent those lands are. E.g. if the scenario is like this: vs. than I know who is more likely to win. However if it's something like this: vs. than again I know who is more likely to win.

I specifically specified "two mages of roughly equal experience and power." Neither of these are balanced. You would need to compare with , five lands to five lands. The white mage would be able to cast nearly anything in his deck, especially with an archetypal "White Weenie" deck. The might be able to cast the majority of his, assuming the cards he put in never needed more than one mana or any one type. So Counterspell? Out. Cancel? Out. Now again, if you're talking gameplay, the odds of a 5-color mage getting one of each of the five colors in a row is low, but even then, what if they don't get the they need? No counterspells. No ? Well, then, no burn. As I've said, the more complex you make your options, the less likely it is you'll have the resources you need when you need them.

You seem to be thinking of this thought experiement in the sense that each said mage could cast any spell, at any time, in the color they have access to. When put in terms like that, yeah, the 5-color mage has a massive advantage, because they can do anything. That's not realistic, even in the realm of an unrealistic concept like magic. And the overchoice phenomenon still applies anyway, because if you have thousands of viable options it becomes difficult for someone to settle on one.


I see. I can understand your argument now and it is a very good one. I shall concede you have point.


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