Frye retells the history of the world up through 1453 as a conflict between the barbaric warriors of the wasteland and the civilized wall-builders:
How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them.
I wondered if that deep historical understanding might manage to manifest itself in contemporary popular nerd culture.
It does. There are five colors in the M:TG universe. The colors’ predominate attributes and the antithesis of those attributes pithily characterized (heading clockwise from noon; white, blue, black, red, green):
This distribution corresponds quite well to the game’s civilization-to-barbarism spectrum. White and blue are civilizational colors, red and black barbaric ones, with green somewhere in between (though elves excepted green is modestly closer to barbarism than civilization). Enthusiasts will quibble about whether white or blue should be furthest towards the civilizational end and about whether red or black should be furthest towards the barbaric end, but directionally the relationship between walls and civilization is clear in both the real world and in the world of planeswalkers.
A description of the white/blue guild:
With the Azorius, you have the law on your side. The proud armada of white and blue fliers contained in the “Azorius Ascendant” deck will soar over the battlefield right into your opponent’s face. Meanwhile, your opponent’s attackers will be bogged down in your defensive web. Winning should be a mere formality.
And a description of the red/black guild:
The Cult of Rakdos is the most dangerous and reckless guild in all of Ravnica. With the “Rakdos Bloodsport” deck, you’ll need to adopt some of that mentality yourself. The guild’s mechanic—hellbent—rewards you for having no cards in your hand, a behavior that makes “careful” players cringe. But you must trust in the minions of Rakdos, throwing caution to the wind!