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son_of_heaven176


A New Yorker who likes anime, games, and good brony fanfic.

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Jun
28th
2020

Highlights from BronyCon 2019: Friendship is Magic: the Gathering · 7:06pm June 28th

Previous Highlight (Chronological Order): #finnabuse and Wonderful Eliyora
Previous Highlight (Publication Order): Vendor Hall Completion and Lip Sync Battle

Highlights from BronyCon 2019: Friendship is Magic: the Gathering

In which son_of_heaven176 hears quite a few interesting conversations during dinner and attends one of his most-anticipated panels of the convention.

Saturday, August 3, 2019: The Third Day of the Final BronyCon

After the Brony D&D prequel session, SirBobTheMarvelous told me that he and two friends of his were planning on going to a nearby restaurant. I asked if I could tag along, and he accepted.

But JEEZ, SirBob could really walk! He’s not as tall as me, but he could certainly walk fast! I had to tell him time and time again to slow down so that I could keep up! (Given he goes to school at New York University, which is in Manhattan, it would make sense that he’d know how to walk like a Manhattanite!)

Eventually, we reached the restaurant. During dinner, the workers at the restaurant were talking about the fact that this would be the last BronyCon. I also heard snippets of conversation that I believed were about other brony conventions that were going to take place, and I piped in with the fact that there was going to be another convention in Maryland, albeit in Ocean City. (As of the time of this writing. the first SeaquestriaFest is currently scheduled for September—COVID forced the change from summer to Septenber.) The food at the restaurant was good, and I liked the atmosphere and the conversation. However, we did have a deadline: we needed to get back to the convention center in time to get to Firebrand’s presentation!

Thankfully, the check didn’t take too long in showing up, and we made it to the Hall of the Stars in time for me to be able to get some good seats. Up on the stage were Firebrand and some other brony. The topic of the presentation? “Friendship is Magic: the Gathering.”

As mentioned before, both Firebrand and my little brother had roles to play in getting me involved in MTG. So, being a fan of Firebrand, an MTG fan, and a brony, I was interested in this presentation.

On Firebrand’s part, his presentation was very accessible to people who are novices to MTG, or who don’t even know anything about the game.

In the Magic: the Gathering multiverse, all magic stems from five colors of mana: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Each color of mana has a different philosophy behind it. The presentation was partly about how MTG characters would fit within that paradigm.

This is the Color Pie. It’s like the Periodic Table for MTG, whether you’re talking lore or game mechanics.

The first color Firebrand talked about was White. Firebrand summarized White’s philosophy as Power through Sturcture. In MTG, White is the color of order. It can be the color of morality, but it can also be the color of tyranny. According to Firebrand, a pony character that is White-mana-aligned is Shining Armor. But let’s not forget that being White-mana-aligned doesn’t always mean that the person is the protagonist. (Anyone familiar with the story of the plane of Theros in MTG knows this very well). Another White-mana-aligned character, according to Firebrand, is the Marvel antagonist Arnim Zola.

Now, most MTG players know the acronym WUBRG (for White, Blue, Black, Red, Green—the order of the colors going clockwise around the Color Pie), and I expected Firebrand to go in WUBRG order.

Nope!

Next color to be discussed was Black. Even though the Black-mana symbol is a skull, Black is not the color of evil, just like White isn’t the color of good. Firebrand’s summary for Black is Power through Opportunity. Black-mana-aligned people seek to obtain power at any cost. They tend to be opportunistic, even amoral. In Magic: The Gathering, you will find necromancers, vampires, and liches amongst the creatures aligned with Black mana. Firebrand’s pony analogue for Black was Trixie. (I agreed to some point, but it was really early-seasons Trixie that’s purely Black-aligned. Later-seasons Trixie is more Black/Blue in my opinion.) From pop culture, Firebrand pegged M­āori from “Moana”.

Next was Green, whose philosophy Firebrand summarized as Acceptance through Wisdom. Green is the color of nature; Green-aligned characters tend to seek to maintain the balance. Surprising no one, Zecora is a good MLP example of one who subscribes to Green philosophy. From pop culture, however, Firebrand pegged Poison Ivy (from Batman) and Wolverine as being Green characters. (I can sorta get it. One might think that Wolverine is more Red-aligned, but Wolverine does have a more introspective side to him).

Next was Blue, Perfection through Knowledge. It’s right there on the tin: Blue-aligned characters seek knowledge as their highest aim. Longtime MTG fans know that one of the faces of the game, the mind mage Jace Beleren, is the quintessential Blue-aligned character. But we’re not here to talk MTG lore; we’re here to talk ponies! Firebrand’s pick for Blue? Starswirl the Bearded. (As you may have gathered by now, Firebrand was not going to use any of the Mane Six during the presentation of the colors.) From pop culture, he pegged Relius Clover as Blue. (Apparently he’s from BlazBlue. As I’ve never played that game, the name went right over my head when I heard it.)

Lastly was Red, whose philosophy Firebrand summarized as Freedom through Action. Red is the color of passion. It produces the fiercest fighters, the steamiest lovers, and the most ardent of fanatics. Red-aligned characters want to pursue their desires without hindrance. In MTG, their strategy is simple: attack.

Credit to Flynn from the Brony D&D Fans Discord Server for the image.

The whole room was surprised when Firebrand revealed the pony that in his mind exemplified Red.

Firebrand pegged Maud Pie.
I’m pretty sure that everyone had the same thought: Maud?! Ms. Monotone? You say that she is Red?
But Firebrand had an easy answer. “How often does she talk about her passions?” And in hindsight, let’s not forget that in the episode Rock Solid Friendship, she was so enraptured by a rock that she was oblivious to the fact that she was about to literally get eaten! So yeah, Maud is Red.
From pop culture, Firebrand pegged Ferris Bueller, Saitama (remember: he’s a hero as a hobby, thus making him Red, not White), the Joker, and Deadpool (Yep. Pure Red, that one.).

From there, he went deeper into Color Pie philosophy, talking about allied and enemy colors. (Adjacent colors are allies. Non-adjacent colors are enemies. By “ally” and “enemy”, we do not mean that those colors can’t be played together, but that their philosophies either mesh or conflict. For example, White is an ally color of Blue (order and knowledge go together) and of Green (nature has an order of its own), while in contrast, White is an enemy color of Red (White is the color of laws; Red is the color of “I do what I feel like”) and Black (White tends to be altruistic, while Black is selfish).)

Pardon for the bad image quality.
Under “Black/Red”, the third bullet point reads “Acquisition vs. Fulfillment”.
Under “Red/Green” the third bullet point reads “Emotion vs. Instinct”.

Again, please pardon the image quality.
Under “Red/White”, the third bullet point reads “Liberty vs. Oppression”.
Under “Blue/Red”, the fourth bullet point reads “Passion vs. Indifference”.

From there, he went into his methodology of assigning a color identity to the ponies:

And from there, he went into the color identity of the ponies. I have it on good authority (Firebrand himself) that he is planning on doing this panel again, so I won’t go into too much detail. However, I will go into the Mane cast, as well as my impressions.

Starting from the top, Firebrand identified Twilight Sparkle as Blue/White. No surprise that he chose those two colors, though having read Zennistrad’s fic My Little Planeswalker: Twilight’s Spark, I was convinced that Twi was Blue/White/Red.

Firebrand pegged Applejack as White/Green. Makes sense, though I would have pegged her as more mono-Green myself.

In Firebrand’s analysis, Rarity’s alignment is Blue/Red/Black. The alignment does make some sense: she is passionate about her work (Red) and methodical about her career (Blue), and we do have to admit that she can be manipulative at times (Black).

Fluttershy was pegged as White/Green, again to the surprise of nobody (though to me, it’s clear that she leans more towards Green than White).

Firebrand identified Pinkie Pie as Red/White. At first, it made little sense to me: Zennistrad pegged Pinkie as Red/Black! What made Firebrand peg her as Red/White?
Firebrand’s analysis made sense, though: Pinkie is not just about making herself happy (which would be a Black trait), but about making others happy (hence White). Furthermore, she has a method to her madness (remember her party cellar?), and order is a White trait.

Rainbow Dash was pegged as Black/Red. Her goal is simple: be the best. Self-interest: Black. Furthermore, she is a mare of action, rushing in headfirst. Quintessential Red. And to use Firebrand’s words, “Loyalty and self-sacrifice comes from personal attachment rather than principle (Red flavor, not White flavor).” In other words, she is loyal to her friends, she is not loyal as a principle; hence her loyalty is of the Red variety (passion) than of the White variety (morality).

And, of course, we have Spike. What colors did Firebrand see in him? White/Black. I’ll let Firebrand speak for himself here again: “Schemer, but also a hard worker. Combines both great ambition with Loyalty as a principle. Ultimately devoted to his ‘Family.’”

Firebrand also analyzed a few other ponies as well as some non-ponies, but as I said before, I won’t go into too much detail. However, I will say this: I had no idea that Firebrand would peg Princess Luna as he did. And for anyone reading: Is it possible to assign a color identity to Princess Cadence? And if so, what is her identity?

After the panel, everyone congregated in a nearby space to talk to Firebrand. I had his wedding present ready to give him, as I had collected all the signatures that I could (or so I thought). But as I was on line, I saw Brawny Buck, so I went off line to ask for his signature. Seeing an ichthus on his keychain, I asked, “Are you Christian?”, to which he said yes. Given that I don’t really follow Brawny, I did not know that, nor that he and Heather Blossom were a couple. I got their signatures, got back in line, and finally gave the presents to Firebrand. I also asked him to a) not look at it until the wedding and b) make sure to bring it with him to the wedding (I wanted Lunacorva to be able to sign it).

Afterwards, I got a picture of myself with Firebrand.

Another fan was in the vicinity, and since there were a few other analysts around, he got a group picture. I also got a picture of the group on my phone:

Pictured from left to right: Heather Blossom, Brawny Buck, Midnight Sonata, Thespio, The Looney Turtle (in back), the fan (in front), and Firebrand.

And with the main objective complete, it was off to the hotel to head to bed. Day 3 of the final BronyCon was over. The Dawn of the Final Day was approaching.

Previous Highlight (Chronological Order): #finnabuse and Wonderful Eliyora
Previous Highlight (Publication Order): Vendor Hall Completion and Lip Sync Battle

Next Highlight: STAMPEDE!

Comments ( 3 )

I didn't go to that specific instance of Josh's panel, but I have seen it before. There's some good color pie analysis, even if I don't wholly agree with his analysis. Still a great panel for introducing bronies to a key part of MtG.

5296512
Oh? I could have sworn that I saw you there. Or perhaps it was a different fan who also brought up Zennistrad's fic?

5296548
... Oh! Looking back on my own notes from the con, that was the one where I attended that panel. I was thinking of a different panel, possibly a Bronies React Live, where I got to talk to him afterwards.

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