MTG color combination name guide

MTG color combinations can have infuriatingly confusing names - if you don’t know your Abzan from your Azorius, we’re here to help

MTG a colourful drawing of an orange snake.

It’s tricky to keep track of all the different names for the many MTG color combinations. If you’re fairly new to Magic: The Gathering, chances are good you’ve been in the middle of a discussion about the game, only to get lost when the other people started using complete nonsense words. It takes no longer to say Black-White than it does to say Orzhov, but Magic fans love to use the special nicknames that have come to represent the different color combinations. You’ll probably end up absorbing them all through osmosis eventually, but if you need a reference, here are the names of every MTG color combo in existence.


The five MTG colors: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green can be jumbled up in all sorts of ways when building a Magic: The Gathering deck. Beyond mono-color and five-color, there are 25 different MTG color combinations, 10 two-color, 10 three-color, and five four-color combos. Each one has its own name, usually related to a piece of MTG history.

MTG a red headed wizard in a swirl of vines

MTG guilds/two-color combinations

The two-color combinations, or MTG color pairs, are each named after a different guild from the plane of Ravnica, a world first visited by Magic in the 2005 MTG set City of Guilds. In Ravnica, each guild uses two colors of mana.

The Ravnica block was so popular, and its guilds so iconic, that the guild names quickly became synonymous with the color pairs. These MTG color combinations are often referred to as guilds, whether or not fans are talking about Ravnica. The 10 two-color combinations are:

  • Azorius: Blue/White
  • Boros: Red/White
  • Dimir: Blue/Black
  • Golgari: Black/Green
  • Gruul: Red/Green
  • Izzet: Blue/Red
  • Orzhov: White/Black
  • Rakdos: Red/Black
  • Selesnya: White/Green
  • Simic: Blue/Green

MTG a face with blind eyes looking through leaves.

MTG three-color combinations

The 10 three-color combinations get their names from two different places. Five of them are known as MTG’s shards, a reference to the Shards of Alara set, released in 2008. The set was themed around five miniature worlds called shards, which as you may guess, each included three colours.

The other five are known as wedges, and get their names from the five clans of Tarkir in the Khans of Tarkir block (2014).

While Ravnica has seen multiple revisits, Magic has yet to return to Alara or Tarkir since their first blocks, so these names can seem a bit more obscure. The 10 three-color combinations are:

  • Abzan (White/Black/Green)
  • Bant (White/Blue/Green)
  • Esper (White/Blue/Black)
  • Grixis (Blue/Black/Red)
  • Jeskai (White/Blue/Red)
  • Jund (Black/Red/Green)
  • Mardu (White/Black/Red)
  • Naya (White/Red/Green)
  • Sultai (Blue/Black/Green)
  • Temur (Blue/Red/Green)

MTG - a repulsive monster with a horrible mouth.

MTG four-color combinations

The five four-color combinations technically also have special names, which come from a cycle of cards called Nephilim from the 2006 set Guildpact (part of the first Ravnica block). These names have pretty much died out, but you might still hear them around, so here’s a quick translation:

  • Dune (WBRG – No Blue)
  • Glint (UBRG – No White)
  • Ink (WURG – No Black)
  • Witch (WUBG – No Red)
  • Yore (WUBR – No Green)