MTG’s Mark Rosewater says Blue shouldn’t make Treasure

Magic: The Gathering Mark Rosewater Treasure tokens: Artwork of a gorgon and falling coins.

In Magic: The Gathering, each of the five mana colours has its own strengths and weaknesses – areas the colour excels and abilities that are (or at least should be) off-limits to it. Yesterday, head MTG designer Mark Rosewater shared on his blog that he believes giving Blue strong access to Treasure tokens was a mistake – indeed that: “Blue really shouldn’t be making Treasure”.

“We’ve justified it more than we should with pirate flavour,” Rosewater admitted in a blogpost on Wednesday. He was responding to a fan who pointed to nautical cards like Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and Hullbreacher and said they were “not in line with how I expect Blue to ramp”.

Treasure tokens, which serve as one-time-use sources of mana, first appeared in Magic: The Gathering in the 2017 Ixalan block. This had boatloads of Treasure-making pirates, in Black, Red, and Blue colours. But nowadays, Treasure is found all over the place. In Blue, it’s often associated, not just with pirates, but with crime and thievery in general. This is seen in the blue card, Prosperous Thief, from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty – another Treasure-making creature the fan called out.

Rosewater has been debating Treasure on his blog for several days now, and on Sunday asked fans how they felt about the mechanic’s place in EDH. Here at Wargamer, we’ve long held that Kalain, Reclusive Painter is a particularly obnoxious commander, but commenters disagreed on whether the mechanic was too dominant.

Magic The Gathering Mark Rosewater Treasure Tokens: Artwork of a trio of gun-wielding pirates standing below deck.

This led onto talk about which colours should and should not be making Treasure. According to Rosewater, Red is the best at making Treasure tokens, followed by Green. As he’s now declared, Blue shouldn’t be making Treasure at all, and Rosewater also said that “Black is supposed to have some real cost associated with acquiring Treasure.”

Rosewater has shared many musings about MTG’s colour wheel over the years, often publicly discussing what each colour in Magic should and shouldn’t be able to do. (Reminding clamouring fans that White can’t have great card draw spells, for instance.) Last year he published an article diving into the subject in great depth.

You’d need a lot of Treasure tokens to buy these – the rarest, most expensive Magic: The Gathering cards of all time. And, if you need a quick primer on MTG’s colours, you can find it in our guide on how to play Magic: The Gathering.