Q: "I was wondering what is the story behind Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow? Why did you leave out green? And how did you choose the abilities?"
-- Eric O., Winnipeg, MB, Canada
A: From Tyler Bielman, Magic R&D:
"Verily, Eric of Winnipeg, a noble inquiry worthy of a grand tale.
"Seven millennia ago, Planeswalker Stern and Planeswalker Tinsman forged the swords to do battle in a blood-feud that would tear asunder the very foundation of reality.
"Ok, not really.
"The Swords were created after Darksteel moved from Design into Development. History is unclear about who created them (I believe it was Henry Stern or Brian Tinsman), however they were created because we felt that there wasn't enough 'Randomly Cool' equipment. 'Randomly Cool' is a kind of code-term around here for splashy, interesting effects that have a lot of impact when you first see them. When I watched people open Darksteel packs at the Pre-release tournament, it was great to see people respond the way we had hoped.
"As far as green's absence goes, you may know that each color in Magic has two enemy colors. However, when looking at the colors symbolically, there is usually a more obvious animosity toward one enemy color or the other.
"For example, the enmity between White and Black is easier to see at a glance than the hostility between White and Red. Green is frequently an odd man out when looking at these snapshot relationships, because Nature doesn’t really have an enemy in that sense.
"One of the fun things about designing Mirrodin was that we could play around with combining colored effects without making gold cards. We picked two of the more natural enemies, Red & Blue and White & Black and made cards that fooled around with what it would be like if those colors got together and 'made' a sword. The abilities changed a lot before we landed on the ones that were printed. Unfortunately, it would be nigh impossible to scribe that entire epic upon this measly page. Verily."