What Does Flash Mean In Magic

By | 22/08/2022

Last updated on July 12, 2022

Spellstutter Sprite | Analogy by Rebecca Guay

Each new MTG set introduces new abilities and mechanics to spice things up and keep players interested in the game. They likewise give players extra tools to mash new decks with. On the other hand, evergreen mechanics like trample and first strike are still trendy and well-received past the community.

Today I’ll be covering flash in our favorite carte game. This a mechanic we’ve seen in the last couple years on infamous cards like Embercleave.

Allow’south discover out why this mechanic is and then popular and what are the scariest cards that have it!

How Does Flash Work?

Thieves' Guild Enforcer - Illustration by Evyn Fong

Thieves’ Social club Enforcer | Illustration by Evyn Fong

Cards with wink behave the same way as instants, which means they can be played at any indicate in the game while you lot accept priority.

Simple correct? Let’s dig a bit into its history.

History of Wink

King Cheetah

King Cheetah from
in 1997 is the first printed menu to feature flash.

Ward of Lights

Before that, cards similar Ward of Lights had “pseudo-flash.” This meant you could play them at instant speed every bit long as you sacrificed the menu at the cease of the plow.


In that location are besides cards that give flash to others like Aluren. But the power was first released equally a keyword on
Time Spiral
in 2006, and its first advent in a cadre prepare was with
10th Edition. Older cards that had this power received an errata to give them flash after this.

Blueish is the colour with the nigh cards that contain flash, followed by green and blackness. Information technology’s then widespread at this point that all colors have a vast puddle of cards with the mechanic, though. To give you an thought of how prevalent information technology is, flash has appeared in
almost 100 sets to date, and that number will only increment equally WotC releases new products.

Is Wink Evergreen?

Zareth San, the Trickster | Illustration by Zack Stella

Zareth San, the Trickster | Illustration by Zack Stella

Flash officially became an evergreen mechanic on June eight, 2015.

Flash existence evergreen ways that any MTG set can characteristic the mechanic. The original idea was to plow instants into a supertype, just this was discarded because information technology was too radical. Flash instead gained the status of an evergreen mechanic.

Why is Flash Good?

It used to be that only instants could be played at any time during a game of Magic. With the introduction of flash, creatures and other permanents could also enter the battlefield in the glimmer of an heart.

Imagine a scenario where you lot’re attacking into an empty board. Whatsoever removal spell would commonly be a 1-for-1 trade. Only if your opponent plays a creature at instant speed that’s bigger than the attacking one, information technology becomes a ii-for-1 since not simply volition you lose your brute, but you’ll need to spend resources to remove the new threat.

This is just with vanilla creatures that don’t accept whatsoever other effects. What happens when you place abilities on them? Snapcaster Mage and Restoration Angel are clear examples of how large wink is in the competitive Magic scene.

When Can You lot Play Flash Cards in Magic?

As I already said,
cards with wink can be played at any time as though they were instants. The key to this is that this ability is granted to permanents only.

Does Flash Count as an Instant?


No, cards with flash don’t count as instants. “Instant” is
a spell type
while flash is
a static ability
that tin can exist granted to other spell types, specifically permanents. You (commonly) can’t give flash to a sorcery considering then information technology would just be an instant. That said, cards like Quicken bear witness that fifty-fifty simple rules similar this accept exceptions.

Practise Creatures with Flash Have Summoning Sickness?

Yes, creatures with flash all the same have summoning sickness. This means you tin’t attack or actuate abilities that crave tapping in the same turn that a wink creature enters the battlefield.

Practice Creatures with Flash Have Haste?

Izzet Staticaster

No, creatures with flash have summoning sickness like any fauna that doesn’t have haste. A beast with wink can get haste if it’s granted the static ability or otherwise has the ability, like Izzet Staticaster. It’s just inherently included with flash.

Creatures with wink can have a haste-like effect, nonetheless, if yous play them on your opponent’southward end pace. If you do that, you can attack with the creature on your next turn!

Tin You Block with a Wink Creature After Playing It?

Yes, you can block with a flash brute once it’south resolved. The important phrasing hither is “once it’s resolved.”

If you play a flash beast during the assault phase
blockers are assigned, and so yeah, you can block with information technology. If you endeavor to play it
declaring blockers, though, the spell resolves
blockers are alleged then yous won’t exist able to block with the flash creature.

Tin You Counter Flash Spells/Abilities?

Chromium, the Mutable

Yes, you lot can counter flash spells and abilities. Unless the card says this otherwise, of grade, like Chromium, the Mutable.

Flash Banned in Commander

Even though the flash mechanic is prevalent in pretty much every format, the carte Wink is actually banned in Commander. This is considering information technology paired exceptionally well with Protean Hulk, and getting to prepare up a ii-card kill combo is easier than you may call back in Commander thanks to the format’s powerful tutors.

Thassa's Oracle

The ban from the Commander rules committee came right after Thassa’s Oracle was printed in January 2020. Setting up a philharmonic with Protean Hulk was extremely easy, and many competitive-minded players suggested this modify.

Best Flash Cards

Honorable Mentions

I desire to dedicate a quick moment to cards that had a significant touch on my play experience even though they may non be as popular or powerful as the other flash cards in the top ten.

Thieves' Guild Enforcer

First up is Thieves’ Order Enforcer, i of the few cards with flash that impacted me subsequently nigh a five-twelvemonth suspension from competitive Magic. Rogues were a powerhouse in the latest Standard format and a massive part of information technology was because of this guy.

Ambush Viper

Another menu with wink that’s close to my heart is Deadfall Viper. This card is basically a poor’s human being Doom Blade.

#10: Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl is a Legacy staple that can trade with every other creature on the battlefield and draw you lot a card in the process with a trivial more dedication to your mana base.

#9: Spellstutter Sprite

Spellstutter Sprite is very near and dear to Pauper lovers like myself. Paired with other faeries similar Faerie Seer and its best bud Ninja of the Deep Hours, it tin can create deadly lockdowns and tempo swings.

#viii: Aven Mindcensor

Aven Mindcensor

Aven Mindcensor is i of my favorite cards to run in Modern since fetch lands are a large deal there, and casting this in response to their activations is very fulfilling when your opponents fail to find lands. It’s nearly like a Wasteland with legs and wings.

#7: Brazen Borrower

Brazen Borrower

Brazen Borrower saw a lot of play in Standard and some versions of Izzet Phoenix in Historic. Its versatility and raw stats are comparable to Vendilion Clique, which is another awesome card with flash.

#half-dozen: Vendilion Clique

Vendilion Clique

Speaking of which, Vendilion Clique is perfect in Modernistic since it’due south well-known to disrupt philharmonic decks.

#5: Venser, Shaper Savant

Venser, Shaper Savant

Venser, Shaper Savant terrorized Standard in its prime number, but it was recently relegated to Commander every bit an answer to the many uncounterable spells in the format.

#4: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is another Commander staple that dominates games on its ain when unanswered. If you dubiety why playing spells at instant speed is crucial, attempt playing against this guy nether its counter pillow strategy. Not fun.

#3: Draining Whelk

Draining Whelk

If getting your spells countered was already bad, wait until you run across Draining Whelk in action. Not merely volition your opponent not become to resolve their win condition most of the time, but the larger the threat, the larger the problem they’ll be facing. Literally.

#2: Embercleave


Having terrorized Standard and now moved on to Historic, Embercleave can end games the minute it’s bandage. Permanent double strike is terrible for your opponent but getting to put it on a creature at instant speed is on a whole other level of trouble.

#1: Snapcaster Mage

Snapcaster Mage

Finally, what would this list be without the one and just Snapcaster Mage? This menu has seen play in every format it’due south touched, and its value increases more every day since it only go reprints in Hole-and-corner Lairs or collector’s edition sets.

Wydwen Deck in Commander

Wydwen, the Biting Gale - Illustration by Matt Cavotta

Wydwen, the Bitter Gale | Analogy past Matt Cavotta

Wydwen, the Bitter Gale is one of the nigh oppressive Commander cards I’ve e’er seen when information technology’s played correctly.

This deck relies on its commander to win the game, and being able to play it at any fourth dimension not to mention saving it in hard times is wild. Running equipment in this deck is pretty narrow if you lot only run a handful of creatures, merely you hardly need others since you lot take Wydwen.

Ane of the bug with creatures in Commander is that they’re played and killed about immediately on your opponent’s plough. Wydwen avoids this trouble thank you to its ability, and it can close games on its own in a matter of only a few turns.

Merely brand no error, the deck besides has other powerful blue cards with flash similar Snapcaster Mage and Vendilion Clique. They help manage tempo and keep you alive when the whole tabular array starts looking at yous every bit a threat.

Flash Blob Deck in Vintage

Thassa's Oracle | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Thassa’s Oracle | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

I bet you lot didn’t see this 1 coming. That’southward correct, the infamous Flash Hulk deck is still alive! And I’m yet going to show information technology off and explain how information technology works even though it’s only bachelor in Vintage.

Aside from casting lots of tutors and overpowered 0-mana artifacts, this deck’south game plan is to become for the plow 1 kill by casting Flash into Protean Hulk. Y’all don’t pay Hulk’s mana cost so it gets sacrificed immediately. Hulk then tutors Cephalid Illusionist, Nomads en-Kor, and Thassa’s Oracle.

Oracle’s trigger goes onto the stack and Nomads en-Kor repeatedly targets Cephalid Illusionist with its ability while you lot maintain priority. This causes y’all to trigger Illusionist’s ability and you now target yourself to manufactory your deck. At this point your opponents can’t win even if they kill Oracle since the power stays on the stack.

Now, imagine this at a table with iii others players. No fun indeed.

Wrap Up

Dragon Turtle | Illustration by Dan Scott

Dragon Turtle | Illustration past Dan Scott

Then after reading all of these powerful cards, do yous remember this mechanic cleaved or fun? I think it’s fair. Out of 300+ cards, simply a few of them have made a significant impact on competitive games and the ones that have besides sport other powerful and unique abilities like Snapcaster Mage.

Do you have any other cards you similar with flash that didn’t make the peak 10? Permit me know in the comments, or find us over on Twitter or Discord to talk over it there.

As ever, take intendance, and I’ll run across you lot side by side time!

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