Avacyn Restored Preview — Ghostly Flicker

The upcoming set for Magic: the Gathering tells the last chapter in the story of Innistrad, a plane that seemed doomed to despair as it was overrun by vampires, zombies and werewolves. Now it seems their angel protector, Avacyn, will be released from the Helvault — along with one seriously wicked demon. Our exclusive preview card is a blue instant that with a ghostly effect.

Ghostly Flicker blinks your own stuff out of existence for a moment, then brings it back.

The obvious use here is to flicker away your [card]Mulldrifter[/card] or [card]Teetering Peaks[/card]. You get the “enters the battlefield” bonus all over again.

This is a tricky card where the rules are concerned, and I’m not enough of an expert to know all the answers (the Avacyn Restored FAQ will have them, and I’ll update this as soon as I know). For instance, I’m not sure if you can save a creature that’s been targeted by a destruction spell with this — the creature leaves and returns all as part of Ghostly Flicker resolving, but does the original effect targeting the creature “remember” that it was targeted? If you Ghostly Flicker an [card]Oblivion Ring[/card], you can pick a new target for it when it comes back. But when does the old O-Ring target return?

Update: You can use Ghostly Flicker to “save” your permanents from destruction. Whenever anything leaves play in Magic, the game forgets everything about it, including any counters, auras or equipments that were on it, what it was doing when it left, and what was targeting it. So when Ghostly Flicker resolves, two of your permanents go away, then two permanents that look a lot like them come right back, but they aren’t the same permanents. If they were targeted by any effect, that effect will no longer be targeting them.

Regarding Oblivion Ring, Ghostly Flicker works with the old O-Ring trick. This one’s sneaky and involves the order things go on the stack. Here’s how it works:

1. Play O-Ring. It enters the battlefield, and its EtB trigger goes on the stack. You select a target for it.

2. While the trigger is still on the stack, cast Ghostly Flicker on O-Ring (and one other thing). This goes on the stack.

3. Ghostly Flicker resolves, blinking the O-Ring (and the other thing) in and out of existence. Both the O-Ring’s “enters the battlefield” and “leaves the battlefield” effects trigger and go on the stack. Remember, the O-Ring that returns is a totally different O-Ring. Select a different target for it from the first one.

4. Resolve the returning O-Ring’s EtB ability, exiling a permanent.

5. The original O-Ring’s LtB trigger resolves, returning a permanent to play that had been exiled by the original O-Ring. However, the game looks around and doesn’t see any permanent exiled by the original O-Ring, because that trigger has not resolved yet (meaning nothing’s been exiled).

6. The original O-Ring’s EtB ability resolves, exiling the permanent.

There you have it, one Oblivion Ring, one Ghostly Flicker, two exiled permanents, one of which is gone forever.

Update 2: Of course, after writing all that, I remembered that Ghostly Flicker can’t target enchantments. So it can’t actually do that. The O-Ring trick still works with other bounce spells, of course.

This is a pretty clever card that might see use in constructed if it fits a combo of some kind. It’ll be tough to build around in limited, and probably isn’t good enough for Cube. I can see some Commander decks really enjoying this effect, though.

Avacyn Restored prerelease tournaments (featuring a really cool Helvault effect at select venues) will be going on the weekend of April 27-29 at a game store near you.

4 Responses to Avacyn Restored Preview — Ghostly Flicker

  1. It will block spells. The card comes back into play, gets summoning sickness, and is treated like it’s a new card. the old targeting won’t hold. Previous o-ring targets will return due to the ring leaving play. That is assuming it isn’t the strange scenario posited on twitter. That situation is weirder than late-night me can rule on without digging through the comp rules, and I should be studying for an exam that is less exciting than the Comprehensive Rules of Magic.

  2. Right, Billy – forgot that it’s a “new card” that returns. Good call.

    The O-Ring trick has been around for a while. Used to be done with [card]Into the Roil[/card]. Ghostly Flicker lets you reuse the O-Ring without having to recast it, which is nice.

  3. Huh, That’s a neat trick. I get how it works, by bouncing the ring in response to the trigger it’s already gone before it’s ability hits, and herefore can’t leave. Not bad for a six mana, two card removal spell.

  4. Which of course, doesn’t work at all because none of us were smart enough to read the actual card in question. And I’m pointing that finger directly at me. Derp.

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