If you haven’t already, you should read part 1 of this series, here.
So far, we covered half of the current evergreen mechanics, and we’re going to talk about less today, but several of the most important ones.
Flash: You may cast this spell anytime you could play an instant.
First key-worded: Time Spiral
Time Spiral block is the source of a lot of mechanics, but Flash may be one of the most relevant. There are a lot of important cards with flash that see a lot of competitive play, such as Deciever Exarch and Snapcaster Mage.
While these creatures don’t seem particularly powerful, the fact that they have Flash is what make them viable. Snapcaster Mage allows you to reuse your counterspells out of your graveyard, and Deciever Exarch flashes in to stop combat and prepare for the Kiki-Jiki or Splinter Twin combo.
Flash is seen mostly in Green and Blue, but does spread into all of the colors from time to time, and even into artifacts.
There are also cards that can give your cards Flash:
To elaborate on Flash, it basically makes everything you play an instant spell. While this may not always be relevant, it’s more that it gives you the advantage of being able to surprise your opponent, or even just deter them because you might have a surprise waiting for them.
Imagine this: all you have is a tapped Shimmer Myr, and 6 open mana. Your opponent sees you open and takes a swing at your with his Precinct Captain, hoping to score some quick damage to get a 1/1.
But, then they see you tap your mana and drop this on the table:
You just ate his Precinct Captain, prevented his token making, and gained 6 life out of nowhere.
Flying: This creature can only be blocked by creatures with flying or reach.
First Key-worded: Alpha
Flying is one of the staple mechanics of Magic, and was the beginning of evasion in the card game. As the ability implies, flying makes it so creatures on the ground can’t block you – unless they have Reach!
Reach: This creature can block creatures with flying as though it had flying.
First Key-worded: Future Sight
Reach is generally only in green, due to the fact that Green rarely gets flying creatures.
As it’s been around since the beginning of the game, it’s the most used mechanic in the game, it has 1813 individual cards that have flying, spread among the 5 colors. While it is primarily found in white and blue, it’s in every color to some extent, with cards like red dragons such as Balefire Dragon in red, black demons such as Rune-Scarred Demon in black, and very few fliers in green – only consisting of small birds and insects, like Birds of Paradise or Bayou Dragonfly.
Haste: This creature can attack and tap the turn it comes into play under your control.
First Key-worded: Sixth Edition
Haste has also been around since the beginning of the game, but wasn’t key-worded until much later in 6th Edition. Haste allows your creature to ignore summoning sickness – the clause that causes creatures not be able to do much the turn it comes into play. More specifically, creatures with summoning sickness cannot attack or use tap abilities – which haste specifically negates.
Red is the primary color for Haste, due to the “hasty” nature of most red creatures, especially goblins. Black and Green can both occasionally get Haste, on creatures like Skullbriar, the Walking Grave or Bloodghast.
Haste can also be granted in essentially any color through artifact usage, the two most popular being Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots, which are staples in Commander.
Hexproof: This creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
First Key-worded: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012/Magic 2012
Hexproof has always been an aspect of Trolls, making them invulnerable to your opponent’s magic by having them unable to be countered. For a while, it was called “troll-shroud” as the current mechanic had been Shroud.
While mostly like Hexproof, Shroud made it so neither player could target creatures with these abilities, while Hexproof prevents just your opponent from targeting it.
The mechanics of Hexproof are fairly simple – permanents with Hexproof cannot be the target of your opponent’s spells or abilities. For example, they cannot play a Doom Blade on your Thrun, the Last Troll, because he is Hexproof. Similarly, your opponent cannot use a Planewalker’s ability, like Gideon Jura, whose -2 destroys a tapped creature.
Due to the amount of detail the few mechanics here needed, I’ll be breaking this into yet another part.
Until next time,