MTG Flash – Cards, Decks & Tips

Welcome to another article of this series focused on Magic: The Gathering; today’s topic revolves around the MTG Flash keyword.

In this article I’ll go over the official rules, I’ll share what I consider the best cards with the Flash ability, the most useful cards that could help you raise your chances of victory, how to play against Flash in MTG and some general tips that you’ll find spread here and there throughout the article.

What follows are thoughts based on my personal experience of playing the game since the late ’90s, I hope you’ll find something useful!

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What does Flash mean in MTG?

Flash is a static ability found in magic. This mechanic was introduced with the Visions expansion, released in February 1997.

The earliest card featuring this mechanic was the King Cheetah:

King Cheetah - MTG Flash
MTG King Cheetah – image: Wizards of the Coast

Later on the keyword Flash was introduced to identify the mechanic with the release of the Time Spiral expansion in October 2006.

Flash in MTG means: you can play this card at any time you can play an instant.

This ability is written on several types of cards in Magic so we can play it at the end of our opponent’s turn, in response to an attack, spell, or creature cast by him, in order to defend ourselves or better prepare for our next turn.

MTG Flash Rules

702.8a Flash is a static ability that functions in any zone from which you could play the card it’s on.
“Flash” means “You may play this card any time you could cast an instant.”
702.8b Multiple instances of flash on the same object are redundant.

MTG Flash Best Cards

Let’s quickly go over some of the best creatures that have the Flash ability.

Surrak Dragonclaw

Surrak Dragonclaw - MTG Flash
MTG Surrak Dragonclaw – image: Wizards of the Coast

This legendary creature is characterized by the typical Temur colours, a tricolour of blue, green and red.

It’s a solid 6/6 creature with flash and other very useful abilities: our creature spells can’t be countered and the creatures we control have the trample ability.

Opposition Agent

Opposition Agent - MTG Flash
MTG Opposition Agent – image: Wizards of the Coast

This creature is situational but really strong when cast in response to a particular play by our opponent.

We’ll control our opponent should he go through his library and exile any cards he finds.
As long as those cards remain exiled we can play them on our side of the board, spending mana as if it were any colour to cast them.


Solitude - MTG Flash
MTG Solitude – image: Wizards of the Coast

With Modern Horizon II they printed 5 elementals, one of each colour, all with the flash ability combined with the ability to cast them with evoke by removing a card of the colour of the elemental in question from your hand.

I’m proposing the white colour because I personally consider it the strongest of the 5; entering the battlefield is like casting a Swords to Plowshares: we can exile a creature from the game, making its controller gain life points equal to its power.

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

MTG Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur – image: Wizards of the Coast

It costs 10, perhaps a little too much.
However, if played quickly it solves the game.

Our opponent will have no cards in his hand, while we will draw 7 cards at the beginning of your end step.

Restoration Angel

MTG Restoration Angel – image: Wizards of the Coast

It is the angel used for Magic’s most famous combos, especially in the modern format.

Entering the battlefield blinks one of our creatures and this could trigger a lot of different effects.

The most famous combos are the one with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Splinter Twin to create infinite attacking angels and the one with Thragtusk to gain double life and create 3/3 beast tokens.

MTG Flash deck examples

This ability allows us to always play in response to what our opponents will do, mainly playing on their turn or at the end of it.

I’ll now propose two decks, united by the presence of the colour blue and played very often on Magic Arena, in the historic format.

#1 | Simic Flash deck (Historic format)

Simic because its colours identify the Simic guild of Ravnica, namely blue and green.

Simic Flash deck analysis:

All the 24 creatures in the deck have the flash ability, and as I said before these creatures will be cast during the opponent’s turn, or at the end of it.

The cards that best explain this game idea are the following:

Nightpack Ambusher

MTG Nightpack Ambusher – image: Wizards of the Coast

This wolf is the first example.
Provided we haven’t cast any spells during the turn (and we haven’t!), thanks to its ability we can put a 2/2 wolf creature token on the battlefield at the end of our turn, which immediately becomes 3/3 thanks to its second ability to boost every other wolf with +1/+1.

Brineborn Cutthroat

Brineborn Cutthroat - MTG Flash
MTG Brineborn Cutthroat – image: Wizards of the Coast

Our triton is another example of playing on our opponent’s turn.

With each spell we cast outside of our turn, it will become stronger and stronger with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Frilled Mystic

MTG Frilled Mystic – image: Wizards of the Coast

This creature will be very useful for neutralizing a spell cast by our opponent.

Also with the flash ability, she interacts very well with our triton.

Brazen Borrower & Wildborn Preserver & Spectral Sailor

MTG Brazen Borrower, Wildborn Preserver, Spectral Sailor – image: Wizards of the Coast

To complete the creature package we have these three ones:

Brazen Borrower, 3/1 with flying that thanks to the adventure on the card we can bounce a nonland permanent the opponent controls.

Wildborn Preserver, 2/2 with reach, also like the triton can boost itself considerably, with X +1/+1 counters, equal to how much we want to spend when a non-human creature enters our battlefield. And we have non-humans present among our creatures.

Spectral Sailor, 1/1 at cost one; a very fast drop that in the later stages of the game can allow us to draw a card.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World

MTG Nissa, Who Shakes the World – image: Wizards of the Coast

It may seem almost like an out-of-place card, given the high mana cost and the non-interaction with the flash ability of our creatures.

But I can assure you that I have tried it often and it can be very useful as you can create more and more creature lands that will do more damage to our opponent.

The other spells in the deck are obviously instantaneous, so we can cast them in our opponent’s turn.

Growth Spiral

Growth Spiral - MTG Flash
MTG Growth Spiral – image: Wizards of the Coast

A card that speeds up play a lot, it has been everywhere since it was published, like parsley.

Every deck with green and blue in it always includes it. We draw and have the land advantage, it’s basically the strongest version of Explore.

Rewind & Neutralize

MTG Rewind, Neutralize – image: Wizards of the Coast

These are two so-called counters.

The first one counteracts a spell and allows us to untap the 4 lands used to cast it, allowing us a second play later.

The second counter neutralises a spell and gives us the chance to cycle something we don’t need at that point in the game.

Also from the Magic Arena world, historic format, we see the version of the Dimir guild.

Here the presence of the colour blue is predominant, this time combined with black instead of green.

#2 | Dimir Flash deck (Historic format)

Dimir Flash deck analysis:

Personally, I prefer this version, by now you all know of my love for the colour black which makes it easier to destroy our opponent’s creatures.

Spectral Sailor & Brineborn Ctuthroat

MTG Spectral Sailor, Brineborn Ctuthroat – image: Wizards of the Coast

These two creatures are a must in both lists.
We saw them in the previous deck and realised how strong and fundamental the triton is in a deck that makes flash ability its main feature.

Dirge Bat & Sea-Dasher Octopus

MTG Dirge Bat, Sea-Dasher Octopus – image: Wizards of the Coast

These two creatures, released from the Ikoria expansion, have flash and also mutate.

By mutating the bat on a nonhuman creature we can destroy an opponent’s creature or planeswalker each time our creature mutates. Whereas by mutating the octopus instead, whenever we deal combat damage to an opponent with this creature we draw a card.


Slitherwisp - MTG Flash
MTG Slitherwisp – image: Wizards of the Coast

The first of two creatures that interact very well with the flash ability of our other cards.

For every other flash spell we cast, our opponent will lose a life point and we will draw a card. We will inflict quite a bit of damage and always have cards in our hands.

Cunning Nightbonder

MTG Cunning Nightbonder – image: Wizards of the Coast

Unfortunately, it is a human creature so we can’t mutate it, but in addition to having flash, its ability allows us to make our flash spells uncounterable and cast them by paying 1 colourless mana less.

Essence Scatter & Quench & Neutralize

MTG Essence Scatter, Quench, Neutralize – image: Wizards of the Coast

Like any self-respecting blue deck, it is a must to include spell countering cards.
In this deck, we have introduced no less than 11 of them, 4 of which are dedicated to individual creatures, while the other 7 are for any type of spell.

The Essence Scatter card is very useful for creature spells.
Quench and Neutralize are useful instead for neutralizing any type of spell cast by our opponent.

Heartless Act

Heartless Act - MTG Flash
MTG Heartless Act – image: Wizards of the Coast

Instant used to destroy a target creature, as black commands.

In this case, we have two choices: destroy a creature without counters on it, or remove up to three counters from a target creature.

Useful cards with Flash in MTG

The two just analysed are two good decks that make full use of the flash ability of their creatures.

There are many other creatures and spells though that possess this specific ability, let’s look at some of them.

Leyline of Anticipation

Leyline of Anticipation - MTG Flash
MTG Leyline of Anticipation – image: Wizards of the Coast

We can put it on the battlefield without paying the cost if it is present in our starting hand. When on the battlefield it allows us to cast spells as if they had the flash ability.

Sigarda’s Aid

MTG Sigarda’s Aid – image: Wizards of the Coast

This other spell interacts very well with Aura and Equipment spells.

We can cast these spells as if they had flash, plus when an equipment enters our battlefield we can assign it directly to one of our creatures.

Shimmer Myr

Shimmer Myr - MTG Flash
MTG Shimmer Myr – image: Wizards of the Coast

Creature artifact that possesses the flash ability and allows us to cast artifacts from our hand as if they had flash.

Savage Summoning & Scout’s Warning & Quicken

MTG Savage Summoning, Scout’s Warning, Quicken – image: Wizards of the Coast

Three instant spells: green, white and blue.
The first two interact with creature spells, with the effect of being able to cast the next creature as if it had the flash ability.
The blue instant, on the other hand, allows us to cast a sorcery as if it was an instant, subsequently drawing a card.

Prophet of Kruphix

MTG Prophet of Kruphix – image: Wizards of the Coast

I consider it the strongest card that interacts with the flash ability; so decisive that it was banned in commander, and we can see why.

Our creatures can be cast as if they had flash, plus we untap every creature and land during every other player’s untap step.

It’s actually a bit much, especially in the commander format, even multiplayer.


Embercleave - MTG Flash
MTG Embercleave – image: Wizards of the Coast

This red equipment is widely used in mono-red burn-like decks.

This spell costs 1 less mana to cast for each attacking creature you control, and when it enters the battlefield we can assign it to a target creature we control.

That equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has double strike and trample.

Lawmage’s Binding

MTG Lawmage’s Binding – image: Wizards of the Coast

A pacifism version 2.0; it costs 1 more blue mana, true, but it has flash and in addition, the enchanted creature can neither attack nor block besides to not being able to activate its abilities. We basically make it useless.

Stasis Snare

Stasis Snare - MTG Flash
MTG Stasis Snare – image: Wizards of the Coast

White Spell with Flash.
At a cost of 3 mana, we can exile a target creature controlled by our opponent as long as this spell remains on the battlefield.

Given the scarcity of valid removals in the colour white, compared to other colours, this spell can be very useful.


As always, we close this section of the article with the necessary mention of lands. There are 2 lands in particular that do the trick:

  • Emergence Zone
  • Alchemist’s Refuge
MTG Emergence Zone, Alchemist’s Refuge – image: Wizards of the Coast

Emercence Zone provides us with 1 colourless mana with his first ability; while using the second, at a cost of 1 mana and its sacrifice, we can cast spells as if they had flash, in the turn in which we activated this ability.

Alchemist’s Refuge though is definitely the better of the two.

Like the first deck I proposed, this land is also Simic and its ability is characterised by the colours green and blue.

Like the previous one, it gives us 1 colourless mana by tapping it.

By spending one green mana, one blue mana and tapping it, we cast spells as if they had flash during the turn in which the ability was activated.

Unlike Emergence Zone, we do not have to sacrifice this card.

How to deal with MTG Flash

How can we deal with all these cards and decks that exploit this ability?

Tidal Barracuda

Tidal Barracuda - MTG Flash
MTG Tidal Barracuda – image: Wizards of the Coast

It is a good solution that can turn the game upside down.

Every player can cast spells as if they had flash, so even our opponent, but he can’t cast spells in our turn.
In this way our opponent is limited to cast “flash” spells only in his own turn.

Teferi, Time Raveler

MTG Teferi, Time Raveler – image: Wizards of the Coast

Thanks to this version of Teferi our opponent will only cast spells as if they were sorceries.
Its two abilities allow us to cast sorceries as if they had flash or return a nonland permanent into its owner’s hand and then draw a card.