Card of the Month - November 2011 - Snapcaster MageArticolo del 1-11-2011
This card is considered "very powerful" in Standard and "amazing" in eternal formats.
In Standard, it can be a very useful tool for any control deck: it can attack, it can be a surprise blocker, and it can give card advantage by allowing us to cast a spell from our graveyard for a second time. A single card doing all this is simply very powerful.
In Vintage and Legacy, where decks are full of low cost instants and sorceries with a great impact on the game, Snapcaster Mage is a new version of , instant, that can also attack… insane!
Will he be banned soon?
In the meanwhile, let's take a look at how to play him correctly and how to benefit from him most.
When we cast a spell from our graveyard by paying its flashback cost, we are paying an alternative cost; therefore, we can't use a second alternative cost:
can be cast, but only if we pay ; we aren't allowed to exile a blue card from our hand and pay 1 life point.
can be cast, but only if we pay ; we aren't allowed to sacrifice two s.
It's important to note that the Phyrexian mana is not an alternative cost; when we cast , we aren't paying an alternative cost instead of the normal mana; we are paying the mana. If we choose to use life points to pay the phyrexian mana, we are considered to be paying the mana.
It means that, if we give flashback to a Dismember in our graveyard, we can cast it by paying , and 2 life points, or 1 and 4 life points.
Since the spell is actually cast, mandatory additional costs have to be paid, and optional additional costs can be paid.
- We can pay the kicker cost of our to deal four damage.
- We have to sacrifice a Goblin to cast our .
- We have to pay an additional mana if our opponent has a .
Cards without mana cost
But what if the card has no mana cost? (like )
When Ancestral Vision is in our hand, we can't cast it because it has no mana cost (a non-existing mana cost can't be paid); we can only suspend it thank to its ability.
If we give flashback to an Ancestral Vision in our graveyard, the flashback cost would be… would be… well, it doesn't exist, so we can't pay it; we can't cast it, because it has no cost, and we can't suspend it, because the suspend ability works only in our hand.
Targeting Ancestral Vision with our Snapcaster Mage is a useless but legal action; our opponent and the judge will allow us to do it, and they will stop us when we will try to cast the Vision; in this case, our opponent is not being unsporting, he's just playing better than us (we won't be allowed to cast another card, because it's clear that we targeted the Ancestral Vision, but we won't repeat the same mistake again).
Snapcaster Mage and the targeted card are independent
Note that the card in the graveyard has flashback until the end of turn, independently on the Snapcaster Mage; even if the Snapcaster Mage dies in combat, we will be able to cast the targeted card after combat.
If our opponent controls (or any card that gives -1/-1 to our creatures), our Snapcaster Mage will enter the battlefield and leave it immediately, but he will be able to trigger his ability and give flashback to the card we wish to cast from our graveyard.
If the targeted card already has flashback, it will gain a second instance of flashback. We will be able to choose which of the two we want to use, and we will pay the amount of mana of the instance we choose.
For example, we target a ; it's like Cabal Therapy had the following text:
"Flashback- sacrifice a creature.
We will be able to cast the Cabal Therapy from our graveyard by sacrificing a creature or by paying , depending on what is best for us.
If we target a , it's like Firebolt had the following text:
Here, I guess the choice will always be .
Once the spell resolves, where will it go?
According to flashback, when the spell leaves the stack, it will be exiled instead of being out anywhere else; this is a replacement effect.
A few cards have a self-replacement effect, which modifies the way they resolve. Self-replacements are applied first, then flashback is applied last and "wins"; only after having applied all the replacement effects, the actual action happens.
If we cast from our graveyard, first we apply the self-replacement effect ("Shuffle it into the library") and then we apply flashback ("Exile it"); the Zenith is exiled.
If a spell cast with flashback is countered by or , it works exactly the same and the result is the same: the card is exiled.
Note that flashback replacement effect doesn't do anything if the card is supposed to be exiled. If we cast a spell with flashback and our opponent casts , the self-replacement is applied first ("") and the flashback replacement effect is applied last ("exile it"); flashback has nothing to substitute, because the spell is already getting exiled. The final result is that
- "Delay wins over Flashback" and the spell gets countered and suspended with three counters instead of being "just exiled".
- Rebound doesn't interact with flashback, because rebound applies only to spells cast from the hand.
- Snapcaster Mage is put on the stack, and our opponent can respond.
- If Snapcaster Mage resolves, its "enter the battlefield" ability triggers and it's put on the stack; we announce the target; our opponent can respond (he knows what we are targeting).
- If the ability resolves, the priority goes to the active player (the one who is playing his turn).
- If our opponent wants to cast a , the correct moment to do it is in response to the Snapcaster Mage triggered ability, after we announced our target; at that moment, we aren't yet able to cast the targeted card, because it hasn't received flashback yet.
Last aspect to mention is that, in Legacy and Vintage, there are cards that care about the order of the cards in the graveyard; in case you are playing something like (ok, this one doesn't interact with Snapcaster Mage) or your opponent might play (this one can interact with Snapcaster Mage), you need to keep the graveyard in the correct order.
In the other formats, we can change the order of the graveyard, so that cards with flashback or the card chosen by the Mage or the creatures stay at the top to be more visible.
You can read the original article in Italian .
You can read the full article on Blackborder .