Today we shall talk about a well-known character, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, and along that about the Flash ability and what it means to be able to “cast spells only any time you could cast a sorcery”.
Teferi is a legendary creature. This is to say that one player may not control multiple Teferis with the same name on the battlefield, because if he or she does, the next time SBA are performed, the player will have to choose one Teferi, then put all others into their owners’ graveyards. When you compose a decklist for a Legacy tournament, make sure you write his full name correctly, because recently we have had a glorious return of this character in the shape of Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Teferi has three abilities. They are all static. The zones in which these abilities function are different though.
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.”
The first sentence of this rule means that we can use Flash while casting a spell from any zone. Note that Flash by itself doesn't grant you the ability to play the card from a zone other than the hand. You will need other effects to allow you to do that:
The second sentence gives us the definition of Flash, and refers us to a different rule:
304.5. If text states that a player may do something “any time he or she could cast an instant”, it means only that the player must have priority. The player doesn’t need to have an instant he or she could actually cast. Effects that would prevent that player from casting a spell or casting an instant don’t affect the player’s capability to perform that action (unless the action is actually casting a spell or casting an instant).
So, a card with Flash may be cast any time the player has priority:
Mind that neither player receives priority when casting or resolving a spell, as well as activating or resolving an ability. Neither player has priority when attackers or blockers are declared, the active player gets priority only after performing these turn-based actions.
Teferi’s second ability functions only while he is on the battlefield. It says that all creature cards you own have Flash when they are not on the battlefield. “You” here means the controller of Teferi, so if the cunning opponent borrows your Teferi, creature cards he owns will have Flash.
Suppose you control Teferi.
Teferi’s third ability functions only when it is on the battlefield. Its effect tells us that your opponents may cast their spells only any time they could cast a sorcery, i.e. “at sorcery speed”. Let’s take another look at the rules.
307.5. If a spell, ability, or effect states that a player can do something only “any time he or she could cast a sorcery,” it means only that the player must have priority, it must be during the main phase of his or her turn, and the stack must be empty. The player doesn’t need to have a sorcery he or she could actually cast. Effects that would prevent that player from casting a spell or casting a sorcery don’t affect the player’s capability to perform that action (unless the action is actually casting a spell or casting a sorcery).
So your opponents can only cast spells while they have priority in their main phase when the stack is empty. This automatically means that any spells or abilities allowing to cast spells as they resolve are useless, because when a spell or ability is resolving, the stack isn’t empty — at least that spell or ability is there.
Since the legend rule has changed, each player may control a Teferi of their own. This results in each player being able to cast spells only “at sorcery speed”.
Teferi can do many things, of course, but he isn't almighty:
Teferi doesn’t prohibit your opponent to place copies of spells onto the non-empty stack without casting them. After casting Dragonstorm in his main phase while the stack is empty, the opponent will get copies off Storm.
Finally, it is fairly obvious that the spells an opponent has already cast will not be affected by a Teferi flashing into the battlefield. The spells will resolve safely if Teferi is the only countermeasure you are able to come up with.
- ⇑ A Commander (or General) is a legendary creature having special properties and defining the colors used in decks in the Commander (i.e. EDH) format. Check out the rules for this alternative variant of Magic at the official site.
Translated by Witas Spasovski