Essence Flux says:

Exile target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control. If it's a Spirit, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

So, say I have a 1/1 Sanctuary Cat cast onto the battlefield. According to above, I would exile it, then return it right back? Is that right? I don't see what purpose this serves unless it was a spirit. Could you clarify if I have this right and what the benefit is?

Essence Flux

1 Answer 1


There are many uses for so-called "flicker" effects like from Essence Flux.

The namesake Flicker was the first card to exile and immediately return the target. This is where the mechanic got its unofficial name.

The creature that returns is a whole new object without any relation to its previous existence. That means that, for example:

  • The creature will trigger all applicable "enters the battlefield" and "leaves the battlefield" abilities.
  • If the creature you blink is being targeted by a spell or ability, then it will lose track of the creature and not affect it, or will fizzle if that creature was the only target.
  • Auras and equipments attached to the creature will fall off of it, and counters get removed.
  • It will return untapped.
  • All temporary effects, such as from Giant Growth or Death Wind, will be removed.
  • The new creature has no damage marked on it, so it's like an improved regeneration effect.
  • If you blink the creature during combat, it will be removed from combat and will neither deal nor take any damage, but (if it was already assigned as a blocker), the creature blocked by it will still be blocked.

Other blink cards such as Flicker can also target enemy creatures (though not at instant speed), which can be a very valuable play at the right time.

In short, blink effects are a powerful trick that can throw a wrench in your opponent's plans at a crucial moment. The +1/+1 counter for spirits is more of a bonus in most cases, but of course it allows you to get even more utility out of this spell.

  • I edited Wild Growth to Giant Growth; I assume that's what you meant.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 2:27
  • 1
    In general blinking can be done to an enemy creature, but not with this card as it says "target creature you control". Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 8:34
  • @RemcoGerlich Correct, thanks. Interestingly enough, when I looked it up, most blink effects can only target permanents you control, and those that can target any are either sorcery speed or tied to a permanent, so there are apparently no real instants to blink permanents controlled by others.
    – Hackworth
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 8:59
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    @Hackworth; which makes sense to me; the ability to stop your opponent's creatures from attacking, or remove all Auras on them, would probably be quite powerful.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 13:53
  • I get this is an old post and this doesn't apply to Essence Flux, but my favorite use for flicker effects isn't on the list - it allows you take back control of stolen creatures. Flicker effects are almost universally worded "...return it to the battlefield under its owner's control". I've used a Flickerform on a creature with abilities that cause opponents to gain control of it to excellent effect. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 1:39

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