Who displaced the Displacer?
I have a lot of love for certain cards such as the Bomat Courier and Alms of The Vein. In fact I plan on writing about them fairly regularly and trying to figure out where they fit in the current formats. If we go back to Oath of the Gatewatch we can find one of my favourite cards, probably the card I have been most excited about in a spoiler season in fact the wonderful Eldrazi Displacer.
Eldrazi Displacer is a 3/3 for two generic mana and one white. To be honest it is pretty mediocre in the world with cards like Grim Flayer and Sylvan Advocate in terms of power. Although having three power is pretty relevant for a few different reasons. Plus it could be a lot worse.
Being a 3/3 isn’t above the board but it does keep a combat advantage over a card like Reflector Mage which is a 2/3 for the same converted mana cost. It also beats the 2/2 body of the four mana Haunted Dead, although I appreciate that people rarely cast the creature. Given how prominent these two cards are in the current Standard meta this is definitely relevant.
Having 3 Power means it can crew a Skysovereign, Consul Flagship as well. This is great for when you don’t want to be attacking with the Displacer. Whenever combat would cause you to lose the creature it is nice to know that you can convert it’s power into a giant flying beat down with a bolt on enemy creatures. Oh and if you wanted to, after attacking with the Skysovereign you could always flicker it to do an extra three points of damage to a creature after the attack is done with.
It was here a second ago
Flickering is the ability to exile a card and then return it to the battlefield. The most important thing about Eldrazi Displacer is that it can flicker creatures other than itself. It costs two generic mana and one colourless mana to do so and you can activate the ability as many times as you have mana. Flickering with Eldrazi Displacer means that the creature you flickered comes back into play tapped, this means that it can’t block or attack.
This means you can just take your opponents creatures out of your combat mathematics and just beat down using whatever creatures you have. Just using the Displacer’s ability I have beaten an opposing board state of Elder Deep-Fiend, Emrakul, The Promised End and an army of Ishkanah, Grafwidow spider tokens just because I had enough mana for four flickers a turn. With the first flicker I was tapping their Emrakul, then the Elder Deep-Fiend and then I was killing off a token. That’s because whenever a creature token changes zones, so for example becomes exiled temporarily, it ceases to exist.
Being able to hold off a thirteen mana creature, an eight mana creature and a bunch of tokens is just one of the many good things you can accomplish with this card as a conduit for your unspent mana. Mana sinks are few and far between in standard at the moment and I like to be able to spend my mana on things other than casting cards. I don’t like feeling like I have wasted resources so being able to grind value out of a card always leaves me feeling happy.
A little less sixteen Reflector Mages
Those are just the things you can do to an opponent’s board state. What about all the things you can do to your own? Obviously your creatures still come back into play tapped as well but there is no reason to worry about that if you do it at the right time or you have a powerful enough effect when the card enters the battlefield.
Let’s talk about enter the battlefield effects first. I was running a Blue-White Flicker list before Kaladesh came out which I still need to go back to and even out. The mana was horrible for it but it was a lot of fun to play and I won a couple of FNMs with it because sometimes people just aren’t prepared for a home brew. I’m going to try to update the list with better mana here.
3 Port Town
3 Prarie Stream
4 Aether Hub
1 Crumbling Vestige
1 Geier Reach Sanitarium
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Spell Queller
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Reflector Mage
4 Eldrazi Displacer
2 Thalia’s Lancers
2 Archangel Avacyn
1 Linvala, the Preserver
2 Bruna, the Fading Light
2 Gisela, the Broken Blade
Instants and Sorceries
2 Scatter to the Winds
3 Essence Flux
1 Summary Dismissal
The deck is designed to make the most of Eldrazi Displacer. The reason the card fits so well in this kind of deck is because you get to make the most of flickering your own creatures. Reflector Mage is an incredibly card which allows you to completely mess up your opponents turns. Getting to replay one on the board at instant speed for only three mana is an incredible tempo swing more often than not.
Then we have Spell Queller. This card is so oppressive if you play it at the right time that it is enough to make people completely change decklists to avoid the dreaded four mana cost cards. Being able to flicker it when it is on the battlefield already lets you take other cards as they are cast instead. That means if you have taken a creature earlier but decide that the creature will no longer have an impact but the Gideon, Ally of Zendikar that your opponent is casting will, you get to flicker the Spell Queller and take the Gideon instead.
Finally, and quite possibly my favourite target, is Thalia’s Lancers. Thalia’s Lancers let’s you search for any legendary card and put it into your hand whenever it enters the battlefield. In this list that means you can find, Avacyn, Bruna, Gisela, Linvala, Thalia, and in the event you need to find a land, Geier Reach Sanitarium. It also means you could find a Skysoveriegn as well, which if I can manage will definitely make it’s way into the deck because that seems hilarious. This allows you to assemble powerful card from anywhere in your deck and at instant speed.
Being able to keep triggering the enter the battlefield trigger on a card like Reflector Mage essentially adds extra copies of the card to the deck. Depending on how many times you flicker the card you can add any number of them to the deck by constantly bouncing your opponents creatures and locking them out of the game.
You can’t hit what isn’t there
Next we have the ways you can use flickering defensively. For starters if your opponent is targeting a creature of yours with a removal spell you can just flicker the creature that is being targeted and you effectively counter the spell. There are few things in Magic as satisfying as dodging spot removal by just making your creature hop over it.
This kind of thing also allows you to block with a creature, then flicker it to make sure the creature survives if for some reason you can’t flicker your opponents attacking creature. You can reduce the amount of damage significantly if you can do this while also maintaining a board presence to allow for a better counter attack.
You can also flicker your opponents creatures in response to a beneficial spell. If your opponent is trying to make their creature bigger or anything that helps them greatly you can just blink their creature out of existence temporarily which means the spell fizzles.
Flickering gives you a huge amount of control over the board state if you can afford to it do it a couple of times. The only issue with Eldrazi Displacer is that it can’t target itself with the flicker ability. This leaves it slightly more vulnerable and certainly more of a target as result.
There are a few ways to protect it that you can use. For starters you can have a couple out. That way they can just flicker each other and you’re golden when it comes to dodging spot removal. You always use other spells to protect them as well. A card like Essence Flux allows you to flicker the creature at instant speed for only one blue mana and as a result fits the deck list well. You can always look at other colours as well, you could definitely use Blossoming Defense to protect it by giving the Displacer Hexproof so it can’t be targeted by opponents.
Mana is tricky at the moment due to the loss of the pain lands from Magic Origins but with Aether Hub you can definitely give yourself a solid source of colourless mana while also making sure you aren’t ruining your mana base for your other cards. I know we are all still getting used to the new land cards but I see no reason not to play around with it all.
Plus in terms of powerful enter the battlefield effects I haven’t even mentioned some of the most powerful cards in Kaladesh. The Gearhulks. Flickering any of these even once can swing a game so hard everyone involved would be dizzy. All of them would be incredibly but my personal favourite choice is probably the Verdurous Gearhulk. Paying three mana to put four +1/+1 counters on a creature at instant speed just seems broken. After all, why not just put them on your Displacer for the ultimate beat down.
While we are in magical Christmas land I would be remiss not to mention Panharmonicon while talking about all of these enter the battlefield effects. Sure flickering a hulk for four counters is great. Imagine this sequence though. Turn three play an Eldrazi Displacer, turn four play Panharmonicon, turn five you play Verdurous Gearhulk and put eight counters on the Displacer making it an 11/11 and swing in. Next turn you could flicker the Gearhulk twice and have a 27/27 Displacer.
Sure it’s stupid but I know that would be a lot of fun and I know some of you are in on this kind of craziness. Which leads me to wonder what other silly combos have I missed, are there any cards you would like to flicker more for more value?
Thanks for reading,