Magic: The Gathering’s Head Designer Confirms We’ll See A Lot More Flashback

Phyrexia: All Will Be One previews continue this week with yet another bombshell. Flashback will return in Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming expansion.

CoolStuffInc got to reveal a brand-new card coming in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Viral Spawning is a green sorcery for three mana that creates a 3/3 Phyrexian Beast creature token that has toxic 1 (that means it deals a poison counter whenever it damages a player). It also has the new Corrupted mechanic–so long as the opponent has three or more poison counters, it gains flashback for the same three mana.

The surprise here is flashback, a mechanic which will once again return to Magic at the start of 2023. In order to stave off a flood of new messages on his blog all asking the same question, head Magic designer Mark Rosewater responded to the preview on Twitter.

"To save everyone some time," said Rosewater, "flashback has become deciduous." We’ll assume that, like how the leaves of a deciduous tree aren’t shed in the winter, flashback will stick around all year long.

Like the mechanic itself, it’s not hard to see why Magic keeps bringing back flashback. It’s just plain fun to play cards twice. Flashback really helps green, red, or white decks where card draw can be hard to come by, and even in decks with black and blue, flashback provides an interesting dynamic where players aren’t ashamed to throw cards into their graveyards. Some strategies even call for players to mill themselves in order to access discounted flashback mana costs.

Viral Spawning certainly doesn’t seem to be a powerhouse card, but being able to produce two toxic hill giants from one card is pretty sweet. It certainly seems draftable, and depending on how the set shakes out, we might even see it in All Will Be One constructed formats.

Phyrexia: All Will Be One arrives February 10.

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