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Recurring Value with Temur Flicker

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I love the flavor of Bear's Companion, and have wanted to throw together a list featuring the Grizzly Adams wannabe for a while now. They (I'm not actually sure if the person depicted in the art is male or female) don't have the envy-inducing beard that Adams had, but they certainly have the same knack for making large ursine friends. With Companion being our focus, the deck's Temur colors are decided for us. Their ETB (Enters the Battlefield) ability (why don't we have a keyword for this yet?) is easily abused with flicker effects, which Blue has plenty of. So, Temur Flicker it is!

Cost: 14.50$ at the time of publication

The Core

Bear's Companion
Bear's Companion as the focus decided the deck's colors, as well as most of the cards surrounding it. So, it makes sense that it would be considered the primary core of the deck. As previously mentioned, the ETB effect of the card is what convinced me to try my hand at a three-color flicker list, and it doesn't disappoint.

Being our actual flicker spells, Planar Incision and Displace make up the other half of the core. Every creature in the list was chosen because of its interaction with the flicker instants. Incision is better than our other two-cost alternatives because the flickered creature both returns instantly and does so with a +1/+1 counter. Displace is the likely the best card in the deck, as it provides the most card advantage when paired with the right creatures. It's got other great uses as well, but we'll get into those later.

The Backup

Healer of the Glade is the deck's only 1-drop creature. I actually had a rough time deciding on what to put in this slot, and there was a time I didn't play any 1-drops at all. In the end, I went with Healer because of the slow starts the deck tends to have. The life gain gives us some cushion to make land drops and get our engines online. While the other on-color alternatives all seemed superfluous, it's possible some combination of all of them might be better.

Coiling Oracle and Sylvan Ranger make up the deck's 2-drop creature ensemble. Both help to ramp up our mana, ensuring we have enough to cast our human/bear duo. Ranger also fixes our colors for us, which is incredibly important in a three-color budget list like this. While it doesn't always feel great to flicker either of them, it's often the right play. Besides, there aren't many things in Magic that feel better than revealing a land off of your Coracle.

Fire Imp and Flametongue Kavu are the deck's primary methods of interaction. Both of them burn away enemy monsters and clear the way for their own aggressive hits. Using a blink spell on either can be quite effective, as sniping away an opposing threat could result in a plus one for the flicker player, as long as the original ETB trigger also hit its mark.

Frilled Mystic might be too cute, but Mystic Snake is a favorite of mine, and this modern interpretation meets every requirement to be in the list. It's a wonderful feeling to target Mystic and another creature with Displace, countering a spell while also adding in some other powerful effect to the mix. Ardent Elementalist is one such potential target. Similar to how Archaeomancer is sometimes played in Pauper, Elementalist's ETB effect lets us grab the very spell that flickered it in the first place. If that spell happens to be Displace, then you get infinite activations of any other ETB creature in play, including Mystic! You're limited only by the amount of mana available to cast your Displaces. That means infinite counter spells with Mystic, infinite creature removal with Kavu, and infinite bears with Companion!

Considering the number of creatures we're playing that trigger it, Garruk's Uprising is an easy inclusion. The three-cost enchantment draws us cards on ETB, not on cast, so the bear tokens created by Companion show up with extra cards in tow. This also means flickering a Flametongue Kavu will trigger an extra draw for us as well. Powering both threats with Trample is an added bonus that makes them even more dangerous!

Three-color mana bases can be difficult on a budget. While Frontier Bivouac was an easy inclusion, its cousin Ketria Triome is way too hard on our wallet to be included alongside it. I originally included a set of on-color Theros Beyond Death scrying taplands, but found myself still running into color issues from time to time. So, despite the absence of life gain, scrying, or late game draw effects, I decided to round out the land base using the Thriving lands. These taplands allow us to choose the extra color they generate once they hit play. So, we're not locked into a specific set of colors like we are with other taplands. We can just fill the void in whatever color we're missing at the time, making color fixing issues much less common.

Tips and Tricks

Ardent Elementalist
You're playing a flicker deck, so knowledge of the possibilities that flicker cards provide is the most important thing to arm yourself with before going into battle. Sure, the main reason we're going to cast Displace or Incision is to recur a creature's ETB effect, but that's not the only thing they do for us. In the right situation, a flicker on the stack can do quite a bit of damage, ETB effect or not.

As an example, it's very common for flicker players to save their instants for a moment when the opponent tries to kill their creatures with a targeted spell. Flickering a creature in response to a kill spell like Doom Blade will result in the removal spell fizzling, saving your creature. You can also flicker a creature to remove pesky counters or auras. Since tapped creatures return from exile untapped, you can create a pseudo-Vigilance effect to give you some extra blockers, too! If your blockers are readily available, but you don't want them to die, block anyways. Then, before damage is dealt, flicker them away. Neither them nor the creature they would have been in combat with will deal their damage, and your creatures live for another day.


Most of the above list contains just a few of the vast number of viable ETB creatures that could be included in the list. Both Faerie Miscreant and Forge Devil were considered as 1-drops to be played in lieu of or next to Healer of the Glade, but I didn't actually like them as much as I would have hoped. More often than not, Miscreant was just a glorified Zephyr Sprite. Any time it did draw me cards, I was already drowning in card advantage from the rest of my engine. Forge Devil's burn also felt extra, considering the two fire spitters we're already playing. I was also wary of the life loss it forced on us.

Nephalia Smuggler is a 1-drop that I'm still considering, however. While it doesn't do much for us in the early game, it's a force to be reckoned with in the later turns, providing infinite ETB effects much in the same way as Elementalist when it's paired with Displace. Smuggler doesn't need a second card to combo with (except an ETB creature of course), and it gives us a turn one play that an opponent often must deal with if they want a chance of winning.

Bounce effects like Faerie Impostor and Horned Kavu were also considered. However, their effects are not nearly as powerful in a list like this compared to something that plays cost-reducing effects, like Hokey Pokey does with Rhonas's Monument. You could make an argument for Faerie Impostor, since the deck likely needs more creatures with a man value of one, but Imposter doesn't quite fit there either. Since you need a creature to already be in play before you can cast it, the Faerie doesn't even work as a turn one play.

Beetleback Chief and Wing Splicer were originally included in the list as alternative win conditions. Should you not find a bear buddy, the logic was, they could fill the board with other tokens to swarm the opponent with. This ended up not being needed, though. More often than not I was having no trouble filling the field killing the opponent with the many creatures I had from card advantage alone. Still, if they seem like fun to you, they weren't terrible. If you're going to go that route, though, I would try out Deep Forest Hermit first. He's much more of a threat than something like Beetleback, and flickering him resets his Vanishing counters, so you could theoretically keep him alive forever and kill your opponent with an army of 2/2 squirrels, which is equally as cool as killing them with an army of fuzzy bears.

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