Flanking

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Flanking
Keyword Ability
Type Triggered
Introduced Mirage
Last Used Commander 2016
Reminder Text Flanking (Whenever a creature without flanking blocks this creature, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.)
Statistics 34 cards
{W}53% {R}22% {B}13% {G}6% {U}3%
Artifact 3%
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Flanking

Flanking is a keyword ability that gives creatures that block a creature with flanking -1/-1, unless the blocker also has flanking.[1][2]

Description[edit | edit source]

With one exception (Sidewinder Sliver), all flanking creatures are either knights on horseback or centaurs; they have a tactical height advantage and the added mobility to swing around the enemy and attack in the flanks.[3][4] The name is inspired by the effective military tactic of attacking the enemy at an angle to the enemy’s direction of engagement.

The first tournament-legal cards with this keyword were printed in the Mirage block, with a further set of Flanking cards appearing in Time Spiral block.[5] The ability is found in all colors, but is primary a white or red.[6] In the Mirage block it is found on eight white creatures, four red creatures, three black creatures and one each in blue and green. In the Time Spiral block, the ability is mainly white, appearing on ten white creatures, three red creatures and one black creature. Commander 2016 featured one card with Flanking that was also the first multicolored card with the mechanic: Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa (white/green).

Flanking is currently a 7 on the Storm Scale.[7] R&D considers Flanking’s problem to be its lack of flanking against other flankers, which was not understood by the majority of players.[8][9][10] A renamed version without the self-referential component ("flanking creatures do not flank other flankers") is more likely.[11] A rethemed Flanking would fit very well in black's part of the color pie.[12]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

  • 702.24. Flanking
    • 702.24a Flanking is a triggered ability that triggers during the declare blockers step. (See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”) “Flanking” means “Whenever this creature becomes blocked by a creature without flanking, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.”
    • 702.24b If a creature has multiple instances of flanking, each triggers separately.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

Flanking
A keyword ability that can make a creature better in combat. See rule 702.24, “Flanking.”

Rulings[edit | edit source]

As this is done during the Declare Blockers Step, if a creature is put into the graveyard as a result of the -1/-1, that creature will deal no damage to the creature with Flanking, even if it has first strike. The creature with flanking is still considered blocked, however, so no damage will be dealt to defending player, unless the creature with flanking also has trample.

  • Flanking only triggers when a creature with flanking becomes blocked, not when it blocks.
  • This may kill the blocker prior to damage being assigned in combat, but the attacker is still blocked.
  • Flanking applies to blockers which are not assigned to the Flanking creature directly. For example, creatures that become blockers due to blocking a member of a band which includes the Flanking creature are subject to the Flanking -1/-1 ability.
  • Gaining Flanking after blockers are declared will have no effect on the blockers because the time for Flanking to trigger has already passed.
  • If an attacking creature has multiple instances of the Flanking ability, even one instance of Flanking on the blocking creature will negate the effect.

Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Mtenda Herder - {W}
    Creature — Human Scout
    1/1
    Flanking (Whenever a creature without flanking blocks this creature, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.)

Cards that grant Flanking[edit | edit source]

Creatures

all slivers

Enchantments

target creature

Artifacts

References[edit | edit source]