While most of the cards in D&T are mildly annoying for our opponents, Mangara of Corondor might be the most frustrating to play against. The Mangara lock is a simple, repeatable removal tool. It allows you to remove one permanent from the game every turn. This is not a game ending combo, yet you are going to find that opponents will stop at nothing to rid themselves of Mangara once they understand what he can do. This will almost always be true even if you don’t consider it to be your best tool at the moment. Generally speaking, handcasting Mangara on turn four with Karakas still untapped is usually a superior play to Mangara on turn three using Karakas for mana.
Performing the Lock
- Tap Mangara, activating his ability and selecting your target.
- Hold priority. This part is important. You need to explicitly say the words “hold priority” or immediately take action before your opponent has a chance to respond. If you do not, by Magic rules, you are assumed to be passing priority and this trick wont’ work.
- Return Mangara with Karakas or “flicker” him from play with Flickerwisp while his ability is on the stack
- He will remove a permanent from the game and not himself if he is off the battlefield when his ability resolves.
If you are removing mana sources, do it on your own turn whenever possible. You don’t need to give your opponent the opportunity to use that mana again.
If you are 100% certain that your opponent has a removal spell, feel free to leave Mangara on the board with Karakas untapped. Your opponent can’t tap out without risking losing a permanent, so you are effecting “Porting” them by leaving a Karakas up. Alternatively, you can wait until you have both a Flickerwisp and Karakas as backup to start going to town on their permanents.
If you are trying to maximize value, consider something like this:
-a. block a Nimble Mongoose with Mangara.
-b. tap to remove an attacking Tarmogoyf from the game
-c. use Karakas or Flickerwisp to circumvent Mangara removing himself from the game
Other Applications of the Same Principles
The same overall trick also applies to any permanent that exiles a card upon entering the battlefield so long as you have a Flickerwisp. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Journey to Nowhere, Leonin Relic-Warder, Fiend Hunter, or similar cards. Here’s how:
- Cast Oblivion Ring. Choose a target for its exile trigger. I’ll use a Tarmogoyf for the following example.
- With it’s exile trigger on the stack, activate Aether Vial, putting in a Flickerwisp.
- Using Flickerwisp’s trigger, blink the Oblivion Ring.
- Oblivion Ring’s leave the battlefield trigger goes on the stack, attempting a return a permanent, but does nothing on resolution.
- Oblivion Ring’s original ability from step 1 now resolves, permanently exiling the Tarmogoyf.
- At your end step, the Oblivion Ring returns from Flickerwisp’s delayed trigger, exiling a new permanent.