The Future Sight
symbol for Instant cards.
Instants, like sorceries, represent one-shot or short-term magical spells. They are never put into the in-play zone; instead, they take effect when their mana cost is paid and the spell resolves, and then are immediately put into the player's graveyard.
Sorceries and instants differ only in when they can be played. Sorceries can only be played during the player's main phase, and only when nothing else is on the stack. Instants, on the other hand, can be played at any time, including during other player's turns and while another spell or ability is waiting to resolve.
From the Comprehensive Rules
(Shadows over Innistrad
(April 8, 2016))
- 304.1. A player who has priority may cast an instant card from his or her hand. Casting an instant as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”)
- 304.2. When an instant spell resolves, the actions stated in its rules text are followed. Then it’s put into its owner’s graveyard.
- 304.3. Instant subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash: “Instant — Arcane.” Each word after the dash is a separate subtype. The set of instant subtypes is the same as the set of sorcery subtypes; these subtypes are called spell types. Instants may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3k for the complete list of spell types.
- 304.4. Instants can’t enter the battlefield. If an instant would enter the battlefield, it remains in its previous zone instead.
- 304.5. If text states that a player may do something “any time he or she could cast an instant,” it means only that the player must have priority. The player doesn’t need to have an instant he or she could actually cast. Effects that would prevent that player from casting a spell or casting an instant don’t affect the player’s capability to perform that action (unless the action is actually casting a spell or casting an instant).
- ↑ Mark Rosewater. (June 23, 2003.) "Instant Winners", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Mark Rosewater. (May 15, 2006.) "It’s About Time", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Ted Knutson. (July 15, 2006.) "Instant Gratification", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Ben Bleiweiss. (June 27, 2003.) "Best Instants of All Time", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Randy Buehler. (June 27, 2003.) "Instants and Sorceries", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.