It represents three abilities. Firstly, a permanent comes into play with a given number of time counters on it. Secondly, at the beginning of the permanent's controller's upkeep step, that player removes one time counter from the permanent. Lastly, when the last time counter is removed the permanent must be sacrificed.
- Both vanishing and the suspend mechanic introduced in the Time Spiral set use time counters. Most effects in the Time Spiral block that deal with time counters, such as the ability of Jhoira's Timebug, can also affect permanents with vanishing that have time counters on them.
- Vanishing is similar to the fading ability from Nemesis. However, it plays much more like suspend does. The card starts out with a number of time counters on it, an ability triggers at the beginning of your upkeep that has you remove a time counter, and an ability triggers when you remove the last time counter that has you do something with that card.
- Note that the vanishing rules include an "intervening 'if' clause" that stops the counter-removing ability from triggering if there are no time counters on the permanent. This extra clause has minimal impact outside the Magic Online interface, so it doesn't appear in the vanishing reminder text.
- If the last time counter is removed from a permanent with vanishing and the sacrifice ability is countered, that permanent will remain in play indefinitely with no time counters on it. Neither of vanishing's two triggered abilities can possibly trigger again. Similarly, if a permanent without time counters on it that's already in play becomes a copy of a permanent with vanishing, it will stay in play indefinitely. If a permanent with one or more time counters on it that's already in play becomes a copy of a permanent with vanishing, it will vanish as normal.
Keldon Marauders -