Metal-catalyzed isomerization of N- and O-allylic systems is emerging as an effective method to form synthetically useful iminium and oxocarbenium intermediates. In the presence of tethered nucleophiles, several recent examples illuminate this approach as a powerful strategy for the synthesis of structurally complex and diverse heterocycles. In this Concept article, we attempt to cover this area of research through a selection of recent versatile examples. A sea of opportunities! Transition-metal-catalyzed isomerization of N- and O-allylic compounds provides a mild, selective and synthetically versatile method to form iminium and oxocarbenium ions. Given the number of reactions involving these highly electrophilic intermediates, this concept provides a sea of opportunities for heterocycle synthesis, (see scheme; Nu=nucleophile). © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.