Projection dephasers are often used for background suppression and dynamic range improvement in thick-slab 2D imaging in order to promote the visibility of subslice structures, e.g., blood vessels and interventional devices. In this study, we explored the factors that govern the effectiveness of a projection dephaser by simulations and phantom experiments. This was done for the ideal case of a single subslice hyper- or hypointensity against a uniform background in the absence of susceptibility effects. Simulations and experiments revealed a pronounced influence of the slice profile, the nominal flip angle and the TE and TR of the acquisition, the size, intraslice position and MR properties of the subslice structure, and T(1) of the background. The complexity of the ideal case points to the necessity of additional explorations when considering the use of projection dephasers under less ideal conditions, e.g., in the presence of tissue heterogeneities and susceptibility gradients.