Sometimes, a card is spoiled and I can’t help but be excited. Normally, I care most about commons, particularly removal spells, because they’re the lifeblood of Limited. However, sometimes a card comes along that just makes me brew up a new 60 card deck.

The last time I was this excited about a card was for [casthaven]Bedlam Reveler[/casthaven]. You may sense a theme: I really, really like jumping through hoops to cast [casthaven]Ancestral Recall[/casthaven]. And yes (to the best of my knowledge and rules understanding), [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] allows you to cast [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven].

How does it compare to what came before?

There aren’t a lot of cards which let you (repeatedly) cheat on other cards’ mana costs. Some, like [casthaven]Birthing Pod[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Tinker[/casthaven] sacrifice a resource to gain a mana advantage and tutor. Some are inefficient, like [casthaven]Panoptic Mirror[/casthaven], restrictive like [casthaven]Isochron Scepter[/casthaven], or both, like [casthaven]Spellweaver Helix[/casthaven]. But let’s be honest, there’s one rather close analogue to compare [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] to: [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven].

How As Foretold is worse than Aether Vial

Mana cost. [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] costs three mana. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] costs one. You can deploy on Aether Vial on turn one and by turn four, it’s made six mana; a [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] on turn three generates one mana by turn four.

Color cost. [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] is blue. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] is colorless.

Timing restrictions. [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] only lets you cast spells at their normal timing. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] circumvents timing and allows you to flash creatures in on your opponent’s turn.

Uncounterability. When you cast a spell with [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven], it goes on the stack and can be countered. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] circumvents the stack, and could even trick your opponent into casting [casthaven]Stifle[/casthaven] on its trigger when you have nothing to vial in.

How As Foretold is better than Aether Vial

Its card type. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] is an artifact, a card type which any Modern deck worth its salt has a sideboard plan for. [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] is an enchantment, a card type more resilient to hate.

Castable card types. This is the big one. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] can only play creatures, but [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] can cast any card type. You can cheat in an [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven] and cast [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven].

Flexibility. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] requires you to carefully manage your counters—if it’s on three, you can’t vial in a [casthaven]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/casthaven]. [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] has no such restriction.

Frequency of use. [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] can only be used once a turn cycle, whereas [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] can be used every turn.

Is it viable?

I think the biggest hurdle for [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] is its mana cost. While [casthaven]Aether Vial[/casthaven] exists as a tricky mana accelerant for an aggressive creature deck, [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] wants to go in a very different deck. You want to abuse it with with the zero converted mana cost, uncastable suspend spells of [casthaven]Time Spiral[/casthaven]: [casthaven]Restore Balance[/casthaven], [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven], or [casthaven]Living End[/casthaven] ([casthaven]Wheel of Fate[/casthaven] seems far weaker, and [casthaven]Hypergenesis[/casthaven] is banned in Modern).

Of these three options, I think [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] is best in an [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven] deck. Whereas [casthaven]Living End[/casthaven] is happy to cascade into its namesake card and already has access to [casthaven]Kari Zev’s Expertise[/casthaven] if it reeeally needs to cast [casthaven]Living End[/casthaven], [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven] wants to be in a deck with lots of inexpensive interactive spells, a perfect setup for [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven].

It’s worth noting that [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] plus [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven] isn’t very good by itself. Together, they’re a casting a [casthaven]Sift[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Compulsive Research[/casthaven], since [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] takes up a spot in your deck. For one mana more and a single card, you could just cast [casthaven]Concentrate[/casthaven]. All of those cards are Modern legal and none of them are Modern playable. That said, I’m still excited about [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] because it continues making mana after the fact, allowing you to cast more copies of [casthaven]Ancestral Vision[/casthaven] while holding up [casthaven]Path to Exile[/casthaven], [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven], [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], or [casthaven]Fatal Push[/casthaven] on your opponent’s turn.

My first instinct is to return to my old standby, Jeskai Flash/Control. While Grixis has gotten more toys in recent days, Jeskai is better at playing on the opponent’s turn, and you can use [casthaven]Nahiri, the Harbinger[/casthaven] to discard late copies of [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven]. You also have no temptation to run discard spells, which don’t work as well for a deck that’s trying to play to the late game.

UWR Foretold Control

Lands (24)
Celestial Colonnade
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Steam Vents
Sacred Foundry
Desolate Lighthouse

Creatures (5)
Snapcaster Mage
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Spells (31)
Nahiri, the Harbinger
As Foretold
Ancestral Vision
Serum Visions
Lightning Bolt
Path to Exile
Spell Snare
Lightning Helix

The goal of this deck is pretty straightforward: kill all of your opponent’s stuff while getting as much card advantage as possible. I excluded [casthaven]Cryptic Command[/casthaven] from the deck because Nahiri and [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] constitute a lot of expensive spells, and you really want to maximize cheap spells so that [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] does work as soon as possible.

This deck could be a ton of fun to play with, a new approach to a mostly-abandoned archetype, or absolutely awful in a format of BG/x aggro decks with discard spells. Only time will tell (even if [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] ought to know the answer already, if its flavor is to be believed). And maybe, just maybe, someone will lock the game up, get their [casthaven]As Foretold[/casthaven] to 15 and hardcast an Emrakul for no mana. That’d just be swell.

As always, thanks for reading.

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash is a New York City-based game designer. He learned Magic in 1994 and is still afraid of [casthaven]Living Wall[/casthaven] (don’t click it! It’ll see you). He’s currently pursuing his MFA in Game Design at NYU and designing for Kingdom Death: Monster. His favorite card of the month is [casthaven]Spell Snare[/casthaven], a counterspell which trades efficiently on mana but only in an extremely limited situation. Also, it’s a counterspell that can’t counter itself, and that’s just nice.

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