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 Bedlam Reveler. You may sense a theme: I really, really like jumping through hoops to cast Ancestral Recall. And yes (to the best of my knowledge and rules understanding), As Foretold allows you to cast Ancestral Vision.

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 Birthing Pod and Tinker sacrifice a resource to gain a mana advantage and tutor. Some are inefficient, like Panoptic Mirror, restrictive like Isochron Scepter, or both, like Spellweaver Helix. But let’s be honest, there’s one rather close analogue to compare As Foretold to: Aether Vial.

How As Foretold is worse than Aether Vial

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

Color cost. As Foretold is blue. Aether Vial is colorless.

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

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

How As Foretold is better than Aether Vial

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

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

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

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

Is it viable?

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

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

It’s worth noting that As Foretold plus Ancestral Vision isn’t very good by itself. Together, they’re a casting a Sift or Compulsive Research, since As Foretold takes up a spot in your deck. For one mana more and a single card, you could just cast Concentrate. All of those cards are Modern legal and none of them are Modern playable. That said, I’m still excited about As Foretold because it continues making mana after the fact, allowing you to cast more copies of Ancestral Vision while holding up Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, Spell Snare, or Fatal Push 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 Nahiri, the Harbinger to discard late copies of As Foretold. 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 Cryptic Command from the deck because Nahiri and As Foretold constitute a lot of expensive spells, and you really want to maximize cheap spells so that As Foretold 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 As Foretold 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 As Foretold 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 Living Wall (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 Spell Snare, 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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