Back to the Future Sight

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Legacy

Hi everyone! It’s me again and I’m back with yet another (hopefully) sweet legacy article. And no, this isn’t about an upcoming set, it’s just so happens that every once in a while I start thinking about something, and I can’t quite shake it off. This time I’ve been thinking about the card Future Sight, and the potential shenanigans one could do with it in Legacy. Before we go any further I would like to point out that there already is a deck in Legacy that plays Future Sight. That deck is built around the interaction between Helm of Awakening and double Sensei’s Divining Top, which lets you flip tops as many times as you want. Then you can finish off your opponent with Altar of the Brood, Monastery Mentor, generating a lethal storm count, or whatever victory condition you prefer. With Future Sight in place of one of the tops you simply get to play top, draw a card, and then play it from the top of your library. Essentially it’s the same combo, only it draws your deck for you and costs more mana.

I’ve toyed with the idea of Future Sight in other decks before, but this time the thought has been more persistent. I was watching a couple of videos with Gerry Thompson doing battle with Shardless BUG in Legacy, and one of his opponents was playing Future Sight in Miracles. Now I definitely think you want to play Future Sight in a deck with Sensei’s Divining Top. I don’t think you want to play it in Miracles. Miracles already has a very strong late game plan, and Future Sight is mostly good there when you have a top in play and a bunch of mana you don’t need to spend to deal with opposing threats, in other words; when you’re winning. Future Sight helps Miracles win from a game state where they’re already favored. It doesn’t help get them there. Then there’s the nonbo of Future Sight making your miracles a lot easier to play around. Drawing a bunch of cards is also a lot stronger if you have something powerful and proactive to do with them. Having lots of answers doesn’t do much if they’re all the wrong ones. You can have seven cards to their one. It’s not going to matter, if that card is a True-Name Nemesis you can’t beat. I’d much rather put my opponent on the back foot, and then use Future Sight to overwhelm them. I know I want to play Sensei’s Divining Top, and that I want to be heavy on blue, preferably with basic Islands. I would also like to have some combo element in the deck. I come to think of three existing decks that fit this criteria; Omnitell, High Tide and Mono Blue Painter.

Omnitell is already one of the strongest decks in Legacy. It’s powerful, it’s proactive, and you have a lot of control over your draws because you play so much library manipulation. Several people have been playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor or splashing Burning Wish as a way to have more cards that actually win you the game if they go unanswered. I could easily see playing four copies of Sensei’s Divining Top as a part of your cantrip suite to be more resilient against hand disruption. Future Sight however would simply be too slow in many matchups, and if anything it’s better suited for the sideboard. If you manage to land it versus any sort of slow control deck it should be very impactful. Your high density of cantrips should help you power through your deck even when you don’t have a Sensei’s Divining Top. When you’re not under much of a clock you should be able to sculpt a hand that can both combo off and win a counter war. It’s just that by the time you cast this, your opponent will have had plenty of time to assemble the countertop lock. I don’t want an anti-control card that loses to the main plan of the most prominent control deck in the format. Granted Future Sight still lets you clear all those dead cantrips from the top of your library, but I’d much rather have Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Boseiju, Who Shelters All to if I’m in the market for a way to beat Miracles. It’s not that the idea Future Sight in an Omnitell deck is bad, it’s that it requires a very specific metagame to be good; one that’s very different from the one we have today.

As for High Tide, Future Sight is just not anywhere near what that deck wants. High Tide belongs to a different genre of combo decks than Omnitell. It functions much more like storm in that the goal isn’t to assemble a specific combination of cards. Instead you have multiple cards with similar functions. You’re not looking to keep jamming things until one of them resolves and you win, and the deck relies on having a critical mass of business spells in order to consistently be able to go off without fizzling. We can’t afford to include clunky cards that dilute our game plan. If I was playing High Tide and felt that I needed a second angle of attack I’d be looking at Counterbalance. Counterbalance is much easier to deploy. It doesn’t require the same mana investments to be good once in play, and it buys you the time to sculpt a hand with which you can comfortably navigate through opposing disruption and go off at your own pace.

Last but not least we have Mono Blue Painter. The thing about decks like Painter is that they’re very difficult to build unless you yourself are experienced with the archetype, simply because there are so many different routes one can take it. Do you play the Counterbalance package? Show and Tell + Emrakul? Maybe you want to be a toolbox deck with Trinket Mage, or a deck looking to play an early Jace, the Mind Sculptor. What I like about Future Sight in Mono Blue Painter is that you’re a combo deck that can play a different game. Your core game plan isn’t necessarily to get Grindstone and Painter’s Servant into play as soon as possible. You can shift gears and alternate between different roles depending on your draws. Sometimes you will be content to deploy a counterbalance lock and sit back, or keep recurring Engineered Explosives with Academy Ruins. Sometimes you will be turning Trinket Mages and Painter’s Servants sideways. Sometimes you Grindstone them. If you wanted to be a dedicated combo deck, there are far better things you could be doing than casting Future Sight. If you wanted to play control the card is just inefficient compared to our other options. It’s important to make sure you’re not just playing a worse version of something else. No matter what you’re trying to do in magic, make sure you’re the best version of that. The strength of Mono Blue Painter lies in its ability to play both combo and control, and Future Sight fits both of those strategies. Essentially you’re trading power in exchange for utility. You won’t be the best combo or control deck, but you get to play control when control is good and combo when that favors you. I have two main reasons for not wanting to play Future Sight in Mono Blue Painter. One, there are already so many things you want to be doing, and playing Future Sight means giving up on some other aspect of the deck. Two, it costs five mana. Five mana is a lot for a deck that wants to play twenty lands, tops. A friend of mine played Mono Blue Painter at Grand Prix New Jersey, and that deck does not get enough credit. In reality you have a low land count, a lot of library manipulation even for legacy, and several powerful two card combos. Oh, and you have a sweet disruption suite. I tried goldfishing a version with Future Sight. I even tried Magus of the Future, but those cards were just too clunky. There’s simply no point in trying to fit cute cards into your deck when you have so many better things you’d rather be doing. For now I think the home of Future Sight is in Helm of Awakening combo or a commander deck with Momir Vig, Simic Visionary as its general. I can’t think of any other legacy deck where I’d want Future Sight. My mind is a blank space. The point of trying out new ideas isn’t to strike gold every time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of forcing a card you want to be good, and you have to be able to discard the ideas that don’t work. Simply thinking about different things and exploring new possibilities holds a lot of value in itself. Sometimes a failed attempt brings your attention to a new idea. Sometimes you’re reminded of how underrated of a deck Mono Blue Painter really is, although it was likely stronger in the Treasure Cruise metagame. The list below is fairly straight forward. It hasn’t been tuned, but if you feel like trying out the deck it’s a good place to start. When my friend played it at the GP he was sideboarding 4 Show and Tell and 4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. I like that plan, and should you choose to go with it you should probably try to squeeze a few copies of Intuition in the maindeck.

I’m Sandro Rajalin and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter, email me at RajalinSandroMtG@Gmail.com or make your voice heard in the comments!

Until next time,
Sandro Rajalin.

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