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Modern Glimpse of Tomorrow Combo

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Glimpse of Tomorrow

Turn-three Karn Liberated? Weak! Ten power from Shardless Agent into Crashing Footfalls? Easily beaten when we're slamming Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play turn three, or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Griselbrand, or even Omniscience. Glimpse of Tomorrow makes other Modern decks seem tame. If you truly want to live, shuffle up all your permanents and gamble to win.

When I began testing Glimpse of Tomorrow, I hoped it would be fun, exciting, and hilarious. What I didn't anticipate is that it's actually good, both in my experience and in the math. All you have to do is cascade into Glimpse of Tomorrow with four permanents in play, such as three land and one plant token from Khalni Garden, and you have a 69.4% to flip over one of your payoff cards, the weakest of which is likely Griselbrand.


Two things should be immediately obvious, skimming over this decklist. First, our win-cons are crazy strong. We can cheat onto the battlefield the legendary creatures that Persist can't touch. Not only can we get a turn-three Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, but also we can cast it through Omniscience to take the extra turn and win instantly. Though Griselbrand is not as strong here as it is in other shells, it still pairs well with the ten-mana enchantment.

Our payoffs are more potent than those in comparable decks, and they can force their way past some traditional hate. Grafdigger's Cage doesn't stop Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Omniscience from sneaking on the battlefield. Our combo doesn't touch the graveyard, so Leyline of the Void does nothing. We can outpower decks like Feasting Troll King, which can devour a whole herd of 4/4 rhinos. The Solitary Confinement that disables other cascade decks we will exile with our Spirit Dragon. Most importantly, we can beat Heliod's infinite life. We hold them at zero permanents through eldrazi annihilation, reshuffle our graveyard with those same titans, and deck our foes.

The second item you should notice about our strategy is the minimal interaction. Whereas other cascade decks have room for maindeck Subtlety, Brazen Borrow, and Force of Negation, those cards will only hurt our percentages.

For examples of what happens when your deck composition isn't maximized, watch the videos by Saffron Olive and Jim Davis. Neither player had a winning record. Respectively, Saffron Olive had a laughing good time, and in his article, Jim Davis said, "The specifics may be off, but this shell has a lot of potential." It all comes down to the numbers. Saffron Olive had two few lands. Jim Davis had too much interaction and too few win conditions.

I want to thank both players for introducing me to the deck. Trying wild brews in Modern is a great time, and I even tested tribal Cats. The difference here is that Glimpse of Tomorrow does something magnificent and overpowering. Two versions of the deck went 5-0 in the deck dump of June 11th Modern Leagues. NAONE deserves a shout-out for finding Wavesifter as a great way to increase our permanent count.

The strategy is also resilient to some forms of interaction. Maindeck Leyline of Sanctity will keep you Grief-free and add to your permanents. We don't rely on small creatures or the graveyard. Our win-cons are huge and hard to kill consistently; a foe holding Damn will curse the name of Ugin. Emrakul is nearly untouchable, apart from Solitude, and even then, gaining fifteen may give you the time to rebuild.

What I didn't anticipate was how many games are won by casting Glimpse of Tomorrow multiple times. Say you're forced to cascade on turn three, with only three lands as permanents. Shardless Agent goes on the stack (and isn't counted by Glimpse), you cascade, shuffle up, and deal yourself back three lands. If you have a second cascade spell in hand, you can play it again immediately, and this time Shardless Agent is on the battlefield, and you have even better odds. And speaking of odds, here they are to flip at least one win condition onto the battlefield with fifteen total in your decklist.

  • 58.5% to get one, starting from three permanents counted by Glimpse of Tomorrow
  • 69.4% with four
  • 78% with five

Now, I'm no mathematician like Frank Karsten. I understand that the above percentages will wobble depending on how many win-cons you've drawn and how many cards are left in your deck. I'm just a gamer with a hypergeometric calculator, which I encourage you to try too if you want to change the decklist's core composition.

Imagine you pack your deck full of interactive cards like Force of Negation or Subtlety. Force of Negation is especially bad because it doesn't convert to a permanent, making subsequent spins of the wheel less powerful. The incarnation Subtlety is a permanent but not one we can deploy before turn three, making it superfluous to our strategy. We want to keep it simple, with lands, cascade spells, and win-cons.

We'll get to some more numbers soon, but first I want to explain the last cards in the maindeck I haven't referenced yet. I included a handful of cyclers, such as Cast Out and Lay Claim. These serve two main functions. They smooth out your draws, making it more likely to find your third land and your first cascade spell. Second, they are potent permanents to shuffle into play that can help lock up your win. Yes, I've already stolen an opposing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with Lay Claim. Yes, I asked a judge, and it works, off a Glimpse. Cast Out is especially necessary against Ensnaring Bridge. Do not view these as interaction pieces. Humans will still kill you with Meddling Mage. These cyclers are just a bit of engine grease.

Cast Out
Lay Claim

Including these and any non-essential cards comes with a cost. Compared to adding more lands, cascade spells, or win-cons, the cycling cards reduced my raw win equity by 7% (as defined by my ability to flip a win-con into play turn tree). However, they return more than double that percentage if I succeed, 14.5% to enter the battlefield if I Glimpse with a mere three permanents. Though I don't count them as win-cons, I believe the cyclers will increase my odds of winning. Though Subtlety would stop many problem permanents, including three in these same slots, it would decrease your win equity by even more, 11%, as the incarnation does not cycle.

Designing this deck is full of similar math. Both Saffron Olive and Jim Davis thought As Foretold underperformed. According to my calculations, a single copy increases your win equity by 4%, which is roughly 1% better than another Ardent Plea. If you have a Glimpse of Tomorrow in hand (39% of the time), As Foretold is preferable because it gives you another permanent on the battlefield. Again, Ardent Plea won't be counted, as it's still on the stack as Glimpse resolves.

Let's turn to the specific win-cons. I chose ones with the most raw power, with some consideration for the price. Griselbrand is relatively inexpensive, being banned in Commander, compared to Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. If in your testing you have found the eldrazi titans to be superior, or if you know mathematically stronger ways to build the deck, let me know in a comment. I could have diversified my legends, to avoid the possibility of high-rolling two Ugin cards into play and having to sacrifice one to state-based effects. However, the chance of that is only about 1%. You're better off chancing two Ugin's than one Karn Liberated.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Also, you'll note that in my first decklist I play only four fetch lands. Throughout Magic history, gamers have desired to "thin" their deck of lands with fetches, hoping to increase the chance of drawing a non-land. Well, every time you fetch, you increase your win equity by about 1%, at the cost of 5% of your life. I don't like that deal, so I'm happy to play pain-free alternatives like Gemstone Mine.

But to satisfy you fetch junkies, I included another decklist. It features the Domain mana-base and aims to increase its permanent count with a turn-two Scion of Draco. I would be more in favor of this strategy except it conflicts with Gemstone Caverns and Khalni Garden, two of the stronger combo enablers in the deck. Rather than 0/1 plants I tried 1/1 goblins from Chancellor of the Forge, but in the end I preferred Leyline of Sanctity. Instead of Lay Claim, you can clear Ensnaring Bridge with Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.


Sideboarding

I see the maindeck as having eight flex spots. Side out the Leyline of Sanctity or the Draco / Wavesifter. Side in Brazen Borrower against most decks and Mystical Dispute against suspected countermagic. I use Fire against Meddling Mage and Ice to tap down a land to deny counterspell mana or to Time Walk them, preventing them from casting Ranger-Captain of Eos. It is possible Subtlety would be better than Fire // Ice.

Deck Prospects

My early testing indicates this is a powerful deck that could be tier one, depending on the meta. You want to pair against Prowess and not Humans, Leyline of the Void and not Chalice of the Void, Urza's Saga and not Teferi, Time Raveler, and Heliod, Sun-Crowned not Archon of Emeria. Just like Affinity decks will do better once The Underworld Cookbook isn't a tier-zero threat, Glimpse of Tomorrow will have a stronger weekend when Crashing Footfalls isn't in the spotlight.

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