What is Foretell in MTG? Mechanics Guide

Predict the future with one of Kaldheim’s intriguing mechanics, Foretell.

In the mystical plane of Kaldheim, omens shape everything from the outcomes of battles to the success of voyages. These prophecies, often delivered by the gods—especially Alrund, the God of Wisdom—are integral to the daily lives of its inhabitants.

The Essence of Foretell

Magic The Gathering’s Foretell mechanic, introduced in the Kaldheim set of January 2021, encapsulates this reliance on omens. But what exactly does Foretell entail, and how can it be effectively utilized? This article delves into the details of Foretell, offering insights into its application and impact on gameplay.

What Is Foretell?

Foretell is a dynamic mechanic that allows players to distribute the casting cost of their cards across multiple turns. If a card features Foretell, and it’s your turn, you can spend two generic mana to place that card face-down in exile.

Once exiled, the card can be cast on a subsequent turn for its Foretell cost, often at a reduced rate. For instance, casting “Behold the Multiverse” typically requires three generic and one blue mana. However, if it’s been foretold, the cost is reduced to one generic and one blue mana.

Key points to remember include timing restrictions—you can only exile cards on your turn, but if the card is an instant or has flash, you can cast it as usual. However, a foretold card cannot be cast in the same turn it was exiled.

Leveraging Foretell in Gameplay

Foretell’s versatility allows it to complement a wide range of strategies. Virtually every card type, from burn spells to counterspells and creatures, can benefit from Foretell.

To maximize Foretell’s potential, cards like Sage of the Beyond and Vega, The Watcher are invaluable, offering cost reductions and drawing opportunities for casting foretold cards from exile. Cosmos Charger further enhances Foretell decks by reducing the exile cost to one generic mana and allowing exile actions on opponents’ turns.

However, aggro decks may find limited synergy with Foretell due to the inherent delay in casting exiled cards, with Dwarven Reinforcements being a notable exception.

The Color Identity of Foretell

Foretell spans all colors but is predominantly found in the Azorius combination of blue and white.

  • Blue leads with thirteen Foretell cards, followed closely by white with eleven.
  • Black ranks third with nine cards, red has six, and green features the least, with five.
  • The colorless Scorn Effigy can be incorporated into any deck for added versatility.

Azorius decks, excluding Vega, who is intrinsically linked to Foretell without directly mentioning it, remain the most enriched with Foretell cards, showcasing the mechanic’s adaptability across Magic The Gathering’s diverse color spectrum.

Magic The Gathering’s Foretell mechanic not only introduces a strategic layer to the game but also enriches the thematic depth of the Kaldheim set, inviting players to explore the mystical and predictive aspects of gameplay.

Notable Foretell Cards Include:

  1. Alrund’s Epiphany – This card allows for an extra turn and creates bird tokens, making it a powerful choice for gaining an advantage in the game.
  2. Doomskar – Recognized for its ability to clear the board by allowing a player to cast it for its Foretell cost, which can be strategically planned for a lower mana cost than its regular casting cost.
  3. Behold the Multiverse – Popular for its scrying and drawing capabilities, providing significant card advantage.
  4. Cosmos Charger – This card speeds up the Foretell process by reducing the Foretell cost and allowing it to be done on any player’s turn.
  5. Saw It Coming – A counterspell that can be foretold, making it a versatile tool for control decks.

These cards exemplify the strategic depth and versatility that Foretell adds to the game, offering players various ways to optimize their turns and manage resources effectively. The mechanic itself is praised for its clean design and the interesting gameplay dynamics it introduces, making cards that utilize it valuable in many different strategies​​​​.

Foretell Frequently Asked Questions

Foretell in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has sparked a variety of questions among players, ranging from its mechanics to strategic applications. Here are some of the most common questions and their answers, based on information from various sources:

  1. Can the Foretell cost be reduced?
    • Yes, the Foretell cost can be reduced but not by all cards that reduce mana costs. For instance, Baral, Chief of Compliance can reduce the cost of instants and sorceries after they’ve been foretold but not the initial Foretell cost itself​​​​.
  2. Can you Foretell a land?
    • While you can put a land into exile if it somehow had a Foretell ability, you wouldn’t be able to play it from exile since Foretell specifies that you can “cast” the card, and lands are not cast​​.
  3. Do you have to show Foretold cards at the end of the game?
    • Yes, as part of the rules for taking special actions with concealed cards, you must reveal any face-down Foretell cards at the end of the game to verify their legality​​.
  4. How many Foretell cards are there?
    • There are 41 Foretell cards in paper Magic, with an additional Arena-exclusive card, bringing the total to 42. Some cards also grant Foretell to other cards, like Dream Devourer​​.
  5. Is Foretell considered casting?
    • Foretelling a card is not considered casting; it is a special action that does not use the stack. However, when you play the card from exile for its Foretell cost, that act is considered casting​​.
  6. Can Foretell be done at instant speed?
    • Foretell can only be activated on your turn, so it is not instant speed. However, it does allow you to bypass some forms of interaction since opponents cannot respond to the action of Foretelling itself. If the foretold card is an instant, you can cast it from exile at instant speed on a later turn, but not on the same turn it was foretold​​.
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