Could Glimpse of Tomorrow Be The Best Costless Spell In Modern?

Magic has its newest version of Warp World in Glimpse of Tomorrow. Ari Lax thinks it’s a big deal and shares a few decklists to explain why.

Early in Modern Horizons 2 previews, I was excited by Profane Tutor. It’s a Demonic Tutor at the Alpha rate with a savings bond on your mana, unsuspending at a fast rate and giving you full access to your mana on a combo kill turn.

It quickly became clear that wasn’t even going to be the best of the no-cost suspend cycle in this set.

My vote for that currently goes to Glimpse of Tomorrow, the Warp World insert into this cycle.

Warp World costs eight mana, and has seen fringe Constructed play when it was printed in Ravnica, Tenth Edition, and Magic 2010. Glimpse of Tomorrow costs two mana. It’s just math.

Glimpse of Tomorrow unsuspending on Turn 5 is another huge part of this. A Turn 5 combo is completely in range of Modern kills these days, especially if the rest of your deck just plays good normal Magic. And it’s not like Modern Horizons 2 is shaping up to change that with so much power loaded into free interactive spells instead of free 8/8s.

The older null cost spells with game-warping effects haven’t really had that timeframe to unsuspend. There’s a reason they have only seen play with ways to cheat them onto the stack. I’m not waiting until Turn 7 to Balance. Even Crashing Footfalls, the Hypergenesis replacement from Modern Horizons, is effectively a Turn 6 impact since the Rhino tokens don’t attack for another turn.

The null cost spell that unsuspends for impact on Turn 5 is also by far the best one to normally play: Ancestral Vision.

Glimpse of Tomorrow has the same time frame, but you get a lot more than “draw three cards” out of it.

What To Do With A Warp World

What are you even trying to do when you resolve a Warp World?

Taking a look at some of those past fringe successes, the pattern is pretty obvious. You would set up to cast Warp World in a way that produced a bunch of permanents, then load your deck with a bunch of permanents that produced sweeping advantages when they entered the battlefield.

In terms of setup, I finally want to cast Gilded Goose in Modern. If you’re looking for arbitrary permanents, I can’t think of a better card. It can be mana for other things, like the double-red on Glimpse of Tomorrow’s suspend, and it makes even more permanents over time. It can even be activated in response to an upkeep unsuspending Glimpse for that one extra permanent to tip the odds in your favor!

The other obvious card to look at for garbage permanent generation is Thraben Inspector. It’s among the better cards you would be looking to play, but there’s an upcoming synergy that makes me skeptical of wanting to play a mana base that supports a white one-drop.

Maybe, just maybe, you can trick yourself into a Wily Goblin. I do mean you, because I sure won’t trick myself into that.

Landfall is especially great with Warp World, since each land you hit in the big flip triggers landfall. You may recognize this nonsense from the three-week horror show of Genesis Ultimatum –> Lotus Cobra –> Omnath, Locus of Creation in Standard.

The Modern card that caught my eye that never previously overlapped with Warp World is Tireless Tracker. The rate that it produces permanents pre-Glimpse of Tomorrow is really impressive, and while I have no clue what you’re doing with a lifetime supply of Clues after a Glimpse, it’s probably good.

And literally as I was writing this on Sunday morning, we got a preview of Tireless Provisioner. While Tireless Tracker is certainly a better normal card, it’s a lot easier to envision what you’re doing with a giant supply of Treasure tokens.

You can also set up to cast Warp World yet again by recurring the one you just resolved. Unlike a lot of these weird big effects, Warp World and Glimpse of Tomorrow don’t exile themselves after resolution.

The recursive interaction that has me most excited with Glimpse of Tomorrow is Eternal Witness and As Foretold. As Foretold is one of the obvious includes in any deck focused around a null cost spell, but when you Glimpse into an As Foretold, it’s refreshed to cast another Glimpse from your hand. If you also hit Eternal Witness, you recur your Glimpse and are right there to fire off again. It’s going to be tough to convince me a Glimpse of Tomorrow deck doesn’t want to be Temur-based, or at the least Gruul with some blue.

The other clean way to flip a Glimpse of Tomorrow is Goblin Dark-Dwellers. I’m a little cooler on this since I want basically all my other cards to be permanents, and your all permanents deck isn’t going to use Goblin Dark-Dwellers very well when you aren’t comboing off.

One other small synergy is that’s worth mentioning is that you get to use the loyalty abilities of planeswalkers you hit after Warp World resolves. In these old lists that was mostly using Garruk Wildspeaker to untap lands and cast another Warp World, but there’s many more options in Modern these days along the same lines. I’m most interested in Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, which is just a solid normal card if you have to battle your opponent down with tokens that also generates permanents for a Glimpse setup.

The big difference between Warp World and Glimpse of Tomorrow is that Glimpse is one-sided. A decent amount of the equity in Warp World was tied into your opponent likely playing less permanents than you, so if you resolved a Warp World there was a solid chunk of the time they lost a bunch of permanents and couldn’t do anything afterwards. The second Warp World was almost a lock to do this, so you didn’t really need a kill condition to wrap things up. Glimpse of Tomorrow decks are going to be much more dependent on spiraling advantages that lead to an actual game win.

The other thing we can take away from these old Warp World lists? They play a ton of cards that are just good. The other big piece of any successful Glimpse of Tomorrow deck is going to be building something that plays good Magic, but also happens to Glimpse up some wins to overpower decks that won’t eventually die to a pile of two-for-ones. Think of it as a similar game plan to the green creature combo decks we have seen in Modern for years, but Glimpse is just trying to do it with a way different set of tools.

A Few Glimpse of Tomorrow Decks

So, you have all this potential stuff going on. Let’s look at some potential shells and highlight some key cards to tie it all together.

The goal here is pretty straightforward: leverage the cards that will generate a ton of Clues when you resolve Glimpse of Tomorrow, maybe triple that with Academy Manufactor, and from there your second Glimpse is probably for your entire library at which point Ghirapur Aether Grid is lethal.

Lonis, Cryptozoologist and Academy Manufactor are two Modern Horizons 2 cards that had piqued my interest for this exact purpose. Both can easily make way more material than you can possibly imagine using, you just need to figure out what to do with that. Glimpse of Tomorrow is a super easy answer to that resource conversion question. Lonis also is a weird legendary permanent that works well in multiples with Glimpse, since the second Lonis nets a Clue off both copies of the legend plus a bunch of other Clues from your other creatures.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor is near its best here filtering through all your air, but where are the Shardless Agents to go with it? Isn’t Jace, slide a Glimpse back on top, cascade into your null cost spell the perfect combo?

Nah. Shardless Agent kept clunking up my Glimpse resolutions and my hands. Every other card was providing early mana, or was a post-Glimpse combo piece that set up a giant second Glimpse. Agent was an outside shot at an unplanned Glimpse, which isn’t really that good? Plus, like I said up front, one of the best parts of Glimpse is that you don’t have to do the whole jump through hoops thing to cast it, you just suspend it on your second turn and boom fifth upkeep that’s your game ender.

I started this deck with a bunch of Pathways and few fetches since I had concerns about hitting lands off Glimpse of Tomorrow and losing life to them, but over time I’ve had a bit of the reverse experience. Once you start flipping cards, the As Foretold setup means you don’t need to spend mana on anything but Clue tokens so uncracked fetches aren’t a real issue. You would rather remove lands from your deck, but more importantly you would rather have lands in your graveyard to Eternal Witness and keep hitting land drops off of. Copies of Wrenn and Six have made their way in and out of this deck as well.

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth also helps a ton here. You may want a second copy, but doubled legendary permanents with Glimpse of Tomorrow is a weird risk.

Continuing on the fetchland discussion, the other available kill condition is leaning hard into the landfall aspect of Glimpse. This might seem derivative of the Scapeshift-Steppe Lynx decks that never really went anywhere in the format, but the fact you don’t need your kill condition on the battlefield when you go off is a big change.

Oh no, I did it. I tricked myself. Send help.

This isn’t really a Glimpse of Tomorrow deck, it’s a deck that just happens to have Glimpse in it because it turns any random draw into a high upside one. You also have Seasoned Pyromancer to convert dead Glimpses into relevant cardboard rather than an As Foretold backup cast mechanism.

The big thing I haven’t figured out is a way of turning that big Glimpse into a reliable one-shot kill. There aren’t a ton of great cards that provide haste after a Glimpse and extra material before one.

I’m not the happiest with this deck, but as a proof of concept it’s great. You don’t really need to a full-on combo deck for Glimpse of Tomorrow to be powerful. You don’t have to play a bunch of weird things to flip into. There’s a ton of ways to just turn normal cards into overwhelming advantages once the card resolves.

Glimpse of Tomorrow is the best of all the prior null cost designs. It resolves as fast as Ancestral Vision, with the impact of a Living End. That intersection of power and reliability bodes well for people to be flipping some decks onto the battlefield in the next era of Modern.