Is Modern Too Fast for Ancestral Vision?

Ancestral Recall is the best card draw spell we’ve ever seen. Vintage decks that might not have even played blue were willing to splash for it—drawing three for a single mana is that absurd. But to wait a few turns to draw those extra cards, even for just the same, single mana, is a totally different story.

This card is temptingly close to Ancestral Recall, but suspend is a big cost. You have to wait four turns before you see any return on your investment. That investment might seem small—it’s just a single card and a single mana—but we’re talking about a Modern format where you don’t always live four turns.

So, the question is, should you be playing Ancestral Vision in your U/W Control decks?

The answer is complicated. Most Modern decks can’t afford to play a full set. A copy drawn in the middle stages of the game can be a completely dead card, and that’s a monster downside before even factoring in the games where you suspend it on turn 1 and the game doesn’t last long enough for you to draw the cards. Ancestral Vision is going to shine in specific metagames and matchups, so understanding when those are present is important.

In control mirrors, Ancestral Vision excels. The opponent will have the chance to counter your card draw spell when it comes off suspend, but you will also have all of your lands untapped. This means they’ll need to pass with their mana open if they want to respond and then start tapping out on your turn. If they cast Cryptic Command to counter your Ancestral, you might have the option to counter back or simply resolve a Teferi or Jace against a tapped out opponent.

Even better, Ancestral Vision is absurd against discard strategies. If you’re able to suspend an Ancestral Vision on turn 1 and your opponent starts casting spells like Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize, they might rip your hand to shreds. When the last suspend counter is removed, however, you undo all of their hard work and investment.

So Ancestral Vision is insane in fair matchups where the game doesn’t end immediately, but how about versus the rest of the field?

Against aggressive decks, Ancestral Vision is often a liability. An untapped blue source on turn 1 against a deck like Burn isn’t always easy to find. You’re often hoping to fetch a dual or get your tapped lands into play early, so an untapped Island is an actual cost (even moreso in Jeskai). Against a deck like Humans, you’re running the risk of Meddling Mage stopping it cold.

Against combo, Vision is decent. Refueling your hand is solid and taking early damage off an untapped shockland isn’t a big deal. Your deck should have a reasonable amount of interaction, so prolonging the game until Vision can come off suspend is realistic, though not always.

For an effect this powerful, I want access to it, but I understand that the cost is often too high. Playing a single copy in the main, perhaps with access to 1-2 more after sideboard in slower matchups, seems like a solid choice. Modern is still dictated by Humans, so playing too many cards in your main deck that aren’t of high value in that matchup is a risk you can’t take.

Blue-White Control

JESSY_SAMEK, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League

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