Magic the Gathering is a game of many keywords and some are more common than others. For example, flying, scry, first strike, and menace are ubiquitous and can even appear on multiple commons in the same set and color.
These ‘base’ keywords are evergreen and appear in every set regardless of that set’s unique flavor or keywords, unlike foretell, a keyword that’s currently unique to Kaldheim. The Foretell mechanic allows you to pay 2 colorless mana to put a spell face down into exile and then play it on a later turn for a reduced cost.
Foretell isn’t only a discounted cost mechanic, like another echo or cumulative upkeep; it encourages bluffing. Magic has been called a mixture of chess and poker but really only had limited options for bluffing until foretell was introduced. Foretell forces bluffing into the game (unless you only have one card with foretell and your opponent knows your deck already).
Foretell Limitations in its Current State
What have they foretold? A Behold the Multiverse or a Doomskar? Unfortunately most of the time it’s either one of these two cards (since Alrund’s Epiphany was banned in standard and alchemy).
Foretell has so much unexplored potential that could make it so much more interesting than it actually is. The main problem that’s holding it back is that the already limited foretell card pool is limited even further by the fact that most foretell cards just aren’t good enough to see play in most constructed formats.
The other problem is that foretell is mostly limited to blue and white instants and sorceries, which is an unnecessary limitation. Foretell could easily be more common in black, red and green too, as well as for artifacts and colorless spells. Foretell could even work for lands if the land had some big payoff to make it worth waiting an extra turn for. Foretell costs of 0 could easily work.
Just like how food and adventure were exclusive to Throne of Eldraine but were key mechanics of Modern Horizons 2 and Commander Legends 2 respectively, foretell would be an exciting keyword to explore in more depth in future expansions. And just like food and adventure, foretell only gets more powerful the more cards that are printed with the same keyword; more foretell cards equals more guessing for the opponent.
Check out our other articles on MTG Mechanics.
The Future of Foretell
Magic has plenty of unexplored space in terms of encouraging bluffing and foretell is the closest it has got so far. Foretell is a fascinating mechanic with mediocre execution as of August 2022, but I’m confident that Wizards will return to it in the future and truly unlock its exciting potential.