Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Forecast Work in Magic?
In Magic, a rare set of white and blue cards bear the forecast trait, which lets you pay a unique cost to reveal and activate their effects during your upkeep, keeping them in your hand (as opposed to heading to your graveyard like instants and sorceries). Since they don't enter the field, these cards are difficult for your opponent to punish, reminiscent of Yu-Gi-Oh's infamous hand traps.
The cool thing about forecast cards is that they also have regular casting mechanics, letting you pick whether to use their forecast or standard activations. As of this writing, exactly 10 of these cards exist, highlighting just how rare they are. So, which hand-revealing spells reign supreme? These are the 10 only—er, best forecast cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Govern the Guildless
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6 (2 with forecast)
Govern the Guildless costs a hefty sum of six mana and lets you gain control of a monocolored creature. While permanently stealing opposing troops is nice, you can find better loyalty-changing blue spells at lower prices.
Gulidless's forecast lets you pay two mana, reveal it, and have a creature become the color or colors of your choice. This can be useful for making something monocolored (letting you steal it) or altering hues to bypass protection, but it's just not enough to redeem this overpriced spell.
9. Steeling Stance
CMC: 3 (1 with forecast)
As an instant, you can cast Stance at any time, and it simply grants all your creatures +1/+1 for the turn. A nice bonus, albeit a bit weak for three mana.
Thankfully, the forecast is better, letting you spend a single white mana to grant a creature +1/+1 for the turn. This makes a great play when you know you'll have a leftover resource that turn, just remember that since you cast it at your upkeep, your recipient has to already be fielded (you won't be able to use it on units you cast during your upcoming main phase).
8. Paladin of Prahv
CMC: 6 (2 with forecast)
A 3/4 (three power and four toughness) is weak for six mana, but Prahv recovers you a corresponding amount of life whenever he deals damage. This is essentially lifelink, but since it's technically a separate effect, if you grant Prahv lifelink with an aura spell, both traits can trigger and recover you massive amounts of life!
Forecasting Prahv with two mana grants his ability to a creature for the turn, letting them regain life whenever they deal damage. Note that this includes both combat damage and effect damage, affording additional opportunities to make use of your lifegain.
7. Plumes of Peace
CMC: 3 (2 with forecast)
Like other aura enchantments, Peace adheres to a creature, but it actually debuffs it target, so bestow it upon an opponent's monster rather than your own. Peace's bearer doesn't untap during its owner's untap step, essentially rendering that card useless until Peace leaves the field.
You can also forecast by spending one white and one blue mana to tap a creature. Not an overwhelming effect, but a nice way to dull a potential blocker when you know you have excess mana available.
6. Writ of Passage
CMC: 1 (2 with forecast)
Writ of Passage is one of few spells that can make a creature unblockable. It only needs one island's mana, and whenever its recipient attacks, it becomes immune to blockers for the turn if its power is two or less. While this restricts you to weaker monsters, it's a great way to land poison counters when using infect strategies or to trigger direct damage effects (like those on the "Sword of" artifact equipment spells).
Forecasting Passage for two grants the same effect to a single unit for the turn, making it unblockable if its power is two or less. Why spend extra mana each turn to forecast when you can permanently attach it for one? Well, doing so keeps Passage in your hand, making it harder to remove, and it lets you change your target each turn, useful if you have more than one unit that could benefit from the trait.
CMC: X (2 with forecast)
Skyscribing lets you spend X mana of your choice plus two blue, then has each player draw X cards. Alternatively, forecasting it for three simply has both players draw a single card.
While your opponent is gaining the same benefit that you are, blue has many tricks that reward you for drawing, ensuring you'll make better use of your buffed hand. This also works well when you possess punishments or restrictions for your opponent's draws, like the net on legendary elf "Leovold, Emissary of Trest."
4. Spirit en-Dal
CMC: 3 (2 with forecast)
Spirit is a weak 2/1, but her shadow trait lets her block and be blocked only by other creatures with shadow. These are very rare, meaning she's usually completely unblockable against most decks.
Forecasting for two mana lets you grant another creature shadow for the turn; another great way to land direct damage effects and prevent opponents from guarding.
3. Proclamation of Rebirth
CMC: 3 (6 with forecast)
Now we're getting to the real treats. Rebirth lets you return up to three creatures with a CMC of 1 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Sure, they're weak, but few spells this cheap can revive so efficiently, returning the cards not just to your hand but right back into the arena.
If you instead wait for Rebirth's substantial forecast of six, you can return a single unit with CMC 1 or less from your graveyard to the field. Normally it's best to just use Rebirth's standard activation, but its forecast come in handy for continuous revivals or when you only have a single valid target in your graveyard.
2. Sky Hussar
CMC: 5 (0 with forecast; see below)
Hussar's battle stats are a decent 4/3, and he arrives with flying, letting him soar over ground blockers. Better yet, when enters the field, he untaps all creatures you control, ensuring your army is ready for a massive assault.
Hussar also wields a unique forecast that doesn't require mana, but instead demands you tap two untapped white or blue creatures to draw a card, a great way to make use of weaker support units or tokens. Plus, if you cast Hussar that turn, he'll untap them on arrival, essentially granting a free draw. Versatile and competent in battle, Hussar's an easy pick for my white/blue commander decks, especially since he's surprisingly affordable, costing well under a single dollar!
1. Pride of the Clouds
CMC: 2 (4 with forecast)
Pride of the Clouds is an exceedingly well-rounded unit, bearing synergies with both the cat and elemental clans with his twin subtypes. His forecast effect is rather pricey, paying four mana just to create a 1/1 creature token with flying; however, nnce fielded, Pride's 1/1 stats are boosted by +1/+1 for all creatures with flying in play!
This effect counts any tokens he previously made, your other monsters, and even your opponent's own aerial combatants. Even in just 1v1, this is lethal for a two-cost card; in multiplayer, it can skyrocket Pride into one of the game's strongest creatures.
How to Beat Forecast Decks in Magic
Forecast is a powerful ability that lets players activate effects from the safety of their hand, but like all traits, it's not invincible. To thwart a forecast-happy opponent, use black's forced discards to remove it from their hand. Alternatively, having protection from or counters against blue and white also obstructs their usage, and remember that forecast can only be used at a player's upkeep, giving you time to react between each activation.
Forecast remains an engaging trait that I hope to see on future sets, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of hand-revealing spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill