A in-depth guide to Karn Glimpse in Modern

Xenowan
25/01/2022 · 15 min read

Who am I?

Hello everyone, I’m Xenowan, mtgo grinder from the north of France. Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to make Glimpse of tomorrow as competitive as possible in Modern. In this guide, I’m going to present a brand new take on the archetype that I used to win the modern challenge of the 15th of February.

Karn Glimpse: How does it work?

Glimpse of tomorrow is a cascade deck that has a very similar structure to the other members of the family. In the same vein as Living End or Rhinos, your whole deck is built around a powerful 0 mana value spell. Every card in your deck except its namesake costs 3 mana or more. Because of this, Violent Outburst and Shardless Agent are always going to cascade into a Glimpse of Tomorrow.

Before we go any further, let’s analyze how Glimpse of Tomorrow works. The textbox of the card is a bit confusing at a first read. To put it simply, when the card resolves, you will shuffle every permanent you own into your deck (including lands, yes!). Then, you will put that many permanent cards from the top of your library onto the battlefield. To abuse this, the deck contains a bunch of enablers that generate multiple game objects with a single card.

Here is how a typical game with Glimpse is supposed to go

  • During the first 2 or 3 turns of the game, your goal is to accumulate as many game objects as possible.
  • On turns 3 or 4, you usually cast a cascader in order to resolve a Glimpse.

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  • You’ll get a fresh new board and a bunch of “enter the battlefield” effect triggers, providing a lot of value along the way. This is often enough to virtually win the game.
  • Untapped lands and Omnath triggers might give you access to more mana, allowing you to spin the wheel two or three times in a row if you deem it necessary.

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Now that we’re familiar with the main mechanics of the list, let's take a closer look at the decklist.

Glimpse Cascade. Builder: Xenowan.MTGO - Magic Online
1st in MTGO Modern Challenge #12375148 [32 Players] 15-Jan-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [23]
3  Shardless Agent   $0.35
4  Wavesifter   $0.25
4  Fury   $29.99
4  Chancellor of the Forge   $2.99
4  Seasoned Pyromancer   $24.99
4  Omnath, Locus of Creation   $12.99
Instant [4]
4  Violent Outburst   $4.49
Sorcery [3]
3  Glimpse of Tomorrow   $0.35
Enchantment [1]
1  Ardent Plea   $1.79
Planeswalker [4]
4  Karn, the Great Creator   $19.99
Land [25]
1  Breeding Pool   $23.99
1  Temple Garden   $15.99
1  Stomping Ground   $15.99
1  Steam Vents   $23.99
1  Sacred Foundry   $21.99
1  Raugrin Triome   $18.99
1  Mountain   $0.01
1  Forest   $0.01
1  Island   $0.01
2  Scalding Tarn   $29.99
2  Gemstone Caverns   $37.99
4  Wooded Foothills   $37.99
4  Misty Rainforest   $24.99
4  Khalni Garden   $0.39

Sideboard [15]
1  Tormod's Crypt   $0.59
1  Shardless Agent   $0.35
1  Liquimetal Coating   $1.49
1  Esika's Chariot   $6.99
1  Engineered Explosives   $11.99
1  Elixir of Immortality   $0.59
2  Teferi, Time Raveler   $19.99
2  Foundation Breaker   $0.49
2  Force of Vigor   $32.99
3  Mystical Dispute   $4.99
Buy this deck:

$602.72 Tix @cardhoarder   $15.07 / Week @cardhoarder   $n/a @tcgplayer   $1,040.97 @cardkingdom  


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Deck analysis:

Cascade core:

This is the core of the deck, allowing you to cast Glimpse as soon as turn 3. Having 8 cascaders makes the deck extremely consistent, contrary to popular belief.

Enablers:

All of these cards are doing something very similar: they help you amass game objects during the first turns of the game. The perfect starting hand contains multiple enablers.

Some Glimpse lists have been playing more than 16 enablers, adding Tireless Provisionner or Leylines. The issue with these cards is that they are pretty bad by themselves. I prefer more flexible enablers that have some amount of utility outside of combo turns.

Payoffs:

Fury is a free spell, which is very important against any aggro strategy that might be faster than you. It’s also a very decent payoff that provides immediate value.

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The strength of chancellor of the Forge resides in the fact that it’s simultaneously an enabler and a payoff. Its “enter the battlefield” trigger can turn a large board into an immediate victory, thanks to the swarm of hasty goblins.

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Omnath, Locus of Creation is simply the best card of the deck. It’s what holds the strategy together, making the connection between the combo and the fair gameplan. When you resolve a Glimpse, Omnath triggers for each land that arrives on the battlefield at the same time.

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Karn, the Great Creator is the biggest innovation of my list. In the past, I used to play Goblin-Dark Dweller in that slot. Despite having a unique and powerful effect, it was kind of a win-more card that was only useful during the combo turns. Since then, I’ve realized that you rarely need to win the game on the spot with Glimpse. It's more important to have a resilient gameplan, allowing you to fight through hate like Teferi, Time Raveler or Chalice of the Void. To achieve this, I’ve been playing more individually powerful cards that can contribute to a fair midrange gameplan.

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Karn role in the deck

So let’s see what Karn does in the deck!

  • It can grab Shardless Agent from your sideboard, when you need a cascader. This way, Karn can do a Goblin-Dark Dweller impression, by letting you spin the wheel if necessary.
  • Against Ramp and Control deck, Karn is a gameplan by itself. You can indeed fetch for a liquidmetal coating and start blowing up your opponent’s lands. Keep in mind that if you resolve a Glimpse, Liquidmetal Coating will get shuffled (and you are taking the risk of cascading into it later).

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  • The planeswalker provides a lot of utility with Engineered Explosives, Tormod’s Crypt and Elixir of immortality. These silver-bullets let you interact meaningfully with what your opponent is doing.
  • Karn can add more game objects to the board with Esika’s Chariot. Remember that you can “crew it” with its +1 ability !

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  • Last but not least, it lets you destroy Chalice of the Void, one of the most common hate pieces against cascade decks.

All in all, Karn is a very flexible card for the deck. The archetype is pretty good at protecting it by creating a lot of blockers. It provides a nice mix of power and utility, and is also good when your opponent is stopping you from comboing.

Tips and tricks

  • You should not always try to combo on turn 3! By amassing more permanents, you actually reduce the likelihood of a bad Glimpse. My rule of thumb is to generally wait as long as possible to cascade. Try to estimate how much time you have depending on the match-up and the context of the game. 5 permanents is the bare minimum to start cascading, 7 is what I consider to be the sweet spot.
  • When you resolve a Glimpse, always float extra mana (even if you don’t have any cards in hand). You might draw cards with Omnath or Seasoned Pyromancer, or alternatively spend this mana for Karn’s toolbox.
  • Speaking of Violent Outburst, there is a pretty neat trick that’s worth knowing. When you evoke Fury or Wavesifter, you have a window to cast Violent Outburst with the evoke trigger on the stack to gain an “extra permanent” for Glimpse.
  • When multiple Omnaths enter the battlefield at the same time, each of them will trigger. For example, if you find two Omnaths and three lands, you will get the three different triggers (lifegain, mana and damage) for each Omnath. Warning: the interaction is currently bugged online. On MTGO, the additional Omnath(s) will give you four life for each land that enters the battlefield with them (rather than going through all 3 different Omnath triggers, then stopping)

Match-up and sideboard guide

Hammer Time

This match-up is basically a race, with both decks looking for explosive draws. On the side of Glimpse, the trick is to use Fury in a proactive way - once Colossus Hammer is equipped, it’s already too late! Don’t hesitate to use Fury on an Ornithopter and a Memnite for example, the tempo swing might be enough to win the game. One of the key interactions to keep in mind is how Karn’s +1 ability works with equipments: if you target a Hammer it will fall off the creature it’s equipped to.

After sideboarding, the dynamic of the match-up stays the same. Both players will have access to more interaction and the games can be a little grindier. Be aware of anti-cascade cards, including Void Mirror and Drannith Magistrate.

Grixis Death Shadow

Grixis Death Shadow is a tough match-up. The xerox-style deck has access to a wide-range of interaction with discard effects, counterspells and the dreaded Dress Down. Once you have identified that you are playing against this archetype, you should generally stop attacking to avoid growing Death’s Shadows. The cascade gameplan is a bit fragile, but your fair strategy can outgrind them in the late game.


In games 2 and 3, side in the whole “anti-counterspell package”. Karn lines up poorly against cheap interaction like Spell Pierce, so I like to take all of them out.

UR Murktide:

The match-up against Murktide is very similar to the Shadow one. However, you have a lot more room to outplay your opponent, due to their lack of discard and dress down.

Same reasoning as against GDS. The main difference is that they have access to Blood Moon after sideboarding. Fetching a Forest in the first two turns is the best way to play around it.

4c Yorion:

Be prepared for a grindfest! Games against 4c Yorion tend to go long, and it’s easy to time out if you play too slowly. In game 1, current Yorion lists are not very well equipped against unfair decks. The only cards that you should be aware of are Teferi, Time Raveler and counterspell. Having a strong board presence is the best way to ensure not losing to a Teferi!

The cascade gameplan is a little weaker after sideboarding, as your opponent will have access to more counterspells. I’m not a huge fan of Teferi against Yorion piles, but it might be relevant depending on your opponent's sideboard.

Crashing Footfalls:

Karn Glimpse is super favored against Rhinos. Crashing Footfalls needs to dominate the board in order to win, but glimpse is able to go over the top. If you get to the late game, it's very hard to lose! The games that you're not winning usually involve a fast clock backed-up by Force of Negation. Don't hesitate to evoke Fury to buy time if necessary.

You are still favored, once again try to not get cheesed by Blood Moon by fetching for a basic forest.

Burn

Burn is the deck's worst match-up. Your main gameplan against this deck is unreliable, as it consists of finding Omnath + lands with a turn 3 Glimpse. Another way to gain life is with Elixir of Immortality (which can be fetched by Karn, the Great Creator).

I like to keep the deck as it is in sideboard games. If you’re confident that your opponent will bring in Roiling Vortex, you might want to side in Foundation Breaker.

Zoomer Jund Saga:

Jund Saga doesn’t really have the tools to consistently win game 1. The cascade structure is excellent against discard spells. They also have a hard time beating your grindy gameplan.

In post-board games, you should expect some copies of Void Mirror or Chalice of the Void. Force of Vigor and Foundation Breaker are also efficient answers to Urza's Saga.

UW control:

UW control is a super skill-intensive match-up. Control players have a lot of tools to disrupt your combo with counterspells, Chalice of the Void and Teferi, Time Raveler. On the side of Glimpse, you should try to attack them from multiple angles.Violent Outburst is a key card, as it allows you to threaten a combo at instant speed and requires an immediate answer. Karn, the Great Creator is another threat that needs to be answered, as it can take over the game by itself. Finally, creature beatdown is your last angle of attack. However, given that they have sweepers, it’s crucial not to overextend. All in all, it’s a match-up that requires sharp piloting from the Glimpse player.

Belcher:

Belcher versus Glimpse basically comes down to the Glimpse player resolving a Karn or getting a combo win before dying. Karn stops Charbelcher from being activated, but the Belcher deck has an alternate win-condition using Recross the Paths to set up a Pyromancer’s Ascension loop. You might expect that tutoring Tormod’s crypt with Karn throws a massive wrench in this plan, but competent Belcher players have found a convoluted pile that can beat this. Therefore it’s quite important to apply pressure and close out the game once Karn hits the battlefield.

After sideboarding, the games are still extremely linear. Don’t hesitate to mull aggressively: your slow hands aren’t good enough. Some Belcher players have started to play Magus of the Moon instead of Blood Moon in their sideboard. If that’s the case, you might want to put some copies of Fury back into your deck for game 3.

Thanks for reading my first article! I’ve put a lot of effort in the list and I’m very pleased by the current configuration. Glimpse is not only super fun to play, but also a solid competitive choice. If you have any questions or suggestions about the list, feel free to reach out on twitter @Xenowan.

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones How to become a better tournament player, Amulet Titan In-depth & Sideboard guide

Xenowan
Limited Addict & Modern deckbuilder
I’m a master student living in the north of France. In my free time, I like to play Modern and Limited. I have an unconditional love for intricate synergies and convoluted combos !

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Published: 2022-01-25 12:44:42

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