I really liked Riddle of Lightning from Future
Sight once upon a time, because it created a fun
"mini-game moment". Do you put a card on top you
can't use just for its CMC? If there's nothing
there you can use, do you ship them all to the
bottom and gamble or leave the most expensive
one on top? It helped that at five mana, you
could probably cast whatever you saw with Riddle
by the time you were able to cast the Riddle
Interpret the Signs is similar at first, but not
once you think about it. Since you're drawing
whatever you reveal, you'll always Scry to best
set up future draws. (And by "future" I mean
"half a second from now"). As long as you don't
see three lands, there's no reason not to just
put the most expensive card you see on top and
do whatever suits you with the other two. Even
if you don't want the expensive card just now,
it'll ensure you draw plenty of other cards to
work with. Or maybe you saw nothing but
one-drops? Do you ship them all to the bottom
and hope for the best, or do you play it safe?
Interpret the Signs costs six mana-- only
drawing one or two cards isn't worth it, even
with the scry effect. I'm not convinced drawing
three cards is worth it if one of them has to be
a three-drop I have no use for, but the risk of
topdecking a land and drawing zero is too high
to gamble if you're guaranteed at least three.
Occasionally, you'll live the dream and the top
three will show you a second Interpret the
Signs, giving you a full grip of cards and
another way to refuel once they're spent. But
the highs wouldn't feel so good without the
lows, now would they?
Today's card of the day is Interpret the Signs
which is a six mana Blue sorcery with Scry 3
then has you reveal the top card of your library
and draw cards equal to it's converted mana
cost. With Scry skewing the odds in favor of
drawing more cards and cards that are beneficial
this is one of the most efficient draw options
available, though it is kept to the later stages
of the game. The single Blue allows for
splashing, which can be a huge benefit to a
Green acceleration build with high mana cost
creatures. Overall this is a very solid, if
somewhat mana intensive card, that will see some
play in Casual, Commander, and Multiplayer as a
fairly reliable draw engine.
In Limited this can be a major advantage even
with moderate mana cost choices as both the Scry
and draw aspects dramatically improve your
options going forward. The single Blue allows
any deck using Blue mana to reliably cast this
and there is no reason not to include it in
Sealed when using the color. In Booster this is
a reasonable second or third pick if there is no
major removal or top end creatures available.
Let me get this straight. I get to scry 3,
find the most expensive card of those, put it at
the top of my library, and then draw cards equal
to it's casting cost? Sign me up!
What's that? It costs six? Maybe I'll pass on
this after all.
In the right circumstance, this could have an
amazing effect. Imagine this: Late in a game,
you've got no cards in hand, and too many lands
with not enough creatures. You draw for the
turn, and it's Interpret the Signs. You scry,
and the first two cards are lands - it will be
good to get those to the bottom of your library
- and the third card is a huge creature with a 7
casting cost! You draw 7 cards, including the
big creature you needed and come back to win the
And then you wake up and realize it was only
This is what we call a "Magic Christmastime"
situation. Of course it could happen. It's fun
to think about, and it's amazing the once a year
(like Christmas is once a year) it actually
works. But it's far too unpredictable. More
often, you're going to have a far less exciting
turn of events. You spend your six mana and get
three cards that are not really what you are
looking for. You can either put the top casting
cost card (4 mana) on top - even though it's not
really useful at the moment - so you can draw 4
cards, OR, you can put them all at the bottom
and hope the next card is better. Sometimes,
you'll get three lands and not get to draw
anything for your six-mana investment.
Good cards are consistently good. You know
what you're getting out of them every time. You
can predict how your deck will work because it's
full of consistent cards. Interpret the signs is
like flipping a coin. Half the time it works out
well, half of the time it's a complete waste. If
you really want to spend six mana drawing cards,
play Inspiration - at least you know you're
getting 4 cards every time.
Interpret the Signs is what a fun combo card
should be. Really bad when used incorrectly, and
RIDICULOUSLY GOOD when you build around it with
a specific goal in mind.
The goal of course is to run this with a few
choice high-cost spells, and pray to the scry
gods that one of them is just where it needs to
be when you cast this, getting you big card
...But let's be honest here. If you want to
use this card, you want to dream bigger than
that. You don't just want big card advantage.
You want HUGE card advantage! Gigantic! Why
settle for big, when bigger is better? The
Dream™ is to play Interpret the Signs, and find
yourself... oh, let's say... Emrakul, the Aeons
Torn. Have you ever drawn 15 cards off of 6
mana? That's The Dream™. What will you do with a
hand of 15+ cards and 7 mana (there's a
99.75389% chance of drawing at least 1 land in a
deck that's 1/3rd lands after drawing 15 cards -
yay math!) the next turn? I don't know.
Hopefully win. Hopefully lots of fun things.
Maybe something that cares about how many cards
you have in hand, that'd be pretty fun.
Overbeing of Myth or Aeon Chronicler or
Sturmgeist perhaps, which are also acceptable
things to hit with Interpret the Signs as you'd
draw 5. Heck Interpret the Signs is an
acceptable thing to hit with Interpret the
Signs, as you'd draw 6!
Let's step away from The Dream™ for a moment,
and look at Cold Hard Reality (trademark still
pending). In a serious deck, for Constructed or
even Limited, you wouldn't want to run this. 6
mana is a lot of mana, yes. But that's not even
it! 6 mana would be an acceptable cost... IF it
gave consistent results. If it said this will
draw you a lot of cards every time, that'd be
something. But this forces you to either build
your deck inefficiently, or likely get
underwhelming results. What I mean by the
inefficient deck bit is you need to include
pretty high-cost cards to get your mana's worth
for this. And that means you risk drawing said
high-cost cards, long before you could cast
them, slowing your hand and tempo considerably.
You may as well have just not drawn anything
that turn if you never get to actually play it.
And a pricey card it would have to be indeed.
Because look at the competition. What other
pure card draw spells are out there? Well, we've
got Divination. That's 3 mana for 2 cards.
Alright. Next up we've got Concentrate, which is
4 mana for 3 cards. Not bad. And then you've got
Tidings, which is 5 mana for 4 cards. And of
course there are variations on all of these,
some that are instants and some that add scry,
and make them a bit more expensive but also more
versatile. But in terms of raw card-drawing
power, that's the competition.
So you would have to draw at LEAST five cards
for playing Interpret the Signs to be worth it
over one of those other cards. It's not
impossible, but it begs the question of just how
many 5+ mana cards do you want to include in
your deck? What if you draw them all in your
opening hand? Not to mention you'd be running
some amount of the 6 mana Interpret the Signs
card too. And there's always the fear that no
matter what deck manipulation shenanigans you're
able to pull, you'll cast this only to see
something like Judge's Familiar, Nivmagus
Elemental, and Vortex Elemental during your scry
3, and after putting all those 1 mana cards at
the bottom of your library you reveal a land and
It's unreliable when used seriously, but oh
so entertaining when used just for fun in some
ridiculous stall deck filled with huge things. A
casual card for sure.