While many decks that relied on Snapcaster have either shaved the number they play or moved in other directions, that isn’t really Snapcaster’s fault. We need to get value out of our spells, and many decks that want Snapcaster also want Rest in Peace. So if Snapcaster Mage is losing playing time in Modern, does Mission Briefing have a chance to make an impact?
Mission Briefing looks remarkably similar to Snapcaster Mage in many ways. It costs 2 mana, it’s an instant, and gives you the ability to cast spells out of your graveyard. So what are the benefits to Mission Briefing over Snapcaster Mage?
Surveil 2 is a real ability, and at times you’ll fire off a Mission Briefing and hope to hit a spell you can cast while setting up your draw. Surveil 2 doesn’t offer a 2/1 body that can defend your planeswalkers and attack your opponent’s, however, so you’re going to need more.
The really big win for Mission Briefing in Modern is the presence of suspend spells and As Foretold. We’ve already seen what As Foretold can do in Modern. When combined with Ancestral Vision, you can use it to cast a free Ancestral Recall. This combo also happens to work with Mission Briefing! You can target an Ancestral Vision in your graveyard with the Briefing and use As Foretold to play it for free. That’s some serious card advantage!
Ancestral Vision isn’t the only powerful suspend card available. You also can play Living End to sweep the opponent’s battlefield. While I imagine that any deck playing As Foretold, Mission Briefing, and suspend spells will be light on creatures, the ability to play a free sweeper off your As Foretold is still some serious value. You also don’t have to play as many copies thanks to Tolaria West. Transmute for 0 lets you find a Vision or Living End whenever you need it.
A deck that’s going to take advantage of all of this power and card draw is going to need to buy time, and luckily Modern also offers another way to do that—by stealing time. These cards all play incredibly well in a Taking Turns shell! Time Walk effects are a great way to find the spells you need and to build up counters on your As Foretold. Once you get going, you’ll be drawing so many cards and getting so many free Time Walks that winning becomes academic.
One of the sweetest things you can do with all of these cards is to then combo Snapcaster Mage with Mission Briefing. You can use the Briefing to flashback something powerful like Ancestral Vision or Living End, but then you’ll also later have the option of using Snapcaster Mage to flashback the Briefing to hit yet another suspend spell!
Taking Turns is one of the sweetest decks in Modern, and it looks like Guilds of Ravnica has provided a sweet new tool to add yet another dimension to the deck!