Magic the Gathering Card Analysisancestral Knowledge

At some point between the publication of the alpha set of magic the gathering and forth edition wizards of the coast realized that demonic tutor was an absurdly powerful card. I could have told them this five minutes after I first began to use it as I would often cast it and the spell it was used to get on the first turn and I often added black mana into a deck just so that I could play this. (This was in the age of true duel lands when adding a color for one card was not a big deal). Eventually the card was removed from the core set and they began to search for replacements. Most of these were black, but blue also got some deck manipulation abilities.

One of those blue cards is Ancestral Knowledge a rare blue enchantment from the weatherlight expansion set of magic the gathering. It costs one blue and one colorless to put into play and has a cumulative upkeep of 1. What this means is that on every upkeep you must pay one more colorless mana or sacrifice Ancestral Knowledge. This is one of the lower upkeep costs as you can theoretically pay it forever so long as you play a land every turn, but in practice it becomes too expensive about 3 turns in.

The enchantment itself reads “When Ancestral Knowledge enters the battlefield, look at the top ten cards of your library, then exile any number of them and put the rest back on top of your library in any order. When Ancestral Knowledge leaves the battlefield, shuffle your library. “

Those this has a somewhat similar effect to the spell demonic tutor there are a few reasons that it is not as good. The first of these is that unlike demonic tutor this costs you a card. The second reason this hurts is that you do not get the card until the next time you draw a spell. And of course third your opponent can disenchant this before you get any cards from it.

There are advantages though. Tho most valuable is that while you don’t search your entire deck, you do get more than one card. And in blue you can potentially get them quite quickly. If you for example happen to have ancestral recall in your deck you could put in on the top of the deck, and then play it to draw the next three cards. Since this would likely be the only cards you really needed you would then probably let ancestral knowledge go away at the beginning of your next upkeep.