Graven Lore is a Snow instant spell card from Magic the Gathering’s Kaldheim set. It’s similar to a few draw cards that we’ve seen in the past that have popped up in competitive play. Most recently, this card is reminiscent of Precognitive Perception from Ravnica Allegiance. That card drew you three cards for five mana, but allowed you to also scry 3 if you played it during your main phase. Graven Lore is somewhat better, as we’ll see in a minute, since you Scry for each Snow mana spent to cast it.
In many ways, Graven Lore is much like Ugin’s Insight from Battle for Zendikar. That was a five-mana Sorcery that saw some play in Esper Control decks for a while. It allowed you to Scry X, where X is the highest converted mana cost among permanents you control. Since those decks played planeswalkers that ranged from 4 to 6 mana, and the Sphinx of the Final Word which is 7 mana, you were often digging pretty deep with your Scry. Being able to set up your next seven draws was pretty silly, which is why many Esper decks played at least one copy.
However, Graven Lore is better than both Ugin’s Insight and Precognitive Perception in general. Being an instant means it’s already better than Ugin’s Insight most of the time. Also, since Precognition Perception only lets you scry during your own main phase, it may as well be a sorcery much of the time. The question becomes, how many of your mana sources tap for Snow mana? You can get a maximum of five Scrys, which puts it on par with one of the better outcomes for Ugin’s Insight. But, you really only need to Scry 3 on average to make this card worth playing. Best of all, you can play it on your opponent’s turn for maximum value. Even scrying just two probably makes this worth casting.
While Graven Lore is underwhelming when you compare it to Into the Story, which often draws four cards for four mana, it’s still a good card. Also, the Scry component means you’ll increase the quality of your draws, which Into the Story can’t do on its own. Do we see a copy of Graven Lore pop up in Dimir Rogues? It’s certainly possible, although Into the Story is still better in a deck that can get seven cards into an opponent’s graveyard quickly. However, against decks that are happy to empty out their graveyard, such as decks playing Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, Graven Lore is going to be more efficient.
Esper Doom Foretold and four-color Control decks may try out a copy of Graven Lore, even if they are only getting Snow from sources like Faceless Haven and the occasional dual land. It’s not impossible to see Mono-Blue decks such as Tempo in Historic try out a copy if they move to playing strictly Snow-Covered Islands to fuel Faceless Havens and potentially Ascendant Spirits. While Graven Lore isn’t going to be a format-defining card by any stretch, it’s one of the better draw-three variants we’ve seen in quite a while.
How would you play Graven Lore?
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