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[en] We investigate the order-by-order convergence behavior of many-body perturbation theory (MBPT) as a simple and efficient tool to approximate the ground-state energy of closed-shell nuclei. To address the convergence properties directly, we explore perturbative corrections up to 30th order and highlight the role of the partitioning for convergence. The use of a simple Hartree–Fock solution for the unperturbed basis leads to a convergent MBPT series for soft interactions, in contrast to the divergent MBPT series obtained with a harmonic oscillator basis. For larger model spaces and heavier nuclei, where a direct high-order MBPT calculation is not feasible, we perform third-order calculations and compare to advanced ab initio coupled-cluster results for the same interactions and model spaces. We demonstrate that third-order MBPT provides ground-state energies for nuclei up into the tin isotopic chain in excellent agreement with the best available coupled-cluster calculations at a fraction of the computational cost.