Abrupt Decay vs Abrade (Decklist Included)

I have been working on this deck for quite a while and it has done fairly well (in the I only get to play Vintage once a year type of a way). As the title implies, I am considering exchanging Abrupt Decay for Abrade. The main threats I am looking to be able answer with either are:

Containment Prriest
Graftdiggers Cage
Null Rod

Obviously both cards answer these cards equally well. The Decay comes with the can't be countered clause, and the ability to hit other (although limited CMC) permanents at the cost of a more restrictive casting cost. The Abrade has a much more forgiving casting cost, along with the ability to hit Lodestone Golem.

The other difficult part is this is an unknown metagame, although it will be "proxy free".

Please let me know your thoughts. I know the list seems pretty wonky, and I suspect you're going to tell me I'm trying to do too many different things at the same time, but that was the intention of the deck. I love Oath as a control deck, and I love combo control decks, so this deck was my own build to combine the two.

I look forward to some discussion!

4 Forbidden Orchard
4 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Tundra
1 Volcanic Island
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Library of Alexandria

1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Emerald
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Lotus Petal

4 Force of Will
2 Flusterstorm
4 Mental Misstep

4 Oath of Druids
3 Griselbrand
3 Burning Wish

2 Abrupt Decay
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Moat

2 Paradoxical Outcome
1 Ponder
1 Time Walk
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dig Through Time
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm

1 Tendrils of Agony
1Toxic Deluge
1 Balance
1 Show and Tell
1 Yawgomoth’s Will
1 Flusterstorm
1 Ancient Grudge
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Leyline of Sanctity

If your only concern is lodestone golem I would go with abrupt decay. There is 1 LSG in a deck and the ancient grudge you have can handle it. However, abrade cannot reliably get rid of mentor. Abrade can be countered or mentor can just grow too big for abrade to kill at instant speed. I'm guessing you'll see more mentor than LSG's. I would -1 burning wish, -1 hurkyls to the main deck and +1 abrupt decay, +1 ancient grudge.

This is tricky. Abrupt Decay is the better effect for you, for sure (this seems like a deck that isn't too concerned about a Lodestone Golem) ... but that manabase, though ...

I think the cards are close enough that it's going to come down to which card is easier to cast, but honestly at a glance I can't tell which that is. The colorless mana in Abrade helps a ton, but with only one Volcanic and 3 Red spells, I imagine you might have Red mana the least often of all your colors.

This isn't the BEST answer, but if I were you, what I'd do is run one of each. Not that one of each is correct – ultimately you're going to want one or the other – but it's a good way to figure out which is easier to cast in the meantime. Every time you fetch a land, think "if my top card were going to be Abrade or Abrupt Decay, which one would I want it to be?" This deck is unique enough that I think the only way you're going to get at the right answer is collecting more data.

I've been running Oath for years now... and I love Abrupt Decay. The current blue plan for Oath is just to "Hate you out", and that almost always means Containment Priest, and to a lesser extent Cage. I see you run 4 Misstep, so we can probably relegate Cage to a second tier concern. The main worry is when you put Oath's trigger on the Stack in your Upkeep, and they flash in the Priest. If you're Oathing in that case than, more than likely you have an Orchard in play (otherwise how do they have a creature?)... so it just takes one other black or green source and your Decay is live. Resolving the Priest only to shoot it in the face before resolving the Oath trigger... pretty big part of the game plan I would think.

Abrade is also an instant. So I guess you could say that it's just as good, but if it gets countered in that situation you've almost always lost the game. Whereas if Priest dies, you've almost always won... up to you. To brassy's point, is it more important that you don't need the second black or green source? or is uncounterability more important?

30% of top 8 decks run some Priest... 64% run Cage... If you have one Orchard and an Oath on the table, and exactly one of these removal spells in hand, you have 16 other black and or green sources in the deck. Assuming you've seen about 10 total cards at this point, you will have seen the necessary other source to cast a Decay 91% of the time... so 9% of the time it's dead in hand and you can either wait to activate Oath or gamble they don't have Priest. (If they have the mana up and have seen 10 cards also... wait, no, they're Mentor so they've seen 13 cards by now, so they are holding Priest 66% of the time if they run 4 post board... so maybe don't gamble, unless you're dead more often than that by just playing on?)

As for Abrade? They are holding Priest with FoW back-up after seeing 13 cards and playing two mana sources, a pretty amazing 44% of the time. So I would lean Decay... but there is for sure some decent part of the time where Abrade is just better.

I also think Decay is good enough against Shops, and you already run main board Hurkyl 2x...

last edited by Topical_Island


Thanks for the input Brassman. I am not terribly concerned with Lodestone, it just happens to be a "well, Decay can't deal with it" example.

Were you counting the Orchards as additional red sources?

The hard part is, Im only going to be able to play the deck in one event... so I can't do alot of playtesting before. My schedule and lack or opportunity to playtest so I kinda have my decision made going into the event.

I really hate the idea of one of each, because I am confident whatever one I draw, I'm going to wish it was the other...

@xxhazardxx the orchards are what made it so hard to answer the question! I don't play a lot of Oath, so I'm not super familiar with how 5c lands in a manabase play out.

Maybe there's another way of looking at this. If you can't get testing in, think about which lands you'd rather have out against the decks you want this spell in. If you have an orchard and another land, you can probably cast either...

So think about the scenario where you only have two fetches in play. If, on average, you want one of those two lands to be a volcanic, Abrade is probably better... Otherwise, probably abrupt decay. In the late game, you probably have enough mana for either... So basically I think this question hinges on how often you plan on playing an early Burning Wish in the matchups where you might need an early removal spell.

The last event I played I got stranded under a Null Rod and couldn't draw a fetch land to save my life... So the Decay in my hand was useless. I'm not sure if I'm overthinking the awesomeness of Decay with this one time although horrible circumstance.

@xxhazardxx With a Null Rod in play you need two lands to play Abrade, too ... Though now that I'm looking at your list again, I realized I completely missed the Tundra the first time. I think you'll probably have a better time playing the deck if you scale back on your colored spells, but if you're rock solid on the other 73 cards, the chance that you might have a Tundra in play pushes the odds a little more in favor of Abrade, I'd guess.

I know I'm trying to do alot of different things with all the colors. Balance and Moat are just such powerful cards, I'd feel like Im doing myself a dis-service not playing them.

I'll probably just have to bring them both and decide at the last minute.

this may have already been said, i didnt read all the comments, but i think if your mana can support it, abrupt decay would be better, for the most part the hit the same targets that you would want to destroy, with a few exceptions such as lsg or rest in peace, but the uncounterable on abrupt decay is a huge reason to play it over abrade, also looking at the deck it seems like red is a very light splash while green and black are more prominent, so it seems like you are more likely to have mana to cast decay, so imho i would say decay would be the better of the two.

I would go with Abrupt Decay. My gut reaction looking at your list is that there are more times Abrade would get countered when you really need it then you getting screwed on mana when you have Abrupt Decay.

@xxhazardxx If this is a paper event, you should seriously consider making one of those Griselbrands into an Auriok Salvagers. The necessity of a maindeck Pyrite Spellbomb being vastly exagerated. Infinate mana wins a lot. With, Demonic, Dig, Paradoxical, Wish and assorted drawing spells in deck, as well as 2 other Grisselbrands, Oathing into Salvagers is super dangerous for your opponent, and it's castability is pretty awesome.

@topical_island kinda to go off what you said, the op could put a braingeyeser in the side since the op is playing burning wish for an instant win combo

last edited by letseeker

@letseeker Tendrils already does the job there. You cast the Lotus each cycle, so since we have 10 Drills in the SB already, a Burning Wish in hand when we go off is just game as it is.

last edited by Topical_Island

@letseeker No worries, I like your style. Brain-Geezer would love to see some play like the old days. I know that Legacy high tide uses Blue Sun's Zenith in that role now, if you're interested. But I've never played it.

@topical_island This is a paper event, so Salvagers combo is very doable. The only thing I'm afraid of is hitting GB when I want Salvagers and Salvagers when I want GB. Also, the Salvagers makes me slightly more vulnerable to Null Rod.

As for the original question (Abrupt Decay vs Abrade), you have convinced me that Abrupt Decay is the superior card.

@letseeker said in Abrupt Decay vs Abrade (Decklist Included):

but the uncounterable on abrupt decay is a huge reason to play it over abrade, also looking at the deck it seems like red is a very light splash while green and black are more prominent, so it seems like you are more likely to have mana to cast decay, so imho i would say decay would be the better of the two.

This made alot of sense.

@xxhazardxx I can say I have played over 100 matches with an Oath deck running Salvagers... (probably more in the neighborhood of 2-3 hundred?) Annnndddd... I honestly have no idea if it will cause you to win more games. I mean, I run it. But there is no way I can calc it out for your build because it's way way to complicated right?

We probably both know the pros and cons. You can hardcast your victory with Salvagers in deck, less possible without... Its worse to Null Rod, which already hurts your build a lot I'd imagine. And I wish I could tell you that I never lose by Oathing into the wrong fella. But of course that happens. I also win, using a totally different style build, by casting the Salvagers and going off... so... that's what I can tell you. Ummmm... Salvagers is a card that they printed one time.

Honestly, this is a terrible reason to do anything in cards, but if it would emotionally hurt too much to lose by hitting the wrong dude. Don't play it. That shit is real.

Best of luck to you man. Happy to see you playing Oath.

last edited by Topical_Island

I mean, I'm gonna do it (run Salvagers). This deck is already trying to do so many things... why not add another threat?

I like the style of of throwing bomb after bomb... Haymaker after haymaker... This is just one more way to win out of no where and it's castable!

(Although, I did hardcast a GB against a Containment Priest a while ago and my opponent was completely unprepared for GB to actually hit the field. )

@xxhazardxx Haha... bless you Sir. I love your style. I hope you get in there, draw super hot and rip it up.

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