Great intro, Brassman. Not only is it well presented but it shows a clear understanding of some of the archetype's subtleties.

I can contribute the observation that Inferno Titan is in the spotlight because of his broad strength against creatures and particularly token + planeswalker strategies (including the underwhelming but very fashionable "Baby" Jace). He appeared on occasion as a supporting actor in a few "Odd Oath" builds in the past, a few of Josh Potucek's Oathstill lists, and I tested him in a non-Oath deck a few years back with Caverns and Trinket Mages called "Inferno Bomberman." I learned from Dragonlord Salvagers Oath that the particulars of that approach begged the question, "Yes it's good, but what does it lose to?" And the most common answer was Jace, the Mind Sculptor in tandem with Swords to Plowshares. Not the Containment Priest, not combo, not Dredge or other traditionally sketchy weak points for some Oath lists. We could always succesfully force the Oath (since it's relatively easy to resolve compared to most things and because Priests could be Sudden Shocked etc.) but horrifically, this set up could end up losing after activating Oath of Druids multiple times, which is disheartening. The Inferno Titan was a way to make sure that there would always be value even if one of the Titans was dispatched to the farms.

By contrast, Auriok lists shine more against combo and Dredge. The current iteration of Inferno Oath can handle Dredge by giving it serious attention; Auriok Oath can get away with less hate since Auriok himself is a form of Dredge control (recurring Crypts, Spellbombs etc.) If there is a meta shift towards combo, a lax in the Stony Silence/Null Rod saturation (which we can start to see now), and Dredge rises, Auriok can return. Dromoka will return from Tarkir if/when Xerox and Landstill move from predominantly Tundra based to predominantly Volcanic Island based as they have in the past; she terrorizes Delvers and Bolts cannot halt her majesty but she dislikes farming and the road to exile.

Other reasons I went with Inferno Titans and the supporting cast v. Auriok are that I wanted a cleaner mana base, I did not want to run Engineered Explosives (weaker v. Delver/Pyro now due to CMC changes and Shops is too aggressive for the old EE @ 2 blowout plays), and at Champs I felt some of the residual paranoia about Paradoxical Outcome would lead to a more Null Rod heavy environment, which it did. This is starting to fade but it's still present.

@brass-man
Hey, the reasoning behind wanting to cut moxen has been to shore up blue control matches since the deck is pretty good every where else. I would use psychatog as a win con with traitor's clutch or defy gravity, to minimize creature chaff. Going -2 moxen -2 creatures +4 preordain would (I think) be pretty good and minimize dead cards against some of the decks to beat.
I agree with you that changing the deck and losing to the current good matches is a bad idea, especially since thats what makes this deck so great.

last edited by John Cox

I just am not feeling Preordain specifically in Oath. There's not an Oath curve that I see Preordain being a great fit in.

Oath is defined by its marquee two-drop and really appreciates off-color mana.

Preordain is really best utilized by decks with low curve that will often have a single spare on-color mana on some of the game's critical turns. Either to cast the Preordain, or more importantly to be able to cast the Swords or Pyroblast or second Preordain that you Preordain into.

In Oath I just see Preordain adding a lot of air. I can't see the upside to Preordaining with your Forbidden Orchard into X with a Mox Pearl open, and no second land in hand. You just waste an entire turn then I think?

I think any deck that isn't a Xerox variant or an Ancient Tomb variant (where it is easy to use up all your mana every turn) really needs to understand how it will curve out in both Mox and non-Mox situations. Given that the current best decks have fractional mana curves, I would really like to take Oath in a different direction so as to not just become a worse version of something else. Just jam threats, they don't have to be super expensive but they probably should cost more than half a mana.

I dunno. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm turning my attention to Oath soon and will think through this some more.

last edited by ribby

@ribby said in Oath:

I just am not feeling Preordain specifically in Oath. There's not an Oath curve that I see Preordain being a great fit in.

Oath is defined by its marquee two-drop and really appreciates off-color mana.

Preordain is really best utilized by decks with low curve that will often have a single spare on-color mana on some of the game's critical turns. Either to cast the Preordain, or more importantly to be able to cast the Swords or Pyroblast or second Preordain that you Preordain into.

In Oath I just see Preordain adding a lot of air. I can't see the upside to Preordaining with your Forbidden Orchard into X with a Mox Pearl open, and no second land in hand. You just waste an entire turn then I think?

I think any deck that isn't a Xerox variant or an Ancient Tomb variant (where it is easy to use up all your mana every turn) really needs to understand how it will curve out in both Mox and non-Mox situations. Given that the current best decks have fractional mana curves, I would really like to take Oath in a different direction so as to not just become a worse version of something else. Just jam threats, they don't have to be super expensive but they probably should cost more than half a mana.

I dunno. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm turning my attention to Oath soon and will think through this some more.

It's about finding the cards you need man. If that doesn't make sense in an Oath deck, where does it ever make sense? In particular the strength of Preordain over the oft-considered more-powerful Ponder expresses itself most coherently in this strategy. Just like Dig Through Time can put valuable cards on the bottom of your library, protecting them from being oath'ed away and giving you a crucial few turns after a nasty amount of self-milling, Preordain puts two cards on bottom quite often with it's scry ability. In contrast, Ponder may leave you needing to shuffle, which can be detrimental. I always play one Brainstorm, and either three or four Preordains, but sometimes one Ponder in place of a single preordain. The shuffling can be nice with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and that's the only real reason I would prefer it in an Oath deck.

I'm looking for some help in developing a sideboard plan for my current Oath build. The build is a typical Kelly Oath style, see below:

0_1536606025878_Oath md.JPG

My sideboard is:

0_1536606045977_Oath SB.JPG

Sideboard plan (draft):
Shops: +Gisele, +2 Grudge, Claim, +2 Sudden Shock, -3 Misstep, -Flusterstorm, -Gush, -Library
PO: +Flusterstorm, +Pyroblast, -2 Sylvan Library (Seems like more can be done. Plus artifact removal?)
Xerox: +Pyroblast, +2 Sudden Shock, +Stormbreath, -Ancient Grudge, -Spyglass, -Null Rod, -Island (?)
Dredge: +4 Crypt, +Spellbomb, -Null Rod, -Library of A, -Gush, -2 Sylvan Library

Open to suggestions on plan, sideboard (especially creatures and what are in/out) and main. Thanks.

@pugsuperstar

You're not cutting a creature in the matchups you bring in Gisela or the dragon. That feels incorrect. I think Muldrotha's out vs. shops and Xerox.

I would probably cut an Island vs. at least dredge.

Maybe @brianpk80 can answer this better, but I think you can cut a number of oaths in the PO matchup.

Depending on the flavour of dredge, I think you can cut 0-2 FoW.

What is the general purpose of Gisela? When do you bring her in?

Anyone have any spicy ideas for Oath? I have been playing Niv Mizzet and enjoy it. I don't see Oath as a value oreinted Snapcaster style deck but i have also tinkered with playing Mission Briefing.

@hardy said in Oath:

Maybe @brianpk80 can answer this better, but I think you can cut a number of oaths in the PO matchup.

Why would you cut an Oath?

@AeonSovarius I was thinking that a value oriented Oath deck would probably do better against blue while still dunking on shops. I think including grindy flashback cards like Deep Analysis and Ancient Grudge can help you go long and control the game. I was also wondering if something like Accumulated Knowledge could fit in as Oath can get some in the GY and then you only have to cast 1 or 2 to pull ahead on cards.

@aeonsovarius Shops. Dredge. Perhaps a Delver or Young Pyromancer matchup.

Gisela dominates creature combat in a similar fashion to Elesh Norn. Unlike Elesh Norn, it doesn't remove Spirit tokens from play which lets the opponent activate Oath (I Oathed up an Emrakul Aeons Torn against an opponent who thought I was on Mentor when I was on Jeskai Nahiri in this way). Damage is rounded down which nullifies 1/1 tokens, prevents Ballista activations entirely, and Dread return on a Flame-Kin Zealot deals 1 damage per Zombie.

With regards to boarding out Oath, it just makes sense that if your opponent is going to board in 5 cards or more against your Oath plan, you seek to reduce the impact of those cards by boarding out copies of Oath. You can then leverage your Planeswalkers or hardcast your creatures while they draw redundant disenchants and Cages. That is a form of virtual card advantage and a concept that most players don't consider.

It is difficult to pull ahead of other decks in terms of cards in your hand with Oath. This archetype has quite a few viable strategies that each gain an advantage in their own way. The amount of Preordains really impacts how games play out. Fewer Preordains usually requires more Jaces and or Deep Analysis. This is a strategy that can gain card advantage. More Preordains helps to find lands or cards you need.

I've recently been experimenting with cutting tutors and playing three to four Pyroblasts, three Flusterstorms, and Four Missteps. I've put up two 5-0's in the last few days with this strategy, so maybe there is something there. I've been winning matches that usually gave me the most trouble such as BUG Fish and RWU Xerox. The somewhat difficult match is still the Tendrils version of Paradoxical Outcome. I have found that I basically cannot tap out. Every time, without fail, they will combo out if I tap out.

I am a big proponent of Mission Briefing in Oath. Recasting Time Walk or Ancestral Recall can give the deck an edge when it needs it. I almost consider this card as important to the deck as Gush.

As far as Gisella goes, it is great against creatures, but so is Inferno Titan and other Oath targets. I include it in the main deck because I want as good as chance as possible to beat Dredge.

Matt explained when to cut Oath of Druids pretty well below. The other aspect to cutting Oaths is the mirror match. I have found over the years that the best strategy in the mirror is to cut all of the Oaths and side in one to two Nature's Claims and one or two Sudden Shocks. The mirror becomes a game of who can gain an advantage from any Oath on the board by having more Orchards or using Sudden Shock to kill the Spirit tokens under your control. It is also a race to hard cast your creatures. You can still keep some number of Oath's in after game one, but this strategy runs the risk of your opponent using it to win.

last edited by Guest

@rat3de said in Oath:

@AeonSovarius I was thinking that a value oriented Oath deck would probably do better against blue while still dunking on shops.

In a bunch of side events i performed really well with a value oriented build. I played 2 flusters and 1 pyro and 2 grudges and 1 hurkyl's. Played with and without Night's Whisper. Did very well.

@chubbyrain said in Oath:

@aeonsovarius Shops. Dredge. Perhaps a Delver or Young Pyromancer matchup.

Gisela dominates creature combat in a similar fashion to Elesh Norn. Unlike Elesh Norn, it doesn't remove Spirit tokens from play which lets the opponent activate Oath

That's pretty cute.
Is this much better than Blazing Archon in that way though?

With regards to boarding out Oath, it just makes sense that if your opponent is going to board in 5 cards or more against your Oath plan, you seek to reduce the impact of those cards by boarding out copies of Oath. You can then leverage your Planeswalkers or hardcast your creatures while they draw redundant disenchants and Cages. That is a form of virtual card advantage and a concept that most players don't consider.

Definitely. Do you just play control at that point basically? Cause castable Oath targets are great but not all Oath builds play strictly castable ones.

@jimtosetti said in Oath:

It is difficult to pull ahead of other decks in terms of cards in your hand with Oath. This archetype has quite a few viable strategies that each gain an advantage in their own way. The amount of Preordains really impacts how games play out. Fewer Preordains usually requires more Jaces and or Deep Analysis. This is a strategy that can gain card advantage. More Preordains helps to find lands or cards you need.

Have you ever played Night's Whisper? I tried it in the main and liked it, idk if it's good enough. I also thought about couple Painful Truths for grindy matches/mirrors.

I've recently been experimenting with cutting tutors and playing three to four Pyroblasts, three Flusterstorms, and Four Missteps.

You mean with no Forces?

I am a big proponent of Mission Briefing in Oath. Recasting Time Walk or Ancestral Recall can give the deck an edge when it needs it. I almost consider this card as important to the deck as Gush.

Gush is a card i've played with and without to experiment. I don't always like the difficulty in rebuilding multiple colors.

Matt explained when to cut Oath of Druids pretty well below. The other aspect to cutting Oaths is the mirror match. I have found over the years that the best strategy in the mirror is to cut all of the Oaths and side in one to two Nature's Claims and one or two Sudden Shocks. The mirror becomes a game of who can gain an advantage from any Oath on the board by having more Orchards or using Sudden Shock to kill the Spirit tokens under your control. It is also a race to hard cast your creatures. You can still keep some number of Oath's in after game one, but this strategy runs the risk of your opponent using it to win.

I am having difficulty knowing how many to cut.

I had a match where my opponent cut all 4 of theirs and i cut 2, so had a huge do-nothing match and went to time with neither of us resolving our monsters (which aren't plentiful at 2-3 out of 60 cards).

Do i just cut 4 Oaths and play a control match?

@aeonsovarius I've played with both Night's Whisper and Painful Truths in a Show and Tell variant. They work much better here because you are more likely to draw creatures and then have the ability to use Show and Tell to play them. If you draw more cards and you are not using Show and Tell then you will likely need two Jaces plus Chart a Course and maybe See Beyond. I prefer not to use the black draw spells anymore because they are not the best against Shops and have been sub par in other matches.

Show and Tell is a strong card, but I found myself losing to what my opponents would put in play. I actually had Show and Tell resolve against me in the last Vintage challenge. My opponent put in Griselbrand and I put in Leovold, Emissary of Trest. I took two hits from Griselbrand, and then I bounced it with Jace and won. I was actually playing Oath myself with Leovold as a side board card.

The counterspell package always contains Force of Will in this deck. I'm actually still testing theories about certain cards and what they do in certain matchups.

Gush does seem like an awkward card in Oath. I didn't play with it initially, but decided to play with it one day and went 5-0, so I kept using it and continued to put up results. I find this card to be vital to Oath's strategy. It is best used as a mana fixer rather than just something to draw cards with.

I think that Oath would be a fairly difficult deck to play as a first Vintage deck right now. It is probably more complex than it has ever been. I started playing it a long time ago when Tidespout Tyrant was the go-to creature. After that I left Magic until 2010 or 2011, and then played it off and on. After that I played various Oath builds until Brian Kelly created an Auriok Salvagers version using Ancient Grudge. At that time it was probably one of the best decks I had ever played. I eventually took several more brakes from Magic. When I came back I wasn't as successful with the Salvagers version, so I started using a Show and Tell version. I found that it was great for leagues and very poor for constructed tournaments. Oath has struggled as an archetype for quite a while now, but good players have found ways to win with it. Arlin Kord, Sphinx of the Final Word, Deep Analysis, and many other cards have been used, but they really change how the deck works. This makes the deck fairly difficult for an inexperienced person to play on MTGO because of how good the players are there. We have recently gotten new options in the form of Mission Briefing and Niv-Mizzet, Parun. As you can expect, the new options from the last couple of years can present some difficulty when looking for the correct mix.

Recently, I have found that three Preordains are great for creature based match ups because you can find the Oath more quickly. I replaced Ancient Grudge in the main deck with Fire//Ice. I don't really want to go into the details of Fire//Ice and why I play it over other cards, but it is good for cantripping and removing cards like JVP. I've written about Niv-Mizzet, Parun elsewhere on the site, so I won't go into detail about it here. Basically, this card can be hard to play with even for experienced players. I side it out quite often against creature decks. Arlin Kord is still effective, but it is not always effective. Having said that, most of the deck options are not always effective, so you must use your judgement when anticipating the meta you will play in.

I have been experimenting with Leovold and Kambal in the sideboard, and they have been very effective, I have recently cut back to two Pyroblasts because of how strong these cards are in certain matchups. They are great against Storm, PO, the version RWU Xerox that uses more JVP's and Fragmentize, and probably other decks. These are traditionally some of Oath's more difficult match ups, so I am really enjoying these cards. Leovold can be good in the mirror, but not always. I would say you almost have to feel this one out. As far as siding out Oaths in the mirror, the more experienced the opponent, the more Oath's I like to side out.

Sorcerous Spyglass is a card that I have started using again. It is really strong against Survival, JVP, and a variety of other cards. I am really enjoying the utility that it provides.

So, with all of these random thoughts and information, I would say that practicing with every version of Oath from the last four years is a good idea. It will allow you to see why certain cards are played, and when they are included. I would also say that there are many effective Oath strategies at the moment. This presents very interesting deck building opportunities, so I am interested in seeing what players come up with.

last edited by Guest

@aeonsovarius Blazing Archon doesn't stop Walking Ballista and is much more annoying if it gets Metamorphed. The funny thing about Gisela is the damage reduction/increase occurs in parts and the person taking damage chooses the order in which they are applied. Gisela attacks into Gisela, apply damage reduction (5->2), then damage increase (2->4). Giselas bounce. Attack with 1/1 or ping with Ballista, apply damage reduction (1>0), then damage increase (0->0). MTGO does this optimally, but you should 100% know this interaction if playing in paper. It's non-intuitive, and you are allowed by the rules to screw it up (double damage, then half damage).

And yes, if your version is running 6 drops and Walkers, it was probably designed to become a control deck post-board against decks like Jeskai that are boarding in enchantment removal, cages, and preists.

I said that I would find an Oath deck that works in the current meta and then write something about it. I think my 5-0 league and the second place finish by AdmiralSandman in a challenge with the same list is a good indicator that this variant is strong. In addition, very similar lists have now been doing well in challenges, so I will discuss the deck and some the cards in it as well as strategies. Here is a link to the list: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1944762#paper

This meta is full of Karn strategies and much fewer blue decks. The blue decks that are present in relevant numbers are PO and Xerox sporting Narset. Fish is also a competitor, but it is not as common. However, Fish is one the strongest decks against Oath. Survival is another deck to consider. With those decks in consideration I started tuning a deck using new cards for War of the Spark. The deck that I ended up with very much resembles decks that Brian Kelly had been successful with last year.

Eldrazi, Shops, Survival, Fish, and Xerox are decks that the Tinker-Sphinx of the Steel Wind package is good against, so I included it. I also realized how strong big mana decks were, so I used Wasteland and Damping Sphere to combat the mana base while also controlling the tempo of the game. I am not currently using Damping Sphere, but rather one Null Rod in its place and one in the sideboard. The other Oath creatures are Griselbrand and Gisela because Dredge is more prevalent than in the past. These creatures are the best package for aggressive, creature heavy decks. Arlin Kord also pairs nicely with them, and it is especially good in the Dredge matchup.

I'm currently using a fourth Mental Misstep to combat Xerox decks. The fourth Misstep replaced the Mindbreak trap. Xerox runs Swords to Plowshares and Pyroblasts, so the extra Misstep helps Oath protect its creatures and spells. The Xerox deck also uses Narset in a more powerful way than Oath and can protect it better, so adding more Narsets as a response has not been successful for me consistently.

Ashiok Dream Render is a very strong card against PO, Storm, Survival, and Dredge. I have even used it effectively against decks using Inventor's Fair.

The meta has basically been simplified because there are much fewer blue based decks to focus on. Those decks normally prey on Oath whenever possible, so this appears to be Oath's time to shine. I am looking forward to using Wren and Six to recur lands from the graveyard. I think it is going to be a good addition the deck.

I have noticed some things about different decks that are doing well in the challenge. Some people are cutting artifacts and still using Tinker. This is basically a gamble and can make it harder to play against Shops because of their mana taxing effects. Also, players are using Show and Tell. This card can be dangerous for the person casting it because of what the opponent can potentially put in play. So, those are my thoughts on the deck. I believe it is a great choice right now and I have really been enjoying it.

last edited by Guest

@jimtosetti do you consider the black splash worth it for just demonic tutor?
Whats your opinion on yawgmoths will?
i think it has always been a powerful card in oath strategies, so whats your reason not to run it?

last edited by zathe922

@zathe922 said in Oath:

@jimtosetti do you consider the black splash worth it for just demonic tutor?
Whats your opinion on yawgmoths will?
i think it has always been a powerful card in oath strategies, so whats your reason not to run it?

Well, I will first try to answer the question as simply as possible. I win fewer games without Demonic Tutor, and I win fewer games with Yawgmoth's Will when Sphere effects are more popular. I was using Yawgmoth's Will right before Karn decks really took off and then I cut it.

Sometimes the black splash can be eliminated. Maybe this is one of them. If I were to cut the Demonic Tutor right now it would be an ancient Grudge. The options that Demonic Tutor provides can be very rewarding. I will often Demonic Tutor for Force of Will, Wasteland, and Jace.

If you want to play with Yawgmoth's Will you need to look at the rest of your deck. Some of the best lines include Black Lotus, Oath of Druids, Time Walk, and Ancestral Recall. In general, recasting more draw spells for value in the absence of Oath of Druids is the reason to play Yawgmoth's Will. Right now Narset is fairly common, so Oath has been using fewer draw spells, making the card tougher to include.

last edited by Guest

@jimtosetti Is Preordain #3 better than a Ponder? Where are you on Mission Briefing after a few leagues? Thoughts on Spell Piece to combat PWs and adding more grudges main?

@pugsuperstar said in Oath:

@jimtosetti Is Preordain #3 better than a Ponder? Where are you on Mission Briefing after a few leagues? Thoughts on Spell Piece to combat PWs and adding more grudges main?

Ponder can be good provided you get some sequence of cards that can be effective in that particular game. It can be a gamble in the early game because you might not know what you need to win yet. Preordain is consistent at finding lands and the Oath of Druids. Ponder is better in decks that use more fetch lands because you can shuffle the extra cards away. Ponder is also better in more dedicated combo decks.

As far as Mission Briefing and a few leagues goes, its more like Mission Briefing after hundreds of leagues. Mission Briefing has a similar function to Yawgmoth's Will. It is harder to cast when there are more sphere effects in the meta.

I started to test Daze to combat Planeswalkers and counter magic, but my experience is that you still lose to turn one Karn when they are on the play. I have some ideas to test when we can use the Modern Horizons cards the might help Oath in tough situations.

Ancient Grudge is very good against artifact based decks and very poor against Xerox decks. You can probably go two ways with the deck. A general strategy for all matches game one, or a main deck that is focused towards particular matches that sides into the other matches in a strong way. However, players have been successful in relevant numbers using multiple main deck Ancient Grudges.

My experience with Spell Pierce has never been good with this deck, but that was when Xerox was a major competitor. I've thought about trying out one Spell Pierce, so maybe I will try it tonight.

I know that myself and many other people are becoming very unenthused with losing to turn one Karn. At this point it highly probably we are making donations to WOTC when we join leagues.

If I figure out anything significant with the Modern Horizons cards I will post the deck lists and card discussion here. My theory with Magic is to test anything that enters you mind as a good idea. You will never find out if they are good ideas if you never test them. My Twitch account name is the same as here, jimtosetti. I play Oath fairly often. Feel free to come deck build with us there. I'm on most days starting anywhere from 5pm -7pm central time.

last edited by Guest

How are you guys building oath now with misstep restricted and how is it doing overall in the meta?

Less cages to worry about if dredge is no longer everywhere right?

I'm unsure, i have a generic control pile of the regular restricted draw spells and stuff. Playing 1x Griselbrand, 1x Niv Mizzet Parun, and 1x Sphinx of the Steel Wind/1x Tinker.

I've seen Wrenn and Six show up but i'm not sure how great that could be - haven't tried it.

Looking at mtgop8, i do see less cages i think. Just in shops right now, it appears.

I've picked up a set of Force of Vigors to combat the Mystic Forge Karn Lattice bs, but i never got around to putting them into the deck before they were restricted. Now i'm wondering if a couple would still be good, however i don't know what the green count would have to look like.

But i'm down to shop. I started a side gig buying/selling cards and i haven't had so much time to just aimlessly look at vintage content for 6 hours a week, so i've decided i'm just playing Oath no matter what at EW. I'm so unsure of the new shaping up right now.

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