So as some of you may know a couple of years ago I missed the top 8 at champs on breakers with a Gush Tendrils list running Oath out of the sideboard to have some sort of gameplan in games 2 and 3 against shops. This deck list was basically my favorite deck of all time, but even with the tricksy sideboard, good shops players would take their surprise loss game 2 side in the cards they would against oath and still crush me, as I didn't really have a good plan for them.

Fast forward about a year, and I after getting frustrated with the current decks available start talking with some friends about my favorite list. I mention that I sided in Oath in all my g2s at champs, and we realized that it might be reasonable to just start with Oath in the main anyhow. Thus the first version of Gush OAth Tendrils (GOAT) was born. I played this for awhile in the Team Serious Ohio meta, but I still felt like some of the cards weren't quite right. One of the biggest reasons was that Gush + fastbond didn't feel as strong as it once had. With more cards that didn't allow you to continue the chain, the GushBond plan just didn't come up that often.

Since that was already bad against shops I decided to focus on some other more bomb-like cards, specifically in the form of some more tutors and Gifts Ungiven (which thankfully allows me to keep calling the deck GOAT).

For the past month I have been testing this version, and found it to be very good. Still a little inconsistent, but overall very powerful and able to interact with many of the decks in the format. Thank goodness everyone started running creatures.

Deck: The GOAT! v 2.0 {U}{B}{G}



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So really quickly, I wanted to just talk about the basics of what this deck is trying to do, if it isn't obvious. The idea is that you can function as either a storm combo deck or an oath deck and that those strategies are not necessarily mutually exclusive, since Oath is basically Bargain in this deck. One thing that has been nice, is that cards like containment priest are a lot less irritating than they might be normally for an oath deck, since setting up memory's journey post 2nd oath and just comboing out is also a very quick way to win.

The oath plan can either be to make storm happen or to just beatdown depending on the situation. While we aren't playing force, you should be able to wreck face with duress effects post oath, and they do allow for a reasonable turn 1 play to help determine which way to focus.

Gifts Ungiven in this deck can be very flexible in this list, and the ability to get Oath + Tim Walk is reminiscent of Tinker Time Walk in older versions of the deck. One of my favorite piles thus far involves a regrowth effect in hand and gifts for Ritual Ritual Dark Petition DT. This should allow for an easy storm kill for the low price of maximally 4 mana (assuming the card in hand is regrowth).

Postboard the deck can get more controlling or more combo focused depending on the matchup.

last edited by Brass Man

I guess my first question is: What makes this better than, or at least on-par with the following decks?

  1. Traditional Oath of Druids
  2. Burning Oath Tendrils
  3. Petition Storm
  4. Force of Will-based Petition Storm

I see that you have Thoughtseize x3, Duress x2, and Flusterstorm x1 as your 'protection/control package. An obvious omission: you're not playing Force of Will! That to me seems awkward on the draw.

I think taking a Petition Storm deck and just pushing an Oath package out of the board would be a strict upgrade. I say this hoping to be proven wrong, of course.

@Soly Thanks for commenting I have thoughts about all these so I will take it one at a time.

  1. Traditional oath
    I think while these are pretty different decks, this is better than Traditional Oath because it doesn't fold to some kinds of hate Containment priest. In addition, it can be much faster than oath, and finally the hybrid strategy makes it harder to answer. That being said, traditional Oath is a control deck, and this is assuredly not, so it might not be the best bench mark. I guess the biggest thing, is that you can totally ignore the fact that you are an oath deck.
  2. Burning Oath Tendrils
    My two main objections to burning oath were it is inconsistent, in that it can lose to itself, because it draws all mana or all bombs, and it had a ROUGH shops matchup. I think with a couple of basics, and more of a traditional manabase and anti shops plan, I am much better situated there. I also think this deck is more consistent than Burning Oath, though it still can suffer from that same problem. Preordain does a lot of work at smoothing out your draws, along side the delve draw spells. Also, having the bombs trade out draw 7s for some tutors seems pretty reasonable towards this end. That being said, consistency is still my biggest issue. (I miss brainstorm).
  3. Petition Storm
    I think petition storm has a very hard time winning when the opponent is playing graveyard hate (especially Leyline of the Void), but the oath plan opens this deck up to being able to win a different way. That being said, I do think this deck is slower than Petition storm, so I don't think it is necessarily better, just better against certain kinds of hate. I think it probably fights blue decks almost exactly as well though.
  4. FoW-based Petition Storm
    I can't speak to the matchups here at all, other than saying I like defense grid out of the board and maybe DPS with FoW isn't running this. I don't know enough about this deck to comment.

As for the protection suite, I wasn't wild about running FoW with my blue count, although it was in the deck previously. I also have a cabal therapy in there that I think your missed. Ultimately, if my opponent is trying to go more broken than men on turn 1, I can be in some trouble, but overall, I would much rather be playing the duresses in general, especially once the defense grids come in. Yes this opens me up to some problems vs Shops, but since I am focused on being an Oath deck in that matchup it isn't as big a concern since i have the three basics, and lots of artifact mana.

Maybe Petition Storm with an Oath board would be a big upgrade, but that does leave you more open to shops, since I, by virtue of having Oath main, get to play a lot of cards for shops in games 2 and 3, which was the problem when I was running Gush Tendrils with oath out of the board before. You would lose game 1 to shops, side in oath, win game 2, and then lose game 3 since they were hip to the plan. This way I get to keep both plans available (with a large focus on Oath game 2 and 3) but with the addition of a basic and 6 good hate cards.

last edited by garbageaggro

What is your plan when a Leyline of the Void is in play? Kill it before you trigger Oath? Get Griselbrand out, see what you binned, and just improvise from there? If you milled your Time Walk and Tendrils do you have to just swing for 3 turns and do your best to protect Griselbrand?

To be fair "improvise from there" isn't that hard to do if you have a Griselbrand out. You can always just draw some Duresses and attack 3 times ... though that strategy is a little worse when you only have discard and no counters.

@mediumsteve while @brassman got it mostly right, I do have the option of beating those decks running Leyline with nature's claim and chain of vapor, before oathing, but if they have no way to interrupt my Oathing and just have Leyline I am happy to try and win with Griseldad. This is a little risky, but you can also win with tendrils without needing the yard, hurkyl's + some moxen + chain of vapor is a lot of storm.

I did a lot of Gush Oath and Tendrils builds pre-2008. It was definitely a favorite pet deck and was able to best the so called "best" decks that I was playing it against even though I was under powered. I mostly focused on 2/3 witness and one beater as a backup plan if yawg-win into gush bond tendrils somehow got disrupted. It got to a point where I was 60/40 against powered flash pre-board and decks running more hate actually got worse since the utility of witness pulled out ahead of all that. Different deck ultimately but I would say anything running those three engines together is going to have a viable 75 somewhere out there.

last edited by Aaron Patten

@Aaron-Patten My biggest problem with Gush Bond is that all the tempo decks just out Gush deck you. It is surprisinly hard to beat a mentor deck when I was on more gushes, cause a lot of times they just lead nowhere. The bombs (gifts, dark petition) tend to lead to more wins. I also just hated what my mana base turned into when i was on the gush version. I never drew the orchard I wanted, I couldn't play a basic swamp, no tolarian, or I was in a position where I was losing because i didn't have two islands in play.

In addition, and this is a personal failing, but I think I mulligan better with gush not in the list. I have kept lots of sketchy hands with Gush in them and I find myself doing that less.

The only non-orchard non-island in the deck aside from fetches was strip mine in my older builds. The hardest cut was Library after academy but they just don't need to be there. The deck has so many key cards that you have to cut the mediocre stuff to make room. You are, after all, jamming three archetypes together. Anything that doesn't lead to explosive hard hitting plays has no room in a deck like that. Even at 61/62 cards main (which I was doing back then). I'd even consider cutting down to 3 orchard in the creature heavy meta of today.

last edited by Aaron Patten

Yeah so when I was playing gush I was only playing 1 Orchard and 1 Academy. I have found that I like my current much more rock solid mana base with 4 basics post board against shops. I also think Gifts just does more work than Gush, admittedly very different work, but I have yet to lose a game where I cast it, so that part holds up.

Yeah, it could definitely be a meta thing. Academy is better now that shops is so far ahead of everything else. Gifts should be impossible vs shops though. Gush is actually a pretty weak card. It's what it draws into without an immediate mana cost that makes it or breaks it. With shops everywhere it gets even worse. Oathing a huge yard into a witness on will with Fastbond more than likely in the yard ( due to your choice of creature count) makes gush a sure win. It also keeps you drawing and casting "threats" though in our case it's a reactive threat so it's a little more subtle to play. Pre-Oath the gushes just dig up more threats and control pieces so that your Oath's stick. Then they serve double duty as your combo finish on the turn you Oath into the win. It's good because almost all your cards are live and act as both reactive and proactive plays with which you could potentially just overwhelm the opponent in a battle of spell vs spell attrition. You're at an advantage in that scenario because everything is both an answer and a threat except the Fastbond and the Tendrils. It's a control deck that uses your opponents own plays against them. That's really what I love about it. Oath of Druids is the Jujutsu of Vintage.

last edited by Aaron Patten

Yeah. but you can pretty much gurantee oath into Griselbrand leads to a storm win too, with the added bonus that a lot of the creature decks are not well equipped to beat a 7/7 w/ lifelink. Like I don't know that you beat a shops deck just by oathing into E Wit > will, but almost always, griselbrand is a win.

At the time shops was not as heavily played but also there was main deck hate that you can recur with witness thus using oath as a potential Demonic Tutor of sorts instead of just winning with it. I played main deck Engineered Explosives and Swords to Plowshares at the time which would both be live vs shops. Also Balance came in and out a lot. The disruption package was 1 Cabal Therapy for each Eternal Witness and then a bunch of 1-ofs depending on what the best decks were. This was many years ago though and in my opinion Witness is too expensive to resolve in vintage at 3 mana when you also need to play the card you're returning with it. Shops just kills you that turn. Snapcaster is one mana cheaper but falls victim to several other shortcomings not the least of which is it doesn't return artifacts or lands which are the two most important card types vs the best deck in the format. It's not as well positioned today as it was then but I still suspect that Griselbrand may not be the best oath target anymore, especially in multiples. Oath decks get weaker the more uncastables you put in them so when I'm brewing Oath my primary goal is to cut as many as I can get away with. Another target I've been considering is Necropolis Fiend. It is Very castable through cage and trades with a Golem. Cage is not a main deck card lately so Fiend gets more attention post side. In that case; however, ingot chewer also cuts through cage vs shops and then just starts killing threats for free every Oath trigger. The only relevant thing I know of that gets around Priest is Keranos which is also castable through cage, just not against Shops. You can also get through the priest using Crippling Fatigue but after considering all these hate breaking includes I think a transformational sideboard is going to require almost the same amount of cards and likely it also pulls out farther ahead since they're siding in oath hate which is just dead in game 2. In that case the Gush bond engine will be fueling Mentors and you can side in your Wasteland/Strip Mine package to replace Forbidden Orchard. I'm off on a bit of a tangent here but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there's more to Oath than Griselbrand.

last edited by Aaron Patten

There are other options, but it turns out that most of them are good only in really specific situations where in most situations Griselbrand is quite good. I agree on the multiples thing, if I were playing control oath right now i would split 1 griselbrand w/ 1-2 Rune Scarred Demon. I am not, because in this deck, just ignoring containment priest, oathing twice and winning with a memory's journey return'd yawgmoth's will has been real good.

Post board against shops I think your best bet creature wise is a mix of blazing archon (or elesh norn) and griseldad. Blazing Archon literally turns off their chances of winning against most modern shops lists, and griselbrand helps you win the game before they get a trike with enough counters to kill either the archon or you. Elesh Norn has been good, but sometimes you need to oath against, and it doesn't win through Wurmcoil which is frustrating.

last edited by garbageaggro
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