Oath’ing to Top 4 in Denton, TX

Oath’ing to Top 4 in Denton, TX

Here we go, the first local Vintage tournament I’ve gotten to play in Texas since returning from college last June. After some extensive testing of the Oath vs Mentor matchup during the week leading up to the event, I feel confident enough in my board plan to think I have game against all the major archetypes. I played a main deck almost identical to the one Joe Fiorini (IslandSwamp) shared on facebook shortly before the Lodestone restriction. The exception being the swap of the maindeck Hurkyl’s Recall for a Misdirection, as I happened to know that most of our local Shops players were choosing to explore other archetypes in the wake of the restriction, and wanted one more protection spell in its place. Here is the list I registered:
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Forbidden Orchard
2 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
1 Island
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Strip Mine
5 Moxen
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
4 Preordain
4 Mental Misstep
2 Flusterstorm
2 Thoughtseize
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Voltaic Key
1 Time Vault
1 Time Walk
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Oath of Druids
3 Show and Tell
1 Yawgmoth’s Will
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Force of Will
1 Misdirection
1 Dig Through Time
3 Griselbrand

1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Nature’s Claim
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Hurkyl’s Recall
3 Arcane Laboratory
4 Leyline of the Void
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

A fairly standard list. I’ve been a fan of the streamlined 3 Griselbrand version with as much acceleration as possible to enable a turn 1 Oath since I switched to it a few months ago. Without further ado, on to the matches:

Round 1: vs. BUG Mentor – Daryl

This was Daryl’s second Vintage event. He borrowed a deck at Grand Prix Houston and got hooked. Not much to say about game 1. I stick an early Oath and deal 7 damage per turn until there is no more to be dealt. I bring in Abrupt Decays and the Elesh Norn. In game 2, I mulligan to 5, but I may have the best possible 5 if he didn’t keep a hand with Force of Will. Orchard, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Oath, Abrupt Decay. I keep, planning to play Oath turn 1 with the option of Decay’ing a Grafdigger’s Cage with my Oath trigger on the stack. My scry reveals a Black Lotus, which lets me decay on his turn for extra style points. My gamble paid off, as he doesn’t have a Force for my Oath, and I Oath up a Griselbrand. A large percentage of my library is gone however, and after looking through the revealed cards, the only permission left in my deck is a single Force of Will. Both Time Walk, Vault/Key, and Yawgmoth’s Will are gone as well, meaning my plan is to hope the three creatures in my deck are enough to get there. He has the Swords for my Griselbrand, and I conclude that it would be better to let it happen and hope to Oath into the other one I have available instead of Elesh Norn. I do so, but a few turns later he has Snapcaster Mage for his Swords. I draw 7 hoping to hit my one Force of Will, but miss. On my turn, I Oath hoping that Elesh Norn isn’t too deep in my library. I get her into play with just barely enough cards left to win the game. 1-0

Round 2: vs. UWr Mentor – Alex

I come in with a pretty good sense of how this match will go, as Alex and I had tested the matchup extensively earlier in the week. I take game 1 rather easily. In game 2, he has too much permission in addition to 4 Containment Priests for me to fight through. On to game 3. He land 2 early Containment Priests, meaning my path to victory involves drawing 2 of my 3 Abrupt Decays. I wait several turns without hitting anything relevant, eventually finding Yawgmoth’s Will. This seems like my best path to victory, so I activate Oath at 9 life, hoping that the Will can take me to victory. I mill quite a few cards, and have a very impressive turn ending with a Time Walk. On my Time Walk turn, I complete the Vault key combo. It’s not over however, as I had to play Mana Crypt on the previous turn. At only 9 life, my odds aren’t good, as he played a third Containment Priest with the Oath trigger on the stack. I go for it, and win a statistically unlikely number of rolls before succumbing to the Crypt. In retrospect, playing Mana Crypt may not have been necessary, and I could have won had I been more cautious. 1-1

Round 3: vs. Painter – (I forgot to write down my opponent’s name)
This round isn’t terribly exciting, as I land an early Oath in both games and things progress as one would expect from there. 2-1
Round 4: vs. UWr Mentor – Joe

Prior to this round, my teammates had been discussing the math for drawing into top 8. We determined that the 3 undefeated players could double draw into the Top 8. Unfortunately, Joe got paired down against me, and we had to play it out. I take the match in 2 games. 3-1

Round 5: vs. Dark Petition Storm

My opponent is the first seed, and we agree to ID. 3-1-1

Quarterfinals: vs. Petition Oath – Andy

Andy had shown me his deck at the start of the day, and I was excited to see it in action. The centerpiece combo involved putting Laboratory Maniac on the bottom of the deck using Wordly Tutor and Opt, and winning on the same turn as the Oath activation. I take game 1 in fairly uninteresting fashion. In game 2, neither of us does anything for multiple turns, as we seem to be quite adept at drawing mana. Throughout, we grind tokens so that no one can successfully activate Oath. Eventually, I find a second Orchard, and the game ends from there. 4-1-1

The Top 4 agrees to a prize split, and most of us trade our store credit to Greg so he can buy one of the store’s neon signs.

I had a great time, and was excited to hear the TO wants to make this a quarterly event on each new set release weekend with plans to stream the next one.

Congrats man. I'm glad to see you enjoyed the list. I worked on that thing quite a bit, and although I've had some low points with the deck, I've had some amazing runs with it as well.
Lotus Petal seems so innocuous, but it gives you 8 zero cmc artifacts to power out a quick oath, and it fixes, and it's great with yawgmoth's will. Also it can help you play dig through time in a pinch.
Good luck with it in the future!

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