Congrats on the win. The list looks great, and I look forward to trying it out myself. Have you played/tested much versus combo and Outcome? Those are the two matchups I struggle with the most.


I've been extremely impressed by Glacial Chasm playing the role of infinite-combo enabler.

That's why there are two copies in the 5-0 list that @Mike-Noble linked to (I based that deck off of his list).

Other desirable features of Chasm are that it is uncounterable when played from the hand, can be tutored via Crop Rotation or Loam, can be played from the graveyard, gets Riftstone Portal into the graveyard, and can buy a few turns under heavy pressure.

Edit: I should also add that you can copy Chasm with Thespian's Stage to buy even more time if you need to. That's come up a few times.

last edited by Zias

@zias I have tested PO and other combo decks until I was blue in the face and then kept going and testing further lol. In all my time playing the deck the one thing I’ve learned is you have to be willing to have some extremely good matchups (shops, dredge, survival to some extent) and some really horrid matchups as you’ve found vs. po and other combo. The misstep restriction has brought the xerox matchup much closer than ever before which used to also feel awful (assuming your opponent knew what they were doing) analysis and thoughts are below, this might be rather long apologies in advance.

Here’s my thought process and choices for those matchups.

  1. In game one you’re just sort of holding on for dear life especially if you don’t know what opponent is on you’re probably in trouble. However, this is why I’m a huge proponent of 4 main deck rods. Rod increases your win percentage against shops, hammers PO, and has some marginal effect against certain xerox lists usually because a lot of those game ones come down to wasting them off of all their resources or get blown out by swords and falling behind. Meanwhile null rod doesn’t effect you at all. I would rather board in out post board then wish I had it in the deck. It’s so strong. Also I strongly prefer rod over ouphe because I can play it off tomb and a lot of PO pilots are packing bolts right now in preparation for ouphe. Just a preference and I could be wrong. I also like it better than sphere in the main because I feel like it has broader utility against the field especially against ravager shops which is a match you’re already favored in and I think is easily above 85% or more with 4 rods in the main whereas sphere against shops in the blind can spell bad times.

  2. The reason I went with one main deck chains was for combo matches and xerox. It gave me one more point of game one interaction that can end up being huge plus it’s another card that has implications against several matchups and if you’re opponent ends up on shops or something it’s useless against you pitch it to bazaar. Demonic tutor also helps here as you can search for a lock piece, even tutor for a chalice 0 against PO can at least buy a few important turns.

  3. Maximizing your possibility of interaction turn one post board. My entire board is basically dedicated to beating blue decks and combo because I feel like my non blue matchups are so good I don’t need to waste space on them. So I bring in the absolute maximum amount of hate and lock pieces I can post board and just try to bury them before they can get ahead. This doesn’t always work but I’ve found it to give me the best results. I don’t like cards like mindbreak trap or pyroblast because they seem too reactive and narrow for my taste and any halfway decent combo player will play around mindbreak trap or just take it with duress. However they are ill suited to defend against a diversified board of lock pieces in artifacts, enchantments, and hand destruction and tons of wastelands. Even something as simple as crop rotation for bojuka bog will either blow a match wide open or at least buy you a ton of time. I would always rather be progressing my board.

  4. Ancient tomb is huge in these matchups and I’m basically willing to take any amount of damage off my tomb short of killing myself. Often these matchups the opponent can do 20 as easily as they can deal 2 if they start going off so I am gladly taking tons of damage off tomb if it means playing 3 lock pieces in a row. It basically won me my PO match as it enabled me to play a spell every turn for the first five turns through my own sphere and wasteland my opponent at the same time. I gladly took 10 from it and won the game.

  5. As mentioned above thoughtseize was a star all day and I’m planning to go up to at least three. It’s easy turn one interaction that can disrupt the opponents hand in combo and take a key piece off of a xerox opponent.

The two combo matchups I tested the most were PO and DPS.

My board plan for PO was as follows:

-2 tabernacle
-1 maze
-2 bazaar
-1 exploration

  • 1 portal


  • 3 sphere
  • 2 chains
  • 2 seize

It might seem like I’m taking out a lot of land. However. Tabernacle is basically dead so is maze. Bazaar loses value with 3 chains in the deck and often 2 is plenty post board. Often portal is too slow against them. So you’re still left with 28 lands in the deck which is more than enough and you’re taking out lands that mainly don’t tap for mana. Also I leave in chalice regardless whether I’m on the draw or not as imo it has value even beyond turn one in this match.

My plan post board is to mulligan aggressively to find interaction/lock piece and also being realistic your odds aren’t great.

DPS boarding

-2 tabernacle
-1 grudge

  • 1 maze
    -1 exploration


  • 3 sphere
  • 2 seize

Chains isn’t great here but I leave one in just in case they keep a hand that requires smoothing out. Often I’ve found this match comes down to either sphere or crop rotation for bojuka bog or bust. Imo this matchup is often worse than PO because dark ritual is such an insane magic card and I think it can feel more hopeless. Luckily it’s still not that big a part of the meta. It may be easier for your build because you have a lot more sphere pre board and this is the matchup that card shines really bright.

Even faster combo like Belcher or Ad Nauseam honestly I just hope to win the die roll to even have a chance or hope their deck just lets them down hard.

Other things I’ve tried to improve the combo match

  • splashing white for little Thalia, Teeg, and rule of law. Was ok but the mana gets crazy
  • leyline of sanctity - took up too much board space and was often a let down
  • solitary confinement. Yea this seems insane and it is insane but it was actually better than you think and I’m convinced it might have teeth somehow but requires a lot of building around.
  • I’ve tried up to 4 mindbreak and splashing red for pyroblast and meltdown. As stated before i wasn’t a fan. They felt amazing until your opponent knew what they were doing or had a single force of will and then it was often sad town. Just felt way too reactive.
  • In heavier black builds I ran sadistic sacrament and 4 seize post board with 2 urborg. Sacrament was insane but often really hard for the deck to cast fast enough.
  • also I’ve had a ton of success with running 2-4 tombs to Maximize tomb plus lock piece turn one. I really like 2 and plan to go back to that number in the future.

Often the best way to beat combo is just not play it. Even if your paired up against it just like put a hat on to disguise yourself and then bust out your own combo deck and tell the judge that the deck you submitted wasn’t the actual deck you wanted to play that round. It’ll be fine it’s all the rage right now.

How has the oath board been? I played an oath board in the past with two griselbrand and void winnower and found it was ok. My biggest issue was the xerox matchup often felt even worse post board because they’re bringing in all their swords and wear/tear effects and you often can’t protect your oath targets or the oath itself.

I hope this provides some helpful guidance/hints. Happy brewing.

last edited by Guest


Wow, what a spectacular post. Thank you for sharing all of your insight here.

1. Null Rods in the main deck

I agree with you about Null Rod. I went to the full four in the maindeck recently and shoved some of the Spheres to the sideboard. I like having at least a couple of Spheres in the maindeck in the Workshop style list.

I like that a Sphere and a Null Rod can partner up to do a decent Defense Grid impression under the right circumstances, which is critical with all of those Force of Vigors lurking about.

2. Reactive Countermagic and Permanents

I've also been unimpressed with Pyroblast, Mindbreak Trap, and Leyline of Sanctity. Both are too situational and get in the way of developing the board.

However, I think that Veil of Summer has promise, as it's more flexible and replaces itself. I tried it in a few leagues last night and I was impressed. The card was responsible for winning several games/matches against PO and one against storm. I don't think anything else would have worked in its place.

Veil of Summer counters the following (and draws a card in the process):

a. bounce effects: Hurkyl's Recall, Chain of Vapor

b. discard: Thoughtseize, Unmask, Cabal Therapy

c. removal: Assassin's Trophy, Abrupt Decay

d. graveyard hate: Ravenous Trap

e. blue counterspells: even Flusterstorm!

f. permanent-based exile/bounce: Ashen Rider's enter-the-battlefield triggers, JTMS, Teferi(Edit: nope, can't instant speed)

All that said, it wouldn't surprise me if Thoughtseize is still the better card to play. It does much of the same job and has more flexibility.

3. Oath of Druids

I have mixed feelings about Oath.

The card is there as much for "tutoring" Loam as it is for summoning the big fellas. The idea is that Oath forces them to have two kinds of answers. If they have Priest/Cage, you get to use Loam if they have no graveyard hate. That has come up several times. If they have graveyard hate but nothing for Oath, well, you get the idea. The best target, by far, has been Muldrotha, the Gravetide. You get to play Crucible and Fastbond from the yard and go off.

Another thing I like about Oath is that it can be used to increase the range of acceptable hands. For example, if I am against combo or storm, I want a lockpiece like Null Rod. However, a hand with Null Rod and no reliable path to victory won't get there. Increasing the number of plausible paths to victory likewise increases the probability of keeping a decent hand with Null Rod.

Oath does have problems, though:

a. It's best in the creature-based matchups (Shops, Dredge, and Survival). Obviously, this is not a huge selling point, and necessarily takes away from cards that are better against our "problem children."

b. Hard to cast the big creatures, giving blank draws

c. Makes their Force of Vigors even better

d. Waters down the traditional lands package (you have to cut somewhere, and it's generally not the disruption)

Some of these issues can be mitigated by the choice of Oath package. Using castable creatures is a big one. I've Oathed into Ramunap Excavator. Courser of Kruphix seems plenty reasonable, too.

I've also Oathed into Collector Ouphe and...it wasn't bad given that the Ouphe comes in only in the matchups where it's very impactful.

I've also tried cards like Draglonlord Dromoka to shut off Ravenous Trap etc to get at least one Loam activation.

There's a lot to try with Oath.

Anyway, you've also mentioned a bunch of other possibilities. I'll be mulling these over and testing them.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with the brewing!

last edited by Zias

@zias Fantastic insights and thank you for sharing!

I definitely agree that veil of summer is a very strong card. It certainly has a lot more blowout value than thoughtseize does. Everytime I analyze that card further I realize it has more and more implications. It may be correct to run a combination of the two. Thoughtseize provides early game interaction that’s harder to play around and veil offers a wide variety of protections that the opponent is forced to play around or just hope you don’t have it. I definitely need to try the combination of the two in testing.

The oath assessment is very good. It is fantastic as a way to pivot from one strategy to the next and have a way out of certain hate. I assumed Muldrotha was amazing! It’s a shame it’s also a legend as the deck can become very vulnerable to karakas but the card offers so much potential it’s worth the risk.

I like Oathing into Ramunap a lot. Especially with a fastbond on board you just get to put your entire graveyard into play basically after the Oath resolves. Not the most impressive if they’re heavy on the Rest In Peace plan however lol.

A card I’ve been tinkering some with that I forgot to mention and might be worth looking into is Rotting Regisaur. He’s extremely castable at 2B, he’s a super fast 3 turn clock as a 7/6 once he’s on board that the opponent must answer almost immediately, and his ability is often more of an upside than a down side as he lets you discard riftstone portal, life from the loam, or even ancient grudge. I wouldn’t say he’s an oath target but more of just a post board Aggro strategy that pairs extremely well with the decks lock pieces and takes out the dangers of a card like force of vigor.

4 Misty Rainforest
4 Waterlogged Grove
3 Island
1 Forest
4 Wasteland
4 Tropical Island 
4 Dark Depths
4 Thespian's Stage
1 Bojuka Bog
3 Mystic Sanctuary
1 Strip Mine
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrel Vale
2 Glacial Chasm

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Gush
1 Time Walk
2 Force of Vigor
1 Exploration
1 Ramunap Excavator
4 Crop Rotation
4 Fastbond
4 Treasure Hunt
4 Crucible of Worlds

4 Veil of Summer
4 Grafdigger's Cage
3 Null Rod
2 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Tormod's Crypt

So Fastbond+Crucible let's you go nutter butter... Glacial Chasm lets you play all the land without taking damage from Fastbond. Wasteland/ Strip Mine with a mana producing land nets you infinite mana. Adding the 'canopy' land, Waterlogged Grove, lets you draw the entire deck hopefully allowing you to find Time Walk, make a 20/20 and win. Mystic Sanctuary allows you to rebuy your draw spells/ Time Walk and combos insanely well with Gush. Noticeably missing are fast mana rocks which have been excluded in favor of more land to have better hits/ greater consistency when casting Treasure Hunt. The Exploration and Ramunap Excavator are there to be the 5th Fastbond and Crucible since there's no protection in the deck. Force of Vigor is there strictly to attempt to disrupt any Shops/PO shenanigans g1.

The following is the initial list I started with. You'll notice the absence of Crop Rotation in favor of counters to aid in your own plan/ disrupt the opp. Just a few lists I was durdling with, feel free to discuss.

3 Misty Rainforest
4 Waterlogged Grove
3 Island
1 Forest
4 Wasteland
4 Tropical Island 
3 Dark Depths
3 Thespian's Stage
1 Karakas
2 Mystic Sanctuary
1 Strip Mine
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrel Vale
2 Glacial Chasm

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Diamond
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Gush
1 Time Walk
4 Force of Will
1 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Negation
1 Mental Misstep
1 Mindbreak Trap
4 Fastbond
4 Treasure Hunt
4 Crucible of Worlds

Has anyone thought about Horn of Greed? Seems like a natural inclusion, although I wouldn't know what to cut.

@myk I tried out your first list and really liked it. I tried something a little different, not much, but was interesting. I replace 1 Grove for the 4th Sanctuary, and played 2 Regrowth instead of Ramunup and Exploration. Sanctuary is so powerful already with 4 Treasure Hunts, the blue restricted draw, and Walk, but Regrowth with it was very strong for getting back a Crucible or Fastbond previously countered/vigored/discarded. Regrowthing a Treasure Hunt leads to busted turns as well obviously. I love the list, test out the regrowths and 4th Mystic sanctuary, it's really good.


Horn is pretty nice in the Workshop builds. Just not sure its better than other options as it is very combo focused.

@Dr-J I tried horn to begin with figuring an old Turboland deck would be fine, but found that my opp drawing a card(s) was too much of a burden. Even though most decks are land light in vintage it really just means the card draw spells lead to more board advantage/ game ending hits for those decks...

@Serracollector I like the idea of Regrowth a ton, gives me a reason to play with my beta ones 😁, I think my biggest concern with this particular list is playing against Jeskai or Outcome game 1. The Ziasbond list has a much more reasonable game 1 against those decks, but I do feel my list is more explosive. I was really trying to find a way to play Veil of Summer in the main without compromising the land v spell count, so that's my next project

last edited by myk
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