Hello everybody, so for the past few week i have been playing a burning oath/steel city vault hybrid that I like to call steel city oath. What the deck is trying to do is win with one of three ways, through voltaic key/time vault, using oath of druids to get any of the three creatures, or using Tinker to get Sphinx of the steel wind. The deck does this by playing a draw engine much like steel city vault, and then winning with so much card advantage. Below is the list i've been testing.

The Deck

1 Ancestral Recall
1 Timetwister
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Windfall
1 Memory Jar
4 Thoughtcast
4 Force of Will
3 Mental Misstep
1 Misdirection
1 Flusterstorm
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
3 Mox Opal
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
4 Oath of Druids
1 Griselbrand
1 Sun Titan
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic Key
4 Forbidden Orchard
3 Mana Confluence
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
2 Seat of the Synod
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Burning Wish
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Scroll Rack
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Transmute Artifact
1 Tinker
1 Time Walk

SB: 3 Abrupt Decay
SB: 1 Mind Twist
SB: 1 Balance
SB: 1 Toxic Deluge
SB: 1 Show and Tell
SB: 1 yawgmoth’s will
SB: 1 Dragonlord Dromoka
SB: 1 Magus of the Moat
SB: 4 Leyline of the Void
SB: 1 Helm of Obedience

I came to this deck while i was playing steel city vault. I wanted a way to improve the shops matchup so at the time i had an oath package in the sideboard of the steel city vault deck. I found myself constantly boarding in the oath package, so i wanted to try to build a deck that was “pre-boarded” with the oath package, and that is how i came to the list above. The deck can have many lines that will lead to victory, and because of this it is hard to hate the deck out, if they have a containment priest i simply go for the vault key combo, if the have arcane laboratory i go for an Oath win.

Card Choices

The Draw Engine
4 thoughtcast
1 ancestral recall
1 time twister
1 wheel of fortune
1 Windfall
1 memory jar

This is a similar draw engine i used in my steel city vault deck and it has been amazing. I didnt want to add brainstorm, ponder, or preordain because with the deck i wanted each card to be as powerful as possible so that top decks were much better and the draw 7’s would benefit me more than my opponent. Also without the preordain, brainstorm, and ponder it makes my opponent's mental missteps slightly worse as mental misstep dosnt hit very many cards in the deck, 9 to be exact, including my own mental missteps. Thoughtcast has been an amazing way to get card advantage as Thoughtcast most of the time reads pay a blue, draw 2 cards, and the card advantage gained from this is huge, also it isnt hit by mental misstep which is a huge bonus. The draw 7’s are in here because when one is cast, i will usually draw into atleast one or two pieces of artifact mana and it can help to put me way ahead of the opponent on mana. Some other cards that i have not included are treasure cruise and dig throught time. The reason for this is because i cant fill up my graveyard that fast, due to not having any fetches, and i dont play as many cantrips as a deck like mentor does, so often during testing it would rot in my hand and by the time i could cast it im too far behind because it just sat there in my hand.

The Counter Spells
4 force of will
3 mental misstep
1 flusterstorm
1 misdirection

The counter package has been very good for me, four force of wills and three mental misstep are pretty standard, some people would play four missteps but personally i feel that is one to many. The one flusterstorm is in there to help with stack wars. The one misdirection is force of number five, and it helps against abrupt decay or targeted removal, and it's also amazing to misdirect an ancestral recall, which has come up a few times. One other counterspell i have tried is mindbreak trap, but i dont feel it fits in this deck. It is a card that is either amazing or terrible as casting it for four mana is not what i want to be doing so i have cut it out.

The Tutors
2 burning wish
1 demonic tutor
1 vampiric tutor
1 mystcal tutor

Burning wish is one of the most powerful cards in the deck, the ability to have a virtual two copies of balance, mind twist, and the other wish targets is amazing. It allows the deck to catch up with the opponent when they are ahead, and it also allows me to put a creature into play that i have drawn due to show and tell. The rest of the tutors are fairly standard for combo decks, so i won't go into too much detail. Two tutors not in the deck are merchant scroll and imperial seal. Merchant scroll doesn't work well in this deck because the only card i would want to get with it is ancestrall recall, and i don't like the idea of playing merchant scroll just for recall because if i draw recall, merchant scroll becomes much worse. Imperial seal i don't like because of the sorcery speed, it is huge card disadvantage.
The Artifact mana

1 Mana Crypt
1 mana vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
3 Mox Opal
1 Black Lotus

These spells are what make the deck so broken, it plays most of the standard artifact manat. The three mox opals have been amazing, it helps to play your broken spells much faster, and it can act as a lotus petal when drawn in multiples. I chose three because i didn't want an opening hand of 2 mox opals and no metal craft.
The Lands
4 forbidden orchard
3 mana confluence
2 seat of the synod
1 library of alexandria
1 tolarian academy

The four orchards are standard for oath, it gives them a creature and fixes your mana. The three mana confluence are there because im playing so few lands the deck is playing five colors, that playing fetches and dual lands are not an option. Seat of the synod is in here to help turn on metal craft, to help with thoughtcast, and to also work with tolarian academy. I only have two in here because when i was testing four and even three i would not be able to get the colors i needed but i wanted to play some number of them because of thoughtcast and mox opal. As for tolarian academy this card is an amazing card in any deck with tons of artifacts, it can generate so much mana. Library of alexandria is a great card in blue decks in general, but is especially good here because i have the draw 7’s to turn library back on after a counter war.

The Win Conditions
1 sun titan
1 griselbrand
1 sphinx of the steel wind
1 voltaic key
1 time vault

The ways the deck usually win are either through taking infinite turns with voltaic key/time vault or oathing into a huge creature. Sphinx of the steel wind is here because of tinker, and griselbrand is the standard oath target. Sun titan is in the deck to either go for the key/vault combo or to get scroll rack, which i will talk about more later.
Everything Else.
1 scroll rack
1 jace the mind sculptor
1 tinker
1 transmute artifact
4 oath of druids
1 timewalk

I didn't want to include transmute artifact and tinker in the tutor section because they are for specific cards, those being memory jar, sphinx of the steel wind, and either of the key/vault combo pieces. Tinker into sphinx provides another easy way to get out a huge creature, and can also be another draw 7. Transmute artifact is in here more specifically for the key/vault combo, but i have gotten memory jar with it. Scroll rack is in the deck so i don't end up losing because i decked myself, so it is more of a fail safe plan. Jace the mind sculptor is just a great way to draw extra cards, i would play two but the deck is so tight on space i couldn't fit another one in. Oath of druids could have gone in the win conditions section but oath is only a path to how i win, although a huge path. There isnt much to say about oath, play it, give them a creature with orchard, and get a huge creature to end the game.
The SideBoard
As i go through the sideboard it will be broken down into different sections and i will discuss each section individually.

1 dragonlord dromoka
1 magus of the moat

These are my alternate oath targets. Magus of the moat is great against any creature deck and has won me games due to the fact that they cant deal with it easily, and by the time they do i usually either draw into an answer to what they have, or i can go for oath or key/vault combo. Dragonlord Dromoka is in the deck as a way to fight against gush decks, and any other blue decks for that matter. Being able to have a “permanent” xantid swarm effect is huge.

1 balance
1 mind twist
1 toxic deluge
1 show and tell
1 yawgmoth’s will

Balance is a way for me to catch up to the opponent when i am behind, and it can also serve as a board wipe against creature based decks. Mind twist is in there for the blue decks and against storm as i won't cast it unless i can get x for at least three or four. Toxic deluge is also a board wipe but i go for that when balance will hurt me as well. Show and tell is my out for if i draw one of my huge creatures. Yawgmoth’s will has been in and out of the deck very often, as i dont get it very often unlike the other wish targets.

4 leyline of the void
1 helm of obedience

This is my hate against dredge as having an opener with leyline followed by tinker into helm is just an instant win. Also i am testing this against storm, but right now these five slots could be changed for something else as this bit of the sideboard is still being tested.

3 abrupt decay

The abrupt decays are in here as a way to fight against oath hate and null rod, and can also come in against storm to destroy their defense grids. I dont have them main because i feel like if i did i would want to take a much more contoll route and not be as fast or as broken with the spells i play.
Cards not in the deck

Tendril’s of agony

This is another card constantly in and out of the wish board, and the main reason for this is because often i dont feel like i can generate enough storm to make it lethal, and thus i dont get it very often.


Cards such as brainstorm, ponder, preordain, etc. i am grouping together. Im not going to talk about them here as i have already talked about them earlier. The same goes with gitaxian probe.

Dack Fayden

While i would love to have him in the deck, i simply do not have enough slots for him because the slots in the deck are so tight, otherwise i would play him in the deck.

Strengths and weaknesses

One huge strength of the deck is how broken it can be, often times i can draw upwards of 15-20 cards in a game because of the draw 7’s. Another huge strength is that you can get some easy free wins at times, such and having voltaic key and finding timevault. A weakness of the deck is that it can sometimes lose to itself, because it doesn't have the cantrips like mentor decks do it can't sculpt a perfect hand, and the deck can have some variance to it.

Well thanks for reading, any questions or comments are welcome as always and if you have any suggestions to improve this write up let me know, any feedback is highly welcome.

last edited by letseeker

@letseeker This is what I played to a 3-1 tonight, courtesy of Brian Kelly.

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The matchup against Gush is bad - I was lucky to split the matches (my Esper Mentor opponent dug 40 cards deep and whiffed on Mentors in game 1, then stalled on 1 land in game 2).

Regarding your list, I would consider cutting counterspells as you are not going to beat Gush trading 1 for 1. Trinisphere should be in the main as it's your best option against your worst matchups (Storm and Gush). I would consider Daretti as a Welder that works with Oath. Also, you really want Dack as an option against other Dacks (if your opponent steals your Vault/Key, you can steal it back), plus a sick recursion target with Sun Titan. Ancient Grudge is essential in the SB as an answer to Cage, Shops, and Null Rod. Tezzeret the Seeker is really strong in these types of decks - you need at least 1, IMO. A key concept of Kelly Oath is that you use Oath to protect your planeswalkers as your opponent can't easily commit creatures to the board to pressure your walkers. Cut Windfall. Brian Kelly keeps putting Gitaxian Probes in his deck for a reason - I don't why that's the first card most people cut when they pick up his decks...

@ChubbyRain i didnt pick up his list and changed it, ive been working on it for while, but brian kelly gave me some ideas for the deck. so far ive actually been liking windfall because the deck can usually go turn one land, mox, mox, draw 7 but i can try a list without. as for dack i would love to add him in the deck but im not sure what to cut for him, and going below the counters i have i dont feel comfortable with.

This may be a stupid question but what is the purpose of the magus of the future in the deck? I've been out of Vintage for almost 10 years and was thinking about playing again and this deck looked great!! Also curious as to what you would bring in for what matchup from the sideboard as the landscape is extremely different from the last time I played.

Thanks in advance.

Magus of the future is intended to allow playing LOTS of spells each turn. With SDT is absurd, Jace also interacts pretty fine, any mox, thoughcast is easily played. However it's pretty nonbo with trinisphere, so be careful.

I'm pretty confused about Rayne. Cannot think of a proper justification to run it.

And finally, I was going to suggest Exploration Map. Often Oath would like access to more than 4 forbidden orchards, map can be seen as orchard number 5. But in this list map is often better for tolarian. It's cheap, it's an artifact and it's a decent tutor. On paper seems worth a try.

@xouman im trying out rayne for against storm and doomsday so when they use their discard i can draw another card. as for exploration map i might try it out but i draw so many cards in a game i usually end up with atleast two or three before a game is over but it has good synergy with sun titan, might be worth a try.


Rayne, Academy Chancellor

Problem with Rayne as hate is that the opponent can still go for it and Rayne is not doing anything. Aegis seems strictly better, since you cannot be targetted. Still, playing creatures against doomsday or storm does not seem the easiest path to win. If you want to hardcast, play canonist; if you want to oath into, void winnower

@xouman I have two canonist in the side as well, but what about Iona? Could that be a good way to beat storm and doomsday?

Great choice, have forgotten about Iona 🙂

One thing I wanted to point out in last message but totally forgot was that playing small creatures in oath is often wrong. I have tried them more than once and it feels really awkward. Sometimes, if your opponent manages to play several cages, deploying a small 2/1 catches him unprepared. Other times you accomplish to play oath, but then this bear appears and you are dead next turn. Of course, if the plan is taking 3/4 oath from the main by replacing them with bears, then it's ok, but play at the same time Iona and canonist often if a fail (in my humble experience)

Another thing that I learn from better players than me is that good decks focus on what they do well, not in different plans (as my decks tend to do). I'm not saying that having 1 win condition is the best idea, but normally decks work smoother if they have a solid and clear plan. So only play cards that don't help it only if they are really devastating against the opponent. That's why I suggested that Rayne seems a bad option: you don't want it to yourself, and often would be a mild card against those decks supposed to be affected.

Rayne was only included for the VSL trimester as I thought Randy and David Ochoa had a good chance of being on Storm (Randy was playing it against me frequently in the practice room ad David is experienced in it as well) and that Shuhei would still be on Oath. (Rayne draws from every Orchard and Oath use).

Rayne is actually a flexible and decent sideboard option for a Gush deck but generally is not where I'd want to be with Oath of Druids. I'm not even sure I'll board it in v. Grixis Pryomancer since it's underwhelming to Oath up.

@xouman i see your point about that, and along the same line of focusing on what your deck is good at i made some major overhauls to the sideboardto hopefully improve it abit, if you would like to see let me know and i can make an edit to the deck list

@brianpk80 thank you for the insight about rayne, i thought it was some new tech against storm.

Edit: sorry if my post sounded sarcastic @brianpk80 it wasnt meant to

last edited by letseeker

hey guys, i finally got around to redoing the write up on the deck so if your interested, i edited the original post

@xouman i had to take it down because there was a few issues with the deck list i had posted, somewhere along the line ancestral and timewalk were cut from the deck somehow so im fixing that, will have it back up in a few

wanted to post an update for how the deck is working. the main board has been amazing. its right were i want it to be and it plays very smoothly. i changed the sideboard and the changes ive made has made storm a good matchup, the deck is so fast that i can usually get vault key before the combo out, or i can oath up iona and lock them out, and finally i have added sadistic sacrament and that can keep them from winning at all. shops has been a decent matchup, the tks versions of the deck are good but the slow grindy versions with smokestack can be problematic so im still testing that matchup. i have yet to face dredge, so i dont know if the matchup is good, bad, or other. i tested a little against standstill ans its a very hard matchup, the card draw from standstill can easily bury the deck with counters. mentore decks and young pyromancer decks are still untested. below will be the updated sideboard.

SB: 1 Mind Twist
SB: 1 Balance
SB: 1 Toxic Deluge
SB: 1 Show and Tell
SB: 1 Sadistic Sacrament
SB: 1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
SB: 1 Blazing Archon
SB: 3 Hurkyl's Recall
SB: 2 Nihil Spellbomb
SB: 1 Flusterstorm
SB: 2 Abrupt Decay

I like your list as I'm always looking for a home for Vault/Key! How does the deck fare against Null Rod and/or Ravager, the Achilles heel of dedicated Time Vault decks? Do the other parts to victory make this not a problem?

I also like the Burning Wish/toolbox sideboard which, on paper, looks to do a lot of work against the many archetypes out there.

@PugSuperStar against null rod and stony silence my main way to win at that point is oath, but null rod is still good against this deck as it does slow the deck down, but against the decks with null rod (fish, shops, humans, etc...) i usually go for an oath win any way. the wish board has been amazing and has just won me games at times. im still working on the sideboard at the moment as im trying to fit in tendrills and yawgs will for a storm kill, sometimes the deck can cast 10 plus spells in one turn.

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