Hello everyone! I've been working on a new Oath deck for a few weeks now. I was inspired by @brianpk80 and his Gush oath deck, but there were a few circumstances that made copying his deck exactly a problem. Brian's deck used Auriok Salvagers, and MTGO is abysmal for loops of that nature. Also, I didn't have certain expensive cards like Engineered Explosives, and a few other things. Also, I really wanted to make something with my own personal touch.

Golden Gun Gush Oath

After tinkering and testing, here's what I came up with:



The basic idea is that this is an Oath deck that actually has a fighting chance to stay ahead or at parity when facing another Gush deck. I'm using a very similar suite of cantrips, card draw, and counterspells.

In order to support Gush I've cut down to two Forbidden Orchards. To make up for that there's Swan Song and Beast Within. Both cards have been surprisingly good for me.

I used the pseudo-Golden Gun Oath build of Emrakul, Griselbrand, and Dragon Breath for a couple important reasons. First of all, I wanted a way to lock up a game the turn I activate Oath and Time Vault is too many parts (and often useless). Time Vault also makes playing Yawgmoth's Will and/or Memory's Journey necessary.

The other reason to use Gris/Emrakul is that Emrakul doubles as a Gaea's Blessing in a pinch. Imagine Oathing down to a nearly empty library, drawing seven from Griselbrand, and discarding Emrakul to get a fresh deck. Plus both Emrakul and Dragon breath can be discarded to Dack Fayden.

I will have more of a write-up on this deck in the future, but I am a little busy today. I'm also planning on writing an article about the deck at some point, ideally after getting some more meaningful testing in. So far things have been going well though.

12/9/16 Vintage Daily Event

Here's a mini-report of the DE I played in last night.

R1: @vaughnbros roflstomped me with his sweet Dredge deck and I cried like a baby. Seriously, things went bad for me and good for him. Game one I was just too slow. Game two I boarded in Ravenous Traps, Blazing Archon, and two Pithing Needles. I figured he was on the transformation package and Needles would be good. Archon is great against Dredge if it hits the battlefield. None of it worked. It might have worked had I drawn more than one Ravenous Trap the whole match!

R2: Yuz (I think that was the name) on Car Shops. Guy kept an aggro hand without many spheres. I got out Oath and did what the card says to do. Game two, same thing. This is not a matchup I'm ever worried about quite frankly.

R3: WUGB GushBond Mentor. I saw Gushes, Mentor, and Fastbond both games, so I knew I had to watch out for a potential combo kill. Game one the Gush plan worked very well and I stayed ahead on cards, landing an Oath and managing to protect it. Game two I actually won with Show and Tell into Emrakul. I knew it would resolve thanks to a Gitaxian Probe, but I was actually worried as my opponent could have had some outs that I couldn't stop, namely Jace, the Mind Sculptor or drawing into a Gushbond kill. Luckily I made it through a turn, and that was it.

R4: Vs The Atog Lord on Gush Mentor. I could describe this for you, but I think you might prefer watching it here. https://www.twitch.tv/richshay

Rich was at 3-0 and I was at 2-1, so I cursed at the misfortune of being paired up against arguably the best Vintage player on MTGO (and the definite best in that event).

In the end we played a tight three games and I managed to get pretty lucky with my hand.

My takeaway: The deck feels pretty good. I built it to improve the abysmal Gush Mentor matchup and I indeed won two of those matches. I still feel like there's work to do on the deck, but I'm happy with it overall.

Rich was at 3-0 and I was at 2-1, so I cursed at the misfortune of being paired up against arguably the best Vintage player on MTGO (and the definite best in that event).

Don't sell yourself short. Rich ended up tied to you and I at the end. In record and in H2H breakers. Congrats on prizing!

@vaughnbros said in Golden Gun Gush:

Rich was at 3-0 and I was at 2-1, so I cursed at the misfortune of being paired up against arguably the best Vintage player on MTGO (and the definite best in that event).

Don't sell yourself short. Rich ended up tied to you and I at the end. In record and in H2H breakers. Congrats on prizing!

Thank you very much. It's been a while since I've been able to play in a daily. I'm often exhausted by ten PM. Last night I happened to be awake enough that I decided that I could handle it.

I still play at least a little bit each day, but it's hard to know how relevant testing is when it's mainly random MTGO opponents. Doing well in the daily says much more for the validity of the concept.

@Islandswamp Congrats on the great showing with a cool deck. Can you elaborate a little more on the inclusion of Dragon's Breath? You say you wanted a way to lock up games right away, is there a metagame reason for that you can point to? Really intersting deck btw. Congrats again.

@Topical_Island said in Golden Gun Gush:

@Islandswamp Congrats on the great showing with a cool deck. Can you elaborate a little more on the inclusion of Dragon's Breath? You say you wanted a way to lock up games right away, is there a metagame reason for that you can point to? Really intersting deck btw. Congrats again.

There are a few decks specifically that can easily beat you after oathing into a griselbrand or Emrakul. Storm or paradoxical outcome doesn't much care about griselbrand. Mentor can race you, especially since you'll need to pay life and draw cards to protect griselbrand. Dredge also races easily.
Secondly I don't like to durdle. Every extra turn is another chance for your opponent to draw their outs.

@Islandswamp Thank you. It's a really interesting take.

@Islandswamp Keep bringing the good stuff to the format, you are doing a great job :))))

For me, the most tricky issue with this hybrid is the manabase. Although if I want to approach it like a Gush like deck (at least 12 Gush-able lands) plus I would try to stick to the cantrip base that has been working more or less. Additionally, playing 3 (or even 4) Gitaxians can provide a lot of info on when to Show and Tell πŸ™‚

My main base would be:

3 Gitaxian Probe
3 Preordain
1 Brainstorm
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Sensei Diving Top
1 Ponder
1 Vamp
1 Walk
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Jace
3 Gush
1 TC

Or you can use any Chubby or Diophan business spells list from their Gush shells :)))

My only concern would be to play with Mystical, to be able to Show and Tell when needed or after Grisseling on the upkeep to look for Walk and almost win.

Regarding the countersuite, I would try to stick to 10 counters as it seems to be a popular and successful choice nowadays πŸ™‚

4 MM (donΒ΄t leave home without the playset)
1 Fluster

I would add the 2nd MBT and the 2nd Fluster to the board to fight combo decks.

And would try to leave just one Oath triggerer in the sideboard: 1 Swan Song.

Now the Oath package:

4 Oath
1 Grisel
1 Emrakul
1 Dragon Breath
2 Show and Tell

Total: 38 Spells

On the Manabase: I would take out the Mana Crypt and try to stick to the Gush bases (12-13 Gushable lands with 6-8 fetchlands and 1 or 2 basics):

6 Fetchland
3 Underground
2 Tropical
2 Island
3 Orchard
5 Mox
1 Lotus

Manabase: 22

The changes to your list are not that many in the end πŸ™‚

I like the idea to play with Red and fetchable lands, but I guess you should try to avoid your own manascrews someway.

I would start like this although you lose Fayden.

last edited by PeAcH

Wow even with all the islands 3 non island lands makes me uncomfortable. I have actually played a lot of "Gush/Oath" hybrids in a couple different flavors, and in the current vintage meta I found it was enough to just play the 1 orchard main and side into more for matchups that weren't playing many creatures. It worked well as gush tended to be bad against those decks (Small amount of dude shops), but left a big problem with Landstill primarily.

That being said, I found that I still was losing a fair amount to the tempo gush decks. It is amazing to me, but mentor can race griseldad, sometimes. In addition, the advent of white eldrazi made me less excited about playing oath, as it is surprisingly good against oath even in the main deck.

Have you found that those matchups are good ? Which gush aggro have you tested against the most?

What do you so about the matchups with Storm or other Oath decks or Landstill where them having creatures just won't happen? I assume you grind it out? What does that look like?

@Topical_Island I have swan song and beast within. Plus it's not that hard to tutor or cantrip for an Orchard.

Oh huh. Now that is really interesting. So the design question here is kinda, (2 Orchard + Beast + Swan Song + Gush) vs (4 Orchard + 6 Other Cards)... That is a really interesting choice. I've kinda rejected Swan Song out of hand in the past. But if it gets you Gush? Interesting deck.

I definitely think there's more work to be done, but overall I'm happy with things.

For what it's worth my deck has the same amount of non-Island/non-fetch lands as Brian Kelly's Dromoka Gush oath. His list does play sixteen total lands though, whereas mine is just fifteen.

I'll have more to say about the deck in an upcoming article.

I really liked the look of the Saheeli Oath deck you wrote about a while back. I played a little Vintage 8 years ago (proxy tournaments), but recently assembled some Power and have started playing just recently.

I was curious about which Oath deck people think is better and why: Sun Titan Saheeli or Golden Gun?

@jhport12 I have tested just about every type of Oath from Omni-Tell, through to the "rogue" variations like Sun-Titan and Rune Scarred. When I Goldfished the Sun Titan builds they were great. I especially like at least one copy of Pernicious Deed in a deck with Titan, for obvious reasons. This new build with Saheeli looks equally, if not more insane. How broken is that... but.

I can also tell you I won't be bringing Sun-Titan Oath into tourneys any time soon, and the reason is Dredge decks. The problem is that Dredge is a real threat in the metagame, and just about everyone packs in at least some SB against it. Oath is already a threat too, and just about everyone packs in some SB against that too.

That means that people get bonus side board cards against you, just because you chose Sun-Titan instead of some other Oath target like Griselbrand.

Let's look at an actual tourney. At Eternal Extravaganza, there was one Oath deck that made the top8 and zero Dredge decks. (The top 8 was... 1Oath, 3Gush/Mentor, 1Mud, 1PWControl, 1Landstill, 1Blue Moon) But the metagame effect of Dredge can still be strongly felt. Here are all the SB cards from those 8 decks that are relevant against a traditional Oath build:
14Containment Priest
10Grafdiggers Cage
1Nature's Claim
1Jester's Cap
and 1 Echoing Truth... I guess.

So that's the basic Oath hate list that we can expect to be included by most well prepared decks will be packing against us.

But if we want to run Titan-Oath, now we get to contend with these extra cards from the same sideboards.
7Rest in Peace
7Tormod's Crypt
2 Ravenous Trap
2Relic of Progenitus
and 1Moat?

Players against us are going pick up a ton of extra relevant SB cards by virtue of already having them around for Dredge, because we, by running Sun Titan, are probably running only the second best graveyard recursion strategy in Vintage... So the question... is that extra metagame hit we're taking outweighed by extra punch that we get from Sun-Titan... Really. That's the question we should be asking.

I don't it's better, because I think other builds have just as much punch without relying on the graveyard. Brian Kelly Oath is great, obviously. I really like @Islandswamp 's Golden Gun too, since both of those use the graveyard for extra punch, but don't rely on it. Against a Rest in Peace, they still just dig up a Griselbrand and draw a bunch of cards and win. The difference between these builds even against a turn 1 Tormod's Crypt is pretty big.

But hey. If Titan is your jam, do it. I recommend having a lot of main board Abrupt Decay though, because you will run into some extra Rests in Pieces that will be super annoying.

I definitely recognized the extra GY hate as a drawback, but I wasn't sure if the power to win on the turn you activate Oath was enough incentive to do it anyway.

Also, if you go for the hard cast Sun Titan, doesn't that negate Priest, Cage and disenchant effects? And Karakas does nothing against Saheeli Oath, right? I assumed that was one of the plusses of the deck.

It's a really good question, though--how much the extra SB hate will matter.

I have very little play experience thus far in Vintage. I've basically just played a few matches with a Pyromancer Cabal Therapy deck.

Thanks for the insight!

@jhport12 Yeah. If you like that sort of thing (the casting). I would look into Kelly Oath. Brian Kelly used to play a lot of Sun Titan actually before switching out for Auriok Salvagers bomberman combo, which is... actually exactly the same in terms of cards needed to win.

For the Sun Titan combo you need, Titan coming into play, then Two Salheeli, either in play or in the yard, so 3 cards.

For bomberman you need Auriok Salvagers in play, and Lotus in play or in the yard, plus Spellbomb in play or in yard or in hand, so 3 cards

They are roughly equal in terms of both ability to kill and cards needed... except you are probably already running Lotus so the bomberman is a little leaner in terms of deck construction. Also, its possible to win on the spot with the Bomberman combo, but without the spellbomb. Once you have infinate mana, cards like Dig, Treasure Cruise, Demonic Tutor, Emrakul, Griselbrand, and even Engineered Explosives are very likely wins. Also having Sensei's Top in the yards is great, especially if you are running fetch lands... (I'm actually running a version of Bomberman right now that doesn't even use spellbomb, because I just count Explosives and and Emrakul as win cons and that works out just fine. A lot of times I just find the spaghetti monster and play him along with either Gris or Jace or Time Walk, and just win on the spot with the infinate mana loop... but I like it because its a leaner build and I hate drawing bad cards midgame.)

Let me know what you decide on. I'm always looking for more data/feedback. I'm curious to know what you discover and how it works out for you.

I haven't tried sun titan yet, but I'm sure it has some great advantages.
I should say though, that I have beast within as a main deck out to karakas, plus SB needles. Also against karakas I bring in blazing archon.

I don't think saheeli is great when you're not comboing off, but I might be wrong. Also spot removal should shut off the sun titan combo for a turn. In my deck I'm either getting seven fresh cards before a plow, or I'm getting a monster that can't even be plowed.

In my deck there are three cards I don't want to draw, griselbrand. Emrakul, dragon breath. The rest of the non land cards are usually live and helpful. Plus, it's not that terrible to draw dragon breath, because you can discard it to Dack or cast it on griselbrand. Plus it steals creatures with a Dack emblem. Not too shabby.

FYI, the Mentors in the board were to beat opponents who were overboarding against the Sun-Titan Saheeli combo and against decks that traditionally do not run a bunch of creatures. It's an advantage of playing Gush - you can do a pretty reasonable control strategy post board by boarding out Oaths and boarding in Traps, Pyroblasts, removal, and Flusters.

Edit: I know I'm a bit eccentric as a deck designer but there is a method to the madness. Usually.

last edited by Guest

I definitely like the idea of a Dack and Gush-heavy Oath build. It allows you to compete against other blue decks on card advantage and selection. Dack stealing artifacts is never a bad thing, either.

@ChubbyRain, I haven't seen a list yet that has Mentor in the SB. I'll try to find it on mtggoldfish or another site, if I can. That seems like an interesting tactic, especially since you are boarding out Oaths for Mentors and clunky MD cards (like Saheeli) for SB cards that hurt your opponent.

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