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By: GoblinLackeyIsBlue, Richie
Nov 30 2009 3:40pm
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A topic that people have been constantly asking me on the client is where I see Oath of Druids affecting the current classic meta. To be honest, I feel Oath will be a deck, but unlike everyone claiming it’s going to warp the meta, I feel it’ll stabilize classic. For this article, I’ll explore Oath, and its impact on the Classic environment as a whole and take you back on a historical trip a decade in the making!

A couple of years ago, Oath lists were dead, thanks to a meta that matches our own. Ichorid flooded the tournament scene to the point that people were flooding the DCI’s e-mail with pleads of angst to immediately restrict Bazaar of Baghdad. Like Dredge during the 07-08 extended season, it was literally impossible to navigate through any tournament without a main deck strategy against this powerhouse. Your sideboard was also dedicated with four to eight slots for hating the deck out. Most of those four slots included Leyline of the Void.

That was great for Extended, due to the fact that only three other lists cared about their graveyard game. Lists like Gift’s Rock, U/G Tron, and Agro-Loam had legitimate hate built in their deck to deal with Leyline that wasn't meant to deal initially with the card. I was recently looking at some PTQ lists from that season, and I was amazed to see most sideboards pack so much hate for this list. It made sense, as the powerful Counterbalance + Sensei's Divining Top control lock (Chapin's Next Level Blue) that had stopped TPS (The Perfect Storm) and other storm variants couldn't deal with the raw power and a virtual uncounterable combo deck. As we learned from the Ichorid article, Dredge can also be beat down. I saw twelve different lists with sideboards that were similar to this:

 

Vintage players really enjoy their graveyard. A misconception about Vintage is how un-interactive it tends to be. There isn’t a zone in Vintage that doesn’t impact the game. At times, your graveyard is more significant than your board state. If you take away the graveyard from Vintage, you basically shut off half of the Tendril-Storm lists. Plan B on those deck are generally last ditch efforts to salvage a game. Welder lists become virtually unplayable, thanks to the extra hate dedicated for the graveyard. Psychatog can no longer be a finisher, and forget about playing any Gifts decks, since their graveyard tends to be more significant than any other zone. Oath suffers the cruelest fate of them all though.

Oath is a versatile card in Vintage. People often take it for face value, but plan B involves the often right click, concede to, Yawgmoth's Will. I've seen decks intentionally plan on dumping a mass majority of their deck into their graveyard, just so they can abuse Will. This is often what leads to a solid victory in mirror storm variant matchups. Here's how it works.

Grim-Oath
Pre-Sideboard

Creatures
1 Tidespout Tyrant
1 cards

Other Spells
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Saphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
1 Lotus Petal
1 Lion's Eye Diamond
1 Black Lotus
1 Regrowth
3 Oath of Druids
1 Krosan Reclamation
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Yawgmoth's Bargain
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Necropotence
2 Grim Tutor
4 Duress
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Dark Ritual
1 Timetwister
1 Time Walk
3 Ponder
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Mind's Desire
1 Flash of Insight
4 Brainstorm
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Enlightened Tutor 
47 cards
 

Lands
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Forbidden Orchard
4 City of Brass
12 cards

1 Oath of Druids
1 Tinker 
15 cards
 
Platinum Angel

 

Grim-Oath
Game 2 and 3

Creatures
1 Platinum Angel
1 cards

Other Spells
4 Pact of Negation
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Saphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Lotus Petal
1 Lion's Eye Diamond
1 Black Lotus
1 Regrowth
4 Oath of Druids
Krosan Reclamation
1 Flash of Insight
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Necropotence 
1 Grim Tutor
4 Duress
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Dark Ritual
1 Timetwister
1 Time Walk
3 Ponder
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Mind's Desire
1 Tinker
4 Brainstorm
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Recoup
47 cards
 

Lands
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Forbidden Orchard
4 City of Brass
12 cards

1 Yawgmoth's Bargain
1 Wheel of Fortune
 
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
15 cards
 
Platinum Angel

 

Let’s say game one my opponent has no idea we're playing Tendrils of Agony. We've pretty much been stomped by some crazy broken storm deck, so now we've boarded to our crazy awesome storm the crazy awesome storm deck! Early game we want to land a Platinum Angel by turn 2 or 3 off of Oath. Tinker is our back door option, and with the tutor magic we have, it shouldn't be difficult to find. They know we've probably brought in Platinum Angel. Our goal is to almost use the Angel as a decoy. If they don't deal with the angel, than we're going to win. It's as simple as that. Krosan Reclamation allows us to put Yawgmoth's Will and Black Lotus on top of our deck. Depending on what you have in your hand, this is probably over by turn 3 or 4. You draw your Lotus, sacrifice it to add either blue or black mana to your pool, than pop a Brainstorm or Ponder for the win.  I've gone off turn 2 this way only a couple of times. The majority of those times involved Platinum Angel being on the bottom of my deck. That's quite an example, but basically here is the play by play incase most of you suffer from the "Wait what did he say?!" syndrome like I tend to do!

Upkeep

Draw 

We draw our Black Lotus, and well that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside! The only way we can activate Oath's trigger is to make sure they have more creatures than you. So make sure at the end of their turn they have at least two spirit tokens to your lonely Platinum Angel. After you draw, you're going to need a hand that resembles this:

You drew the Lotus, Dark Ritual is key, Pact of Negation is protection, and a Ponder, Brainstorm, or Ancestral Recall are all fine ways to draw your Yawgmoth's Will. The Mox Jet could be any mana source in your deck. It could be another Pact of Negation, or hell you could even play Questing Phelddagrif there if you really want awesome tech! If you don't have the Ritual, than the mana source becomes very key though.

From here, you're going to use your Ponder to grab the Will. I like Ponder in this situation, because it is much safer, and a Chain of Vapor on the stack is a threat to occur. (Brainstorm or Ancestral Recall without a Platinum Angel on the field, and one card in your library equals instant death!) We really don't want to blow our Pact of Negation on the threat of losing the game. With the Lotus, we cast it to test the water. This might draw a counter out of our opponent, so we're confidant he has another one in hand to cast. This is a great situation for us to keep our Mox Jet back. He now has no idea we have the Dark Ritual in hand. Often times in any format, the less information your opponent has, the better chances you'll win. Once Yawgmoth's Will resolves, all hell is going to break loose.

Of course this is a ton of work to cast a single spell. Flash of Insight is another way we could win the game without Ponder, Brainstorm, or Ancestral Recall in hand. I like our direction though, as we jack up the storm count quite a bit. It's also a great way to think outside the box, and get a feel for how our opponent will play us game three.

Yeah, so basically everything cool that could have happened, just doesn't thanks to Dredge. Plan B becomes plan fail, and your awesome idea of going crazy off storm doesn't quite happen thanks to a lack of a graveyard. Oath can't really do this in classic very well of course, since we're missing, oh about five crucial cards...but hey, it's something you'd definitely want to keep an eye on.

Oath has of course changed dramatically since the impact of Dredge in Vintage. Here is one of the more up to date lists of Vintage Oath that I feel is compatible to our current meta:

Oath Combo
Piloted by Josh Stewart 1st Place
Creatures
2 Hellkite Overlord
2 cards

Other Spells
4 Dark Ritual
4 Oath of Druids
4 Duress
2 Cabal Ritual
3 Grim Tutor
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 Necropotence
1 Yawgmoth's Bargain
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Tinker
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Mind's Desire
1 Memory Jar
1 Time Vault
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Brainstorm
1 Voltaic Key
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
45 cards
 
Lands
4 City of Brass
4 Forbidden Orchard
3 Gemstone Mine
1 Underground Sea
1 Tolarian Academy
13 cards

Hellkite Overlord

 

Looking at this list can be a bit overwhelming! I assure you that this is very similar to one of our own combo decks. The storm package is excellent in here, but let’s take that out for a minute. All of a sudden we're left with Voltaic Key and Time Vault. Key and Vault are being thrown into everything recently, and I think the DCI needs to step up and do something. This combo is a little too powerful, even in the terms of Vintage. In classic, we also have a very strong combo in the form of Helm of Obedience + Leyline of the Void. This one is a bit fairer, and I feel Helm-Line can really be abused in Oath. Leyline is already great at combating Dredge, so main decking it seems very plausible.

Placing the storm package back in, we've the ability to play with even more of a combo engine. We don't have Yawgmoth's Bargain, but we could replace it with Mind's Desire. We can replace the artifact excelleration with Chrome Mox, Mox Diamond, Lotus Petal, and Lion's Eye Diamond. (Hellkite Overloard) isn't a bad option as a finisher, but I prefer to use Oath as a combo helper. Here's a sketch of a Combo Oath deck I came up with. I'm sure it needs fine tuning, so hopefully this will inspire someone to go out there and come up with some creative list!

 

 

First, an unusual creature to find in any Oath list is Eternal Witness. If you make Oath into a Regrowth on a stick, than you're not caring so much about dumping cards into your graveyard. You've basically allowed Oath to become an additional tutor. Tweaking this list to add another Eternal Witness is another option. You've got plenty of mana in this list to abuse despite playing only thirteen lands. Platinum Angel is your back up condition. The majority of this list plays out like you'd think. You've an explosive storm shell with a ton of combo pieces that have amazing synergy with the tutors.

Against any list packing Leylines or graveyard hate, you can easily side out the witness for a Progenitus. Versus control, the helm combo might be too sluggish. I'd side out the Leylines and the Helm in certain matchups by replacing them with Darksteel Colossus, Progenitus, and Orim's Chant. The 3x Pact of Negation are in there to deal with control decks. I'm not a big fan of them, but I'd imagine they could help. Those are three slots worth exploring for sure. The rest is a generic wish package for most Mind's Desire based storm lists.

Oath has been a brilliant two card combo engine since the original conception of the deck in 2000. I was thirteen back in the day, and I remember seeing players at our shop talk about Oath of Druids, and how it beat this deck called Trix. Of course Trix refers to the (Illusion's of Grandeur) + Donate combo that ran amuck during that years extended season. One of the original lists was dubbed Turboland:

 

Turboland
Satoshi Nakamura: Grand Prix-Taipei 2000-7th place
 
Creatures
1 Morphling
1 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Weaver
3 cards

Other Spells
2 Arcane Denial
1 Capsize
4 Exploration
4 Force of Will
2 Gaea's Blessing
4 Gush
4 Horn of Greed
4 Impulse
4 Oath of Druids
1 Scroll Rack
3 Time Warp 
33 cards
 
Lands
6 Forest
12 Island
2 Treetop Village
4 Tropical Island
24 cards

1 Spike Weaver
2 Forbid
15 cards
 
Time Warp

 

Unlike most Oath decks today, this list relied heavy on dumping its deck into the graveyard. The use of Gaea's Blessing allowed the deck to cycle through all of its cards to find answers. Spike Feeder and Spike Weaver were basic fog effects. Morphling along with Treetop Village were the kill conditions in the list. The combination of Horn of Greed and Exploration allowed the control to generate a ton of mana and card advantage. The deck would also take an absurd amount of turns by cycling through Time Warp. With all the mana, and the ability to draw a ton of cards from playing lands, it was easy to get to the Time Warps. You're looking at really the original Turbo Fog list.

Bob Maher had developed a control Oath list for Pro-Tour Chicago. His list was different from Turboland, as his plan of attack used Oath as a tutor. He was able to play a ton of silver bullets in a near highlander style build. Here is "The Great Ones take on Oath:

 

Maher Oath
Bob Maher - Pro Tour Chicago - 1st Place
Creatures
1 Morphling
1 Shard Phoenix
1 Spike Feeder
3 cards

Other Spells
1 Abundance
1 Aura of Silence
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
1 Disrupt
4 Enlightened Tutor
1 Forbid
4 Force of Will
2 Gaea's Blessing
3 Impulse
1 Ivory Mask
1 Null Rod
2 Oath of Druids
1 Powder Keg
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Trade Routes
34 cards
 
Lands
4 Wasteland
1 Faerie Conclave
3 Flood Plain
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Savannah
3 Treetop Village
4 Tropical Island
4 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island
23 cards

1 Crater Hellion
2 Oath of Druids
1 Powder Keg
15 cards
 
Morphling

 

Maher's entire list revolved around tutoring up answers to any decks. He used Spike Feeder, and Morphling like Turboland did, but he also incorporated Shard Phoenix as his way to Wrath of God the board. Enlightened Tutor would fetch whatever was the easiest way to disrupt his opponent's plan. Oath would shut down all the creature based lists in the format, while Ivory Mask would deal with Necropotence decks, and of course Sylvan Library could punish any of the slower control lists. This is more of the control feel that Oath can abuse. Maher's list eventually evolved toward more a straight forward silver bullet control list. Here's a look at the final evolution of Maher's Oath list: 

Rock Oath
Jelger Wiegersma- Pro Tour New Orleans - 3rd Place
Creatures
1 Morphling
1 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Weaver
3 cards

Other Spells
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
4 Enlightened Tutor
4 Force of Will
2 Gaea's Blessing
2 Oath of Druids
1 Overgrown Estate
1 Powder Keg
2 Seal of Cleansing
3 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Wild Research 
33 cards
 
Lands
4 Flood Plain
2 Savannah
3 Treetop Village
4 Tropical Island
4 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
3 Wasteland
24 cards

1 Crater Hellion
15 cards
 
Pernicious Deed

 

If there was ever a predecessor to Chapin's Next Level Blue concept, this has to be it. Jelger Wiegersma applied Maher's Oath concept, and took it to the next level in a big way. His use of Accumulated Knowledge allowed for two drop Ancestral Recalls when Gaea's Blessing triggered. Overgrown Estate was crucial against any of the burn lists in the field. Getting Estate down would often lead to life gain that Burn and RDW decks could not compete with. Wild Research was an amazing card for late game action. It served as a fifth Enlightened Tutor, and could break any game wide open. He also went back to the original creature package Nakamura used. Finally, Pernicious Deed was the answer to any board state situation.

Leave it to the Japenese to come up with something crazy to play. Remember the Japenese man with the cowboy hat from Pro-tour Austin? If you don't, his name is Tsuyoshi Ikeda. Ikeda owns and operates his own gaming shop in Japan. He was one of the master minds behind this concoction, combining both Oath and Trix to form:

Fireball Special
Jin Okamoto Masters Gateway- Nice

Creatures
1 Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor
1 Morphling
1 Spike Weaver
3 cards

Other Spells
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Brainstorm
1 Capsize
4 Counterspell
3 Donate
4 Force of Will
2 Gaea's Blessing
3 Illusions of Grandeur
3 Intuition
3 Merchant Scroll
3 Oath of Druids
4 Sapphire Medallion
35 cards
 

Lands
2 Forest
14 Island
4 Tropical Island
2 Yavimaya Coast
22 cards

4 Powder Keg
3 Back to Basics
15 cards
 
Illusions of Grandeur

 

The combination of Oath and Trix was quite innovative at the time. American deck builders felt they couldn't combine both of these powerful decks without major draw backs. As it turns out, the only drawback of this list revolved around Sapphire Medallion. People hadn't a clue to deal with the weak point of this deck. Basically, if they eliminated the Sapphire Medallion, than the list was to slow to keep up. That is until Spike Weaver came to crash the party. Weaver could fog for a couple of turns. In those three turns, you could build up the proper mana you needed to cast the Illusions and the Donate. The name of the game after that was survived. Aboshan was used to combat Miracle Grow's best weapon, Winter Orb. The list ended up both being flexible and versatile, though never achieved the success other lists had.

2002 was a crucial year in extended. A major rotation occurred in the format that made a number of decks virtually unplayable. The dual lands, 5th edition, the Ice Age Block, and the Mirage block had rotated out. Justin Gray and Zvi Mowshowitz of Your Move Games took the following Suicide Oath deck to the Pro Tour, with the Pernicious Deeds being the deck's signature. The top 8 was so lopsided, that a not a single game had been won against the Oath list.

Turbo Oath
Justin Gary Pro Tour Houstin- First Place
Creatures
2 Cognivore
2 cards

Other Spells
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
3 Fact or Fiction
1 Foil
2 Forbid
3 Force Spike
2 Intuition
1 Krosan Reclamation
2 Living Wish
1 Mana Leak
4 Oath of Druids
3 Pernicious Deed 
34 cards
 
Lands
2 Forest
7 Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
4 Treetop Village
2 Underground River
4 Yavimaya Coast
24 cards

Sideboard
3 Engineered Plague
2 Naturalize
2 Palinchron
2 Masticore
2 Gilded Drake
2 Dust Bowl
2 Powder Keg
15 cards
 
Living Wish

 

If you've ever played Momir Basic, Cognivore is perhaps the worst creature you could every wish to see. When your graveyard is full of instants, it becomes an evasive Terravore. It's a one swing kill that Oath can fetch up. Deed really shined in this deck, as it was the back bone incase anything went wrong. Masticore and Gilded Drake worked wonders in the control matchup. The decks engine was an insane amount of card advantage that ended up in complete domination of the Pro-Tour. Subsequently, Oath was banned after this Pro-Tour because of the dominance it had over the entire field. This was virtually the last time Oath saw play in Extended.

If you remember from the beginning of the article, we reviewed Oath Combo, and its direct impact in Classic, well now we're going to take a look at Oath in Vintage as a control list. Here is a list I've built and played a handful of times. The majority of the Vintage tournaments in South Florida are few and far between with watered down competition. I'm not sure how this build would work, but here it is:

 

Oath Control
Built and Piloted by FatManInALittleCoat

Creatures
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 card

Other Spells
1 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Oath of Druids
1 Misdirection
1 Yawgmoth's Will
2 Mana Drain
4 Duress 
1 Timetwister
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Intuition
1 Gifts Ungiven
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Krosan Reclamation
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic Key
1 Echoing Truth 
1 Flash of Insight
1 Time Walk
1 Tinker
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mana Crypt
1 Lotus Petal 
42 cards
 

Lands
4 Forbidden Orchard
4 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
1 Wasteland
1 Island 
2 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Strip Mine
17 cards

 

Sideboard
2 Pithing Needle
3 Extirpate
2 Null Rod
2 Massacre
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Pyroblast
1 Krosan Grip 
1 Platinum Angel
15 cards
 
Iona, Shield of Emeria

 

This list is a close to control as I'll play with Oath. Here's how this list works. My goal is to get Iona, Shield of Emeria in play. Most of the time naming blue will shut my opponent's deck down completely. Occasionally I'll find myself naming black or white pending on the match, but for the good majority of the time, blue is the target color. I then have options on what I'd like to. I could go ahead and play control the entire matchup while swinging with my Iona, or I can win the game another way.

I can go for Yawgmoth's Will win condition, except this time I'm not playing Tendrils of Agony as the final blow. Instead, I'm opting for the ultra powerful Voltaic Key + Time Vault infinite turn loop. The reason I'm playing control is due to a very diverse field. With combo, I'm very susceptible to random lists that are built to flat out hate it. Control on the other hand can counter its way out of problematic situations. Another thing, this list is also a lot more recent. The other list was from a couple of years ago. Brainstorm and Ponder are now both restricted, forcing me to rely on Oath and the pieces to pull it out. Here's a quick play by play I've put together on what you're looking to do:

Upkeep

 
Krosan Reclamation is on the stack. We're targeting Lotus and Will. We've a Tropical Island and a Mox Sapphire untapped.
It's key we have double blue untapped. We've got Iona, Shield of Emeria set to Blue so counter magic isn't going to be an issue.
We have no cards left in our library, and 5 cards in hand after we've draw the Lotus. This is our hand after our draw step. 

 

Hand on the draw phase

Our hand would be great if we didn't have Iona set to blue. Accumulated Knowledge is an option that fails horribly if we cast it.
How horrible is A.K in this situation? You cast it and you literally lose. So we go ahead and play the Lotus. Our next issue is retrieving 
the Yawgmoth's Will sitting ontop our deck.
 

Main Phase Board State
 

We've sacked the Black Lotus to add triple black to the mana pool. That's going to be reserved to cast Yawgmoth's Will. We're flashing back Flash of Insight to draw the Will. We now have no cards left in our library, but that's okay, because Yawgmoth's Will is going to win us the game. Our useless hand is -Black Lotus / +Yawgmoth's Will. Next we're going to cash in our graveyard with Yawgmoth's Will and return our mana sources.

Thanks to Yawgmoth's Will, we pretty much just kicked some major ass. We now have the mana we need to implement the final part of the plan. Remember, Yawgmoth's Will have resolved. Anything that touches our graveyard will now be exiled. Our combo is Time Vault+Voltaic Key. We're abusing this in a control package. The final piece to our puzzle is getting the combo down and shuffling our graveyard back into our library.

Voltaic Key and Time Vault produce infinite turns. Timetwister is brought in to shuffle your graveyard back into your library. We've accomplished
all this in a single turn. We've also replayed the Lotus to help generate the mana. You should have two floating mana, a new hand of seven, infinite turns and a 7/7 angel shutting blue off. I'd say this is a crazy lock. Oh yeah, it's also turn 3. Doesn't seem too shabby huh?

Of course in Vintage you can do all these crazy plays. Classic Oath control builds might not have too many crazy combos like this though. So for the final Oath list, I've decided to show the more traditional approach to an Oath control build meant for classic. I came up with two seperate Oath Lists, each one of them being a quick rough sketch of how  I feel they'll be built. Here they are:

 

This one is related to one of the later versions of Maher's Oath. This deck packs a ton of silver bullets against Dredge and hate against Oath. There are multiple ways to find answers in this deck to deal with situations. Our main goal is to get Iona, Shield of Emeria and Painter's Servant down. It virtually locks them out of any possible spells they could play. Of course against Dredge this plan might not work out so great. That's why I've gone to Grindstone to the equation. We also have a sideboard dedicated to beating mirror Oath and Dredge lists. It's a wishing sideboard to find answers for problems. I haven't tested this, so it's just a rough sketch. I hope to test this list out and bring you results soon!

The next list is made to tackle the meta right now. Dredge and the Eternal Painter deck seem to be the top decks in the field. I wanted to neutralize both of them, while playing enough control to allow flexibility in other matchups. Here's what I've come up with:

 

I feel that playing main deck Leyline gives a giant advantage against Oath and Dredge. Of course Progenitus is my creature of choice here. He's so good against agro decks. Mixing him with Iona gives you a near lock on the game that presents trouble for your opponent. Of course, Iona + Platinum Angel also establish a soft lock that allows you to shut off the color of their removal. This is why in the first list I have Aether Spellbomb. I wish I could have found room in this list.

Someone had asked me about Spell Pierce. Up until now, I didn't really care for it in classic due to a slower nature of the format. Thanks to Oath of Druids, all the decks are going to speed up immensely. Spell Pierce is great protection with discard, and can shut down a player from a turn one or a turn two Oath. It's also not bad to target a Brainstorm in the early game. I played Disrupt to shut down discard, but I found it to be useless in the late game. In a counter war, making them pay two eliminates their ability to cast Mana Drain.

Speaking of Mana Drain, you may notice it's only in one list. The reason it’s in the Oath Line list is due to the fact I understand I'll probably have to hard cast Leyline or a Helm of Obedience from time to time. It's also not a bad way to play a cheap Tinker or Thirst for Knowledge. The other list has such a low CMC compared to this one, that I should be able to play those spells easily.  The other reason I'm playing 3x Seat of the Synod has a lot to do with the two Thirst for Knowledge and the Tinker. Thoughtseize is more in there for protection. Both lists are finally running a copy of Wipe Away. I prefer Wipe Away in the main deck over Krosan Grip due to an ability to answer a variety of threats.

In closing, I want to thank all my readers yet again for making this possible, as well as PureMtgo.com for allowing me to write. I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! This is FatManInALittleCoat wishing you all Happy Holidays!

15 Comments

Dunno about later on but Zvi by PLeicht (not verified) at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 16:08
PLeicht's picture

Dunno about later on but Zvi started out as a Neutral Ground NY regular not YMG which is up in Boston. Otherwise fun article. Always nice to read history surrounding particular cards.

as far as I'm aware, he was by GoblinLackeyIsBlue at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 18:22
GoblinLackeyIsBlue's picture

as far as I'm aware, he was on the team at the time, either that or he helped develope the team. My favorite team back then was the Phoenix Foundation, problem was I couldn't find their crazy Oath build, which was really awesome I heard, just posted bad results.

Did you mean their CounterOath from ProTour Chicago 1999? by pfirpfel (not verified) at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 19:09
pfirpfel's picture

see: http://www.wizards.com/sideboard/article.asp?x=PTCHICAGO9900/top8decklists (Dirk Baberowski's list)

Awesome article, when does by spg at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 19:27
spg's picture

Awesome article, when does Exodus hit MTGO?

Next Monday, and Paul there by GoblinLackeyIsBlue at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 22:19
GoblinLackeyIsBlue's picture

Next Monday, and Paul there was another list I was looking for. Anyway, I can't wait til I get my greedy hands on Oath! Oh how I will abuse thee oath!

Oath is just a amazing building piece by dangerlinto at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 08:54
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As I said to GLIB last night, Oath is a lot like Flash, except you get to run 4 of your key card and you really only need 1 slot in your deck as opposed to the 5-10 cards Flash needs. With all that extra space, you can pretty much build it in any way you please. You can pack in Mana-Denial, uber-control, multiple win conditions (such as GLIB did here).

While Oath might make a lot of other formerly viable strategies obsolete, it's nice to know that you can have such variance in Oath lists to keep them from getting stale.

You're a good writer, but by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:25
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You're a good writer, but your facts are sometimes a bit off.
Ichorid has always been good in vintage, but its never dominated.
You could run the ichorid gambit in extended, as, while it was terrific, it often was easier to not run hate against them to improve your other matchups, giving you a better chance of making top 8
Welder decks in vinatage are rarely super relient on welder, either being drain decks, workshop aggro, or stax
_Oath seems sketch in vintage combo matchups, (i do play vinatge, btw) as long variants and even tps are super fast, but to0 be fair, ive never tried oath. Isn't it usually in drain-type shells rather than combo?. Tidespout oath was an awesome deck, tho
just a heads up, bomberman oath was decent in vintage as well.

over all, though, despite my nitpicking, i loved the artile. You put forth some awesome deck lists, and found some cool ones from the past (turbo oath!)

It's normally in a Mana drain by GoblinLackeyIsBlue at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 18:57
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It's normally in a Mana drain package with storm, but often times comes in from the sideboard. Basically, Oath can retrieve iona from the sb, or angel in MD against Storm which can really give grim long decks major problems. Oath is definately a fun list, I wish I could go into more dept with it in the article, but literally I'd have like 25 different lists, and explaining them so >.< Oh yeah, Dredge was really a problem from a lot of people I heard, I never thought it was much, but I do remember thread upon thread upon thread with legit players wanting to see Bazaar axed

Oath is one of my favorite by Paul Leicht at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:13
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5

Oath is one of my favorite cards in the set. First being Recurring Nightmare and second being Oath of Ghouls. Survival of the Fittest definitely comes a close 4th to Oath of Druids though. Those 4 cards are high on my to get list come Exodus.

Almost forgot the fireballx5 which was the main reason for my second post to this.

It's me, the poster above by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 22:44
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It's me, the poster above you, GLIB

I think that the depth was reasonable; you showed both history and possible futures, it was simply the vintage decks that you have chosen to show that i have minor qualms with...post-gush, oath hasn't been quite as hot in hybrid storm decks...but wait, gush is online!
Oath is absolutely one of the best sideboard options ever, right up there with goys and negators; its sooo good, and may simply muscle zoo out of the format (any shrouded monster on turns 2-3 is rough stuff)
If they reprint fastbond, though..youve basically got tyrant oath, which was so coool.
People wanted bazaar restricted for the same reason they wanted (and, eventually, got) flash, or lions eye diamond, or back to basics restricted: not objective dominance, or even true brokenness (which it is), but simply not enjoying that kind of deck.

Anyways, props on a great article

Towels are our friends by menace (not verified) at Wed, 12/02/2009 - 01:06
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Back to Basics is not restricted.
Not sure how Fastbond gives us Tyrant Oath, as most of the Tyrant Oath lists do not use Fastbond, wouldn't that need real moxen?

Zoo will have a hella hard time but there is cards it can employ or change of color scheme.
gw uses tariff to hold of inky and such though not many lists do.
Most of the Tinker/Oath targets hate is edict and hurk's recall

Nice article and will anyone have a survival or Rec Nightmare list in Classic?

Psssst that's next weeks by GoblinLackeyIsBlue at Thu, 12/03/2009 - 07:26
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Psssst that's next weeks articles!

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As a player who has never touched a paper version of Oath, I am going to say this article has given me more interest in a fringe format that is called Classic. You list versions of Oath I have never heard of and the short history behind them. The variance between the decks differs but continues to focus on the same engine that is played out in Vintage. While a number of the decks include cards online players do not have online, the evolution of the deck opens doors to new evolutions that could be seen online. I was most interested how the deck lists incorporated Gaea's Blessing or the lack there of. Card interactions with YagWin, Accumulated Knowledge, and flashback cards abuse the graveyard interact beautifully with the whole deck in mind.

Great article! I liked by FiatLux (not verified) at Wed, 12/02/2009 - 14:12
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Great article! I liked reading the history behind Oath. I've never played a paper version of Oath either. I've only seen it run a lot (it was incredibly popular in the area I was living).

I am making my own Oathline as well, and while I geared it towards working in an Oath team for multiplayer, I went through the same reasoning you did in deciding to add helmline to the mix. Having helmline in Oath is not bad for a mirror matchup (against Oath combo decks), good dredge hosing (and dredge is still strong in classic format), and can potentially kill turn 3-4 (or turn 2-3 if it were teamed oath in a 2Headed Giant game, and my partner got to use Oath right after it resolved on my side) even if we didn't include mana acceleration, so it can race with other fast decks. I don't know as much about the effects on 1v1, but I think that it will at least be faster and more challenging against ad nauseam and dredge in multiplayer than most other decks.

Speaking of multi,... part of the reason I really like Oath because it scales well for teams/multiplayer similarly to how Painterstone and Helmline scale up for multiplayer. The Oath combos are great to hear about here too, and makes me wish Yawg's Win would come to classic sooner. I've seen a couple people (names withheld) trying out Oath combo decks (minus the Oath, since it isn't available yet) in the tourney prac room already (different from each other's and different from my own ideas). Can't wait to see the effects and what becomes viable.

Something I noticed while by FiatLux (not verified) at Mon, 12/14/2009 - 21:52
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Something I noticed while playing Oathline vs Oathline games. While they weren't mirror, Helm was a very frightening thing to see on the other side of the table, regardless of whether Leyline was in play or not.

Oath v Oath games can be very slow games, where one person might just barely have a slight advantage than the other in terms of life and one spirit token slips through once per round doing 1 damage. In games like that, when I'm trying to do 20 damage with the only 1-2 spirit tokens given to me, we're both low on Oaths, and Whiffy Penguin has Helm out, I am shatting myself each time he uses that thing on me. He eventually did steal Iona from my deck, and might have won if he had gotten it out 2-3 turns earlier (before he was knocked down to 1 life).

Understandably, I don't think many of us could seriously consider Helm alone to be "anti-oath" tech, but when it's in play, it has some serious psychological impact. I would have spent any resource i had (Flash of Insight, tutors, whatever) into destroying the helms (sans leyline) that I faced off against, given the cards and opportunity, instead of using them to secure my position for a counter war.