Where is Oath right now?



  • I ran Oath in paper this weekend... played just poorly enough to take fifth at a small tourney with a strong field, and just out of the money. I'm a little mad at myself, but not at the deck. It was better than me this weekend, that's for sure. I'll write up a report this evening.



  • Hey guys, I'm a long-time Oath player and i've been struggling a lot with many of these same questions. Primarily, which version of Oath is best right now in the paper metagame? There are several competing versions, and I'm not really sure where to go.

    The key decision points seem to be:

    • What's your backup plan if Oathing directly into one huge dumb guy won't work? For example, how do you deal with Grafdigger's Cage, Containment Priest, or Eldrazi Displacer?
    • What are the weaknesses of your main kill condition (and your backup plan)? How dependent are you on the graveyard? Is Swords to Plowshares live against you?
    • Which colors beyond green and blue are you going to play? Are you trying to play Dack Fayden? Demonic Tutor? Auriok Salvagers? By Force? Abrupt decay (and, if so, how many)?

    One of the questions I don't have a good grasp on right now is how good Dack Fayden (and therefore the color red) actually is at this point in time. Shop decks have been playing ravager for a while now, and Walking Ballista also makes sure that you're not going to get a second Dack activation. If you're resolving a three-mana, two-color spell against workshops, it probably needs to put you into a pretty good spot. Against other decks, the card draw is certainly a substantial benefit, but it's also not quite as good as it was because you can't Gush back some lands and then discard them. We also saw Painful Truths emerge as another card draw alternative.

    I've honestly never played an Oath deck without black for at least Demonic and Vampiric Tutors, so that's something I'm mulling over as well. I've had good experiences with Aburpt Decay as well, though I'm less tied to that.

    To me, the main contenders are either a Salvagers-based win package or Saheeli. They both have the trait of being able to hardcast the primary win condition, which is important. In the past, I've always looked to Show and Tell as my plan B, but the increased presence of Containment Priest makes this much more difficult. On the other hand, they both can be significantly disrupted by Swords to plowshares. For both, the odds of firing off a combo kill directly after your first Oath aren't super high (in fact, not even above 50%), so I also get a bit concerned when I think about that awkward turn in the middle.

    Standstill Oath also seems interesting, and I've also seen some folks here and elsewhere pilot it to some success. For those of you who have, why is that deck your choice? In which situations would you prefer it over the other flavors? It's not a variant that I've worked with much in the past.

    Finally, if I were to play Saheeli, I'd feel compelled to include a Memory's Journey because 30% of the time your deck will be arranged such that you can never get to a combo finish. That's not even including times where you draw a Titan naturally. Please set me straight on this - how often does the deck win by beating for 6 and establishing control via permanents rather than the combo kill?

    If you were to play in a paper tournament tomorrow, which flavor of Oath would you choose? Why?



  • If I were to play Oath, I would run it with 4 Monastery Mentors and some number of Regrowths to hit Time Walk(s) and/or Disenchant efx, so that the "draw back" of Mentor making tokens allowing my opponent to Oath is Null. Im honestly surprised no one has tried this route yet.



  • Down in my corner of the Southeast we finished up our first league a couple of weeks ago. It consisted of 3 months of tournaments with Legacy for 3 weeks and Vintage for 1 week each month. I ran Shuhei's version of Brian Kelly's oath list from the VSL all three weeks, no cards changed.

    Overall I placed 1st, 3rd and 2nd. Going 10-2 in matches overall, losing to BUG Hate and Paradoxical Storm.

    The matches I lost involved T1 null rod and double answer to oath both games from BUG Hate, and T1 win with force back up from PS. Outside of these matches the deck ran amazingly well, beating a wide variety of shops, mentors, oath, paradoxical and tezz decks.

    If I were to continue playing oath (which I probably will considering PS seems to fair poorly against shops despite its power level) then that list is were I would start. Enchantment hate is the only thing I ever felt light on, and the counter density makes playing the control role super smooth regardless of what you're going up against.

    The only other options I would consider playing would be demon oath with rune-scarred demons in a similar counter dense shell (stronger vs null rod but weaker to needle/cage/priest), or possibly (and this would require a lot of tinkering to get things right) a null rod/root maze style oath list with lots of permanent based hate.

    Unfortunately the best version (in my opinion) of oath is all but unplayable online, so if that is the only play method available to you then you might try one of the other two types I listed.



  • @wiley Congratulations on the Oath finish. Its reports like these that make me want to pick up Oath and play it more. I have a history in Vintage with it going back to the printing of Orchard. A very fond history as I remember the good times easily. But then I sleeve up Oath and decide to take it to a tournament and the jeckyl/hyde nature of the deck smacks me hard in the face and says, "NOOOOO, Not again!"

    In any given tournament you can get the unbeatable nutz draw or the "where is my other combo piece?" draw and be left hanging. In years past this was Ok because the format was different. Oath held up better in the long game while it dug for answers. Today if it stalls there are too many decks that are just too fast for it. Even creature decks like mentor and ravager shops can beat it.

    This is not to say Oath can't be successful. It absolutely can. Its just a roller coaster ride of success with few peaks and bigger dips than it used to have.



  • @Serracollector said in Where is Oath right now?:

    If I were to play Oath, I would run it with 4 Monastery Mentors and some number of Regrowths to hit Time Walk(s) and/or Disenchant efx, so that the "draw back" of Mentor making tokens allowing my opponent to Oath is Null. Im honestly surprised no one has tried this route yet.

    In such a build, would you still be playing a fatty like Griselbrand?

    It's certainly an interesting idea. What about adding top deck tutors (Mystical, Vampiric) for the miracle Time Walk as well?



  • the only Oath deck I like right now is PO Oath. the list I've played with and against has by far the highest "win the game after resolving Oath trigger" of any Oath deck I've ever seen, and it has the option of winning like a normal PO storm deck. it's also insanely fast. obviously it's vulnerable to hate, but there are tradeoffs to everything, and I think having speed and resiliency through win redundancy is much better than trying to control things with dinky 1 for 1s and awkward control cards.



  • @Khahan said in Where is Oath right now?:

    In any given tournament you can get the unbeatable nutz draw or the "where is my other combo piece?" draw and be left hanging. In years past this was Ok because the format was different. Oath held up better in the long game while it dug for answers. Today if it stalls there are too many decks that are just too fast for it. Even creature decks like mentor and ravager shops can beat it.

    To be fair, there were a lot of games that I won just because I was a bomberman deck as well as an oath deck. One standout game was against shops where they landed double t1 grafdigers cages and a foundry inspector. I went t1 land, lotus, salvagers. His t2 saw tangle wire and another creature. I played land go, his t3 saw no sphere effects so I recurred lotus in my upkeep, made infinite mana in my main, hard cast griselbrand and over half of my deck until the rest of the combo was assembled. I also won at least 2 games against mentor just with salvagers recurring ee and pyrite spellbomb with no lotus.

    Bomberman is a vintage worthy deck, and running it alongside oath does a couple of trade offs:

    1. You have a really shitty mana base. No helping this, oath decks almost universally require running risky mana bases.
    2. Your tutor for salvagers also often gives you access to the other combo pieces. It also costs less than other tutors normally run by bomberman.
    3. Your yawgmoth's bargain gains you life and deals 7 by itself.
    4. Since you only have to run the one salvagers and none of the other creature tutors you can have a higher density of countermagic in the deck. And awkward or not they still make a huge difference in the current meta.
    5. Since you are already in white, you have great answer cards for anything you might face so long as you can anticipate it in your sideboard plans.
    6. EE is just plain awesome, especially in oath and bomberman.


  • @brianpk80

    What list are you using to start out with Evil Oath? I'd really like to see what you have and maybe do some testing.


  • TMD Supporter

    Saheeli seems to work for some folks but I am not one of them. I can Oath into Griselbrand and draw seven in response to a plow which is huge.


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