To be fair "improvise from there" isn't that hard to do if you have a Griselbrand out. You can always just draw some Duresses and attack 3 times ... though that strategy is a little worse when you only have discard and no counters.

@mediumsteve while @brassman got it mostly right, I do have the option of beating those decks running Leyline with nature's claim and chain of vapor, before oathing, but if they have no way to interrupt my Oathing and just have Leyline I am happy to try and win with Griseldad. This is a little risky, but you can also win with tendrils without needing the yard, hurkyl's + some moxen + chain of vapor is a lot of storm.

I did a lot of Gush Oath and Tendrils builds pre-2008. It was definitely a favorite pet deck and was able to best the so called "best" decks that I was playing it against even though I was under powered. I mostly focused on 2/3 witness and one beater as a backup plan if yawg-win into gush bond tendrils somehow got disrupted. It got to a point where I was 60/40 against powered flash pre-board and decks running more hate actually got worse since the utility of witness pulled out ahead of all that. Different deck ultimately but I would say anything running those three engines together is going to have a viable 75 somewhere out there.

last edited by Aaron Patten

@Aaron-Patten My biggest problem with Gush Bond is that all the tempo decks just out Gush deck you. It is surprisinly hard to beat a mentor deck when I was on more gushes, cause a lot of times they just lead nowhere. The bombs (gifts, dark petition) tend to lead to more wins. I also just hated what my mana base turned into when i was on the gush version. I never drew the orchard I wanted, I couldn't play a basic swamp, no tolarian, or I was in a position where I was losing because i didn't have two islands in play.

In addition, and this is a personal failing, but I think I mulligan better with gush not in the list. I have kept lots of sketchy hands with Gush in them and I find myself doing that less.

The only non-orchard non-island in the deck aside from fetches was strip mine in my older builds. The hardest cut was Library after academy but they just don't need to be there. The deck has so many key cards that you have to cut the mediocre stuff to make room. You are, after all, jamming three archetypes together. Anything that doesn't lead to explosive hard hitting plays has no room in a deck like that. Even at 61/62 cards main (which I was doing back then). I'd even consider cutting down to 3 orchard in the creature heavy meta of today.

last edited by Aaron Patten

Yeah so when I was playing gush I was only playing 1 Orchard and 1 Academy. I have found that I like my current much more rock solid mana base with 4 basics post board against shops. I also think Gifts just does more work than Gush, admittedly very different work, but I have yet to lose a game where I cast it, so that part holds up.

Yeah, it could definitely be a meta thing. Academy is better now that shops is so far ahead of everything else. Gifts should be impossible vs shops though. Gush is actually a pretty weak card. It's what it draws into without an immediate mana cost that makes it or breaks it. With shops everywhere it gets even worse. Oathing a huge yard into a witness on will with Fastbond more than likely in the yard ( due to your choice of creature count) makes gush a sure win. It also keeps you drawing and casting "threats" though in our case it's a reactive threat so it's a little more subtle to play. Pre-Oath the gushes just dig up more threats and control pieces so that your Oath's stick. Then they serve double duty as your combo finish on the turn you Oath into the win. It's good because almost all your cards are live and act as both reactive and proactive plays with which you could potentially just overwhelm the opponent in a battle of spell vs spell attrition. You're at an advantage in that scenario because everything is both an answer and a threat except the Fastbond and the Tendrils. It's a control deck that uses your opponents own plays against them. That's really what I love about it. Oath of Druids is the Jujutsu of Vintage.

last edited by Aaron Patten

Yeah. but you can pretty much gurantee oath into Griselbrand leads to a storm win too, with the added bonus that a lot of the creature decks are not well equipped to beat a 7/7 w/ lifelink. Like I don't know that you beat a shops deck just by oathing into E Wit > will, but almost always, griselbrand is a win.

At the time shops was not as heavily played but also there was main deck hate that you can recur with witness thus using oath as a potential Demonic Tutor of sorts instead of just winning with it. I played main deck Engineered Explosives and Swords to Plowshares at the time which would both be live vs shops. Also Balance came in and out a lot. The disruption package was 1 Cabal Therapy for each Eternal Witness and then a bunch of 1-ofs depending on what the best decks were. This was many years ago though and in my opinion Witness is too expensive to resolve in vintage at 3 mana when you also need to play the card you're returning with it. Shops just kills you that turn. Snapcaster is one mana cheaper but falls victim to several other shortcomings not the least of which is it doesn't return artifacts or lands which are the two most important card types vs the best deck in the format. It's not as well positioned today as it was then but I still suspect that Griselbrand may not be the best oath target anymore, especially in multiples. Oath decks get weaker the more uncastables you put in them so when I'm brewing Oath my primary goal is to cut as many as I can get away with. Another target I've been considering is Necropolis Fiend. It is Very castable through cage and trades with a Golem. Cage is not a main deck card lately so Fiend gets more attention post side. In that case; however, ingot chewer also cuts through cage vs shops and then just starts killing threats for free every Oath trigger. The only relevant thing I know of that gets around Priest is Keranos which is also castable through cage, just not against Shops. You can also get through the priest using Crippling Fatigue but after considering all these hate breaking includes I think a transformational sideboard is going to require almost the same amount of cards and likely it also pulls out farther ahead since they're siding in oath hate which is just dead in game 2. In that case the Gush bond engine will be fueling Mentors and you can side in your Wasteland/Strip Mine package to replace Forbidden Orchard. I'm off on a bit of a tangent here but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there's more to Oath than Griselbrand.

last edited by Aaron Patten

There are other options, but it turns out that most of them are good only in really specific situations where in most situations Griselbrand is quite good. I agree on the multiples thing, if I were playing control oath right now i would split 1 griselbrand w/ 1-2 Rune Scarred Demon. I am not, because in this deck, just ignoring containment priest, oathing twice and winning with a memory's journey return'd yawgmoth's will has been real good.

Post board against shops I think your best bet creature wise is a mix of blazing archon (or elesh norn) and griseldad. Blazing Archon literally turns off their chances of winning against most modern shops lists, and griselbrand helps you win the game before they get a trike with enough counters to kill either the archon or you. Elesh Norn has been good, but sometimes you need to oath against, and it doesn't win through Wurmcoil which is frustrating.

last edited by garbageaggro
  • 14
  • 10208