Fenton Oath primer
@the-duressed Good questions. Let's discuss Vampiric Tutor first.
To begin with, Vampiric Tutor is actively bad against the 25% of the metagame running Sphere effects. That's not necessarily a reason to avoid it, of course -- the deck runs Missteps, Misdirection, and Flusterstorm, which are even worse against Shops and Eldrazi. But if you have a card you will board out 25%+ of matches, it had better pull its weight in the other matches.
So let's talk about the control matchup. Oath wins against blue decks in two ways: (a) quickly deploying the combo before the opponent can set up defenses; (b) treading water while applying a steady stream of must-counter threats, until something slips through.
In both cases, Vampiric Tutor is lackluster. In the former case, where you have the initiative, Vampiric Tutor wastes a turn, allowing the opponent to deploy annoying countermeasures like Grafdigger's Cage or Containment Priest that neutralize the Oath combo. Of course, that's only if the Tutor doesn't just get Misstepped.
The latter case is even worse: if you are behind on board, facing a rampaging Monk army, active Jace, etc, and it becomes time to shit or get off the pot, the last thing you want to draw is Vampiric Tutor. Vamp -> Oath -> Griselbrand is an excruciatingly slow chain if your opponent has an even remotely effective clock. Weak players will let you Vampiric for Forbidden Orchard or Abrupt Decay when you need them, allowing you to steal games, but strong opponents will simply leverage their superior card advantage against you and just counter the tutor.
It's possible to make the Tutor more effective, but this requires adding cards to the deck that can counteract Vampiric's miserable tempo and card disadvantage: Probes, Tops, Gushes, etc. It's possible to build Oath this way, but that's not the decklist in the OP.
Now, as for Ponder: I don't think it's garbage, but I do think it's worse than Preordain in an Oath deck, due to the number dead cards in the deck, which can be make Ponder very awkward if you don't have an uncracked Fetchland available. Ponder is better when you have an excellent card third from the top, and a mediocre card in the top two that you might be tempted to keep with Preordain. Certainly I don't think replacing one Preordain with a Ponder would be a huge mistake.
hello everyone, in the past month or so i have recently been trying to build my own version of oath. now im not asking for deck advice or anything and i only post here because the deck i created is an oath deck at heart. earlier in the thread i saw people say that they board out oaths in the mirror but only 2-3, if you were playing vault/key combo with tinker, transmute artifact, and a fattie to get with tinker, is it possible to board all of the oaths out? i have yet to play against a oath deck but i was wanting an idea as to what i should/should not board in or out.
@letseeker There are a ton of Oath builds out there, as I'm sure you're discovering.
(The main reason for this is that Oath is a pretty lean combo for it's potency. Its basically, 4 Oath, 4 Orchard, at least 2 Monsters... then figure out what to put in the oather 50 slots... so the flexibility of Oath can be really a lot of fun, I find.)
To your question... Yes. You can board out all your Oaths... Should you?... mayyyyybeee? I personally doubt that having 0 is going to be better than at least 1. Since having 0, means that you have no ability to ever put Oath on the board. But it really really depends on the various Oath builds that are getting run in the supposed "mirror". Since I can think of at least 4 wide-ranging variations on Oath builds right here without really thinking about it too hard, odds are good that this isn't a "mirror" at all. So in thinking about boarding, I would ask, how likely are you to get "Oath superiority" in that match-up to begin with. Some Oath builds have main board removal spells and land destruction. Others are hair on fire combo decks with Show and Tell and Omniscience, if I were the first kind of Deck. I'd be much more apt to leave Oaths in, because the odds of me oathing and them not, are pretty good, and how else am I winning against Show/Omni/Emrakul? If I were the second type of Oath... I'd board out 2 or 3... maybe 4 Oath's, load up on countermagic and board removal if I've got it, and try to combo them out with Show. Since playing Oath down is almost certainly doing nothing, or worse against an Oath deck running Wasteland, Abrupt Decay, and 4 Orchards of their own.
(It sounds like it might not be that great in your deck, which sounds very combo and blue, but I love having a Wasteland in the sideboard for this exact reason, since the ability to destroy an Orchard in the Oath v Oath match is crucial... and a lot of folks run extra lands in the board anyhow... That's my view on Oath v Oath.
Lastly, keep in mind that Oath is only about 7% of the meta... so if you have a plan that crushes, Gush and Eldrazi right now, but is soft to Oath... happy problems man.
@Topical_Island ive never played against another oath deck with this deck, im thinking boarding out atleast 3 oath would be best for my deck as it is a steel city vault/oath hybrid type deck.
@letseeker Yeah. That's how it sounded to me too. If it has another viable combo finish, then I would try to play the deck post boarding like a blue combo control set-up, that just happens to be really well positioned to fight Oath since you happen to have 4 mainboard Orchards handy. That should work very well against most Oath setups, since they tend to be pretty weak in the card drawing department, other than a random smattering of broken blue spells.
May I ask what your Oath targets are, or at least... I'm watching the Sun Titan thing that Brian Kelly has going on in the VSL right now... and I notice that Time Vault comes back out of the graveyard when Titan comes into play...
@Topical_Island sun titan is one of the targets, the others are a single griselbrand and a sphinx of the steel wind
@letseeker Sounds really sweet. L'Eldrazi have made me fall in love with Sphinx all over again.
@Topical_Island just getting titan out to get vault key has won me so many games against eldrazi, im still working on the sideboard, if your interested in the list let me know.
@evouga I cannot agree with vampiric being a soft card against MUD. In fact, I don't like vampiric against heavy permission decks, but vampiric has always felt really nice against MUD. It's an instant (so I can play it in response to tangle or to some sphere effect), cheap (at least cheaper than other effects) and it's unlikely to be countered. Going for the hurkyl's or the wincon is awesome. And I'm paying the taxes 2 times, but at convenient times. However against blue, vamp could perfectly be a 1x2 if my searched card is countered. I don't like vamp against blue unless I'm pretty sure I'll resolve fetched card.
With ponder I have to agree. While ponder is better going for the oath, the deck has lots of dead cards and preordain filters better.
@Islandswamp I have been thinking about Omniscience builds for the past couple of weeks and here I see that your list is two months old. Oh well! In theory I think that the Omniscience builds are the best suited right now.
Also I think we can shave a Misstep for another spell right now, preferably something like an Abrupt Decay which interacts favorably with Priest, Displacer, both Thalias, etc.