Question about "Oathstill"



  • Hi all.

    I'm a very new vintage player, at this point just proxying decks to play with friends. I was listening to So Many Insane Plays and a deck was mentioned that was Landstill but with Oath of Druids mixed in (referred to as Oathstill).

    This deck is really fascinating to me, and I've browsed through a list, but I can't get over how un-synergistic Forbidden Orchard seems to be with the Landstill strategy. It's just hard for me to imagine it all hanging together in the face of that interaction.

    Are there any here who have played with or against the deck who would be willing to explain how it plays out in reality, and how the deck plays around giving the opponent spell-free creatures?



  • Even with regular Oath decks, Orchard can be a huge burden. With regular Oath decks, I try to not use Orchard at all unless it specifically triggers Oath.



  • You're relying on the manlands to be able to block if they get too far ahead on tokens, otherwise if you can't leverage the tokens off oath you just avoid tapping it


  • TMD Supporter

    Paging @tattoocek



  • @Stasis_Kismet Hey, not sure if you're still around, or how I missed a juicy topic like this one. But I play this deck on a daily basis in my home against all kinds of common vintage decks. I love it.

    That being said, your question is a really good one. The 'right' one, if I may be so bold. What about the unsynergy between Forbidden Orchard and Standstill, or in otherwords, how bad is it to play turn 1, Orchard + Mox + Standstill. Well, here's the math on it. Assuming you keep a hand of 7, and assuming that the hand has Orchard + Mox + Standstill and does not have a Mishra's Factory in hand already, (Let's just assume the only Manlands in the deck are 4 Factories.) Then there are 53 cards left in your deck. Then on your next turn you will be attacked down to 19 life, then you draw a card. That draw (4 Factories out of 53 cards) is a 7.5% chance of being a Factory. The draw after 18 life is a 7.7% chance (assuming you haven't hit yet). The draw after 17 life is a 7.8% chance... Then 8%, 8.1%, 8.3% and so on. You get the point.

    The overall chance of drawing a factory before you hit say... 10 life, is about 58%. The chance of hitting before you reach 5 life is 74%. Factor in as well, that you are probably running a Library of Alexandria. (I do.) So the odds of drawing that each turn are 1.5%, and as soon as you draw it. It will then double your chances on each ensuing turn of drawing a Factory, since you are drawing 2 cards per turn.

    And if all else fails, one has to bail out on the Standstill plan altogether. To do this, one waits until the end of the opponent's turn, then plays any instant spell one might have to trigger the Standstill and force the opponent to discard. I carry Brainstorm, Dig, Ancestral, 4x Abrupt Decay. All of which can almost certainly be played in that scenario. (There should almost certainly be enough lands in play and cards in the graveyard to fuel up a Dig Through Time.) The plan then becomes to land an Oath of Druids, Show and Tell, Tinker, or some other very powerful spell on your ensuing turn and to win the game.

    Keep in mind, that is the worse case scenario, stemming from a hand that you keep which can play turn one or two Standstill of and Orchard only, but without the presence of Mishra's Factory. In my particular build, there are 19 cards that would make that sort of play unnecessary. (9 green sources that aren't Orchard(8 of which tap for green as well), plus 4 Oath of Druids, plus 4 Mishra's Factories, plus Brainstorm, Ponder, and Ancestral, which one should play first in the situation where Standstill can only be played by giving up the token.

    The chance of drawing an Orchard and a Standstill together in the opening hand is right around 11% to begin with. The chances of none of the other 19 cards showing up in the remaining 5 cards are about 13.5%... and 13.5% x 11% = 1.5% of opening hands of 7 where you will keep and play a Standstill giving your opponent a token. If you just hold fast all the way down, you will then die to that token without anyone ever breaking the Standstill, about 20% of the time, assuming you don't ever use an instant to break the Standstill. (Which of course you would in the real world.) So the unsynergy between tokens and Standstill causes actual death in about 20% of 1.5% of opening hands, which is about .003% by my math?

    Of course there are other interactions like enemy wastelands to consider, or turns where you wait until turn 2 before you have the choice and the opponent might have already done something... but those are very complicated to calc. Sufficed to say, if one keeps this potential problem in mind during deck construction, it's certainly very manageable.

    On the upside, the deck has very good chances of doing good things early on. It's in the neighborhood of 30% for casting a Standstill, or and Oath with a Token by turn 2, and has a bunch of outside, less than 5% chances for casting early Jace, Tinker, Show and Tell into Emrakul or Grisselbrand, or an early Channel into Emrakul.

    So anyway. I hope you get this and that it answers your questions. @tattoocek has played a version of this deck to good success, so if you can ever get in contact with him, he is probably the foremost expert on it.



  • @Topical_Island Wow, it took me a long time to come back to this. That said, I came back to it in order to see if I had missed an answer to this questions, and boy had I.

    Thinking about Mishra's Factory as blocker helps me understand this deck, and simply reading this drew my attention to the low number of times you'd really be tapping the Orchard in most situations.

    I like the synergies between Oath and Factory, too. Attacking with manlands from behind an Oath even without Standstill seems good in some matchups.

    So not drawing Standstill with this deck you feel OK about, but don't you feel pretty bad when not drawing Oath? Once Standstill is down both Orchard and Oath are bad draws, right? How aggressively are you mulling to find Oath?



  • Why is Oathstill better than Sylvan Library (or Mystic Remora or whatever other cheap card advantage permanent) in an Oath list?



  • @ajfirecracker Hey. I just got back from a little 24 person tourney with Oathstill. It did ok and took 5th place. So far I've run it in 3 tourneys and taken 8th, 9th, and 5th. As a pretty inexperienced player I'm pretty happy with it.

    Why is it better than Sylvan Library? I mean, I run Sylvan Library as a singleton in this deck anyway. I'm not sure one card is really better than the other... they kinda do different things. I would say they are pretty great together too, since having Sylvan up under the Standstill is totally nuts. Remora is just about unplayable if you're running Orchards since you run into so many situations why you have to give tokens to keep it alive... and once you do they can just chip away with tokens while you spew off all your mana on upkeeps.



  • @Stasis_Kismet You know... there was a moment right after this tourney, when @Solomoxen, who won the whole thing at 5-1, asked me what I thought of my deck and I fumbled through an ambivalent response. Solo was on a fairly standard, RUW Mentor/Gush list that I beat 1-0 in the first round, drawing a long second game that I would have won with an extra turn. After that game, Solo (Charlie) kinda shook his head and said something like, "Dang I just can't get through all your stuff." I'd won the first game on an Oath activation, then post-boarding, had ground the game to a halt by playing Standstills, allowing Mentor's to resolve, then Abrubt Decayed them and swept up the remaining tokens with Engineered Explosives. The Standstills kept me ahead in cards the entire game and I never was afraid I would be killed. I just ran out of time. In another turn I would have cast Emrakul.

    As I said, Solo went on to run the table and win the whole thing. So that was the subtext of his question I think, that mine was the only deck he seemed to have trouble with? I ended up going 1-1 against Shops and 2-1 against Gush/Mentor on the day (@thediabetical got me good in the last round), and 1-0 against paradoxical.

    What I tried and failed to explain to Solo, was that I really like this deck, but the Gush match-up worries me. Gush is so so strong. @Smmenen has stated, and I agree with him, that the card Standstill has certain advantages over the card Gush... namely, Steve says that it comes down a turn earlier than Gush, since Gush can't be played to maximum effect until turn 3, and can't be accelerated by Moxen, while Standstill is a turn 2 play. I'd argue that the differential is even greater, since a certain percent of the time Standstill does get accelerated by Moxen. Gush is a turn 2.9 play. Standstill is like a turn 1.7 play. So theoretically speaking, there's that.

    In actuality, I play against Gush all-the-time. I play against good players on Gush. And I know the match-up is reasonable, but also not what I wish it was. It's probably about 50/50. Which is ok. I think that Oathstill is absolutely a legitimate deck. The mainboard Abrupt Decay and the raw card draw, in addition to the Oath package and the ability to win on the spot make it both able to steal wins early and able to grind out wins over very long games. The heavy land count (18 main and 1 Waste in the side) make running Energy Flux in the sideboard very profitable against Shops, with Oath already giving you a game 1 edge. But with the field so much Gush, I'm a little torn on this deck. It is strong for sure. If were going to play a tourney in which I just had to win more games than I lost... I would play this deck in a heart beart. But I don't feel like there is a great chance to go all the way with this deck, since the Gush matchup is so even and there are so many of them out there, it feels like eventually you run into one of them that gets you.

    I feel like this deck is the deck to play in a meta dominated by Shops... it has me looking for something else for a meta dominated by Gush. If there were a deck that had a 70% win rate against Gush/Mentor, and a 50% against Shops and Combo, I think that's the deck to play. (Unfortunately, right now, I think that deck is actually just Gush in the hands of the best players who can win the mirror at a high rate via precise play.)


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