@aeonsovarius I've played with both Night's Whisper and Painful Truths in a Show and Tell variant. They work much better here because you are more likely to draw creatures and then have the ability to use Show and Tell to play them. If you draw more cards and you are not using Show and Tell then you will likely need two Jaces plus Chart a Course and maybe See Beyond. I prefer not to use the black draw spells anymore because they are not the best against Shops and have been sub par in other matches.
Show and Tell is a strong card, but I found myself losing to what my opponents would put in play. I actually had Show and Tell resolve against me in the last Vintage challenge. My opponent put in Griselbrand and I put in Leovold, Emissary of Trest. I took two hits from Griselbrand, and then I bounced it with Jace and won. I was actually playing Oath myself with Leovold as a side board card.
The counterspell package always contains Force of Will in this deck. I'm actually still testing theories about certain cards and what they do in certain matchups.
Gush does seem like an awkward card in Oath. I didn't play with it initially, but decided to play with it one day and went 5-0, so I kept using it and continued to put up results. I find this card to be vital to Oath's strategy. It is best used as a mana fixer rather than just something to draw cards with.
I think that Oath would be a fairly difficult deck to play as a first Vintage deck right now. It is probably more complex than it has ever been. I started playing it a long time ago when Tidespout Tyrant was the go-to creature. After that I left Magic until 2010 or 2011, and then played it off and on. After that I played various Oath builds until Brian Kelly created an Auriok Salvagers version using Ancient Grudge. At that time it was probably one of the best decks I had ever played. I eventually took several more brakes from Magic. When I came back I wasn't as successful with the Salvagers version, so I started using a Show and Tell version. I found that it was great for leagues and very poor for constructed tournaments. Oath has struggled as an archetype for quite a while now, but good players have found ways to win with it. Arlin Kord, Sphinx of the Final Word, Deep Analysis, and many other cards have been used, but they really change how the deck works. This makes the deck fairly difficult for an inexperienced person to play on MTGO because of how good the players are there. We have recently gotten new options in the form of Mission Briefing and Niv-Mizzet, Parun. As you can expect, the new options from the last couple of years can present some difficulty when looking for the correct mix.
Recently, I have found that three Preordains are great for creature based match ups because you can find the Oath more quickly. I replaced Ancient Grudge in the main deck with Fire//Ice. I don't really want to go into the details of Fire//Ice and why I play it over other cards, but it is good for cantripping and removing cards like JVP. I've written about Niv-Mizzet, Parun elsewhere on the site, so I won't go into detail about it here. Basically, this card can be hard to play with even for experienced players. I side it out quite often against creature decks. Arlin Kord is still effective, but it is not always effective. Having said that, most of the deck options are not always effective, so you must use your judgement when anticipating the meta you will play in.
I have been experimenting with Leovold and Kambal in the sideboard, and they have been very effective, I have recently cut back to two Pyroblasts because of how strong these cards are in certain matchups. They are great against Storm, PO, the version RWU Xerox that uses more JVP's and Fragmentize, and probably other decks. These are traditionally some of Oath's more difficult match ups, so I am really enjoying these cards. Leovold can be good in the mirror, but not always. I would say you almost have to feel this one out. As far as siding out Oaths in the mirror, the more experienced the opponent, the more Oath's I like to side out.
Sorcerous Spyglass is a card that I have started using again. It is really strong against Survival, JVP, and a variety of other cards. I am really enjoying the utility that it provides.
So, with all of these random thoughts and information, I would say that practicing with every version of Oath from the last four years is a good idea. It will allow you to see why certain cards are played, and when they are included. I would also say that there are many effective Oath strategies at the moment. This presents very interesting deck building opportunities, so I am interested in seeing what players come up with.
It is difficult to pull ahead of other decks in terms of cards in your hand with Oath. This archetype has quite a few viable strategies that each gain an advantage in their own way. The amount of Preordains really impacts how games play out. Fewer Preordains usually requires more Jaces and or Deep Analysis. This is a strategy that can gain card advantage. More Preordains helps to find lands or cards you need.
I've recently been experimenting with cutting tutors and playing three to four Pyroblasts, three Flusterstorms, and Four Missteps. I've put up two 5-0's in the last few days with this strategy, so maybe there is something there. I've been winning matches that usually gave me the most trouble such as BUG Fish and RWU Xerox. The somewhat difficult match is still the Tendrils version of Paradoxical Outcome. I have found that I basically cannot tap out. Every time, without fail, they will combo out if I tap out.
I am a big proponent of Mission Briefing in Oath. Recasting Time Walk or Ancestral Recall can give the deck an edge when it needs it. I almost consider this card as important to the deck as Gush.
As far as Gisella goes, it is great against creatures, but so is Inferno Titan and other Oath targets. I include it in the main deck because I want as good as chance as possible to beat Dredge.
Matt explained when to cut Oath of Druids pretty well below. The other aspect to cutting Oaths is the mirror match. I have found over the years that the best strategy in the mirror is to cut all of the Oaths and side in one to two Nature's Claims and one or two Sudden Shocks. The mirror becomes a game of who can gain an advantage from any Oath on the board by having more Orchards or using Sudden Shock to kill the Spirit tokens under your control. It is also a race to hard cast your creatures. You can still keep some number of Oath's in after game one, but this strategy runs the risk of your opponent using it to win.
I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread or not, but Gisella doubles Niv-Mizzet, Parun's damage. Sylvan Library is a guaranteed three damage even if you do not pay life to draw additional cards. The Fire side of Fire//Ice will effectively deal three, while the Ice side will deal two and draw two cards. Jace, the Mindsculptor deals three damage from the draws.
Niv-Mizzet Parun has been very effective in my Oath decks, but it took some practice. If it is second or third creature to Oath into, or if one other creature is in your hand, I consider refraining from using Oath again because of the potential of getting decked from Niv's draw ability. I still use Inferno Titan in the sideboard because of its utility against planeswalkers, Shops, and Survival.
The card's biggest weakness is Pyroblast. However, it is not as weak as could be assumed. It is most vulnerable to the spell when it is hard cast and the Oath player is tapped out. Otherwise the counter battle to follow can cause the game to spiral out of control for the opponent even if they manage to get Niv-Mizzet off the board. I think the biggest downside I have found with the card is its vulnerability to Karakas. All three creatures I play are Legendary, so I really need the Inferno Titan in the sideboard.
I basically consider this as my main deck replacement for Inferno Titan at the moment. It is very good against Paradoxical Outcome Decks, and has game against most decks game one. Oath needed some type of upgrade to compete because it has been struggling for quite a while. Oath feels like a tier 1 deck too me again because of this card.
I've used Misdirection in various decks over the last year and a half. I had the most success with it in Oath, and some with Xerox. I do not think that Xerox wants this card at all. Oath could probably play one, but the metagame would probably need to be rather blue with even Survival being the blue version. Otherwise, the card is far too narrow. Even when I do include it in the deck, I can go entire leagues without using it once. I either do not draw it, or I draw it after it would have mattered.
CE/IE seems like a great idea, but at this point it would probably just start another round of buyouts. It would be awesome if there were a tournament of the same level of significance as eternal weekend that allowed proxies. Just the thought of that makes me think it would be a huge Vintage tournament, but who knows, maybe it would not be that popular. We are definitely past the point of average people playing sanctioned Vintage, and it is not likely to change. I love playing on MTGO, but I know that there are a lot of players who would like to play in paper tournament as well.
I'm not of the mindset that power nine cards need to lose their value for other people to play. The value aspect of the problem makes it really difficult to solve. However, I think that Vintage's increasing popularity will result in some type of solution. Decent sized proxy tournaments already happen, so hopefully they just keep getting larger and more frequent.
@BranDawri Also, if two Oaths are in play and an imbalance of creatures exists, they will both trigger. At this point, you can respond with Forbidden Orchard creating a further difference in creature amounts. When the first one resolves you can evaluate whether you need to use the second Oath ability. There are a few iterations of how this plays out, but you get the picture.
I agree, it is a very interesting idea. The issue that I suspect this deck could run into is not being able to utilize counter magic. Vintage decks keep getting better at evading spot removal, and the Paradoxical Outcome decks run more bounce spells than they have in the past. However, more creature based are being played as an answer to PO, so maybe the meta has shifted enough for this deck to work out.
@fsecco Here is the list I have been testing. I'm 4-1 so far. The game I lost was my first match of the morning where Tendrils was the last card in my opponent's hand, so all I had to do was not cast anything before it. So, what do I do? I cast a spell and add to the storm count! Otherwise I was in a very dominant position.
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Inferno Titan
1 Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
4 Oath of Druids
1 Sylvan Library
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Dig Through Time
3 Mental Misstep
4 Force of Will
1 Mindbreak Trap
2 Mission Briefing
1 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
3 Forbidden Orchard
2 Volcanic Island
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
2 Flooded Strand
1 Underground Sea
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Dack Fayden
1 Time Walk
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Night's Whisper
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Emissary of Grudges
1 Blazing Archon
1 Muldrotha, the Gravetide
2 Nature's Claim
1 Ancient Grudge
4 Ravenous Trap
1 Sudden Shock
1 Show and Tell
@aelien On its own, it is probably not as good as Snapcaster Mage. However, I think its value as far as Oath is concerned is that it presents new options for the deck. Another example of this card's worth is casting Ravenous Trap multiple times against Dredge. You could also recast Timewalk, which is a very strong play for Oath.