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Oath is Not Dead


Along with Force of Will, Gaea's Blessing was a card many players lamented leaving the Extended format, saying that it would take the Oath of Druids deck with it on its way out the door.

While it did take the traditional Maher-Oath toolbox version with it, the card Oath of Druids produces far too powerful of an effect to be ignored. In the words of YMG's Justin Gary, "It's a two-mana card that invalidates creature strategies."

Gary, a proponent of Oath in any form (he finished second in the Nice Masters with the last popular version of Oath), is currently near the top of the standings with a "Turbo Oath" deck that tries to Oath up one giant creature to win the game with quickly: Cognivore.

Turbo Oath
Justin Gary
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Main Deck

60 cards

Polluted Delta
Treetop Village
Underground River
Yavimaya Coast

24 lands


2 creatures
Accumulated Knowledge
Fact or Fiction
Force Spike
Krosan Reclamation
Living Wish
Mana Leak
Oath of Druids
Pernicious Deed

34 other spells

The "Turbo Oath" strategy was dabbled with before when Thorn Elemental was first released; the goal was to get the "unblockable" 7/7 into play and win in three attacks. But once the Gaea's Blessing/Enlightened Tutor/Sylvan Library/Very Slow versions were perfected, Turbo Oath was abandoned.

Now it's back. The deck runs eleven permission spells and a bunch of card-drawing to find and protect the Oaths. It contains one Krosan Reclamation in case the Cognivores both die, but other than that, it can't reuse its cards, which was one of the hallmarks of old Oath.

Gary said the deck wasn't that great at first, but after playtesting a lot with his YMG teammates, they came up with fixes. The first was Pernicious Deed, which solves a lot of problem the deck has. The Deeds are the only black spells in the main deck, and the black mana allows for Engineered Plague—great against Aluren and Sligh—in the sideboard. The second big addition to the deck was Living Wish, which gives the deck access to Masticore, Gilded Drake, Palinchron, and Dust Bowl from the board.

Palinchron is not used in this deck as a combo piece, but rather as a replacement for Morphling as the unkillable creature of choice. With all the Edicts and Deeds running around, Morphling—considered the best creature ever—is actually a bad choice for this field. So Palinchron, with its ability to return to its owners hand, is filling in.

The new Turbo Oath deck has trouble with super-aggressive decks like Sligh; Gary's one loss to this point was to an aggro red/green deck. But other than that, it has game against all the popular decks: Reanimator, the Rock, Aluren, and Psychatog.

Oath is not dead, but is instead reborn.

Below are two other decks using Oath of Druids. One is an Enchantress Combo deck with Turnabout and Frantic Search, the other is a Turbo-Land variant that Oaths up Battlefield Scroungers, which enable it to go infinite with Time Warp.

Carlos Chadha
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Main Deck

60 cards

11  Forest
Serra's Sanctum
Yavimaya Coast

21 lands

Argothian Enchantress
Verduran Enchantress

6 creatures
Enchantress's Presence
Fertile Ground
Frantic Search
Nostalgic Dreams
Oath of Druids
Seal of Removal
Stroke of Genius
Wild Growth

33 other spells
Jason Howden
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Main Deck

60 cards

13  Island
Yavimaya Coast

23 lands

Battlefield Scrounger

2 creatures
Horn of Green
Mana Leak
Moment's Peace
Oath of Druids
Scroll Rack
Time Warp

35 other spells

Aaron Forsythe was a professional Magic player and Internet columnist prior to leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to join Wizards of the Coast. His first duty here was Content Manager of this very website, a job that required him to do actual work as opposed to playing games all the time. So when a position opened in R&D, he jumped at the chance. He is now director of Magic R&D, and still plays Magic in his free time when he's not busy playing Magic.

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