Hello everyone, Andy a.k.a. @mtgdojoera on Instagram here, and I’m very excited to be bringing you a weekly Premodern brew post here on the blog. I’m going to be sharing my deck ideas for this format, many of which will be largely untested and untuned, so please feel free to hit me up with any feedback via Instagram or the Premodern Facebook group.
This week, we are going to take a look at one of the most powerful green cards ever printed: Oath of Druids!
In modern-day Vintage, Oath of Druids is known as a way to cheat powerful, game-winning bombs like Griselbrand into play, and is facilitated by Forbidden Orchard to make sure the opponent always has a creature in play. Unfortunately in Premodern, we don’t have Forbidden Orchard, and I would argue that the “cheat a bomb into play” strategy is not the most effective approach either.
In the early 2000s, there were a few different Oath strategies that thrived in Extended. There was the Ped Bun/Bob Maher deck that leaned on an Enlightened Tutor package, there was an interesting mashup of Oath with a Turbo-Land strategy, and later there was the Cognivore Oath deck that shoveled instants into the graveyard to create a huge flier.
Cognivore was the closest thing to the “bomb” approach, but that thrived in an Extended where Swords to Plowshares had rotated out, and it feels a bit too vulnerable to the powerful removal spell in Premodern, as well as just leaning a little too heavily on the card Oath of Druids for my liking.
The Turbo-Land Oath deck is interesting, and just might be viable in Premodern, though personally I’m a fan of the more straight-ahead Turbo-Land build.
That leaves us with the Bob Maher school of Oath, which I think might have the most potential.
The deck is far from “all in” on Oath of Druids, and can play a very good traditional control game. All the creatures are easily castable, and the deck can shave copies of Oath in the maindeck because of the incredibly versatile Enlightened Tutor engine. My build is packed full of grindy card advantage plays (Sylvan Library + Abundance, anyone?), including, in my opinion, the most exciting addition to the deck in Standstill.
Standstill just plays extremely well in an Oath shell with the creature-lands and with Oath itself. It puts the opponent in a spot where they are discouraged from committing any game actions other than land drops, while you slowly kill them with Treetop Villages and Faerie Conclaves. The Enlightened Tutor package also gives you access to an embarrassment of riches in the sideboard, with options to combat almost any strategy under the sun.
Finally I have an even spicier, if much more experimental number which I’m calling Oath of Ponza. This build just shows off the incredible card advantage potential of Oath of Druids. The only creatures in the deck are four copies of Avalanche Riders. If your opponent is foolish enough to commit a creature to the board, they will face an endless stream of free land destruction and chump blockers for all eternity. The suite of land destruction spells just double the pain, and they will surely succumb to death by Black Vise in short order. Delicious!