Eternal Conflict – Learning the Hard Way

On Sunday the weather was pretty crappy outside, so I decided to stay in and play the Classic PE. I’ve been playing a lot of 2-mans lately and have been run into many different players running Oath of Druids, so I expected to see a ton of this deck. I have a lot of experience with Oath myself in Vintage (and in Classic), so I decided to bring my own version to the tournament.

Here’s the list I brought:

SPG Classic Oath Click the arrow to download the above deck in .txt format

I’ve been tweaking this list by a card or two every game or so, so the list fluctuates constantly. I’ll get to some of the specifics as situations arise during the tournament, so let’s just jump into the first Round.

Round 1 vs the_crisp_one with Oath

My opponent starts out with Lotus Petal, and I get Senseis Divining Top with double Forbidden Orchard. Usually in the Oath mirror matchup I like to play the Control, but in this case I have a bunch of counterspells and Forbidden Orchards… so I decide to go for it. I resolve Oath of Druids with Force of Will, Mana Drain, and Spell Pierce backup – and I needed all three. I get Iona on Blue, but unfortunately Platinum Angel was my first draw, so the 4/4 is sitting dead in my hand. I Top up Brainstorm in order to Oath the Angel into play and win quickly.

1-0

Let’s say there’s a deck, like Oath, that’s a significant portion of the metagame – and you’re looking towards templating your own version. There are a lot of different ways to go here, but my personal preference is usually to craft a version that’s just a little bit slower/Controllish than the version that I expect to play against. You’ll notice that my decklist doesn’t play any copies of Lotus Petal in exchange for more lands and Senseis Divining Top. I run a full set of Spell Pierce and Thoughtseize in the main. My plan is to stall the game early and win the long game with mana and card filtering superiority.

My Standard Sideboard plan in the Oath mirror match takes this a step farther. My gameplan is to side out all four copies of Oath of Druids in exchange for more control options. I want to play the control route and win the long game. I’ve had excellent results with this strategy so far, although personally I’m very comfortable playing control on control. I’ve done it a lot and have a decent grasp of the subtleties involved. If you’re more comfortable with other aspects of the game, then it might make more sense for you to template in a different way.

Game Two starts with the_crisp_one playing Leyline of the Void. I Thoughtseize Force of Will and see: Wasteland, Helm of Obedience, and Force of Will. I take the Force, since I have Krosan Grip in hand and the Helm is a very long way from being a problem. We play draw-go for a long time and I’m gaining some serious mana superiority. I’m up seven lands to four with a grip full of counterspells.

I Krosan Grip Leyline of the Void proactively so that I can use Strip Mine to start cleaning out his lands with Life from the Loam recursion. This card is an absolute backbreaker in the mirror match. It’s almost impossible to overstate how good it is. My hand at this point is: Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Force of Will, double Spell Pierce, Mana Drain, and Tinker… with Life from the Loam in the yard. It’s almost impossible to lose from this position.

2-0

1-0 (2-0 games)

Round 2 vs menace13 with Oath

It’s the Second Round and my second Oath mirror match. I start off with a Thoughtseize and menace takes care of it with Spell Pierce. He casts Duress and I hide Oath with Brainstorm. Menace uses Demonic Tutor, which I attempt to Mana Drain – but he has Force of Will. In response to this I cast Oath, since he’s likely out of counters (I am) and I’m falling way behind. Oath resolves and he Tinkers up Platinum Angel.

I Oath Iona into play and name Blue. I swing in for 7 after Oathing up my own Platinum Angel and he blocks for some reason and loses his Angel. I’m a bit confused by this move, since my deck (and most Oath decks) has no good way to deal with a resolved Platinum Angel maindeck – other than Balance or an Angel of my own. Maybe he’s worried about losing a super long game where I deck him via Forbidden Orchard and Gaea’s Blessing reshuffling? Even if that’s the case, it’s FAR from being an inevitability. Maybe I’m missing something on this one – but with Platinum Angel out of the way I win easily.

1-0

In Game Two menace starts off with Leyline of the Void and then Duresses away my Thoughtseize. We Wasteland each other, and I’m forced to Mystical for Ponder in order to get some land. In retrospect this seems like a bad move, but I’m not really sure what would have been better. He Duresses me and I counter with Spell Pierce. I Duress him and take Duress. Duress and Thoughtseize are flying everywhere in this one!

At this point he’s given me a bunch of spirit tokens with Forbidden Orchard and I’m getting through for 2 and then 3 per turn. I’m getting close to a victory, when menace casts Oath and I can’t fight it. I have him down to 2 life with three tokens in play, but he gets one Oath activation. Platinum Angel wins him the game, anything else probably loses it… He flips up Greater Gargadon and I get through for exactly lethal.

2-0

2-0 (4-0 games)

 
  1. Yup – alas. That bug is pretty well known, and just common enough to be a real menace without making it impossible to play. It can happen in all games, casual, practice, 2-man, draft, PE, etc. I’m not sure why but 9 times out of ten it seems to my opponent that is bugging rather than me, so maybe connection rate/server load has something to do with it.

    My rule of thumb (especially in a tourney) is after 3-5 minutes of no actions I will ask if my opponent is “still there?”. Even if I don’t get the usual “I’m waiting on you” response (a sure sign that one of us is bugged and we should both disconnect) I usually do a quick log off/log on anyway because some people (especially if faced with a bad matchup/board position) will try and take the 50% odds that the opponent is bugged and not respond to queries.

    Sorry to hear that the bug cost you your T8!

  2. It’s really a shame. We where thinking about a tool that pings the server to check for connectivity but after the “Millibot” incident I keep my fingers away from such things. We might get banned for violating the CoC….

  3. The “still there?” after 3-5 minutes rule sounds like a solid one, and I’ll definitely be using that one in the future. Such a bummer that we have to deal with this kind of stuff!

  4. It is a bummer – but really, for the convenience of playing MTG from my living room at any hour of the day or night I would (and have! *shudders* …remembering the dark days of super lag) put up with more. Still, hopefully this will get fixed sooner rather than later.

  5. That’s really disappointing that you were dropped out of the top 8. I don’t think that should have happened.

    Imagine a paper tournament with 5 rounds of swiss and a top 8 afterward. You’ve gone 4-0 and you’re part way through the last round when your cell phone rings. It’s an emergency, and you run out of the building like it’s on fire. The head judge will be confused, but he’ll probably give a concession (because the game started, it should affect your rating) and drop you from the event (because you’re gone).

    Now here’s the thing. You still have 4 * 3 = 12 match points. You’re a lock for the top 8 and prizes, even though you dropped. I think in paper you’d still make the top 8. And online it should work that way too. If your 4-1 finish puts you in 4th at the end of the swiss then the 5th place guy gets a bye. Of course, in paper if you don’t come back in a few hours to claim your prize then you forfeit that too. But online that’s not a problem.

  6. Because menace is an idiot? No idea why i did that-mental lapse-was thinking to myself f%&$ hope no one see this!
    It was also my limited exp with Oath, I ended up 11th at 4-2 after.
    The misplay lead me to abandon running Oath for the time being and have since went with ug folk and a zoo list in the money.

  7. menace – Sorry about the call out man, didn’t want to make you feel like an idiot – I just wasn’t sure if I was missing something.

    Congrats on the success with Merfolk and Zoo. Haven’t seen Zoo for a long time.

  8. Aww no sweat bud, happy to be in a article, however bad i played.
    The ug folks was a lot more successful, I placed in the money 3 times with it and zoo just once out of 3 tries. The Zoo matchups aside merfolk, fish and pox are really hard earned not much bolts and nacatls can do to a turn 1 oath, bazaar or ad naus.
    Sorry about your finish I just found out about that bug.

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