America’s Moat Wanted
I’ve been trying to update this blog as often as I have time for. It’s actually a lot of fun and I wish I could do it more. Anyway, here’s an Oath list I’ve been working on. This is an update of a deck I wrote about in June.
The idea here is to be a control deck first and an Oath deck second. We’ve got Moat in the list to make life miserable for much of the format, and we’ve got a second Moat that we can Oath into play called “Blazing (Saddles) Archon”.
My original list didn’t run Supreme Verdict and I was using Sensei’s Divining Top instead of Sylvan Library. I think Verdict is a good option to have in order to deal with Mentor and Pyromancer decks, and it’s another way to protect big daddy Mind Sculptor.
I played a version of this deck in the past and it performed pretty well. The Moat plan worked pretty well, but I ended up having some trouble against Gush decks that I hadn’t anticipated.
The problem I found was that the deck was slow to close out a game. The glacially slow progression tended to give my opponent time to exploit a weakness in my defenses.Blazing Archon and Dragonlord Dromoka are great, but five damage is sort of a slow clock in the Vintage world. I’m not convinced that this is a deal breaker though, the deck still has a lot of positive matchups.
I’m hoping that between Griselbrand and Dragonlord Dromoka’s lifelink I’ll be able to draw extra cards with Sylvan without having to worry about paying so much life. Sylvan is insane with Jace and Library of Alexandria, and hopefully it’s enough to keep up with the draw engines that the rest of the format has.
Initially I wanted Divining Top instead because I could use it to “hide” cards from Duress or Cabal Therapy by floating them on the top of my deck. In practice this doesn’t come up all that much, and I have found Divining Top to be much easier for my opponent to counter or disrupt.
The somewhat limited test games have shown that Sylvan is absolutely amazing in control mirrors. Against decks that can pressure your life total quickly, it’s not nearly as good. Still I feel comfortable running one at this point.
I made sure to max out on cantrips to make up for the loss of Demonic and Vampiric Tutor. Four Preordains and the single Ponder/Brainstorm worked pretty well. Lately I have decided to try playing Gitaxian Probe in addition to the other blue cantrips. I had to cut a Preordain and go down to three Mental Missteps to make it work.
Potential Candidates for Creatures
I’ve been wondering if playing Blazing Archon in the main deck is needed or not and recently I have been trying a list that’s essentially the same as the one I posted above but with Consecrated Sphinx in the main deck instead of Archon (moving Archon to the sideboard).
I haven’t tested Consecrated Sphinx enough to be sure if I like it or not, but there are a few things about it that I like. Sphinx is easy to cast for this deck, just like Dromoka. I love the idea of having two castable creatures that function well in control matchups. My theory is that I should be able to simply ignore cards like Grafdigger’s Cage and Containment Priest if I have to by landing a Dromoka or Sphinx and controlling the board with Moat or Supreme Verdict.
I’m not particularly excited about the four power on Consecrated Sphinx though. I’ve had more than a few games where I stayed ahead on cards and controlled the board, but couldn’t win fast enough for my tastes. Blazing Archon is a four-turn clock, and Sphinx takes five turns to deal lethal damage.
I’m reasonably content with this sideboard, but I’ll be making changes if I decide I need them.
There aren’t that many dedicated anti-Dredge cards, but there’s a reason for that. I’ve already got Moat, Blazing Archon, and Supreme Verdict in the main deck. If I bring in Pithing Needles, Balance, Strip Mine, Tormod’s Crypt, and Rest in Peace I think that’s more than enough to buy me some time to win.
Against Shops I have Nature’s Claim and Swords to Plowshares, plus Steel Sabotage. I can also bring in Strip Mine to go up to sixteen lands. Pithing Needle is also an option depending on what kind of Workshop deck they’re playing.
I feel that the worst problem is that the slow speed of the deck could make the combo matchups a lot less favorable. Arcane Laboratory is one potential solution, but I’m going to keep brainstorming ideas. It might just be that combo decks are a weakness I’ll have to accept.
Member Berry Pie
I really enjoy playing this deck, and I hope if proves to be good and not just fun. I have a special fondness for Moat and Mana Drain, so perhaps my nostalgia is clouding my judgment! I plan on updating this post or writing a follow up as I gather more information about the decks performance, so stay tuned!
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