Oath of Jace

Posted in Perilous Research on December 31, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Welcome back to the first week of Oath of the Gatewatch previews here on DailyMTG. Today, we'll be exploring the applications of a new and exciting enchantment.

Historically, control decks have relied on two types of engines to secure the game once they've established control. Most control decks have a generous card-advantage element, but many of the most successful decks from the past also incorporated long-term card-quality plans such as Compulsion or Sensei's Divining Top.

Today's preview card helps the control player keep winning once they've stabilized. Let's take a look at Oath of Jace!

Oath of Jace gets started with card-quality duties right away by letting us draw three cards and then discard two cards. The card also harshens our opponent's punishment when they allow us to untap with a planeswalker in play.

Oath of Jace doesn't really do enough for the opponent to bother trying to spend cards to get it off the table. After all, we'd be ahead in card economy even if the opponent does get it off the table. That's part of the beauty of this card: Oath of Jace has the potential to slowly grind small advantages off the top of our deck while smoothing our draws when we cast it in the early game. The fact that Oath of Jace gets to sit in play actually makes it a useful defensive tool for powerful enchantments such as Jeskai Ascendancy, Quarantine Field, or Retreat to Emeria when we're playing against the format's most ubiquitous enchantment-removal spell, Dromoka's Command. We can play Oath of Jace early to smooth our draws and maybe get a couple scry triggers, but we'll still be very happy to have it lingering on the battlefield so the opponent can't use Dromoka's Command to get rid of something much more impressive.

Additionally, Oath of Jace fills our graveyard. This accelerates our ability to cast powerful delve spells such as Dig Through Time or Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and also speeds up our ability to flip Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

There are a lot of hidden advantages to playing with a card like Oath of Jace. For a card that doesn't have an immediate effect on the board or generate card advantage, Oath of Jace certainly does quite a lot in the current Standard.

Let's try to build a deck with Oath of Jace!

We'll want to be playing enough planeswalkers to make the second ability on Oath of Jace relevant. The best planeswalker of all, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, combos quite nicely with Retreat to Emeria, one of the best Standard cards that doesn't see a ton of play because of Dromoka's Command. With Oath of Jace, we can protect our Retreat to Emeria from the pesky green-white instant. We can take advantage of the increased graveyard size that Oath of Jace grants by playing with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Dig Through Time, the format's best card-advantage engines. We'll probably be putting excess lands on the bottom of our library with Oath of Jace once we have the game locked up, which means that cards such as Knight of the White Orchid and Nissa, Vastwood Seer will become even better than they normally are. Let's put that train of thought onto paper as a decklist for Standard!

JVL's Bant Planeswalkers

Download Arena Decklist

This deck takes advantage of every angle that Oath of Jace has to offer.

It performs best in a midrange, creature-heavy environment where Retreat to Emeria can make combat math go our way. The deck is very good at untapping with a planeswalker in play, which only increases the power level of Oath of Jace. However, this deck is quite weak against hasty creatures or effects like Mantis Rider or Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker.

Oath of Jace is deceptively versatile, and presents control players a new way to ensure they've locked up the game while finding them the necessary tools to reach the later portions of the game with its enters-the-battlefield trigger. Oath of the Gatewatch promises to introduce an exciting new Standard format. What kind of deck would you play Oath of Jace in?

Knowledge is power!

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