Oath of Druids is a card from the Exodus expansion of the Magic: the Gathering trading card game.

Basic Card Information

Name of Card: Oath of Druids
Type of Card: Enchantment
Color: Green
Edition: Exodus
Artist: Daren Bader
Casting Cost: 1G
Rarity: Rare

Card Text: At the beginning of each player's upkeep, if that player controls fewer creatures than any of his or her opponents, the player may reveal cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. The player puts that card into play and all other cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard. (This is the official wording as of April 5, 2001; it takes into account all previous rulings and errata)

Strategic Analysis

The big strength of Oath of Druids is that, without any additional cost after casting, it automatically brings creatures from the deck directly into play if the player who cast it wishes to do so. Each turn, in fact, if that player has the smallest number of creatures in play, then that player gets the next creature in his or her deck placed into play for free.

To maximize the effectiveness of this ability, one must design a deck with a few principles in mind.

  1. Use creatures that have useful coming-into-play abilities and/or useful abilities that result in the creature's suicide. A good example of a creature that fits this bill is Nekrataal, which automatically buries another creature when Nekratall comes into play. Another great example is Spike Weaver, which can do all sorts of nasty things and eventually kill itself.
  2. Use cards that allow you to reorder your library. This way, you can ensure that Oath of Druids will put the most useful card into play. Excellent choices for this use include Enlightened Tutor and Impulse.
  3. Have a small number of creatures, ways to defend them, and. Make these creatures count, with monsters like Crater Hellion or Shard Phoenix. Also, make sure that you can defend them with counterspells like Force of Will or just good ol' Counterspell. If all else fails, include some cards like Gaea's Blessing that can take cards out of your graveyard and shuffle them back into your deck; several Gaea's Blessings can cycle themselves in fact, so they are a good choice in an Oath of Druids deck.

Basically, the goal is to be able to use the Oath as often as possible and as effectively as possible. Take as big an advantage as you can of the times in which you can use the Oath is the real key, and the best way is to maintain as much control over everything as you can.

Deck #1: Maher Counter Oath

Deck Listing:

1 Adarkar Wastes
3 Flood Plain
2 Underground Sea
1 Savannah
3 Treetop Village
4 Tropical Island
4 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland

1 Crater Hellion
1 Morphling
1 Spike Feeder

1 Overgrown Estate
1 Seal of Cleansing
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
4 Enlightened Tutor
1 Forbid
4 Force of Will
2 Gaea's Blessing
4 Impulse
1 Ivory Mask
3 Oath of Druids
1 Powder Keg
1 Sylvan Library
2 Swords to Plowshares

Sideboard (not part of main deck)
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Sacred Ground
1 Spike Weaver
1 Abundance
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Oath of Druids
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Disenchant
1 Arcane Laboratory
1 Misdirection
3 Pyroblast

Discussion: This deck was designed by Dr. Ped Bun but was honed to perfection and played to victory at two consecutive professional-level victories by Bob Maher in 1999 and 2001. The goal here is to control everything until the three creatures can hit the board. Spike Feeder is very nice in that it can die and at the same time make another creature bigger.

My experience with the deck has shown that once the Crater Hellion hits the table, the game is nearly over. The Hellion often clears all other creatures away when he comes into play, and if you can get him out early with a Force of Will or two in your hand, the game is likely to be yours. The Brainstorms serve as great fodder for the Force of Wills; after the first turn or two, just hold onto them for later when you can use them for very cheap countering ability.

The sideboard mostly guards against various counter-strategies. For instance, if you see your opponent playing red, bring in the Pyroblasts and the Circle of Protection: Red immediately.

Deck #2: Sneak Druids

Deck Listing:

12 Mountain
4 Karplusan Forest
3 Forest
3 Treetop Village

3 Crater Hellion
1 Shard Phoenix
1 Bloodshot Cyclops
2 Weatherseed Treefolk
2 Thorn Elemental
1 Multani, Maro-Sorcerer
2 Serra Avatar

2 Oath of Druids
2 Worldly Tutor
2 Creeping Mold
2 Earthquake
2 Jokulhaups
2 Pyromancy
4 Sneak Attack
4 Kindle

4 Grim Monolith
2 Masticore

Sideboard (not part of main deck)
2 Oath of Druids
2 Multani's Decree
2 Creeping Mold
2 Needle Storm
2 Repopulate
3 Defense Grid
2 Caltrops

Discussion: This deck was very popular along the Pacific Rim in early 2000. This deck revolves around the use of Sneak Attack and the Oath to get a large number of large creatures out very early (Shard Phoenix and Bloodshot Cyclops, for example), and then cards like Earthquake and the panic button Jokulhaups to clear the board of everything if things get out of control before the damage is done.

This is more of a "brute force" deck designed to overwhelm the opponent before the opponent has time to develop a defensive strategy, either through creatures or Counterspells. It works most effectively against counter-heavy decks that are weak in the earliest moments, but it tends to fail against suicide decks that try to kill by turn three or four or assume a loss; this is because turns three and four is when this one tries to have the big guns start hitting the table, and that's often too late.


Oath of Druids is an extremely powerful card if used in the right type of deck; its effectiveness is only clear if you are using a deck that accentuates its positives.

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