Oath of the Gatewatch in Legacy, Vintage, and Modern

Kozilek, the Great Distortion

This card has a lot potential. Unfortunately, it triggers when cast, so it’s not going to be good with Show and Tell or Reanimate, but I can definitely see him being played in MUD Legacy over his brother Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, since the counter ability is going to be very relevant—especially in a deck without many ways to interact with your opponent.

It will also see play in Modern: Tron and Eldrazi offer a great home for a fetchable (Eye of Ugin) Eldrazi that can finally take the place of Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn in RG Tron.

Matter Reshaper

Another good Eldrazi, and this time it’s cheap and effective. I’m not sure if it’s better than Wasteland Stranger in Modern Eldrazi, but I often see Wasteland Strangler cast on turn 2 or 3 with no target just to maintain the curve—this would be way better in that spot. Of course Matter Reshaper doesn’t get rid of Dark Confidant and other creatures that you might encounter in the early game, and that might be the reason why you still prefer Wasteland Strangler over this.

Spatial Contortion

You don’t see a colorless removal spell very often. MUD will certainly make use of this card, at least in the sideboard, since it gets rid of both of its worst enemies: Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman.

Very often I see Dismember in Vintage Shops. I’m not sure if this is better, there are scenarios where saving 1 mana is more important than 4 life, and sometimes you could want to kill Karn, Silver Golem, Kuldotha Forgemaster, or Auriok Salvagers that Spatial Contortion can’t hit. Also this can’t be cast off 2 Moxes, but between Wasteland, Mishra’s Factory, Ancient Tomb, Sol Ring, and Mana Crypt you can get your colorless mana somewhere. In Modern you probably don’t need this, since both the “colorless” decks have colors in them to provide removal.

Thought-Knot Seer

This is my favorite card in the set. A 4/4 for 4 hits hard and can’t be killed by Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, or Kolaghan’s Command, which are the most popular removal spells in Modern. It’s a great card against combo decks, which has been a historically bad matchup for ramp.

The best thing about this card is that it doesn’t give your opponent the card back if they kill it, like with Brain Maggot—it’s closer to Vendilion Clique. The drawback is that if your opponent is empty-handed and you play this card, they simply get value if they kill it, but it’s a rare scenario. Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple will let you cast this card earlier in the game. Keep an eye on this one!

Reality Smasher

As with Thought-Knot Seer, Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple will be the major reason why you’ll see this card being played in Modern, though I’m not sure if this is fast enough or if it’s better than Blight Herder. This card applies pressure and it’s resilient to removal spells, which is definitely a good combination in a deck that can put it into play fast.

Eldrazi Mimic

Thanks to the 2 fatties we just talked about (Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher) this card has potential and might see play. Imagine a curve like this:

I guess we have lethal damage!

Warping Wail

Having choices is always great, but they aren’t that exciting. Legacy MUD is, again, the only deck that can play Warping Wail, but not killing Insectile Aberration is huge deal, and I think it’s the reason why you would prefer Spatial Contortion.

Obviously Envelop is a fine card, but not exactly what you need in a deck like MUD.

In Modern this counters Scapeshift, Living End, Maelstrom Pulse, and particularly Crumble to Dust, but I’m not sure that’s enough to justify playing this card.

Eldrazi Displacer

The fact that this creature doesn’t require tapping to blink creatures is definitely a point in its favor. On the other hand, 3 mana is a lot, and I’d rather just play more Restoration Angels.

Overwhelming Denial

I don’t think you’ll ever need this in any format. As much as you love counters that let you win counter wars, we already have access to Counterflux which isn’t played, and this isn’t any better.

Bearer of Silence

Unfortunately this card can’t abuse Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple—as it stands it’s unplayable.

Kozilek’s Return

I previously wrote an article on this spell. While I think maindecking this card in Jund is a bit much, I still like it as a sideboard card, mainly for how good it is against Affinity.

Outside of Jund, this card can replace Pyroclasm in RG Tron, since you can find it with Ancient Stirrings and you are also able to use its last ability when playing Ulamog, Kozilek, or Emrakul.

The bad thing is that Relic of Progenitus has to exile your graveyard as well, but Jim Davis’s version doesn’t even run it in the main deck, so there you go.

Natural State

This card will always be in contention with Nature’s Claim, since they both have the same targets. For decks like Infect and Tron, giving 4 life to your opponent is not a problem, or if you’re piloting Scapeshift and you really need to kill an enchantment like Leyline of Sanctity, Nature’s Claim will always be better.

On the other hand, if you are on the attack plan and 4 life really matters like GW Auras could be, this is a better option for the Affinity matchup.

Oath of Nissa

I previously wrote an article on this card and its impact in Standard. I don’t think it will make quite the same impact on Modern: Abzan Company, Kiki-Chord, and Elves are the only decks that play a large number of creatures, but there are better options like Chord of Calling or Collected Company.

You can use Oath of Nissa in Legacy Lands, but you don’t have slots for cantrips like this.

Stormchaser Mage

UR Delver is a deck in both Modern and Legacy, where this card has a lot of potential. I can see a few copies being played even if Young Pyromancer is a better option, since this is an evasive threat that can get in for the last few points of damage.

Hissing Quagmire

The first of the 3 new creaturelands. It’s the creatureland that Abzan and Jund needed the most for mana fixing, since they are both BG splashing a third color. Hissing Quagmire is the worst of the cycle—even worse than Shambling Vent.

I love for my creaturelands to put on a clock, like Raging Ravine, or provide some benefit in the process, like Shambling Vent’s lifelink. Hissing Quagmire is especially good at blocking, but you have to leave 4 mana open and your opponent can simply not attack if they don’t have a Lightning Bolt or a Kolaghan’s Command.

Of course it’s going to be great against Abzan or in the late game where leaving 4 mana up isn’t a big deal—but Modern is a format where you don’t get to flood that often, and that’s why I don’t really like this land.

Wandering Fumarole

Jeskai and Grixis Control were looking for their creatureland, but unfortunately it’s too costly and way worse than Celestial Colonnade or Creeping Tar Pit, so nothing will change in those decks.

Sea Gate Wreckage

Legacy MUD and Vintage Shops find themselves hellbent easily, and that’s why I don’t think it’s unreasonable to play this card as a singleton. In Modern, I can think of 3 decks that frequently hit 0 cards in hand: Lantern Control, Burn, and Affinity.

Lantern Control is an easy home for this land, since it has colorless mana in its mana base.

While Burn can have hard time playing this card for its activition cost, (Battlefield Forge and Karplusan Forest are ways to pay it though), Affinity can use it, but it’s going to be hard to find time to activate it, rather than attacking with Nexuses.


Spell-lands are always great, but coming into play tapped is always a huge downgrade. Its abilities are totally reasonable, but its drawback will keep this card away from Eternal formats.

Reality Hemorrage

Burn has another answer for Kor Firewalker and Burrenton Forge-Tender. I was never in love with Path to Exile in that deck’s sideboard. It can get rid of Tarmogoyf where Hemorrhage can’t, but that’s not really what you are looking for from your removal anyway. This might be a better option.


Colorless decks are the ones that look to gain most thanks to Oath of Gatewatch, so be aware of that and get ready with your Ghost Quarters and Tectonic Edges.


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