MTG Wiki
Oath of the Gatewatch

Oath of the Gatewatch
OGW Logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Hedrons or the blades floating above Kozilek's head
Design Ethan Fleischer (lead)
Graeme Hopkins
Ari Levitch
Ken Nagle
Adam Prosak
Mark Rosewater
Development Ian Duke (lead)
Dave Humpherys
Jackie Lee
Adam Prosak
Gavin Verhey
Art direction Jeremy Jarvis
Release date January 22, 2016
Plane Zendikar
Themes and mechanics Colorless matters, teaming up, planeswalker matters.
Keywords/​ability words Cohort, Devoid, Landfall, Support, Surge
Set size 184 cards
(70 commons, 60 uncommons, 42 rares, 12 mythic rares)
+2 regular-art Wastes
Expansion code OGW[1]
Development codename Sweat
Battle for Zendikar block
Battle for Zendikar Oath of the Gatewatch N/A
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Legendary Cube Oath of the Gatewatch Duel Decks: Blessed vs. Cursed

Oath of the Gatewatch is the 69th Magic expansion, and the second and last in the Battle for Zendikar block. It was released in January 22, 2016.[2][3] Oath of the Gatewatch is a small expansion.[4]

Set details[ | ]

Oath of the Gatewatch contains 184 cards (70 Common, 60 Uncommon, 42 Rare, 12 Mythic) but only 183 functionally different cards. However, because of the full-art and regular versions of the Wastes (twice), collectors view this as an 186-card set. Small sets are now enlarged to facilitate the new draft structure (2 boosters of the second set / 1 of the first set).[5][6][7] The set includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The expansion symbol of the set seems to be a stylized representation of Kozilek's brood, but it also has similarities with hedrons, usually for Zendikar sets. The set features two Planeswalker cards Chandra, Flamecaller and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar.[8]

Oath of the Gatewatch is all about teamwork. It was designed to support Two-Headed Giant better than any other set in Magic history at the time.[9] The name Fall of the Eldrazi was considered for Oath of the Gatewatch.[10]

Storyline[ | ]

Four planeswalkers (Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar and Nissa Revane) join forces in their battle against the Eldrazi titans Ulamog and Kozilek and the demonic planeswalker Ob Nixilis. They become the Gatewatch, a team with a lasting commitment to protect the people of the Multiverse from threats that no one else can handle. The six cards that represent the pivotal moments in the storyline are: Kozilek's Return, Remorseless Punishment, Call the Gatewatch, Bonds of Mortality, Fall of the Titans and Zendikar Resurgent.[11][12]

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
The Rise of Kozilek Kelly Digges 2015-12-09 Zendikar Kiora, Shen, Yesha, Tola, Inash, Runari, Lorthos, Ulamog, Kozilek
Retaliation of Ob Nixilis Kimberly J. Kreines & Nik Davidson 2015-12-30 Zendikar Gideon Jura, Nissa Revane, Ulamog, Jace Beleren, Ashaya, Ob Nixilis, Kozilek
Reclamation Mel Li 2016-01-06 Zendikar Mina and Denn, Tenru, Nisede
The Blight We Were Born For Ken Troop 2016-01-13 Zendikar Tazri, Gideon Jura, Ulamog, Kozilek, Mahir, Golamin, Rillem, Romoe, Vorik, Munda, Noyan Dar, Drana
Up in Flames Doug Beyer 2016-01-20 Zendikar Chandra Nalaar, Kozilek, Ulamog, Tazri, Ob Nixilis, Jace Beleren, Gideon Jura, Nissa Revane
Beneath the Surface Ari Levitch 2016-01-27 Zendikar Jori En, Lorthos, Kozilek, Ulamog, Kiora
Oath of the Gatewatch James Wyatt 2016-02-03 Zendikar Kozilek, Ulamog, the Gatewatch (Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar and Nissa Revane)
Brink of Extinction Kelly Digges 2016-02-10 Zendikar The Gatewatch, Tazri, Munda, Jori En, Kiora
Zendikar's Last Stand Doug Beyer 2016-02-17 Zendikar The Gatewatch, Kiora, Ulamog, Kozilek, Tazri, Noyan Dar, Drana, Jori En
Zendikar Resurgent Ari Levitch, Doug Beyer, Kelly Digges, & Kimberly J. Kreines 2016-02-24 Zendikar The Gatewatch, Tazri, Ugin

Marketing[ | ]


The colorless mana symbol

Oath of the Gatewatch is sold in 16-card boosters (the 16th card being a marketing card), five intro packs and a fat pack.[13] The series of clash packs is discontinued. This is the first small set to feature four different pieces of art on the boosters. These depict the four members of the Gatewatch as featured on the partial Oath cycle: Gideon, Jace, Chandra, and Nissa.[14]

The set features the full-art lands from Battle for Zendikar (complete with the original expansion symbol).[15] The Oath of the Gatewatch fat packs also have full art basic lands. Like the other non-full-art basics, non-full-art Wastes are featured in the intro packs.[16]

Zendikar Expeditions[ | ]

Zendikar Expeditions are all premium foil cards with a special Zendikari frame and a separate expansion symbol. Thus, they are not part of the set.[17] Zendikar Expeditions include all new art set on Zendikar and appear slightly more often than premium mythic rares. These cards are playable in limited and formats where they're already legal. 25 Expedition cards appeared with Battle for Zendikar (the 5 new battle lands, 10 shock lands and 10 fetch lands[18]) and 20 more cards in Oath of the Gatewatch (10 filter lands and 10 assorted lands with resonant flavor for Zendikar[19]).

Prerelease[ | ]

OGW Prerelease pack

OGW Prerelease pack

Two-Headed Giant was central to the prerelease experience.[20] Prerelease events took place on January 16–17, 2016. The Prerelease format was Sealed (4 Oath of the Gatewatch/2 Battle for Zendikar). Each pair of players received two prerelease packs that they could use after the event as a take-home deck box. Inside each Prerelease box, there are four Oath of the Gatewatch booster packs and two Battle for Zendikar booster packs, a spindown life counter, and a randomized, date-stamped premium promo card, drawn from any rare or mythic rare in the set.

Promotional cards[ | ]

Tokens[ | ]

  1. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}." for Abstruse Interference, Birthing Hulk, Scion Summoner, Sifter of Skulls, Vile Redeemer, and Warping Wail[22]
  2. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."
  3. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."
  4. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}." reprint from Battle for Zendikar
  5. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}." reprint from Battle for Zendikar
  6. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}." reprint from Battle for Zendikar
  7. {W} 3/3 Angel with flying for Linvala, the Preserver
  8. {B} 2/2 Zombie for Drana's Chosen, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Null Caller
  9. {R} 3/1 Elemental with haste for Chandra, Flamecaller (The token card has no Haste keyword however.)
  10. {G} X/X Elemental for Seed Guardian
  11. {G} 0/1 Plant for Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

The following named tokens were released with Battle for Zendikar:

  1. {W} 2/2 Knight Ally for Allied Reinforcements
  2. {W} 1/1 Kor Ally for Captain's Claws and Oath of Gideon
  3. {U} 8/8 Octopus for Crush of Tentacles

Themes and mechanics[ | ]


Wastes (left produced by Kozilek, right by Ulamog)

The set introduces the colorless mana symbol {C}. It is used for cards that depict Kozilek's brood lineage of Eldrazi.[23][24] With Wastes, the set also introduces the first typeless basic lands.[25] Wastes are twice as common as a normal common in boosters.[26] The colorless mana symbol is found, together with generic mana symbols, in the mana cost of some spells, such as Endbringer (unlike generic mana costs, it cannot be paid with colored mana), and also replaces numbered colorless mana symbols such as {1} in abilities that produce mana in Oracle text for all cards (for example, Ashnod's Altar now produces {C}{C} rather than {2}).

There are three new named mechanics:[27]

To express the theme of "Planeswalkers forming a team" with game mechanics, R&D also created cards that encourage the player to use multiple planeswalker cards.[28]

Landfall is reused, but in a very minor capacity. It only appears on Embodiment of Fury and Embodiment of Insight, originally envisioned as a cycle. Likewise, white and blue each have an uncommon creature (Wall of Resurgence, Cyclone Sire) that essentially has the awaken mechanic. Technically the mechanic only works on instants and sorceries, so it had to be spelled out in the rules text.[29]

Cycles[ | ]

Oath of the Gatewatch has three complete cycles and two partial cycles:

Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied color taplands Meandering River Submerged Boneyard Cinder Barrens Timber Gorge Tranquil Expanse
Five uncommon dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped
3 mana allied uncommons Reflector Mage Mindmelter Flayer Drone Relentless Hunter Joraga Auxiliary
Five uncommon creatures that each cost 1MN, where M and N are allied colors. They define the limited archetype for those colors
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy color uncommons Cliffhaven Vampire Stormchaser Mage Baloth Null Weapons Trainer Void Grafter
Five uncommon creatures in enemy colors that define the limited archetype for those colors

Mega cycles[ | ]

Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy colored Tapland Manlands Shambling Vent (Battle for Zendikar) Wandering Fumarole (Oath of the Gatewatch) Hissing Quagmire (Oath of the Gatewatch) Needle Spires (Oath of the Gatewatch) Lumbering Falls (Battle for Zendikar)
Five lands that can turn into creatures until end of turn. One rare for each enemy color pair, able to produce either color and enters the battlefield tapped.[30] This cycle completes the enemy color megacycle of tapped manlands that started in Battle for Zendikar as well as the larger Mega-Mega Cycle stared in Worldwake.[31]

Mega-Mega cycles[ | ]

Horizontal cycles[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Oaths Oath of Gideon (Oath of the Gatewatch)[32] Oath of Jace (Oath of the Gatewatch)[33] Oath of Liliana (Eldritch Moon) Oath of Chandra (Oath of the Gatewatch)[34] Oath of Nissa (Oath of the Gatewatch)[35]
A multi-block cycle representing a planeswalker's participation in The Gatewatch, in form of legendary enchantments that interact with planeswalker. A black oath, a green-white oath, a white-blue oath, and a white-black oath were added later, in Eldritch Moon, Aether Revolt, Dominaria and War of the Spark respectively.
Cycle name
Eldrazi Titans Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger (Battle for Zendikar) Kozilek, the Great Distortion (Oath of the Gatewatch) Emrakul, the Promised End (Eldritch Moon)
Kozilek, the Great Distortion is the second card in the Eldrazi Titan triplet started in Battle for Zendikar

Pairs[ | ]

Oath of the Gatewatch has one mirrored pair.

Mirrored Pairs Description
Embodiment of Fury
Embodiment of Insight
Uncommon Elemental creatures which give a keyword ability to land creatures and itself. They also have a landfall effect that can turn Lands until the end of turn into 3/3 Elemental.[36]

Reprinted cards[ | ]

Common to Uncommon[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

The allied color taplands are functional reprints of the taplands which appeared in Invasion and were reprinted in 8th Edition. The reason behind this was that the original cycle mentions locations in Dominaria, and the more generic name meant that these cards could be reprinted in any other set.[38]

Using different subtypes

Card comparisons[ | ]

Notable cards[ | ]

Modern Eldrazi Decks[ | ]

Thought-Knot Seer, Eldrazi Displacer, World Breaker, Eldrazi Mimic, Matter Reshaper, Endless One and Reality Smasher are seven powerful cards with the Eldrazi creature type. Combined with previous cards from Battle for Zendikar (Eldrazi Skyspawner, Drowner of Hope, Eldrazi Obligator and Wasteland Strangler) as well as the two Eldrazi tribal lands (Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple) these cards created were the foundation for a strong deck archetype. This archetype dominated the Modern metagame at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch and led to the event known as "Eldrazi Winter" which ended with the ban of the Eye of Ugin.

Even with Eye of Ugin's ban, the majority of these cards are still played in the decks' Bant and Tron Eldrazi. The backbone of the deck is also present in Legacy and Vintage formats, due to the addition of two more double-colourless lands in City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb and powerful artifact lock spells.

Banned and Restricted cards[ | ]

  • Reflector Mage was a tempo card for the {U}{W} draft archetype that had a minor upside compared to a standard Man-o-War effect, but when ported into constructed it became much more frustrating to play against, especially within the Collected Company shells. Despite not being a dominant force in the Pro Tour after the rotation, it was banned in January 2017.
  • Oath of Nissa is a cheap green permanent that smoothed draws, making it a low investment gain in devotion. It was marked for an early Pioneer ban, used to temper the Green Devotion strategies that were powerful at the outset. It was unbanned seven months later in July 2020, as more powerful decks had formed in the interim.
  • Inverter of Truth was a Mythic Rare playing in unusual design space but received little attention as to its application. While combinations with Laboratory Maniac were possible, Modern was far too fast to have such a strategy succeed. However, with Pioneer keeping the blue Delve spells and War of the Spark and Theros Beyond Death bringing two Maniac effects in Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and Thassa's Oracle, the combo kill was now very consistent. It was also backed by a strong control shell. Inverter was banned in August 2020 after several months of dominance.
  • Spatial Contortion is technically banned in Pauper on Magic Online due to only being available on the client as a common promotional card.

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Oath of the Gatewatch has five intro packs.[13][43] There are no clash packs or event decks.

Intro pack name Colors Included Foil rare
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Twisted Reality U Deepfathom Skulker
Desperate Stand W B Munda's Vanguard
Surge of Resistance U R Tyrant of Valakut
Vicious Cycle B G Dread Defiler
Concerted Effort W G Gladehart Cavalry

References[ | ]

  1. Information below the text box
  2. Wizards of the Coast (September 1, 2015). "Announcing Oath of the Gatewatch". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Michael Yichao (January 7, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch Approaches!". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Matt Tabak (January 13, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (September 02, 2015). "What are reasons behind changing the Draft format?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Sam Stoddard (December 4, 2015). "Double Small-Set Drafting". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2015). "Is 184 the new default size of small sets?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (December 5, 2015). "What decided which planeswalkers got cards in BFZ?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Sam Stoddard (January 15, 2016). "Developing for Friends". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (February 23, 2016). "Was the lost third set called Fall of the Eldrazi?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. The Magic Creative Team (January 27, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch Story Events". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. The Magic Creative Team (March 2, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch Story Summary". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Blake Rasmussen (December 28, 2015). "The Packaging of Oath of the Gatewatch". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Blake Rasmussen (December 10, 2015). "Best of 2015 and Holiday Treats". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Mark Rosewater (October 14, 2015). "Will Oath of the Gatewatch also have full art basic lands?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Mark Rosewater (December 28, 2015). "Non-full-art Wastes will be in the intro packs.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. Dan Barrett (August 26, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar: Your First Look". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Blake Rasmussen (September 17, 2015). "All the Expeditions (first batch)". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Blake Rasmussen (December 24, 2015). "Never a Wasted Holiday". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Gavin Verhey (January 12, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Blake Rasmussen (December 29, 2015). "The Promos of Oath of the Gatewatch". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Blake Rasmussen (January 11, 2016). "The Jan. 11, 2016 Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Mark Rosewater (December 28, 2015). "A Solemn Oath, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Sam Stoddard (January 8, 2016). "Getting Colorless to Work". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Take a look at the other Wastes you'll find in #MTGOGW!
  26. Mark Rosewater (December 25, 2015). "Will Wastes occupy the basic land slot or a common slot in OGW boosters?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Matt Tabak (December 28, 2015). "Oath of the Gatewatch Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Ethan Fleischer (December 28, 2015). "A First Time for Everything". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Mark Rosewater (February 1, 2016). "Odds and Ends: Oath of the Gatewatch, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Sam Stoddard (September 7, 2015). ""Creature" Lands". Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2015). "Is BFZ going to have all 5 enemy-colors manlands?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  32. Mark Rosewater (January 4, 2016). "A Solemn Oath, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Jacob Van Lunen (December 31, 2015). "Oath of Jace". Wizards of the Coast.
  34. Ian Duke (January 5, 2016). "Developing Oath of the Gatewatch". Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Brian David-Marshall (January 1, 2016). "Oath of Nissa". Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Mark Rosewater (December 31, 2015). "Gatewatch Me Work, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Mark Rosewater (February 8, 2016). "Odds and Ends: Oath of the Gatewatch, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Blake Rasmussen (January 4, 2016). "You can't always go hame". Wizards of the Coast.
  39. Chas Andres (January 5, 2016). "Fall of the Titans". Wizards of the Coast.
  40. Adam Styborski (December 31, 2015). "Allied Command(er)". Wizards of the Coast.
  41. Bruce Richard (January 5, 2016). "Hedron Alignment". Wizards of the Coast.
  42. Mark Rosewater (January 17, 2016). "Hedron Alignment is my favourite card from Oath!". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  43. Blake Rasmussen (January 13, 2016). "The January 13, 2016 Update". Wizards of the Coast.