Primary Colors: An Introduction to Oathbreaker

Welcome to the wonderful world of Oathbreaker. While you may be familiar with the emerging format, for those that are not as well versed I recommend seeing our quick rules. Below you will find 5 budget entries into the format in a broad range of strategy and skill level. All of these are designed to be both affordable and efficient. They all involve staples that translate well into the format for continued use as well as into other formats should you strip the deck down and move forward to modern or into a more flashy Oathbreaker. Now, choose your weapon carefully, and see the lists below!

Primary Colors

I’ve created 5 Mono Colored Oathbreaker decks that are relatively affordable in paper and will hopefully help you in building your own brews of Oathbreaker/Signature Spell.

Mono Black: Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage []//Hymn to Tourach []


This deck uses the simple strategy of denying your opponents the access to their resources and dealing damage to them in the process. It is the essence of what black wants to do. It hurts your enemies while strangling their ability to answer your spells and threats. Furthermore, this deck exemplifies what you would want in a good pairing of an Oathbreaker and Signature Spell. Our general hurts them when they discard; our spell not only makes them discard, but makes them discard at random. It is everything we can possibly ask for as a nice starting out point. When looking at this format, think of the synergy you can use.

Mono Green: Garruk Wildspeaker []//Triumph of the Hordes []:


Our goal with this deck is to take things a step forward. Not only does our Signature Spell synergize with our Oathbreaker (we can make creatures and then use our spell to kill our opponents with only 10 damage instead of 20 or more), it also builds with the deck and allows our seemingly small creatures to become game winning threats very quickly. We utilize simple effects to strip our deck of lands and our creatures to consistently ramp into these effects. From untapping lands into giant swinging hydras, we win through combat.

Mono White: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar []//Angel's Grace []:


Our goal here is to utilize Gideon and our low casting cost creatures to safely stay in the game until our opponents die or have nothing left to draw. Our early emblem and our Signature Spell should keep us in the game for a very long time, even against combo decks! All of the decks listed so far have small synergies, value plays, and are relatively affordable. You’ll note that this deck isn’t our cheapest deck in the list by a bit, but it does provide us with staples should we want to upgrade into another deck or dive into other formats, we can trade towards for what we need.

Mono Red: Sarkhan, Fireblood []//Battle Hymn []


Now we get into the realm of combo decks. Even on a budget, we can build big splashy combo oriented decks that net us advantage and punish our opponents. We are using our Oathbreaker to generate mana for our big dragons or to filter our card selection. While his ultimate is relevant, we do not need to rely on it; our overall strategy is to make a critical mass of creature tokens and then cast Battle Hymn repeatedly (especially so if we have a Krenko in play). Even with command zone tax, we can utilize this as a massive game ending push of mana into comet storm, into our dragon’s firebreathing, or into Mogg Infestation. This is certainly not the best combo deck, but it’s perfect for budget and learning curve. It will helps lead you into choosing your playstyle and help you see the advantages and disadvantages of deck types. You’ll notice this deck list doesn’t have a lot of answers to your opponents board. It can be very difficult to fit everything into a 60 card singleton deck. We suffer from decks that can punish us (ie control decks) or decks that can race into use faster than we can keep up (mono green tokens, other red aggro decks).

Mono Blue: Narset, Parter of Veils []//Day's Undoing []:


Our final deck in this list, but certainly not our worst. One of the more budget friendly lists, the deck has multiple elements and builds on what we’eve learned from our earlier decks. From the combo play (our Oathbreaker and Signature Spell lock our opponent to a single card) to our control elements and counter spells, our win condition is that of decking our opponent with a cheeky creature that bends the rules. It is everything we can ask for and at under $60, it easily allows access to the format.

If you are ready to dive into the format, pick one of the above five decks. If you are more familiar with the format, you probably already have something brewed up on your kitchen table.

Diving Deeper

Within the format, we can do a lot of strange interactions not usually seen within the standard commander format. It allows us to explore very powerful synergy from our command zone that is both game breaking and fun. When you design your own deck, be sure to ask yourself if the spell you are picking is worth costing 2 more each time you cast it. Is my 3 casting cost Planeswalker going to feel the same when I have to play it for 7 mana for it? Most importantly though, what is MY playgroup’s power level? It doesn’t matter what horrible or amazing decklist you have, if it isn’t strong enough to sit at a table with your friends and you lose every time, you probably won’t have much fun. On the same token, if you are bringing a fully cranked up combo list that wins every game on turn 3 and your playgroup cannot keep pace, you will end without a playgroup. Find balance. The goal of standard Magic is to win. In variants like Oathbreaker, the goal it is to create interesting and exciting games from cards we already know how to play with. The goal is to do something new and different and potentially not seen before. The goal is to have fun, experiment, try not to settle on the first thing you see and consider what other people in your potential or current playgroup might be using.

While looking at the above lists, you will see some commonalities. I stuck with lower casting costs, low land counts, and aggressive setups. Most decks will probably want to run between 21 and 23 lands, like standard decks, but that is almost a trap. Your library itself is really only 58 cards. In blue decks, that number can be lowered even further with spells like Gitaxian Probe [] and cantrips. In black we can utilize Streetwraith [] and similar effects. In red we have Light up the Stage [] and rummaging engines. In white, well, we don’t have much that can help thin out the deck. It is hard to focus on higher casting costs in white, due to the lack of draw power. In green, most draw engines are out of reach or off curve, so we focus on deck thinning.

In my next article, I am going to introduce everyone to the wonderful world of multicolored budget Oathbreaker lists. At the end of each article I will also feature whatever deck I am currently playing, which will change each week! Bye for now and I hope you enjoyed reading!

What I am playing this week

Jace Wielder of Mysteries []//Paradigm Shift []