Oathbreaker is finally recognized by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) as an official Magic format. Since this public recognition, my LGS has been buzzing with talk and excitement by players and staff about their upcoming Oathbreaker night. If the night is considered a success, it will be a weekly staple.
There are dozens of non-Commander players at my LGS who are enamored with the format, which has me just as excited. With this format on the rise, there’s an obvious question: whom should I build around? Of course, you could go top-tier and choose powerhouse pieces such as Chandra, Awakened Inferno; Nissa, Who Shakes the World; or Wrenn and Six, but I wanted to share with you some unique and fun alternatives to the meta.
Comet, Stellar Pup + Clowning Around
Comet is one of my favorite planeswalkers printed to date. Coming from the infamous Unfinity set, this Stellar Pup is one of the handful of Eternal-legal cards, meaning, yes, he can be your Oathbreaker. But what makes this little guy so fun?
Well, he’s random. His loyalty is based on what you roll with a six-sided dice. While you might argue that that is rather awful for a format like Oathbreaker, I urge you to reconsider. I run Comet in my Cadric, Soul Kindler Commander deck, and Comet is surprisingly powerful. He recurs things, makes tokens, and deals damage to a creature or player. Heck, he can even let you activate him two more times that turn if you’re lucky enough. A planeswalker that you can activate three times during a turn seems incredibly powerful to me.
This then begs the question: what is the signature spell? At first, I toyed with pieces like Repeated Reverberation or Lightning Helix. They’re doable, but felt boring. That’s when I landed on Clowning Around. Why not match his signature spell with his set of origin? It’s a cheap sorcery that flavorfully rolls dice, just like Comet! It makes bodies, which is never a bad thing when maining a planeswalker. I don’t know, I just think it’s really cute, and I’ll probably be building this myself in the future.
Ugin, the Ineffable + Warping Wail
I am very tired of people calling Ugin, the Ineffable the ‘bad Ugin.’ He’s not bad; he’s just different. I think, when compared to his original Spirit Dragon iteration, it can be difficult to measure up. But don’t worry. I think Ugin, the Ineffable makes for a great build-around in Oathbreaker.
So what makes Ugin good in Oathbreaker? Colorless isn’t as weak as you think. There are tons of insanely powerful artifacts that are legal within the format. Sure, Sol Ring isn’t viable, but dozens of other mana rocks and powerful creatures are. Mystic Forge lets you cast things off the top for free, artifacts can cost less thanks to Foundry Inspector (often making things free when paired with Ugin), and you can also toss in some gnarly Eldrazi. Whether you go to artifacts or Eldrazi, cost reduction is incredibly attractive and powerful. Plus, who doesn’t want to run Temple of the False God?
The signature spell was a bit of a struggle. I was originally toying with the concept of Environmental Sciences, Expanded Anatomy, and even All Is Dust. However, I finally landed on Warping Wail. I love Warping Wail because it gives you so many options. It can exile something, make a body, or it could counter someone else’s Signature Spell so long as it’s a sorcery. It’s a spell I don’t see too often and is one I feel will make your opponents hesitant to make some nasty plays.
Space Beleren + Teferi’s Time Twist
I know what you’re going to say. ‘Why?’ Well, because I wanted to. That’s why. If we talked about Comet, then you knew this was coming. It’s time to talk about the most headache-inducing planeswalker known to humanity: Space Beleren.
Space Beleren is definitely a planeswalker your opponents won’t expect when you sit down to play some Oathbreaker. The goal with this commander is to divide, confuse, and conquer. Literally. Space divides creatures into sectors. Once divided, he can impact combat, dole out counters, and even destroy creatures in the sector of your choice. He is definitely a bit of a meme choice; however, I think this can be used to your advantage.
For this planeswalker, I decided on Teferi’s Time Twist as the signature spell. Why? As Jaida Essence Hall would say, “Confusion.” This spell lets you blink a permanent…but what permanent will you blink? …Space Beleren. Why? To create more sectors and even more confusion. I find this to be a fun if not weird deck that I hope to see people pick up. It’s a quirky and memey combination that I couldn’t help but adore.
Ajani, the Greathearted + Alive // Well
I have an incredibly soft spot in my heart for Ajani, the Greathearted. This card was a powerhouse in my Rhys the Redeemed Brawl deck on Arena, and for good reason. This guy does it all, so why not cut out the middleman and make him the leader of your next Oathbreaker deck?
Ideally, this deck would be centered around tokens and lifegain. This theme is one I already plan on brewing, so I already have some maindeck recommendations, pieces like Linden, the Steadfast Queen; Rhys the Redeemed; Camaraderie; and Majestic Myriarch. I think this Ajani is an absolute powerhouse of a card. The vigilance being granted as a static ability alone makes me wonder why he isn’t considered to be a powerhouse. The lifegain and +1/+1 counters just seem like gravy.
After some digging, I landed on Alive // Well as the signature spell for this particular Ajani. It felt like the best of both worlds. It can give you a body when needed; however, I love Well the most, as it gains you two life for each creature you control. In a tokens deck, this can add up rather quickly and can make taking you down seem like an overwhelming, if not impossible, task. An incredibly high life total coupled with bodies that will never tap down makes for an incredibly lethal combo.
Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools + The Elderspell
Lastly, we have Tevesh Szat, the bad boy of Oathbreaker. I don’t know why I called him that. He just gives me that energy. Tevesh was the final on my list because I assumed he was a powerhouse within the format. From my research, he isn’t really on any rank lists. That confused me, because he seems absolutely disgusting.
Allow me to explain. Tevesh is advantage in the command zone. He makes bodies and can draw you cards. Heck, he can steal all commanders, even if they are still in the command zone. This is perfectly evil, especially in Oathbreaker. What’s even better is that his +1 makes it so that you can even sacrifice planeswalkers too. It’s like he was made for this format. But what about the signature spell? What can match the sheer evil of this commander?
The Elderspell. Sure, it might seem like a Magical Christmas Land; however, I am sure this is a match made in heaven. Yes, you can see The Elderspell coming from a mile away. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With Tevesh, it’s a war of attrition. Your opponents cast their planeswalkers and watch them fall to The Elderspell, thus catapulting Tevesh’s loyalty up to 10 so that you can steal everything, or you can inch your way there slowly but surely, drawing cards and doing what mono-black does best. Either way, you’re going to see some major value. Tevesh plus The Elderspell is a disgusting duo I want to see in action for sure…as long as it isn’t in my pod.
Make It Official
It’s so exciting to see Oathbreaker reach official format status, and it’s even more exciting to see people at the local level ready to embrace it with open arms. Seriously, everyone at my LGS has an Oathbreaker deck. It’s crazy. I’m just bummed I’ll be out of town on its weekend debut. Despite this, Oathbreaker has a ton of viable planeswalkers to build around. Rather than going for the obvious choices, I encourage you to take a stab at the weird and the unusual. Happy brewing, deckbuilders.