MTG Oathbreaker explained: Ban list, rules & more

Published: 2023-03-17T17:31:56

Updated: 2023-03-17T17:34:11

With Oathbreaker now getting official recognition from Wizards of the Coast, here’s everything you need to know about it.

In a bizarre moment this week, one of Magic’s most neglected formats, Oathbreaker, got officially recognized by Wizards. They confirmed that they’re not going to run any sanctioned events or have any products any time soon. However, Wizards’ recognition of a fan format follows similar plans the company took with Pauper.

The format has been around for a little while now, but if you’re familiar with Brawl or Commander, you should feel right at home if you’re new.

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MTG Oathbreaker deck-building rules

Oathbreaker works similarly to Brawl and Commander, where you choose a leader for your deck. In Oathbreaker’s case, it’ll be a Planeswalker. Then, you have to choose a signature spell. This can be any Instant or Sorcery card, but it must be in the color identity of your chosen Planeswalker.

Oathbreaker is also a singleton card format, so you can only include one of each card in your deck.

Each deck requires 58 cards, a Planeswalker as your Oathbreaker, and a signature spell for a total of 60.

Oathbreaker rules

Aside from being a spin on Commander, Oathbreaker actually uses the same ruleset for both Planeswalker and Signature Spell. If you cast the Planeswalker and Signature Spell more than once, you must add two generic mana to the cost. So, Domri would go from 2RG to 4RG, and so on.

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Your signature spell can only be used while the Oathbreaker is in play, and when it resolves or anything else happens to it, it’ll go back into the Command Zone. This isn’t a choice, unlike the Planeswalker, which can be placed in exile, the graveyard, the deck, or back into the Command Zone.

You start at 20 life for Oathbreaker as well, much like Brawl and a regular game of Magic.

What is color identity?

Color identity in Magic: The Gathering means that your deck must follow the exact colors as your chosen Commander or Planeswalker. If you choose Domri, Chaos Bringer, you’ll only be able to use colorless, Red, and Green spells in your deck.

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Artifacts are not affected by color, as long as they don’t also feature a cost that’s in another color. If you have an artifact that doesn’t require a specific mana cost but features an ability that needs say, Red, and you’re exclusively in Blue, you won’t be able to use it.

Can you use flip Planeswalkers as an Oathbreaker?

MTG Flip Planeswalkers Chandra and Nissa

No, you can’t use cards that flip into a Planeswalker in Oathbreaker. This includes the merge card Urza, Planeswalker.

The reason for this is that they start out as a creature and then become Planeswalkers. They’re not already one within the game’s rules.

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Oathbreaker ban list

Oathbreaker cards that are banned

Every format in Magic: The Gathering has its own ban list, with very few sharing crossovers. In recent memory, cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns are the only real culprits.

Oathbreaker is no different. The ban list isn’t overseen by WotC, much like with Commander. Oathbreaker has taken the Commander route, with its own committee that takes feedback and issues update as and when they see fit.

  • Cards that reference “playing with ante”.
  • Silver-bordered cards
  • Ad Nauseam
  • Ancestral Recall
  • Balance
  • Biorhythm
  • Black Lotus
  • Channel
  • Chaos Orb
  • Cleanse
  • Crusade
  • Dark Ritual
  • Doomsday
  • Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
  • Expropriate
  • Falling Star
  • Fastbond
  • Gifts Ungiven
  • Griselbrand
  • High Tide
  • Imprison
  • Invoke Prejudice
  • Jihad
  • Jeweled Lotus
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Limited Resources
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond
  • Mana Crypt
  • Mana Geyser
  • Mana Vault
  • Mox Emerald
  • Mox Jet
  • Mox Pearl
  • Mox Ruby
  • Mox Sapphire
  • Natural Order
  • Painter’s Servant
  • Pradesh Gypsies
  • Primal Surge
  • Saheeli, the Gifted
  • Shahrazad
  • Sol Ring
  • Stone-Throwing Devils
  • Sundering Titan
  • Sylvan Primordial
  • Time Vault
  • Time Walk
  • Tinker
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Tooth and Nail
  • Trade Secrets
  • Upheaval
  • Yawgmoth’s Bargain

Oathbreaker decks

Right now, the various lists for Oathbreaker all seem to be hastily put together piles of cards. Being a casual format, we wouldn’t take it too seriously. Find a Planeswalker and begin building around it.

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In fact, we’ve begun to put together a list for the aforementioned Domri, Chaos Bringer. Once our list is finished, we’ll be sure to show you a little more.

It was one of our favorite cards through the 2019 Standard format. While slow by itself, filling your deck to the brim with things like Scale the Heights should allow you to move faster on your plans of overrunning the opponent with a lot of creatures.

Plus, Domri is able to help us cast spells once they’re out on the field. Riot was severely underrated, getting the pummelling going as fast as possible with haste in the mid-game.

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Green and red also give us access to some cool proliferation cards, increasing the +1/+1 counters and ensuring we manage to hit Domri’s ultimate to start spawning an army of 4/4 creatures.

Oathbreaker isn’t just limited to Standard and recent cards though. We have the whole of MTG to dig into, with most of our shenanigans not on the ban list.

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2023-03-17 17:36:58