If you haven’t been paying attention to everything MTG recently, Wizards of the Coast has officially recognized a new MTG format. The format itself is not new. Oathbreaker, in fact, has existed since 2017. It is only recently, however, that the format has been accepted as an official one. While Oathbreaker shares a lot of similarities to the Commander format, the ban lists are incredibly different. This causes some bizarre Oathbreaker and Signature Spell combinations that have many MTG players scratching their heads. Are these too powerful to be legal?
For those of you unfamiliar with all the rules of Oathbreaker, we highlighted the format when it was officially announced. If you are unfamiliar with the Oathbreaker rules, I recommend reading that explanation before diving into the list, as this might make a bit more sense afterwards. Without further ado, let’s look at five of the most controversial Oathbreaker combinations making their way around the internet!
Wrenn and Six and Devastating Dreams
Wrenn and Six are one of few two-mana Planeswalkers available in all of MTG. This card is incredibly powerful – as can evidently be seen by how heavily it has warped Modern while being banned in Legacy. Devastating Dreams can be pretty disastrous in a regular multiplayer version of Oathbreaker since it affects all players, and essentially sets everyone back to square one. Wrenn and Six can also keep recurring lands to your hand, so the downside of Devastating Dreams isn’t as impactful to you as it is to the others. That said, Devastating Dreams also carries a lot of risk. Because discarding random cards is an additional cost to casting the spell, getting this card countered may put you out of the game altogether.
Read More: MTG Top 10 Best Sagas for Commander
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer and Thoughtcast
One particular combo that came up commonly online was this synergy between Saheeli, Sublime Artificer and Thoughtcast. Notably, every time you cast a noncreature spell, Saheeli creates an artifact creature token. This heavily supports Affinity costs as Commander Tax can be reduced by Affinity in particular. This is because Affinity is a cost-reduction ability rather than an alternate casting cost. This means you can, in most cases, have a recurring one-mana spell that draws you two cards. This can easily be used to draw your entire deck with a little bit of build-around. Do note, however, that Command Tax is two per cast and Saheeli only creates one token per cast.
Narset, Parter of Veils and a Wheel Effect
Whether it’s Windfall, Timetwister, or Day’s Undoing, using a wheel effect alongside Narset, Parter of Veils worries many MTG players. Basically, a ‘wheel’ effect is interested in causing players to discard their hands and draw some amount of cards. In the case of Windfall, it’s the most cards that a player discarded at the table. For Day’s Undoing and Timetwister, the table will be drawing a full hand of seven cards… at least, they would if it weren’t for Narset.
Narset’s static ability prevents your opponents from drawing more than one card per turn. This means that, while your Timetwister will refuel your hand, your opponents will be forced to discard their hands and draw one card. Its pretty difficult for them to come back from this devastating exchange of resources unless they’re already ahead on board.
Read More: 8 Awesome and Awful Unreleased MTG Mechanics
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and Paradigm Shift
Yup, you can bring a two-card instant win combo in your Command Zone if that’s the sort of Oathbreaker you want to play. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and Paradigm Shift will immediately win the game because of Jace’s static ability. Just resolve Paradigm Shift and uptick Jace. Notably, Professor Onyx and Chain of Smog is another two-card combo in black that has similar effects.
As broken as this may seem to many MTG players looking in, those who created Oathbreaker seem very aware that things like this exist in the current format. These also may be less powerful than players really think they are. As such, consider trying this out in a pod of like-minded players who want to build the most powerful Oathbreaker decks possible before exclaiming they must be put on the ban list. At the end of the day, like Commander, Oathbreaker is a social multiplayer format. Consider using techniques like Rule Zero to prioritize game experience over game results.
Shorikai, Genesis Engine and Polymorph
Wait… Shorikai, Genesis Engine isn’t a Planeswalker. Because of the rule that states that any iteration of ‘Commander’ in a card’s text can be interchangeable with the word ‘Oathbreaker’, Shorikai is allowed to be an Oathbreaker, which opens up a cEDH archetype for play in the format.
Shorikai, Genesis Engine is pretty infamous in cEDH circles for using Proteus Staff/Polymorph combos that polymorph the tokens that Shorikai creates into Hullbreaker Horror. With the amount of fast mana available in the Commander format, it’s easy to generate infinite mana by bouncing your mana rocks and winning through convoluted means. This is where the Oathbreaker ban list comes into play.
Because Oathbreaker uses 60-card decks instead of 100-card ones, fast mana is much more consistent and powerful in the Oathbreaker format. Many cards commonly combined with Hullbreaker Horror, like Mana Crypt and Sol Ring, are banned in Oathbreaker. That said, there is still viable fast mana in Oathbreaker, like Grim Monolith, that can make these combos a reality.