Hello, and welcome to another Oathtoberfest* article for Magic: The Gathering's latest up-and-coming format, Oathbreaker! For those unaware, Oathbreaker is a relatively young format fostered by the WeirdCards Charitable Club, a charity whose goal is to teach Magic to young people who may not have other outlets. WeirdCards created the format, and now we, the public, get to play with it!
This month, we have already delved into the sadistic mind of Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, and also witnessed the vampiric tendencies of one Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Today, we will be discussing my personal favorite Oathbreaker combination, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage, plus Word of Command.
Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage is a fantastic card to build an Oathbreaker deck around. He discards cards from hands, and then he looks to see that your opponents are suffering for cards, and adds injury to insult. And, with Word of Command, that insult just gets even more magnificent because you can force opponents to play what you want them to, when you want them to, and sometimes even for the reason you want them to. It's a disgusting combination of cards, and that's why it's one of my favorite decks.
So, the deck supporting Davriel is a singleton take on the classic "8-Rack" deck, which uses cards like The Rack (quite obviously), Rackling, and Shrieking Affliction to make sure your opponents are either conserving their hands or being punished for not doing so. This deck takes the few cards we can use (not quite eight, sadly, but we manage) and turns them into something quite nightmarish overall.
But what about Word of Command? Well, as the signature spell for this deck its goal is twofold: for one, it can disrupt your opponent's hand and make it possible to play something threatening to you in a way that actually benefits you. Furthermore, it can allow us to look at our opponent's hand and see what they have for future reference (sure, there are cards like Glasses of Urza that provide the same function, but that's only half of it anyway).
So, with these in mind, on to the deck!
Rack effects – these do exactly what I'd mentioned above. The list is short and non-repeatable, though, so we sort of need to make do. With effects that specifically target one opponent in a multiplayer game (like The Rack itself), make sure to play to what your opponents are broadcasting. Save it for the player who isn't running blue, or is running mono-red or mono-white. Keep the effectiveness in sight!
Megrim, Liliana's Caress, Raiders' Wake, and Fell Specter – These are the cards you should be focusing on making the blue player suffer with. If you can force the player who is drawing the most cards to discard what they have, they'll supply their own life loss very easily. Plus, thankfully these effects are pretty global for your opponents, so you don't have to worry as much about making the red player pitch their hand as quickly.
Words of Waste – This card is brutal. There's not a lot of other cards that can have the same game-dominating effect as Words of Waste. This card is best played when you have reached a critical mass of payouts for discard. It's amazing, especially when you consider cards like Geth's Grimoire (not actually featured in this deck, but a good substitution!), or the next card I'll be discussing.
Waste Not – I showed the art for this community-created card above, and for good reason – Waste Not is a fantastic discard-based payout. You can draw more cards for fuel (or for Words of Waste!), make more mana for drawn spells (or Words of Waste!), and you can make a glut of Zombie creature tokens. I generally just use the tokens to block, but you could take a more steady offense route with them if you so please since you're likely to make more than enough of them.
Dark Deal – this spell shines nicely with any and all of the enchantments listed above. It's a great finisher when needed, as it forces your opponents to try to latch onto another game plan and punishes them for having hung onto cards beforehand. Megrim makes this even more disgusting by punishing opponents further, sometimes defeating opposition outright.
Head Games and Jester's Mask – these two cards effectively have the same function which is to provide you, the Word of Command player, with fuel to make your opponents' plans backfire spectacularly. You even get to see your opponent's deck in full so you can plan out a future game or two if you so please!
I'm excluding a few cards for various reasons. For instance, I am not running Liliana of the Veil because I find her strategy to be a bit too symmetrical and thus not a very profitable one for a deck that needs to keep as much board presence as possible. I don't run Mind Twist because it's too one-shot for the sort of thing it does. Mind Twist is a Bowie knife where Davriel is looking for a scalpel (like Vicious Rumors, for example).
Unlike so many other decks I've written about, this deck is one that I have actually tested proudly and have had fantastic results with. I highly recommend this Magic: The Gathering deck as the one you should be trying out. Davriel is the Oathbreaker people don't often see coming, and to that end, he wins very quickly. Have you had success with Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage? How about Word of Command? Let me know if you have! I love to hear success stories about the various decks that I endorse.