When it comes to tribal decks in Magic: The Gathering, few are as popular or as powerful as elves. Elf tribal has seen success in most of the game’s formats thanks to the creature type’s overall efficiency and wide variety of combos and synergies.
Can elves work in the singleton Oathbreaker format just as well as in more traditional ones? We suggest two similar-yet-different elvish Oathbreaker decks that just might fit the bill.
Commander & Signature Spell (2):
This deck, which features Nissa Revane as its commander along with the classic Magic card Hurricane has her signature spell, can go one of three ways:
- Multi-player direct damage
Featuring a life gain sub-theme thanks to Nissa’s second planeswalker ability as well as cards like An-Havva Inn, Essence Warden, and Wellwisher, the overall idea here is surprisingly straightforward. Simply put, gain life then hit the board with one big (or, more likely, several mid-sized) green direct-damage spells such as Hurricane or Squall Line, or by firing off multiple instances of Squallmonger. Plus, while not a life gain tactic, the Homelands card Primal Order should help in ensuring your opponent have less life than you do when you fire off those all-player damage spells.
- Alternate win con via Epic Struggle
Alternate win conditions are fun and can act as a nice contingency plan should one’s first option go awry. Between having 20 creatures in the deck, Nissa’s ultimate ability, and multiple ways to create a nice little gathering of token creatures as well, it shouldn’t be to terribly difficult to amass an army of 20 or more. The only downside, however, is that the enchantment won’t fire off until your next upkeep, which could give opponents the opportunity to deal with it before it inspects your troops and hands you the win. Heroic Intervention can help with this, so be sure to hold it until it’s absolutely necessary.
- “Go wide” weenies
Finally, if all else fails, feel free to go wide. As mentioned in #2, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make a nice-sized army of vicious little elves. Plus, the couple of lords included in the list along with the artifact Vanquisher’s Banner should help them be a little less, well, little. After all, who doesn’t giving like a good old fashioned beating?
Commander & Signature Spell (2):
Whereas the previous Oathbreaker elf build was designed around versatility, this deck is much more straightforward.
Built around Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury (paired with the token creature generator Elvish Promenade), the idea here is to build up a nice base of an army, then hit hard. While the deck’s various lords do well to pump up the otherwise small-sized creatures (as do three of the deck’s four artifacts), things can really get messy for opponents with a well-timed Overrun, Overwhelming Stampede, Triumph of the Hordes, or (and preferably) Craterhoof Behemoth. As Craterhoof Behemoth is the prize, the deck has multiple ways of getting it into your hand via tutor and card draw engines, as well as an Elvish Piper to cheat it in and decent ramp to hard cast it if necessary.
Furthermore, since blockers can be a bit of a nuisance, the deck allows you to get around them thanks to two of its creatures (Eladamri, Lord of Leaves and Elvish Champion) giving elves forestwalk. What’s that? Your opponent(s) don’t have any forests in play? Well, that’s what the forgotten Fallen Empires card Thelonite Monk is for!
It’s a fun deck and anyone out there who enjoys playing the role of the invading army should get a kick out of playing it.
What other tribal (or otherwise) Oathbreaker builds would you be interested in seeing? Let us know in the comment section below.
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