Oathbreaker Power Levels Transcript
Hey there fellow planeswalkers. Today we’re talking about power levels of Oathbreaker, so you don’t show up to your pod with overkill or underkill, and you can talk to your fellow players on a more conclusive ground rather than trying to translate the 1-10 model that EDH uses
I break this down into 3 models, and all have to do with the critical turn.
The critical turn is at what point the deck you’re using is making its play for the win. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re winning that turn, but you’re putting yourself in a place that makes it highly likely you will win unless aggressively disrupted.
A high tier deck’s critical turn happens within turns 1-4. This is where you’re playing the fast mana, a high concentration of free spells or very low mana value spells, and likely attempting to win via combo of Oathbreaker and signature spell and winning the game within the first few turns. These are the spikey competitive decks.
A mid tier deck’s critical turn happens between turns 5-8. These decks run a little bit slower and allow for a more permanent based play experience. The creators of Oathbreaker have stated that their goal of the format is reaching turn 5, then anything past that goes. So a Mid Tier deck is most in tune with the spirit of the format. Combo wins may still exist here, but winning through combat is also likely. This is the zone I perform most of my deck building with, and is the more standard Oathbreaker setting. It grants enough time to cast the oathbreaker and signature spell on a normal curve without rushed ramp.
A low tier deck is anything that doesn’t have its critical turn until turn 9 or later. These are built more with the casual commander philosophy in mind. Casting out splashy creatures, or playing with certain deck themes, like pre-con planeswalkers, or aiming to win through ultimating with their Oathbreaker ability. They’re too slow to functionally take on High or mid tier decks, and are really just to “make something cool happen” These decks can perform well with the Planeschase variant cards, where you can build out more ample coverage when it comes to interacting with Planar cards.
Card quality is also something that comes up in these rankings. Not only are critical turns important in deciding where your deck stands, but also what cards you’re utilizing.
Let’s take counterspells for example. You’ve got 2 blue mana, what are you going to spend it on?
In a high tier deck, your best friend is Mana Drain. Counter your opponent’s spell, and give yourself a huge tempo boost on your turn.
In a mid tier deck, you’re not necessarily seeking to blast past with that sort of tempo, here you’d just be blocking out your opponent's spells with a classic counterspell. Simple, and not bursting with overt power
And finally in a Low Tier deck, you’re not in a rush to stop much, but when you do it’ll be really cool, so you slot in a Psychic Rebuttal in hopes of getting to use its spell mastery capabilities. It’s not the most efficient counterspell, but it makes for a good after game story if it gets pulled off.
When you’re building with these guidelines, it’s important to note the range. If your critical turn to claim the win is on turn 8, you’re on the tail end of mid tier, so your deck should be able to meaningfully interact against decks that are aiming for their critical turn to pop on turn 5.
Budget scale is also something to think about. High tier requires high monetary investment if you aren’t utilizing proxies. Mid and low tier can be much more gentle on the wallet and budget brews can perform very well.
Going back to our counterspells example. A mana drain costs about $40. Counterspell you can get for under $2 and Tier 3’s psychic rebuttal is 10 cents, you can build entire Tier 2 and 3 decks or less than the price of that 1 mana drain.
The final aspect to look at when building for a certain tier is the mana base. High and Mid Tier decks look to do meaningful things on every turn, or have mana up for instant interaction, so making sure that the lands are coming in untapped is important. If you’re adding in tapped lands to your deck, you’re most likely looking at building a low tier deck, or a slower mid tier. Oathbreaker runs much faster than Commander, 1 dead turn of doing nothing but playing a tapped land can really set you back. Basic lands are your friend
So when you’re building your next oathbreaker deck, consider what power level tier you want to be building for, and what you’re looking to be up against when playing in that tier. Always make your expectations known before drawing your first hand at a table to ensure everyone has a good time.