Elfball - Oathbreaker Format

Hey, all.  Derrick “the Mad” here.  I was on Twitter a little bit ago and one of my followers (@TechnicolorMime) asked the room for some deck-building help.  They said they wanted to build an Oathbreaker Elfball deck featuring Samut, Tyrant Smasher and were unsure what Signature Spell they should use: Genesis Wave or Elvish Promenade.  While there are definite pros and cons to each, we quickly decided that the possibility of generating billions of Elves made Elvish Promenade the best choice. Having talked it through, I thought I would try my hand at brewing up the deck, and create my first ever Oathbreaker deck in the process.  Here’s how that went.

The Oathbreaker

Samut, Tyrant Smasher is an Uncommon Green-Red Planeswalker from War of the Spark.  Being from War of the Spark means that Samut comes with a static ability, and this ability is the centerpiece of the whole strategy.  Samut’s ability is to give all of our creatures Haste. This is important for our win condition, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

In Oathbreaker, you not only get a Planeswalker to lead your deck, you also get a Signature Spell that can only be cast while your Walker is on the field.  As I mentioned earlier, we chose Elvish Promenade for this deck. It is a simple enough spell, just create a 1/1 Elf Warrior token for each Elf you control.  Double your Elves, double the fun. But wait, there’s more. A lot more.

The Combo

My first thought when I looked at this question was Heritage Druid.  An unassuming 1/1 for a single Green mana, you wouldn’t think much of it, until you see the ability that it brings with it.  Tap three untapped Elves you control: add GGG to your mana pool. That is huge. The Elves in question can even be summoning-sick and it still works.  Now here’s where it gets really fun.

Let’s say you have six Elves (one of which is Heritage Druid) and Samut on the field.  You tap all of your Elves to make six Green mana. You cast Elvish Promenade for {3G} and make six Elf tokens and you still have GG left over.  You tap your six untapped tokens and make six more Green mana (8 total). You cast Elvish Promenade for {5G} because of the Commander Tax, but you don’t create six Elves, you create twelve.  And you still have those two Green mana in your pool.  You tap twelve Elves, you make twelve Green (14 total).  You cast Elvish Promenade for {7G}, bank four Green, and create twenty-four Elves.  Then forty-eight. Then ninety-six. On and on, making more Elves and banking more mana with each cast.  You’ll make so many Elves that even Tolkien would tell you to chill out. I wasn’t joking when I said you could create billions of Elves, either.  It only takes looping this 28 times to make 1.6 billion tokens with one cast.

And all 1.6 billion have Haste because Samut is around.  GGs for everyone, because you have the mana to spare.

This combo is also resilient.  The fact that two of the three combo pieces go back to the Command Zone if anything goes wrong means they’ll return before too long.  The third piece, Heritage Druid, is not only redundant, but also tutorable.

The best backup for Heritage Druid is Cryptolith Rite.  With Samut on the field, you can tap any creature to generate one mana of any color.  Heritage Druid can be killed by all sorts of things, but Cryptolith Rite is harder to kill because it’s an Enchantment.  This also pairs well with Leyline of Abundance, which lets our Creatures make an extra Green whenever they tap for mana.

As far as tutoring goes, we have a couple of options.  Fauna Shaman can let us turn any less-useful Elf that we have in hand into a Heritage Druid.  Chord of Calling can search up the Druid for a mere {1GGG}. Wirewood Herald can also find our Druid, but only if it dies first, which could be difficult to achieve in this deck.  Elvish Harbinger is a little slow, putting the Elf we search up on top of our deck, but that should still be good enough in most cases.

In a pinch, we might need to rely on fewer Elves for our mana needs.  An early Marwen, the Nurturer can not only generate a substantial amount of mana, but also become large enough to be a threat in her own right.  Elvish Archdruid, Priest of Titania, and Wirewood Channeler all add a Green mana for every Elf we control.  Elvish Guidance does the same when we tap the Land it is enchanting. We’re also playing Gaea’s Cradle, which basically does the same thing. The same can be said of Growing Rites of Itlimoc, if we can flip it into Itlimoc, Cradle of the SunRofellos, Llanowar Emissary makes a Green mana for each Forest we control. Any of these options can generate a lot of mana; even more if we can untap them.

If we are looking to untap an Elf, we have a number of choices.  Quirion Ranger lets us return a Forest to our hand to untap one Creature per turn.  Wirewood Symbiote, the only non-Elf Creature in the deck, lets us do the same thing, but we have to return an Elf to our hand.  Neither of these is particularly problematic, though. We can always play the Forest again, and we can likely replay any Elf we have. If we are really lucky, we can return one big mana Elf to our hand to untap another one, then recast the one we bounced with Haste, courtesy of Samut.

Untapping Lands is also something we can make happen, under the right circumstances.  Arbor Elf can untap a Forest. Hopefully we have Elvish Guidance on said Forest, for additional value.

Support Elves and Alternate Win Conditions

Now that we know what the plan is, we need to protect the plan and maybe have a couple other plans in our back pocket.

We need a fair number of Elves to get our combo working.  Imperious Perfect and Lys Alana Huntmaster both give us the ability to make Elf tokens to fill out our ranks.  Wolf-Skull Shaman makes Wolf tokens, which help make Gaea’s Cradle better, as well as acting as extra attackers or blockers.

Gaea’s Herald makes all Creatures uncounterable, which can help us resolve a Heritage Druid to combo off.  Essence Warden can gain us a truly comical amount of life. Reclamation Sage can help us deal with troublesome Artifacts and Enchantments, especially if we bounce it with Wirewood Symbiote’s ability and then replay it.  If we want to find more Elves, Descendent’s Path can help us draw into them, and maybe let us cast some for free, as well.

Now that we have the support we need, let’s talk about other ways we can close out the game, if we can’t combo off.  Ezuri, Renegade Leader is a great way to use an absurd amount of mana. Giving our many Elves +3/+3 and Trample will go a long way to help us win.  If we want to focus on a single attacker we have Heedless One, who gets bigger the more Elves we have, and already comes with Trample. We can also attack with a lot of Elves and give an unblocked attacker +1/+1 for each Elf we control if we have a Timberwatch Elf on the field.  All of these are good ways to take out our opponents, and all of them benefit from one of my absolute favorite cards of all time: Taunting Elf. Our opponent has enough blockers to stay alive? Taunting Elf has a few, very rude words to say about that. Every Creature that can block it, must block it.  Do not pass Go, do not block 200 other Elves.

Now, as many of you know, the natural enemy of Elves is the board wipe.  So, the last card I want to highlight is in the deck to help us rebuild in the event that some God gets wrathful.  Creeping Renaissance can return all Permanents of a chosen type (Creatures, in our case) to our hand.  So, in the event that our board gets wiped we can just pick up all of the Creatures from our Graveyard. Nice and simple. We can even do it again, if we need to, thanks to Flashback.

The Deck

Oathbreaker - Samut, Tyrant Smasher/Elvish Promenade

Oathbreaker (1)
Samut, Tyrant Smasher

Signature Spell (1)
Elvish Promenade

Creatures (31)
Arbor Elf
Heritage Druid
Elvish Archdruid
Elvish Harbinger
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Visionary
Essence Warden
Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Fauna Shaman
Fyndhorn Elves
Gaea’s Herald
Heart Warden
Heedless One
Imperious Perfect
Llanowar Elves
Lys Alana Huntmaster
Marwyn, the Nurturer
Nettle Sentinel
Priest of Titania
Quirion Elves
Quirion Ranger
Quirion Sentinel
Reclamation Sage
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Taunting Elf
Timberwatch Elf
Wirewood Channeler
Wirewood Elf
Wirewood Herald
Wirewood Symbiote
Wolf-Skull Shaman

Instants and Sorceries (2)
Chord of Calling
Creeping Renaissance

Enchantments (5)
Cryptolith Rite
Descendants’ Path
Elvish Guidance
Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Leyline of Abundance
Lands (20)
18 Forest
Gaea’s Cradle
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx


Oathbreaker is a fairly new format.  If you want more information, you can check out the official site: https://weirdcards.org/oathbreaker.

Many thanks to TechnicoloredMime for inspiring this build and talking through the options with me.  If you would like to offer your thoughts, or propose a deck-building challenge, you can leave a comment here or follow me on Twitter (@BadMoonMTG).

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