On March 15, Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast announced a new official format for the trading card game. The MTG Oathbreaker format was originally developed by Weirdcards Charitable Club sometime around 2017, and its decks are built around a particular MTG planeswalker and a signature instant or sorcery. Weirdcards also tweeted about the format’s new official title on Wednesday.
At first glance, Oathbreaker has a lot in common with the MTG Commander format. Both are designed for three to five players; both allow only one copy of a card in their decks; and both focus on a character card (the Commander or the Oathbreaker) which must be cast from a command zone.
There are as many differences as similarities, however. Firstly, an Oathbreaker has a Signature Spell, which is an instant or sorcery that also lives in the command zone. Commander damage also isn’t a thing in the Oathbreaker format.
Another of the major differences is how compact Oathbreaker is compared to Commander. An Oathbreaker deck has only 60 cards (including its Oathbreaker and Signature Spell), players begin with 20 life, and playtime is estimated at around 60 minutes.
Oathbreaker marks the first official format announcement since Explorer. This format, which involves constructed MTG Arena decks, was launched in April 2022.
The official Wizards web page for Oathbreaker says cards from all previous MTG sets are legal. This means any fresh cards from the MTG 2023 release schedule are contenders for an Oathbreaker deck. However, there is already an MTG banlist for Oathbreaker on the format’s dedicated website.