The Commander-adjacent multiplayer format uses planeswalkers instead of legendary creatures
Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast has officially recognized a new fan-made format called Oathbreaker. The format accommodates 3-5 players, and was invented by a gaming Minnesota-based group called Weirdcards Charitable Club. A new landing page is now live, and provides additional details on the format.
You might be surprised to learn that there’s more than just one way to play Magic, the classic collectible card game that launched in 1993. As of March 15 there are actually 23 in all, but most players are drawn to one of three different formats — Standard, Booster Draft, and Commander. Commander, the game’s premiere multiplayer format, has long been considered the most popular way to play Magic. As such, Oathbreaker could significantly expand its appeal for casual groups.
To create an Oathbreaker deck, players must assemble a 60-card deck and build it around their favorite planeswalker — powerful characters from the Magic universe. According to the Magic website, decks must not contain duplicate cards. Additionally, players must select a so-called “signature spell,” which must match the color identity of their Oathbreaker planeswalker card. Both the planeswalker and the signature spell start the game in-play, and players then battle from there to reduce the other opponents at the table from a starting value of 20 life.
From the official description:
If your Oathbreaker is on the battlefield under your control, you can cast your Signature Spell for its normal costs, plus an additional two mana for each previous time you’ve cast your Signature Spell from the command zone this game. When your Signature Spell resolves, put it into the command zone instead of your graveyard. If your Signature Spell would go anywhere besides the command zone or the stack, you must put it into the command zone instead.
Each player starts with 20 life. Before the game begins, players should sit randomly in a circle and place their Oathbreaker and Signature Spell face-up in their command zone. Turns progress one player at a time in clockwise order around the table.
During gameplay, a player may choose to attack any other player, regardless of their position on the table, and can also choose to attack multiple different players during their attack phase. Permanents, spells, and abilities can also target any player around the table (as long as they don’t explicitly say they must be used on “you”). A player wins when all other players are eliminated from the game.
No official products have been announced to support the Oathbreaker format, but that’s not at all uncommon. The majority of Magic’s retail products — excluding pre-built Commander decks — are intended to support multiple formats of play. For more information on Oathbreaker, including video demos and additional commentary, check out the format’s official website maintained by Weirdcards.