Get a FREE MTGNerdGirl token with each Ikoria booster box preorder!
   Sign In
Create Account

Dancing in Oathbreaker


Last week we focused on two of the more cutthroat decks in the new casual format of Oathbreaker. In this article we're going in a direction that's more whimsical. If you're tired of the provincial life of other Constructed formats, try Oathbreaker. It allows you to craft decks around Planeswalkers and or their signature spells (instants or sorceries). You start the game with one of each in your command zone. As long as your Planeswalker is on the battlefield you can cast their signature spell, taxed two more each time. This week we're focused less on deck strength and more on the wonder of exploring an enchanted castle.

Dance of the Manse

This Throne of Eldraine card references Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The animated movie was my favorite growing up, and that's reason enough to build a casual deck. Win or lose, you should have fun playing with cards you enjoy. You can build a competitive version of the deck, with Dovin, Grand Arbiter and Krark-Clan Ironworks, and we'll close the article with that list; but, I don't want to lose sight of what delights me most about Dance of the Manse. Dovin doesn't fit in the faerie-tale narrative, and so we must find our own Belle.

Narset Transcendent

This strong and well-read woman would love the enchanted palace's grand library. Her high loyalty means she's likely to survive on the battlefield. Belle's lovely singing voice and +1 will often inspire us to draw cards in a deck focused on non-creature spells. Dear gamer, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that I welcome you tonight. Now I invite you to relax, enjoy service that's swift, as CoolStuffInc proudly presents, your decklist.

Never have I played a deck with so few creature spells (zero) and so many that turn into creatures (seventeen). You'll feel like you're in an abandoned palace, lifting up a candelabra, certain you're alone. Then the visor of a suit of Haunted Plate Mail will swivel to regard you, and the candelabra will tap you on the shoulder.

The Disney retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the resonate one with our current culture, and it is valid for Wizards of the Coast to use the modern understanding of the tale to inspire Dance of the Manse. One commonality between the recent story and original was the importance of roses. In the older versions, Belle's father stole a rose and as a result had to give his daughter to the Beast. I've included a flower of equivalent importance in Magic.

Gilded Lotus
Lotus Blossom

I should also mention that, yes, I know that this tale is messed up and is the definition of Stockholm syndrome. The more modern Disney tales of Frozen and Frozen II have far better themes. Let's not focus on that, or on the Beast at all. I didn't pick out a card for him, though I guess he could be the Chimeric Mass. As a child what enchanted me about the movie was the magical palace and the wonderful songs.

Oh, no one returns three permanents like Banish into Fable. No one gets three knights at instant speed like Banish into Fable. There's no card as exciting. Maybe it should be our signature spell.

Banish into Fable

Sadly, Narset Transcendent's -2 only gives an additional copy of Banish into Fable, instead of three, since you aren't casting the rebounded spell from your hand. For the same reason, her ability does not work with her signature spell. You should point this out during the game and be clear you're playing a deck with more whimsy than potency. Opponents then should be less likely to see you as a threat and attack you. This in turn will give you a political advantage that will in part balance out playing cards like Opal Acrolith.

You do have the option to trick your opponents and include powerful spells within your deck that Narset can copy, such as Blatant Thievery and Expropriate. I considered this but decided that would be a breach of trust.

Trust and valuing one's promise are important themes in all versions of Beauty and the Beast. Belle vows to return to the Beast's castle if he lets her leave for a time, and he trusts her. Likewise, I included two vows in Oath of Gideon and Oath of Jace.

Oath of Gideon
Oath of Jace

I also considered a steampunk version of this deck with vehicles such as Skysovereign, Consul Flagship and Heart of Kiran. Those cards are both strong and likely should be Oathbreaker staples. As they're non-creature spells, Narset Transcendent can draw them with her plus. If you can't stand cards like Opal Caryatid, you could consider cars. I played with the Opalescence cycle growing up, and like Beauty and the Beast, they have good nostalgia value.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Heart of Kiran

If the first Dance of the Manse decklist has beautiful flavor, the second one in this article is beastly. Tutoring up Krark-Clan Ironworks is a tale old as time. Sacrificing your artifacts to go infinite is a song as old as rhyme.

May you find a casual deck that tickles your nostalgia and feels like a win every game.

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist