If you've been mesmerized by the fiery flavor of Dragon's Approach, or if you're looking for a simple way to join the Oathbreaker format, this article is for you. There's no denying that smoky flavor. Your opponents begin to feel the awesome heat as the scaly monster nears. Farms and woods begin to burn. Rumors of its blazing terror outpace the wildfires. And then the world darkens as the shadow of its wings covers you.
You may have already tried playing Dragon's Approach in other Constructed formats, such as Historic or Standard, but the card's strength is in multiplayer. No, not Commander because there everyone has forty life, and the three damage is inconsequential. The starting life total in Oathbreaker is twenty. In this casual format you begin with a Planeswalker in your command zone along with a signature spell, which you can cast as long as your commander is in play, everything taxed two more each time. In Oathbreaker, three damage to each opponent is meaningful, and Red mages were already playing Sizzle. Now you can have twenty of them, with a bonus dragon for the fifth cast.
I'm assuming if you love Dragon's Approach for the flavor. Our first decklist is dragon-centric with an eye toward budget, led by the biggest fanboy of them all, Sarkhan Unbroken. Later I'll list a version more focused on the burn aspect, honoring the dealing nine damage for three mana; it also includes more expensive cards. First, let's roll out a Red carpet of flames for some legendary dragons.
Dragon Emcee | Oathbreaker | AE Marling
- Planeswalkers (1)
- 1 Sarkhan, Fireblood
- Instants (6)
- 1 Dive Down
- 1 Frantic Search
- 1 Lightning Bolt
- 1 Stubborn Denial
- 1 Thrill of Possibility
- 1 Veil of Summer
Our goal here is to get a legendary dragon into play, most often Niv-Mizzet, Parun. We then protect our sparkling dragon with Dive Down or Veil of Summer and win easily by casting any of the other cards in our deck. Spells like Thrill of Possibility become even more potent with the Parun in play.
Pre-Niv-Mizzet, our rummaging cards are key to getting copies of Dragon's Approach into the graveyard. This version of the deck isn't so interested in casting five copies of the sorcery. If you do fifteen damage to each opponent, they'll be nearly dead, and you won't have as much time to enjoy your dragon legend. More practically, that takes fifteen mana, and your opponents won't appreciate you slowly singeing them and may well ally against the dragonlord. You can avoid table aggro by affirming your deck is flavor-first and by hard casting as few Dragon's Approach as you can. In the ideal scenario, you'll only need to play the fifth.
Loot to fill up your graveyard with Dragon's Approach and find more copies of the card. Frantic Search has additional upside, as we're playing multiple lands that produce more than one mana, such as Izzet Boilerworks. Our mana base is mostly Blue and Red, with Green as a splash for Sarkhan Unbroken and a few epic cards.
There will be times when you need to deal five damage right away, likely to stop an opposing Planeswalker from reaching their ultimate. For those emergencies you can search up big-momma Atarka.
In a deck with twenty of the same sorcery, you don't have much room for all the cards you would expect in the archetype. You may wish to play a few of the following, depending on your personality. If you're fine with randomness, Goblin Lore is a good choice. Burning Inquiry also fits our strategy but be aware it can hurt your foes beyond what you may intend for a silly dragon deck. Discarding all the lands in your opening hand isn't fun. If you like betting you could also pack Predict.
We've gone until now without discussing our commander. There are a few reasons for that. I've already written a hilarious take on Sarkhan Unbroken plus Dragonshift, as well as Sarkhan, Fireblood list that covers his lore. In our Dragon's Approach deck, Sarkhan Unbroken is a backup plan. If we run out of cards in hand, we can retreat to our command zone. For expensive commanders, I like having free or cheap signature spells. Obscuring Haze will discourage foes from attacking you. Deflecting Swat is even more powerful, as it could protect the 4/4 dragon he summons or turn a counterspell back on itself. I felt the Green instant was more in keeping with the low-key element of the deck and won't scare foes into attacking you. Revealing Deflecting Swat turn zero may make the table edgy.
Yes, I do consider Sarkhan Unbroken's converted mana cost of five expensive for this format. That's the reason I'm not roaring about Thrumming Stone. It would be critical for a Commander version of this deck. In fact, it might be the only way you could win, but in Oathbreaker, the most likely scenario is that you play a five-drop artifact with no immediate board impact, and the other three players kill you before you untap. You don't need to go as big here, and it's perilous to try.
Instead, our most powerful artifact is Locket of Yesterdays. It makes casting five Dragon's Approach cost eight mana (or less), rather than fifteen. That'll be especially desirable in our burn-centric version of the deck, which is soon approaching. First though, I should mention that this artifact was recommended to me by Flying_Rat001 from the Oathbreaker Discord. I also want to tell you about a few options that didn't make the cut in my first deck which you might want to take a second look at. If you don't care so much about the dragon-theme cards like Sprite Dragon, you may prefer these generic options with synergy with our strategy.
Non-Dragons | Oathbreaker | AE Marling
Maybe you just want to watch the world burn. If that means summoning a dragon, so be it. But if you aren't particular about the source of the flame that reduces everything to ash, then this list might be for you. Rather than trying to discard copies of Dragon's Approach, this version wants to play as many as possible then cast Flame Rift from the command zone for the final few points. Most of the card choices need no explanation.
Burn the World | Oathbreaker | AE Marling
- Creatures (6)
- 1 Electrostatic Field
- 1 Firebrand Archer
- 1 Glorybringer
- 1 Stormbreath Dragon
- 1 Thunderbreak Regent
- 1 Young Pyromancer
- Sorceries (24)
- 1 Cathartic Reunion
- 20 Dragon's Approach
- 1 Faithless Looting
- 1 Gamble
- 1 Wheel of Misfortune