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Artifact Deck Tech: Green Black Oath Decklist

January 10th, 2019 | jscaliseok


In order to provide the best off-brand Artifact decks out there, I do quite a bit of research. There are always the big hitters (such as Mono Blue) running around, but we like to break from the mold here. This week's list is a particularly fun (and powerful) build from Reddit user Nerd_Commando. Not only does the list take a route I have not seen before in Artifact, but it also combines two colors that do not normally go together in green and black.

What is so interesting about this deck is that it goes all in on improvements. That may seem odd since just about every popular Artifact deck has been built around spells or creeps, but Black and Green have the right amount of support to make it work. The Oath (which we'll get into below) is incredibly strong if you can pay the price. This deck gladly pays the price to great effect.

The Heroes

There are many interesting color combinations in Artifact, but one of the most fun is Black/Green. The reason for that is the two colors do a good job of complementing each other in a series of unique ways. While you have many hero combinations to choose from, the five here are Bounty Hunter, Enchantress, Phantom Assassin, Rix. and Sorla Khan.

Bounty Hunter and Phantom Assassin are both almost self explanatory at this point. The Hunter is one of the best black heroes because of his ability to generate a ton of gold off of Track, which gives you more flexibility with your item choices. There are also three Iron Fog Goldmines to truly cash in on that theme. You are not all in on gold here, but the extra gain is always a great bonus.

On the other hand, Assassin is a hero-killing machine. Coup de Grace helps you get the jump on your opponent, and serves as a fantastic way to clear a path for lethal damage. There is not too much removal in this build, and the extra kill spells are always welcome.

The third black hero, Sorla, is a bit more nuanced. She perfectly fits this deck because her aggressive body trades and pressures well, while Assault Ladders is yet another improvement that helps you pile on damage in a hurry. While many decks want to wait around and play for the long game, this list aims to end things as quickly as possible. No black hero does that as well as Sorla.

From there, you have Enchantress. Though not nearly as strong as the other heroes, she makes the cut for two reasons. First, her ability is a handy way to protect your attack buffed creeps while they trade up or pile on damage. The more you can keep your side of the board alive, the more pressure you can stack.

The other reason Enchantress is here is because her signature card is an improvement. That may seem silly, but the more cards you can play around The Oath’s drawback, the better. Giving all allies an extra armor is yet another way to protect your creeps and ensure they keep hitting for as much damage as possible.

The final, and perhaps the most interesting, hero choice here is Rix. While the beast does have a downside in that he typically gives your opponent a lot of gold to spend at the shop, his ability is vital to what this deck wants to do. Namely, lot of damage very quickly.

There are a ton of unit buffs peppered throughout this build. Rix works beautifully with them because he attacks for a ton. Then, if your opponent kills him off, he comes right back immediately. That not only enables him to end games in a hurry, but it also makes him great when trading up into heroes. This deck does not have much in the way of removal, and that can leave it vulnerable to big heroes or hard-to-kill early game threats. Rix can fix that problem. Act of Defiance can also save you in certain situations by preventing your opponent from answering a wide board or huge push.

An Oath to Improve

Everything in this deck revolves around improvements, and all of those improvements supports [[The Oath]. The three mana card is the heart and soul of this deck. That does not mean you will lose without it, but it does mean you need to lean on it whenever possible. Four attack on your allies is nothing to sneeze at, and it will end the game extremely quickly if set up and played to in the right way.

You almost always want to play this on turn one and then use improvement support to bash your opponent down before they can properly respond. The trickiest part is identifying where you want this go. Always read the lanes, see which one is the most vulnerable, and be aware of what heroes your opponent's have coming next. It is easy to play to the current board, but a lot of opponent's will drop their next hero to stop The Oath. Be ready for whatever they have in the wings.

Also understand that, despite its power, The Oath has a significant drawback. Locking you out of spells does matter for things like Gank and your signature cards. Plan ahead for such situations and understand you will have to spread your black heroes around to ensure you get full use out of your different cards. You may want to Coup de Grace an opposing hero that's in your way, but that can't happen in a lane with an active Oath.

As strong as The Oath is, no good deck is complete without consistency. This one oozes it through a combination of Assault Ladders and Mist of Avernus. Both cards do a version of what The Oath does. While not as strong in terms of raw power, they stack well together and apply pressure with a wide board. Note that they also force your opponent to react. Dropping Ladders, for instance, into a lane to make your opponent play there is a good strategy that can take the focus off of your main assault.

Mana Games

Another cool part of this deck is that it both gives and takes away its own mana through the combination of The Tyler Estate and Selemene’s Favor. It may seem odd to have both in the same build, but each improvement is quite powerful in its own way.

The Tyler Estate has a serious drawback for some decks, but it does little against this one. That makes it a perfect choice for the build. Not only is it an improvement, but almost all of your cards are cheap. Most popular Artifact decks want to go long and build towards powerful end-game threats. This list caps off at low mana. That means, while you can cut your opponent off their key Annihilation or Time of Triumph, your game plan stays largely untouched.

Playing small is easy for this deck, but it can do quite a bit with extra ramp as well. Favor powers you up your curve and can lead to some incredibly strong plays. Being able to put down two or three cards in a single turn is fantastic for a quick deck like this one. Try to set up Favor where you know you'll make a strong push, or where you have to get a key high end card to shut down a strong play from your opponent. It can also be used with Estate to negate the drawback, which is handy now and then.

The Backup Game

The final three improvements in this build ( Escape Route, Unearthed Secrets, and Steam Cannon), are great support cards that help shore up the deck in different ways. A deck cannot be one-tracked and win in Artifact. It needs a broad net. While aggro is the game plan here, it helps to be able to do different things.

Escape Route is a tricky card that enables you to freely shift your different heroes around depending on where you need them to go. This does take time to set up (you need to let the board develop), but getting out of a lane or tricky situation only to come back next turn can be very powerful. It's also a great way to keep tempo going when you're running out of steam.

It is hard to know when to use Route. Though every game is different, it is best to pull the trigger on a losing situation or when you need to get pressure into one key area. Many good players will try to trap your heroes into a useless lane. Holding onto Route and then dropping it down later on is a great way around that. It may seem tempting to play this as soon as you can due to its low mana cost, but it is better to wait and analyze how the board develops.

Unearthed Secrets is a bit less subtle. This card is a value machine that serves as your only true source of card draw. Often, it goes into a losing lane you abandon early, but it can also work in a lane you’re fighting for. It only takes one damage to trigger, and that will happen early and often in any game of Artifact. Understand that and try to get it down as soon as possible.

The last card for the main deck is Steam Cannon. This improvement costs a lot, and that can be annoying. However, not only can you cast it more quickly with Selemene's Favor, but it also gives a removal light deck more ways to control the board. Though a single cannon won't do much against buffed heroes, it does an amazing job at picking off creeps. This is one of the best ways to clear paths for damage, and it helps control arrow attack RNG when making your final push.

The Items

As is the case with so many Artifact decks, the items here are quite the mixed bag. However, as with the improvements, they each serve a specific role. Revtel Signet Ring and Stonehall Cloak are cheap ways to keep your heroes alive, while Demagicking Maul provides improvement destruction. Ring also cripples your opponent's gold and helps prevent Rix from giving them too much gas.

Bracers of Sacrifice are the middle item here, bridging the gap between the cheap and expensive. Though the ability comes with a big risk, it is a low price to pay for the ability to clear a path for damage. Remember, this deck is about pushing tower pressure. You either want to buff your units or find a way to move opposing units out of your way. Bracers work with the latter, and they often act as a three-for-one. The item is also nice with Rix's natural ability and it can allow you to get your hero out of a dead lane.

As you have Bounty Hunter, you also get to run two expensive slots. Vesture of the Tyrant is one of the strongest items in the game, giving you a way to turn another hero into an instantly recurring threat. The armor on your tower, while nice, is secondary to the fact that you can trade and immediately come back. Nyctasha's Guard, while incredibly expensive, helps protect your hero and, as covered with bracers, is another way to clear the board of would-be blockers.

Double Kill

The final aspect to keep in mind when piloting this deck is that, as it is based upon improvements, you often will go hard into one lane. Most Artifact decks want to kill two towers in two different lanes. While that works here, you will often find yourself going for the double kill. You buff creeps, hit down a 40 health tower, then buff those creeps further and kill an ancient.

This is worth mentioning because it is easy to shy away from. Many people will instinctively move away from a lane once they destroy a tower. Before making that decision with this deck, you always want to first check what your opponent has and how they might answer your board. If they do have options or a strong front, then switching lanes is a good idea. However, if they're still vulnerable or you have the resources to push, it is best to go for the throat.


Artifact is a game of options. It may seem like many popular builds focus on similar things, but you can always branch out. Do not get tunnel vision when deck building, there are a lot of cards out there and many of them have not been tested yet. This deck, along with a few others we'll cover in the coming weeks, shows that innovation is possible if you know where to look for it. That does not mean you always need to use less-played cards, it just means you want to go against the grain. Sometimes, combining two colors that don't normally go together is enough.
(Last Updated: January 15th, 2020)

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Jayfry's Avatar
Jayfry Posted: January 13th, 2019 | 4:11 PM
@jscaliseok, how did you learn the game well enough to make these guides. I'd like to do this or understand the game at this level. Any tips?
Onyix's Avatar
Onyix Posted: January 11th, 2019 | 2:09 PM
This deck is really fun to play! thank you!
Vanden's Avatar
Vanden Posted: January 11th, 2019 | 7:39 AM
Revtel Signet Ring is great on Rix as well since it gives your opponent less gold if he's dying a lot.
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