Battle of Wits

  • #1
    What would generally go into a battle of wits deck? Is it even a possible archetype?
  • #2
    the deck is casual at best. problems include:
    1)it takes a full turn: it is checked at the beginning of your upkeep so if you play it at sorcery speed your opponent gets a full turn to mill you, win, or destroy the enchantment. The enchantment is hard to protect (it can be countered to destroyed) and hard to hold onto (discard). A Meddling Mage is easily enough to stop you.
    2)it is online midgame: it is very slow (5 mana) in extended you have a pretty sizable chance of losing before you get to play it unless you are always responding to your opponent.
    3)it takes more then a 200 card deck: assuming you have 5 lands out and drew your opening hand and a card per turn; (7 cards+1 per turn(5 turns)+200 library)=212 cards minimum you would have to play with and large decks have constancy problems which is why almost every day that is competitive is 60 cards (occasionally 61 if you are all trendy like Nassif)
    4)you would need to tutor: cards you would play would be tutors such as enlightened tutor so you can find it, and counters to protect it

    these are just the ideas off the top of my head.
    Last edited by Luminous: 10/21/2009 8:48:18 PM

    "It was probably a lousy spell in the first place."
    —Ertai, wizard adept


    Legacy: UW Miracle, U MUC, UW StoneBlade, U Merfolk, R Burn, & UB Reanimator
    EDH: U Azami, Lady of Scrolls & URG Riku of Two Reflections
    Casual: UR Dragonstorm, UB Dralnu-Teachings, U NinjaFae, & UR Izzet EDH
  • #3
    lol did you see the pro tour decks no1 was playing counterspells in constructed.
  • #4
    Quote from magic_nerd345
    lol did you see the pro tour decks no1 was playing counterspells in constructed.


    http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/eventcoverage/ptaus09/tedecks

    this is not an exhastive list but:
    counterspells played in extended were: cryptic command, mana leak, spell snare
    cards that stop it: meddling mage, , oblivion ring, Gaddock Teeg
    cards that kill it:Qasali Pridemage,

    and aggro simply can win before turn 5 unless you slow them down.
    and in extended you only have a few tutors to find the enchantment.
    Last edited by Luminous: 10/21/2009 8:48:07 PM

    "It was probably a lousy spell in the first place."
    —Ertai, wizard adept


    Legacy: UW Miracle, U MUC, UW StoneBlade, U Merfolk, R Burn, & UB Reanimator
    EDH: U Azami, Lady of Scrolls & URG Riku of Two Reflections
    Casual: UR Dragonstorm, UB Dralnu-Teachings, U NinjaFae, & UR Izzet EDH
  • #5
    I cannot see how you think Pithing Needles stops Battle of Wits.

    A Battle of Wits deck won the envelope last season, don't dismiss it.
  • #6
    my mistake ill edit out the pithing needle part
    of the 70-80 decks who recorded 18 or more points in the 10 rounds of Extended at Pro Tour–Austin, 0 of them ran Battle of Wits so that was my reference for the current extended season.

    i forgot about this but here are two decks which did run it and win http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/bd209
    Last edited by Luminous: 10/21/2009 8:54:18 PM

    "It was probably a lousy spell in the first place."
    —Ertai, wizard adept


    Legacy: UW Miracle, U MUC, UW StoneBlade, U Merfolk, R Burn, & UB Reanimator
    EDH: U Azami, Lady of Scrolls & URG Riku of Two Reflections
    Casual: UR Dragonstorm, UB Dralnu-Teachings, U NinjaFae, & UR Izzet EDH
  • #7
    I've been messing around with my own Battle of Wits deck the past couple of days (don't have the decklist on this computer).

    Biggest problem of the deck in terms of building it is simply the lack of quality and cheap tutors. Finding enough good playables isn't really a big problem but the lack of ways to get Wits out early can be quite problematic. The lack of cheap counterspells is a problem too.

    Best way to build it is as a UBW control deck (you can also stretch it out to 5C) that just wins with Battle of Wits as it's win condition instead of like Baneslayer Angel. It's obviously never going to be a top tier deck but it's not terrible. You could also approach it as a serious version of the great CynicalSquirrel's 300 card zoo deck, basically playing all the good 1/2/3 drops in the format with Battle of Wits as an alternate win.

    The real issue is the fact that aggro, combo and control (well to a lesser extent) decks are viable in the format. You need answers to Dark Depths and Hypergenesis as early as possible but also need to maintain the deck against other decks.

    That being said I lived the dream the other day casting a Battle of Wits off my opponent's Hypergenesis before I even played a land Cool (the statistical likelihood of this happening and it not getting AoD'd is probably way less than 1%).
  • #8
    there's lots of ways to find the enchantment, my favorite is milling ur deck and then eternal witnessing it and then loaming shaman ur graveyard into ur library
  • #9
    The thing is the format is simply way too fast to play Battle of Wits like that in a semi-competitive manner. Both creatures do fit the deck though if you want to run green and play more of a creature/utility type of deck but that combo is pretty bad.

    Honestly the best way to approach Battle of Wits is that it's a pseudo Baneslayer Angel that does actually win you the game if it untaps. You can build a control deck to last that long or you can take a more aggressive approach (you'd be surprised by just how many good 1/2 drops are in the format) that wins with Battle of Wits against other Zoo decks and as a way to win in general
  • #10
    lol i guess it's time for me to brew up a list, ill post a list here in about 1-2 days (takes longer cuz more card choices.
  • #11
    There are a lot of things to do and put into a battle of wits deck. The build I am running also includes the Dark Depths / Vampire Hexmage combo and the Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek. Being a control deck would be the best shell, in my opinion. There are plenty of tutors (transmute) so the deck can really be anything you want it to be. Auriok Salvages / Trinket Mage packages would also be a good idea to include.

    There are tools to beat any deck in the format. They just need to be findable, and transmute does this. The following is just a breif table of tools for various decks sorted by CMC / transmutes.

    0, Tolaria West: Pact of Negation (protect a combo) Tormods Crypt (Dredge), Dark Depths (Combo Piece)
    1, Dizzy Spell: Executioners Capsule (Zoo), Tormod's Crypt (Dredge), Despellers Capsule (Affinity, slowly) Pithing Needle (Combo), Spell Snare (Zoo), Spell Pierce (Hypergenesis)
    2, Muddle the Mixture, Dimir Infiltrator, Shred Memory: Combo Pieces, Counter Spells, Hurkels Recall (Affinity),

    More to come soon
    "If I accept you for who you are, I am your enemy. Friendship comes when one crosses the line of acceptance and into the life of that person and aides them in ways both known and unknown. Growth of an individual is a sign of a good friendship."
  • #12
    you could play Bant which I think would be the best combo of colors. I to will come up with a huge list.
  • #13
    Not saying Battle of Wits would be horrible, but why would you want to play that in real life(shuffling)? The best part is that no judge would want to deck check you and If they did you'd get a time extension of 30min and then you have to go crazy shuffling it when they have it all sorted.
    TheStein on Magic Online
    I'm a highly competitive player.
  • #14
    I want to play this IRL because itis a complicated, multi-funtional deck. It is a unique deck with few pilots. I ended up trimming my deck down to Blue / Black instant based with a Proteous Staff sub-theme.
    "If I accept you for who you are, I am your enemy. Friendship comes when one crosses the line of acceptance and into the life of that person and aides them in ways both known and unknown. Growth of an individual is a sign of a good friendship."
  • #15
    Battle of Wits would be fun as hell. I am really going to check out some deck lists and see how most people built it.
    Quote from jadencamelot
    Thought Scour is terrible in BV. How many flashback spells are being run? Say roughly 15. This gives you a roughly 38% chance of milling one flashback spell. And even if you do, you paid one mana to cantrip and dump an overcosted spell. Alchemy, Geistflame, Devil's play, etc. all cost much more to flash back than your average card, so you're not getting full value out of it.

    You'd much rather play Ponder. At least that generates a tangible advantage.
  • #16
    Brainspoil is a 4 of.
  • #17
    I say that we start taking this over to the Development area and start building. There are 16 different color combinations. Lets see how devastating our beause can be.
    "If I accept you for who you are, I am your enemy. Friendship comes when one crosses the line of acceptance and into the life of that person and aides them in ways both known and unknown. Growth of an individual is a sign of a good friendship."
  • #18
    I've played Battle of Wits last extended season and am going to sleeve it up again for this one. A few points about the deck.

    1-You must play sweepers (4 Day of Judgment, 4 Wog, 4 Damnation, 4 Infest, 4 Explosives if you have them).
    2-You must play mana acceleration(Signets, Pentad Prism, Chrome Mox on occasion)
    3-You must have tons of tutors. (Idyllic, Brainspoil, Diabolic Tutor, Perplex, Dimir House Guard, Drift of Phantasms, Gifts Ungiven)
    4-The best colour combination is UWB, which gives you all the good tutors, as well as removal and countermagic
    5-Countermagic is important. Mana Leak, Cryptic Command, Perplex are all quite good.
    6-Savor the Moment and Time Warp are useful for when you progress to the late game and fear enchantment hate.
    7-Have mainboard hate. This includes Disenchant, Pithing needles (with trinket mages), a few Relic of Progenitus, etc.
    8-Keep 1-2 Feldon's Cane's handy (again searchable by Trinket Mage) just in case. You won't draw them enough to notice them, but they do come in handy.

    Yes, it is possible to play it IRL. I sleeved up 250 cards, and stored them in a fat pack box stood up. It has excellent matchups against a lot more decks than one would think, due to the sheer amount of removal/disruption and the ability to just win.

    However, I recently talked to the head judge for my province and he said that if one was to bring this to a PTQ, one would require someone to stand next to them and help shuffle, because he would not hesitate do hand our either insufficient randomization penalties, or slow play penalties. It would also be acceptable to convince your opponent to help you each round, but they are not obliged to.

    In short, it's a fun deck that's not terribly expensive (i still don't have my ravnica duals, but your mana is usually good enough), and will catch lots of people by surprise.
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  • #19
    This is what I would run, probably needs tweaking.


    Hursh's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Creatures:7
    4 Trinket Mage
    3 Vampire Hexmage

    Search:44
    4 Idyllic Tutor
    3 Diabolic Tutor
    4 Mystical Teachings
    2 Tezzeret the Seeker
    3 Liliana Vess
    4 Muddle the Mixture
    4 Brainspoil
    4 Clutch of the Undercity
    4 Dimir House Guard
    4 Beseech the Queen
    4 Gifts Ungiven
    4 Perplex

    Usual Trinket Mage targets :7
    3 Engineered Explosives
    1 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Executioner's Capsule
    1 Feldon's Cane

    Win-Cons:13
    3 Dark Depths
    3 Sword of the Meek
    3 Thopter Foundry
    4 Battle of Wits

    Accel:12
    4 Chrome Mox
    4 Dimir Signet
    4 Azorius Signet

    Disruption:12
    4 Chalice of the Void
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Duress

    Sweepers:12
    4 Damnation
    4 Day of Judgment
    4 Wrath of God

    Counters:20
    4 Cryptic Command
    4 Spell Snare
    4 Remand
    4 Mana Leak
    4 Rewind

    Removal:20
    4 Eradicate
    4 Doom Blade
    4 Sudden Death
    4 Dark Banishing
    4 Path to exile

    Gifts Ungiven Tricks:3
    1 Ritual of Restoration
    1 Grim Discovery
    1 Mine Excavation

    Lands: 80
    4 Scalding Tarn
    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Marsh Flats
    4 Hallowed Fountain
    4 Watery Grave
    4 Godless Shrine
    4 Adarkar Wastes
    4 Underground River
    4 Tolaria West
    2 Academy Ruins
    2 Vesuva
    4 Ghost Quarter
    1 Ancient Den
    1 Seat of the Synod
    4 Sunken Ruins
    4 Mystic Gate
    4 Urborg, tomb of Yawgmoth
    10 Island
    7 Swamp
    5 Plains

    Last edited by Hursh: 12/27/2009 10:24:57 AM
    Currently playing:
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  • #20

    However, I recently talked to the head judge for my province and he said that if one was to bring this to a PTQ, one would require someone to stand next to them and help shuffle, because he would not hesitate do hand our either insufficient randomization penalties, or slow play penalties. It would also be acceptable to convince your opponent to help you each round, but they are not obliged to.


    Really? Because I thought this defined the deck size rule; you can have any number of cards, as long as you don't need assistance shuffling. Seems like a double-edged sword; either Insufficient Randomization or Illegal Deck.
    Quote from noodle
    So it was an over exaggeration. White can’t mill or cook me bacon.
    Chill.
  • #21
    I See this deck as Tezzerets much larger cousin. Therefor, this is how I have my ideal deck built.

    starcraftha's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Tezz's Big Bro (Core)
    Win Con
    4 Thopter Foundry
    4 Sword of the Meek
    4 Battle of Wits
    4 Dark Depths
    4 Vampire Hexmage

    Search
    4 Brainspoil
    4 Muddle the Mixture
    4 Dimir Infiltrator
    4 Shred Memory
    4 Tolaria West
    4 Trinket Mage
    4 Tezzeret the Seeker
    4 Gifts Ungiven



    With these core 52 cards, and a mana base of 78 lands, that provides 100 - 120 cards that can be used for metagaming. These are just a list of some of the anti-meta cards used, and for what decks.

    Dark Depths: Repeal, AEther Spellbomb, Pithing Needle, Ghost Quarter
    Hypergenesis: AEther Spellbomb, Challice of the Void, Duress, Thoughtseize, Nix, Executioners Capsule
    Zoo: Last Gasp, Repeal, Spell Snare, Remove Soul, Essence Scatter, Engineered Explosives
    Tezzeret: Pithing Needle
    AIR: Remand, Negate, Slaughter Pact
    Elves: Infest, Marsh Casualities
    [/CARDS]

    Hopefully this helps in tuning.
    Last edited by starcraftha: 12/30/2009 11:27:35 AM
    "If I accept you for who you are, I am your enemy. Friendship comes when one crosses the line of acceptance and into the life of that person and aides them in ways both known and unknown. Growth of an individual is a sign of a good friendship."
  • #22
    I was threatening to build this deck for the PTQ in Minneapolis but couldn't do it in time (ran Dredge instead).

    IMO, this deck is at as good of a situation as it ever has been, especially with Idyllic Tutor and Beseach the Queen in the format, among other things.

    It is an interesting and difficult deck to build because there are several reasonable directions. I looked at one old list with 216 cards, which gives you 9 turns to win tops (that's the balls out approach).

    I am running a contingent of chump blockers who also dig, such as Sage Owl and Sage of Epityr, artifact mana; combined with cheap countermagic and mass removal. My plan is to take damage or chump block the first few turns while digging for cards; then secure the board with removal and countermagic. Then finally, disrupt with Thoughtseize, Extirpate, Vendilion Clique and control cards like that, before planting a Battle of Wits with no fear. Time Sieve might be a sure-fire win, although maybe it's win-more.

    I also run the alternates of Thopter Foundry and Dark Depths. FYI, another combo card with Vampire Hexmage is Lost Auramancers, which I believe gives you the fastest possible BOW, and potentially leaves your mana open to stop any shenanigans, although the only cards you need to answer are Krosan Grip and Qasali Pridemage, I think (and Gaddock Teeg though L. Auramancers gets around him).

    J
    Last edited by amoebasinger: 1/5/2010 5:27:01 PM
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  • #23
    I really like the Lost Auramancers idea with Hexmage, and you are right about there being plenty of search presently. I would however like to see a list where I feel like I won't get blown out 2 out of 3 games without tremendous draws (saying that with a deck that is horribly hard to randomize through shuffling efficiently)
  • #24
    God have mercy of the opponent who plays haunting echoes on this deck
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