240 Card Deck with Battle of Wits (Blue/Black)
July 7, 2012 | Posted by Dee
One of the most unique cards in Magic 2013 (M13) is Battle of Wits. This card breaks one of the main rules in deck building: play 60 cards.
The pros usually play 60 card decks. They play with the minimum number of cards to make their decks more consistent. The smaller the deck size, the more likely you are to draw the best cards in the deck.
For example, in a Zombie deck, you definitely want to draw Geralf’s Messenger. This card is much better than most of the other cards in the deck. If you play a 70 card deck instead of a 60 card deck, you lower your chances of drawing the undying Zombie.
Now here comes along Battle of Wits. This card is pretty powerful. It costs five mana and wins you the game if your opponent can’t kill you next turn or remove it from the battlefield.
However, you have to meet its requirements. You have to have 200 or more cards in your library to use its ability. This means playing a much bigger deck than just 60 cards.
When building around Battle of Wits, I like aiming for 240 cards as my deck size.
First, you need to play a couple cards above 200 because your library will shrink as the game goes on. Along with the normal draw step, you’ll be playing card draw and tutoring, which make your deck smaller.
Also, whenever you play against a control deck, those games tend to go long. Against Mono Black Control, I won a game with Battle of Wits with only 201 cards in my library.
Second, the number 240 gives you an easy ratio to work with. 240 is four times bigger than 60 so you can take a 60 card deck and extrapolate it to a 240 card deck. For example, 16 mass removal spells in a 240 card deck will feel like 4 copies in a 60 card deck because 16 divided by 4 is 4.
With this in mind, let’s start building the deck.
You can only play 4 Battle of Wits. Most games you won’t draw it because the deck is so big. Four copies in a 240 card deck feels like one copy in a 60 card deck. You wouldn’t rely on drawing a single card in a 60 card deck to win the game so you’ll need to play tutors.
Fortunately, there are multiple tutor cards in Standard.
4 Diabolic Tutor
4 Increasing Ambition
4 Diabolic Revelation
4 Rune-Scarred Demon
As you can see, all of them are black so I’m going with a Blue/Black deck.
Battle of Wits and most of the tutors cost a lot so we should play some mana ramp spells to cast them earlier.
4 Sphere of the Suns
4 Pristine Talisman
4 Warden of the Wall
4 Vessel of Endless Rest
4 Solemn Simulacrum
This gives us 24 ramp spells, which is like having 6 ramp spells in a 60 card deck.
I wanted to include Palladium Myr, Silver Myr, and Leaden Myr but they are vulnerable to mass removal spells.
We definitely want to play mass removal spells to fight all the aggro decks in the format.
4 Black Sun’s Zenith
4 Barter in Blood
4 Curse of Death’s Hold
4 Life’s Finale
It might seem weird to play Mutilate in a two color deck but I did the math. Most of the time Mutilate is going to be as effective as Black Sun’s Zenith.
Black also has good pinpoint removal spells. Let’s add some to help us survive the early game against creature decks.
4 Doom Blade
4 Go for the Throat
4 Tribute to Hunger
4 Sever the Bloodline
I like Tribute to Hunger over something like Murder because it buys you time with the life gain.
Sever the Bloodline is more expensive than the other spells but the extra cost is worth it in my experience. The deck needs a card that can deal with undying creatures effectively.
As long as we’re playing blue, we can play card draw spells to help us find Battle of Wits or a tutor card.
4 Think Twice
4 Sign in Blood
4 Forbidden Alchemy
I think playing some cheap counterspells is a good idea because they can deal with a variety of threats.
4 Mana Leak
2 Essence Scatter
This package of 12 counterspells feels like 3 in a 60 card deck. I didn’t want to go up to 16 counterspells because of the popularity of Cavern of Souls.
Let’s add some discard spells to fight planeswalkers. Blue and black generally have problems with these cards.
Duress is pretty good because it protects Battle of Wits from counterspells and enchantment removal.
Alternative Win Conditions
We can add some alternative win conditions in case we don’t draw Battle of Wits or a tutor card. Also, having other ways to win the game can distract your opponent from trying to stop Battle of Wits.
4 Mimic Vat
4 Liliana of the Veil
I like Mimic Vat and Liliana of the Veil because they are cheap. We already have a bunch of expensive spells. I don’t want the mana curve of the deck to be too high.
By the way, Mimic Vat stops undying shenanigans if you kill the creature on your opponent’s turn. If you kill it on your turn, you won’t be able to imprint it with Mimic Vat. Here’s the ruling.
For the last 4 spots, I’m adding Snapcaster Mage. This Human Wizard gives us some card advantage and flexibility. Plus, the deck has a lot of sorceries and instants.
Here’s the final decklist. Let me know what you think.
|Blue/Black Battle of Wits Control|
Main Win Condition (4)
Mana Ramp (24)
Mass Removal (20)
Pinpoint Removal (20)
Card Draw (16)
Alternative Win Conditions (12)
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