t was four or five years ago now. The setting was a Denver PTQ. The format was Extended and Dredge was the best deck by a mile. Turn-two kills were commonplace and the format was very unforgiving. Meanwhile, with a deck reaching 250 cards high sat a kid playing on the verge of a Top 8. The deck featured just about every cool card of the format, from Pernicious Deed to Enduring Ideal, and was a blast to play. Of course, at the core of all of this madness sat Battle of Wits, one of the most iconic build-arounds of all time.
Battle of Wits was released as a part of a cycle of alternate win conditions, but it easily stole the show as the requirement seemed so absurd for competitive play. This asked a player to run four times the size of a regular deck. Well, it turns out that gimmick had players falling in love, and Battle of Wits decks have always been the subject of many competitive Magic tales and stories.
In Standard, the issue with Battle of Wits is that the card pool tends to be too small to properly support that many cards as a cohesive strategy. Well, recently, at a TCGPlayer Open in Orlando, Nolan Blackwelder decided to step up to the plate and give Battle of Wits a try. The deck looks like a who's who of white, blue, and black cards from Standard, with multiple archetypes being featured and plenty of crazy scenarios being born as a result. Battle of Wits has nearly countless ways to be built, which adds to the allure of the card. If you have seen one list, you haven't seen anything yet!
Oh, and if you couldn't pick up on my excitement around a potentially tournament-viable Battle of Wits archetype in Standard, that kid from earlier was me!
Nolan Blackwelder's Battle of Wits
Standard – TCGplayer Open 5K, Orlando