Battle Pod

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The letter L!et it be known that, if you put up a successful result with a Battle of Wits list, and I manage to stumble upon it in the vast world of the Internet, chances are you will be appearing in this very column soon thereafter. I have already told my story of Battle of Wits before, but I am far from the only lover of the card. Battle of Wits seems to stir up the brewer inside of us all, filling our heads with dreams of giant decks, untapping and announcing the trigger from our five-mana enchantment. One of the beautiful things about Battle of Wits, though, and perhaps the reason everyone loves the card, is that outside of requiring an abnormally large deck, restrictions to your deck are nonexistent. You can build a Battle of Wits deck that fits your play style or contains your favorite colors pretty easily.

Rich Lisitza decided that he wanted to put his own spin on the deck for a recent TCGPlayer.com Qualifier tournament in Illinois. Rich took another popular card among players, Birthing Pod, and combined it with Battle of Wits for an awesome brew. Birthing Pod is at its best when it is increasing consistency in your deck by providing a reusable tutor effect, and if you have ever played Battle of Wits, one thing you certainly know is that the deck can always use more consistency. Birthing Pod had some influence on the creatures that Rich ended up running, such as Balefire Dragon, but outside of some minor concessions to curve, Birthing Pod fits into most Battle of Wits shells.

This particular list gets to play some of my favorite cards that have never had a proper home. My favorite among these is Etched Monstrosity. Etched Oracle has been a favorite of mine since it was printed, and although the Monstrosity is a little harder to pull off, it has a huge upside. Battle of Wits gets to play the card as a vanilla 5/5 in dire situations, but will usually be able to cash in for three cards as well, making the card pretty appealing. Mwonvuli Beast Tracker is another cool addition to Battle of Wits, as it gives you even more control over what you draw each turn and makes for an excellent pair with Birthing Pod.

Battle of Wits is hardly a solved deck, or even close to one, allowing new and unique versions to constantly be evolved. While I doubt it will be in the tier one range, well, ever, it is a lot of fun and, as Rich showed us, it can even do some winning from time to time!

Rich Lisitza's Birth of Battle
Standard – Top 8, TCGplayer Silver Qualifier, Lindenhurst

Main Deck

242 cards

Clifftop Retreat
Dragonskull Summit
Drowned Catacomb
Evolving Wilds
Ghost Quarter
Glacial Fortress
Hinterland Harbor
Isolated Chapel
Kessig Wolf Run
Rootbound Crag
Shimmering Grotto
Sulfur Falls
Sunpetal Grove
Vault of the Archangel
Woodland Cemetery

90 lands

Acidic Slime
Avacyn's Pilgrim
Balefire Dragon
Birds of Paradise
Blade Splicer
Borderland Ranger
Deceiver Exarch
Drogskol Reaver
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Etched Monstrosity
Evil Twin
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Hero of Bladehold
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Moltensteel Dragon
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
Nearheath Pilgrim
Phyrexian Metamorph
Primeval Titan
Restoration Angel
Rune-Scarred Demon
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Silklash Spider
Sun Titan
Sunblast Angel
Trinket Mage
Viridian Emissary
War Priest of Thune
Wolfir Silverheart
Zealous Conscripts

77 creatures

Battle of Wits
Birthing Pod
Devil's Play
Diabolic Tutor
Distant Memories
Door to Nothingness
Elixir of Immortality
Faithless Looting
Forbidden Alchemy
Green Sun's Zenith
Increasing Ambition
Lingering Souls
Oblivion Ring
Rampant Growth
Ratchet Bomb
Sphere of the Suns
Unburial Rites

74 other spells

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

1 planeswalker

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