Who plays the largest deck in competitive Magic? Only Baby Huey dared, showing up at this Grand Prix with a 244-card Battle of Wits deck! He had run the deck once before at the Pro Tour San Diego Masters Gateway, and it was back for a vengeance. By the end of round 7, William held a 6-1 record, ready to make it to the second day of competition. I sat down with him before round 8 to discuss his deck choice and build.
Ben: So Huey, why'd you decide to run Battle of Wits?
Huey: I was going to run Trenches, I showed up with it last night. But then I lost three games in a row, and that threw everything off kilter. I still had the Battle of Wits deck put together from San Diego, so I decided to run with it. It's really not a bad deck, it's very viable.
B: Why'd you decide to go creatureless?
H: Creatureless makes the deck have a lot of good matchups against control decks. Suddenly half their cards are useless, like Repulse and (Aether) Burst. I have an advantage when they get those cards in the first game.
B: How's the deck work?
H: It's basically a lot of cantrips and tutors, all to get Battle of Wits.
So aside from the Battle itself, what's the most important card in the deck?
H: Definitely Wild Research. If you can resolve it you're going to win most of the time. If I could have any card in my hand other than Battle of Wits in my opening draw, it'd be the Research.
B: You have a lot of burn in your deck. Do you often win with direct damage?
H: I actually haven't won a single game today through damage. There was one I should have won but I screwed up. Usually when I play the deck though I win most of my games through damage, so go figure.
B: What's up with all the diamonds?
H: When you draw diamonds in multiples early on, you just have a huge advantage. They ramp you up for early card drawing, like Concentrate and Probe and Fact or Fiction. There are times when you just get an insane diamond draw, and you can drop an early Battle backed by a Counterspell, and there's just nothing your opponent can do about it.
B: And you've got four colors. Why four?H:
I almost made the deck just Black/Red/Blue. Obviously you need Blue for the Battle and Black for a ton of tutors. Red is really important for Wild Research
, plus there are a lot of really good Black/Red and Blue/Red gold cards that fit well in the deck. I almost cut white, but I decided that it was worth it-tutoring for the Battle with Research is really good, plus you get a couple extra counterspells. I think the only mono-white card I have is Hobble
, and Circle of Protection: Black
in the sideboard.
B:Hobble's a really interesting choice as your only white card.
H: Some days it's really good, it just stops a creature plus draws you a card. Today it hasn't been that great.
B: With that many different cards in the deck, sometimes you're going to have cards that work really well some games that are just horrible the next.
H: That's definitely true. With a 244 card deck, obviously you aren't going to have the most consistent deck at the tournament. But there's a lot of redundancy, and you just maximize the chances you can get of drawing the Battle, with cards like Diabolic Tutor and Insidious Dreams.
B: Any last thoughts about the deck?
H: I actually do have four creatures main deck, four Flametongue Kavus. But they are too good not to play.
B: Plus they are basically creature kill anyhow.
H: Yeah, that's the truth.
GP Milwaukee: Battle of Wits
William "Baby Huey" Jensen