Mind Twists #5
Hello everybody! Welcome to the fifth edition of Mind Twists. We were on vacation last week (that is I was at SCG Open Series: Seattle—more on that later) but it's good to be back to exercising those brain muscles. As always thank you to everybody who submitted a solution. This week's winners are Michael Turpyn ("Krenko's Recruitment") and Oleksandr Drapailo ("Vigilante Injustice"). Check your inboxes!
Here are the solutions to our last edition's puzzles:
As with all of these deck-searching puzzles this one had a few different angles of attack. Here's our winner's solution:
- Tap 4 Mountains and cast Krenko Mob Boss.
- Tap 1 Mountain and Goblin Burrows to cast Goblin Ringleader.
- Search and put the following Goblins on top of your library: Goblin Ringleader (must be on top) Goblin Warchief Skirk Prospector Goblin Pyromancer Goblin Piledriver
- Tap 2 Mountains to cycle Gempalm Incinerator targeting Silent Arbiter dealing 5 damage and destroying it.
- Tap Barbarian Ring and take 1 damage; cast Brightstone Ritual to add RRRRR to your mana pool.
- Cast Goblin Ringleader revealing Goblin Warchief Skirk Prospector Goblin Pyromancer and Goblin Piledriver putting those cards in your hand.
- Cast Skirk Prospector.
- Sacrifice Goblin Marshal to Skirk Prospector then sacrifice the two tokens he makes to add RRR to your mana pool. Cast Goblin Warchief.
- Now that Krenko has haste tap him to create 7 Goblin tokens.
- Sacrifice 4 of Krenko's Goblin tokens to add RRRR to your mana pool. Cast Goblin Piledriver then Goblin Pyromancer.
- Attack with… Skirk Prospector (4/1) Goblin Recruiter (4/1) Goblin Ringleader (5/2) Goblin Pyromancer (5/2) Goblin Warchief (5/2) 5 Goblin Tokens (4/1) Goblin Piledriver (24/2)
- …for 67 damage.
Every solution required the use of Goblin Recruiter to find Goblin Ringleader for the virtual draw four and then a Skirk Prospector for additional mana. There were two other main solutions that I saw in the responses. One involved an infinite loop between Lightning Crafter; Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker; and a sacrifice outlet (use Kiki-Jiki to make a copy of the Lightning Crafter Champion Kiki-Jiki hit them for three then sacrifice it to Skirk Prospector restoring Kiki-Jiki). The other involved making tokens with Krenko then sacrificing himself and some of his tokens in order to cast him again making more tokens and creating an infinite loop where you cast Krenko infinite times despite his increasing cost. I'll admit I laughed pretty hard when I saw that one.
Anyway congratulations to Michael Turpyn; you will receive a signed Krenko Mob Boss!
Here is the solution I received from Leo McDonnell the designer of this puzzle:
- Tap Forest + Island cast Alchemist's Apprentice. Vigilante Justice triggers targeting Stonewright.
- Tap Mountain + Forest cast Battle Hymn. Add RRRR to your mana pool.
- Use Soulcage Fiend's firebreathing ability twice giving it +2/+0.
- Vigilante Justice's trigger resolves killing Stonewright.
- Sacrifice Alchemist's Apprentice drawing Thatcher Revolt.
- Tap Swamp cast Bone Splinters targeting Butcher Ghoul sacrificing Driver of the Dead.
- Stack the triggers so that the Driver of the Dead's ability targeting Alchemist's Apprentice goes on the stack first then the Unhallowed Pact trigger.
- Unhallowed Pact trigger resolves returning Driver of the Dead to play.
- Driver of the Dead's trigger resolves returning Alchemist's Apprentice to play. Vigilante Justice triggers targeting Driver of the Dead.
- Driver of the Dead dies (because Gisela Blade of Goldnight doubles the damage dealt to your creatures) and its ability targets Timberland Guide.
- Timberland Guide enters the battlefield. Stack triggers so that Vigilante Justice's trigger targeting Soulcage Fiend goes on the stack before Timberland Guide's ability targeting Soulcage Fiend.
- Tap Plains cast Cloudshift targeting Timberland Guide. Timberland Guide's ability targets Butcher Ghoul and targets itself with Vigilante Justice.
- Stack resolves.
- Timberland Guide dies Butcher Ghoul gets a +1/+1 counter on in then dies (undying doesn't trigger) and Soulcage Fiend is now a 6/3 with 2 damage marked on it.
- Sacrifice Alchemist's Apprentice drawing Marrow Bats.
- Tap Swamp cast Predator's Gambit on Soulcage Fiend.
- Tap Forest cast Rush of Blood on Soulcage Fiend who becomes a 16/4 with intimidate.
- Attack with Soulcage Fiend for 8 (Gisela halves the damage).
- Cast Cathedral Sanctifier. Stack triggers so that Vigilante Justice targeting Soulcage Fiend goes on the stack before gaining life with Cathedral Sanctifier.
- Gain 3 life then Soulcage Fiend dies and both players lose 3 life. You go to 1 and your opponent goes to 0.
Fortunately that wasn't the only solution. Here is what our winner came up with:
- Tap Mountain + Forest to cast Battle Hymn adding RRR to the mana pool.
- Use Stonewright's ability once giving him +1/+0 (floating RR)
- Cast Cathedral Sanctifier for W. Stack triggers so that Vigilante Justice's trigger goes on the stack first targeting Soulcage Fiend.
- Gain 3 life then Soulcage Fiend dies and both players lose 3 life. Your opponent is at 8.
- Use R and tap an Island for Alchemist's Apprentice (floating R). Vigilante Justice triggers targeting Cathedral Sanctifier.
- Tap Plains to cast Cloudshift on Driver of the Dead removing the Unhallowed Pact.
- Sacrifice Alchemist's Apprentice to draw a card.
- Tap Swamp and cast Bone Splinters targeting Gisela Blade of Goldnight sacrificing Driver of the Dead. Return Alchemist's Apprentice to the battlefield targeting your opponent (it doesn't actually deal damage because Gisela is still on the battlefield).
- Sacrifice Alchemist's Apprentice to draw a card.
- Tap Swamp and cast Predator's Gambit targeting Stonewright. It is now a 4/2 with intimidate.
- Tap the remaining two Forests and use the R floating to cast Rush of Blood targeting Stonewright. Swing for lethal!
Congratulations Oleksandr Drapailo; you will receive a signed Vigilante Justice!
Puzzle #1: What Does That Mechanic Do?
This week's first puzzle is a submission from Dominic DeCesare—it's a pretty sweet one that involves cards I had to look up! Here it is:
"You are playing a casual game with an old friend. Your G/W deck was making short work of his U/R deck until last turn when he cast Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker and made a trillion copies of Deceiver Exarch. Your opponent is so confident of his victory that he shows you his hand contains nothing but lands. Luckily for you you have your singleton copy of Orim's Chant in your hand which you cast and kick to prevent yourself from dying from the ensuing attack. You both know there is no way to survive a repeat performance on his next turn but luckily you can see a way to win before that happens.
It is your precombat main phase.
- 11 life.
- In play: 3 Mountains 2 Islands all tapped. Izzet Boilerworks Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker Deceiver Exarch paired with Elgaud Shieldmate all untapped.
- In hand: 3 Islands 3 Mountains.
- No relevant cards in his graveyard.
- 20 life.
- In play (all untapped): Bant Panorama Gavony Township 2 Forests 2 Plains Selesnya Sanctuary Nature's Blessing Scryb Ranger Silhana Ledgewalker Jolrael's Centaur Knight of Valor Pentarch Paladin (the chosen color is blue) Steward of Valeron.
- In hand: Riftstone Portal (drawn this turn) Brawn Blessings of Nature Hunger of the Howlpack.
- In graveyard: Orim's Chant.
Win this turn!"
Winner will receive a signed Nature's Blessing!
Puzzle #2: Spelltwining
It's not looking good for your Mono-Blue Dig-'n-Counter deck. Avacyn Angel of Hope joined forces with Kamahl Pit Fighter to take out a huge chunk of your health and you can't afford to let your opponent take another turn. Your opponent has exiled most of your graveyard with a Tormod's Crypt and you only have five cards left in your library. All that is left of your army is Talrand Sky Summoner and the 2/2 flying Drake token that entered the battlefield as you flashed back Forbidden Alchemy on your opponent's end step.
- 3 life.
- 1 card left in your library and you know it is an Island.
- In play: 7 Islands (tapped) 2 Shimmering Grotto (tapped) Talrand Sky Summoner enchanted by Pacifism and a 2/2 flying Drake token.
- In hand: Phyrexian Metamorph.
- In graveyard: Spelltwine Spelltwine.
Your opponent has:
- 20 life.
- 0 cards in hand.
- In play: Avacyn Angel of Hope; Kamahl Pit Fighter (tapped) equipped with Silverskin Armor; Dross Scorpion (tapped) equipped with Heavy Arbalest; Lumengrid Gargoyle; Slumbering Dragon (no +1/+1 counters); Mirror Gallery; Tempered Steel; basic lands (tapped).
- In graveyard: Smash to Smithereens Suffocating Blast Electrolyze Disenchant Thunderbolt Incinerate Searing Spear Disperse Flames of the Firebrand Pyroclasm.
- Plenty of cards left in his library.
Win before your opponent can untap!
Winner will receive a signed Spelltwine!
Last week a few friends and I made the long trek up to SCG Open Series: Seattle (hence the week off for this column). While I wasn't in the best mindset to play Magic well I still had a great time. I can't express how amazing of a format Legacy is—those of you who don't play should at least proxy up decks and jam games with your friends. I only wish that there was more support for Legacy on Magic Online so that the format would get more widespread attention. In case you didn't catch it here's my feature match against Cedric Phillips where I cast Elspeth Knight-Errant then immediately passed the turn in game 3.
Moving forward the release of M13 has me excited to try out a few new deck ideas. I'm currently working on a Battle of Wits deck (along with everybody else it seems) and I vow to play it at the first Standard tournament it is legal. I'll post my list at the end of next week's article. The other deck idea is a Bant Aggro list where you try to land Ajani Caller of the Pride or Geist of Saint Traft on turn 2 and then back it up with Restoration Angel or a fast Venser the Sojourner. Here is the current list we are working on:
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Elvish Visionary
- 2 Loyal Cathar
- 4 Restoration Angel
- 1 Sublime Archangel
- 1 Sun Titan
- 3 Geist of Saint Traft
Still a work in progress and the biggest issue is coming up with a strong two-drop for the deck. Elvish Visionary is kind of like a two-mana Divination with the Blink effects and Loyal Cathar does a decent job of protecting the planeswalkers but neither is as aggressive as I'd like. Got suggestions? Post them in the comments!
That's all for this week! As always if you have any puzzles you'd like to show me comments criticism etc. just email me at SCGthePuzzling@gmail.com. Enjoy the M13 release this weekend and I'll see you next week!
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