Mind Twists #8
Hello everybody! It's Wednesday and that means I have two new puzzles to throw at you. As a reminder submitting a correct solution to a puzzle will enter you into a raffle for a signed card free of charge. This week's winners are Anthony Olszewski ("Exalted Not Optional") and Mark Tocco ("Cephalid Nightmare"). Check your inboxes!
Here are this week's puzzles:
Puzzle #1: Wheeeeee!
"Ok you have 56 power on the board; may I take my turn?"
"I'll attack for four and then it's your turn."
Well you think to yourself Elesh Norn Grand Cenobite followed by Army of the Damned seems like a pretty good sequence of plays.
With only five Islands in play for your Five-Color Child of Alara Commander deck you figure you will just draw your card for the turn and then ask your opponent for a rematch. However the card you draw causes you to reconsider.
"Ok. I'll discard Tendrils of Agony… Doomsday?"
- In play: Dream Halls 5 Islands (tapped)
- In hand: Conflux Omniscience
- In graveyard: Doomsday Tendrils of Agony
- In library (in order): Mulldrifter (top) Electrolyze Restock Doran the Siege Tower Wheel of Sun and Moon (bottom)
Your opponent has:
- In play: Elesh Norn Grand Cenobite 13 2/2 Zombie tokens 4 Swamps (tapped) 4 Plains (tapped)
- In hand graveyard and library: Nothing relevant.
You are at eighteen life and your opponent is at 40. Win this turn!
Winner of the raffle will receive a signed Conflux!
Puzzle #2: Guild Wars
This next puzzle has a long backstory. If you want to skip it the puzzle is at the end.
You run into Niv-Mizzet in a dark alley one night. You don't notice him until he is practically breathing fire down your neck and by that time it is obvious you aren't going to be able to escape if you tried. This is your first encounter with a dragon and you can't help but worry that it might be your last.
Niv reaches out telepathically and senses your fear. "Relax" the signal comes in. "If you are worried that I might exhibit the stereotypical primitive behaviors associated with dragons indigenous to planes such as Jund I am not that kind of dragon."
"So why did you have to sneak up behind me and scare me like that?" you reply.
"I recently returned from a sightseeing expedition through the Multiverse and now that I am back home reflecting on that voyage has allowed me to brainstorm ideas for a new ancillary product tentatively dubbed 'Duel Decks: Izzet vs. Golgari.' Once it demonstrates a satisfactory level of polish I will planeswalk to Wizards of the Coast and present the idea to them for a significant sum of money and those irritating Orzhov parasites will not be there to demand their cut of the transaction! Right now I am searching for playtesters and by all appearances you would be adequate."
"Okay... Does that mean I get to play the Izzet deck?"
"Only in your dreams. All blue-red mages have an impulsive side after all and while I may not devour you here on the spot I have a multitude of contraptions that are quite capable of disposing of you in spectacular fashion."
After you quietly surrender that point the two of you head up to Nivix where the table and decks are all set up. Niv-Mizzet leads off with an early Field of Dreams.
"Hold on isn't that on the Reserved List? They'll never put one of those in the deck."
"You are presupposing that I lack sufficient persuasion to demonstrate to them what a monumentally idiotic policy that is. Now play on."
The game continues and your Blood Artist is showing some decent synergy with the rest of your deck. You figured the creator of these decks would be biased and give you a weak one but so far you seem to be holding up pretty well.
At least until your opponent draws Pemmin's Aura and slaps it on his own namesake card. He starts digging through card after card in an attempt to burn you out silently mutters something like "Hm...still not enough" and finally with two mana left he draws one more time and flips up Curiosity as the next card. That looks like game and you get up from the table and start to walk away.
Quickly Niv taps the remaining lands untaps and retaps his self-portrait draws Curiosity and throws it down onto the table so he can attend to you.
"What are you doing? The combo cannot proceed until I have another mechanism for drawing a card."
"Well it's going to happen in one more turn anyway and since you cut off my black mana with those Stone Rains it's not like I can stop you. Maybe I can disrupt the combo but then you'll still just burn me out."
The dragon drags you back to the table with a single claw. "You can always..." He doesn't complete the thought at least not in a way that you can hear. Maybe he's talking to himself.
After a couple seconds the silence gives way to what seems like a different kind of silence as though the mental connection that allows you to hear Niv has been broken. You see his head scanning over the table and soon the connection comes back.
"Giving in to impulse can have dire consequences. Now I need to rebalance these decks. Truthfully from the current position my defeat is a foregone conclusion."
You look wide-eyed at your opponent and all you can get out is a weak "Huh?"
"Are you actually incapable of seeing the play sequence? If so then I have lost all confidence in the Ravnican populace. I will have to head out and let my curiosity get the better of me resulting in the spontaneous ignition of this entire unworthy city-plane. Then I will gather my immediate followers and evacuate elsewhere. That Ulgrotha plane seems like a superior location to establish my settlement anyway."
With that all that's left for him to do is discard down to seven cards and transmit one final word giving you an intimidating stare all the while. "Go."
The dragon's presence in your mind goes away again leaving you to concentrate on the cards on the table like your life depends on it.
- 13 life
- 0 poison counters
- In play: Lands (all tapped); Field of Dreams; Propaganda; Mnemonic Wall; Sturmgeist (7/7); Niv-Mizzet the Firemind (tapped enchanted with Pemmin's Aura and Curiosity)
In hand: 7 cards (no relevant effects)
- In graveyard: 6 cards (no relevant effects)
- In library (29): Invoke the Firemind is the top card
- 2 life
- In play: Pendelhaven 3 Forest Blood Artist Cadaver Imp Creakwood Ghoul Greater Mossdog Hungry Spriggan Liege of the Pit Yavimaya Elder
- In hand: Recollect Flesh Allergy Overrun Postmortem Lunge Tainted Strike
- In graveyard (8): Blood Pet Dark Ritual Dismember Golgari Rot Farm Nantuko Calmer Overgrown Tomb Reverent Silence Yeva's Forcemage
- In library (36): Bone Splinters is the top card and the only card in a known position. There are plenty of Forests and Swamps further down.
You've just untapped for your turn. Find a way to guarantee a win this turn so you can save Ravnica!
Winner of the raffle will receive a signed Liege of the Pit!
This puzzle was generously contributed by reader Russel Jones. Thanks for the great puzzle!
Solutions to Last Week's Puzzles
Anthony Olszewski's winning solution uses only the mana provided in the image though there was an additional Rupture Spire in the puzzle.
- Tap 3 Plains cast Fiend Hunter. Fiend Hunter's exile ability targets Archangel of Strife.
- Tap 2 Mountains equip Mortarpod to Fiend Hunter.
- Attack with Inferno Titan dealing 3 damage to your opponent who drops to 17 life.
- Four exalted triggers resolve making the Inferno Titan a 10/10.
- Tap 2 Rootbound Crag and a Rupture Spire to pump the Inferno Titan 3 times making it a 13/10.
- During the declare blockers step sacrifice Fiend Hunter to deal 1 damage to your opponent who drops to 16 life. (Your opponent can't block with the Archangel because blockers have already been declared.)
- Choose War as the Archangel of Strife enters the battlefield. Inferno Titan is now a 16/10 dealing the killing blow to your opponent.
Congratulations Anthony you will receive a signed Quirion Dryad!
Here is Mark Tocco's winning solution:
- Sacrifice Cephalid Illusionist Nomads en-Kor and Narcomoeba to flash back Dread Return targeting Karmic Guide.
- Karmic Guide's ETB trigger targets Sun Titan.
- Sun Titan's ETB trigger targets Phantasmal Image which copies Karmic Guide.
- Phantasmal Image's ETB trigger targets Phyrexian Metamorph which copies Sun Titan.
- Phyrexian Metamorph's ETB trigger targets Sculpting Steel which copies Phyrexian Metamorph (Sun Titan).
- Sculpting Steel's ETB trigger targets Lotus Bloom.
- Sacrifice the Phantasmal Image (a copy of Karmic Guide) to flash back Cabal Therapy targeting your opponent (the card you name with Cabal Therapy is irrelevant).
- Moving to combat attack with all creatures (Karmic Guide + 3 Sun Titans).
- The Sun Titan triggers target Snapcaster Mage Phantasmal Image and Sol Ring.
- Snapcaster Mage's ETB trigger targets Essence Harvest giving it flashback.
- Phantasmal Image enters the battlefield as a copy of Karmic Guide and its ETB trigger targets Vish Kal Blood Arbiter.
- Opponent takes 20 damage from combat.
- In the postcombat Main Phase use Vish Kal to sacrifice all other creatures. He gets 24 +1/+1 counters.
- Sacrifice Lotus Bloom for BBB and cast Essence Harvest targeting your opponent. Your opponent loses 29 life and loses the game.
Other solutions involve casting Faith's Reward to get back the Lotus Bloom or taking an extra turn with Time Warp and using Words of Wind to skip a draw step. Nevertheless congratulations to Mark who will receive a signed Faith's Reward!
That's all for this week; have a great time playing at SCG Open Series: Washington D.C. this weekend or in the M13 Release Events on Magic Online! As always send any questions comments or concerns to SCGthePuzzling@gmail.com. I'll see you next week!
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