Mind Twists #10
Hello and welcome to the tenth edition of Mind Twists StarCityGames.com's weekly puzzle column! As always I have two new puzzles for you to tackle—complete with raffles for signed cards—as well as the solutions to last week's puzzles. Speaking of which congratulations to Sean Ramirez ("Through the Fog") and Ryan Shaffer ("Oh the Bitter Shame and Sorrow") our winners for this week. Check your inboxes!
Puzzle #1: Raising the Dead? I'll Help!
You're playing a casual game of Commander with one of your friends. It's your Rafiq of the Many Blinks deck versus your opponent's Oros the Avenger of Graveyards deck and you spend many of the first several turns trading resources. Things start to heat up when your opponent casts Sulfuric Vortex shutting down your Venser the Sojourner + Pelakka Wurm life gaining engine. The Vortex proves to be too much for Venser and he planeswalks away from your duel (or whatever happens when a planeswalker's loyalty reaches zero). To make matters worse your opponent casts Grimoire of the Dead threatening to Reanimate everything and run you over.
Your opponent activates Grimoire of the Dead for the third time discarding the land he drew for that turn to put the third and final study counter on the artifact. Sighing you reach for your library and draw the last card before everything rises from the grave. You draw Intuition and you start to tap your mana to cast the spell. Reconsidering you untap your lands and pass the turn.
"Well I guess you're going to get everything back from the dead now" you say in a defeated tone.
"What do you have there a Fog?" your opponent asks as he untaps his permanents and draws his card for the turn. Instinctively he plays the Swamp off the top of his deck then says "Ok I'm going to activate Grimoire of the Dead's second ability. Urabrask the Hidden gives everything haste and I definitely have enough to kill you. Responses?"
"In response to the Grimoire ability I'll cast Intuition."
- It is your opponent's precombat main phase. Grimoire of the Dead's second ability has been put on the stack and your Intuition has been put on top of it.
- With Intuition on the stack both players' hands are currently empty.
- Your opponent is at 7 life and you are at 4 life.
- In play: Pelakka Wurm (untapped) equipped with Swiftfoot Boots 3 Islands (tapped) 2 Islands (untapped) 2 Plains (untapped) and 2 Forests (untapped).
- In graveyard: Venser the Sojourner War Priest of Thune Champion of Lambholt Avacyn's Pilgrim Farhaven Elf Precursor Golem Vorinclex Voice of Hunger.
- Your general Rafiq of the Many is in your library.
- Here is your decklist:
- 1 Precursor Golem
- 1 Aether Adept
- 1 Angel of Glory's Rise
- 1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 1 Blade Splicer
- 1 Borderland Ranger
- 1 Captain of the Mists
- 1 Captain of the Watch
- 1 Civic Wayfinder
- 1 Coiling Oracle
- 1 Craterhoof Behemoth
- 1 Elvish Visionary
- 1 Farhaven Elf
- 1 Fiend Hunter
- 1 Galepowder Mage
- 1 Glimmerpoint Stag
- 1 Goldnight Commander
- 1 Karmic Guide
- 1 Knight of the White Orchid
- 1 Merchant of Secrets
- 1 Monk Realist
- 1 Mulldrifter
- 1 Noble Hierarch
- 1 Ondu Giant
- 1 Pelakka Wurm
- 1 Restoration Angel
- 1 Riders of Gavony
- 1 Sawtooth Loon
- 1 Sea Gate Oracle
- 1 Sphinx of Uthuun
- 1 Stonecloaker
- 1 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Stonehorn Dignitary
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Sylvan Ranger
- 1 Tempting Wurm
- 1 Viridian Shaman
- 1 Whitemane Lion
- 1 Rafiq of the Many
- 1 Venser, Shaper Savant
- 1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Your opponent has:
- In play: 4 Swamps 3 Plains 3 Mountains Sulfuric Vortex (all untapped).
- In graveyard: 3 Mountains Grimoire of the Dead Inferno Titan Urabrask the Hidden Ancient Hellkite Sheoldred Whispering One Kuro Pitlord Dark Ritual Avatar of Woe Thundermaw Hellkite.
- Your opponent's general Oros the Avenger is in his library.
Formulate an Intuition that will lead you to victory!
Winner of the raffle will receive a signed Grimoire of the Dead!
Puzzle #2: Counting to Ten
It's a casual Saturday night at your local game store and you're in the middle of a Planechase match with a group of friends. You hear this announcement from the front of the store:
"Legacy Win an Underground Sea will begin in ten minutes but we need at least eight people to begin and we only have four people so far…"
You look at your three friends. They look back at you. Simultaneously each of you gets up from your seat and sprints to your backpack to try to throw a deck together. Tables flip. Chairs are knocked over. Cards go flying. You and your friends don't actually play Legacy but it's an eight-man tournament for an Underground Sea! Recalling a decklist you saw online once you hastily assemble a deck with Ad Nauseam and Tendrils of Agony. Looking around you see one friend has assembled Elf Overrun and another has assembled a U/B Mill deck. Filling the remaining slots of your deck with basic Swamps you head over to the counter to register for the tournament.
A few hours later you find yourself in game 3 of the final match for the Underground Sea. You are on the draw this game winning the last game by attacking with four 1/1 Goblins while your opponent did nothing for five turns. Your opponent plays a land and passes. You draw for your turn play a Swamp cycle a Barren Moor and pass back. On your opponent's second turn he plays a bunch of spells then lands Battle of Wits with exactly 200 cards left in his library! Both players are still at 20 but your opponent will absolutely win the game on his next upkeep. Cautiously you untap draw a card then crack a smile as you realize that you are about to win an Underground Sea.
- In play: Swamp.
- In hand: Swamp Lotus Petal Lion's Eye Diamond Dark Ritual Cabal Ritual Infernal Tutor Tendrils of Agony Ad Nauseam.
- In graveyard: Barren Moor.
(You pulled most of the cards out of a Commander deck explaining why you have so many one-ofs.)
Winner will receive a signed Ad Nauseam!
Solutions to Last Week's Puzzles
Here is Sean Ramirez's solution:
- Use Liliana of the Dark Realms' -6 ability giving you an emblem that lets your Swamps tap for BBBB.
- Tap all lands adding [RRRRR] [BBBB] [BBBB] [G] to your mana pool.
- Cast Fervor [RBB].
- Cast Rummaging Goblin [RBB]. [RRR] [BBBB] [G] remain in your mana pool.
- Activate Rummaging Goblin discarding Spiked Baloth to draw Swamp.
- Play Swamp returning Veilborn Ghoul from your graveyard to your hand.
- Tap Swamp adding [BBBB] to your mana pool ([RRR] [BBBB] [BBBB] [G] remaining).
- Cast Mogg Flunkies [RR].
- Cast Veilborn Ghoul [RBBBB].
- Cast Bloodhunter Bat [BBBB] draining your opponent for 2 life. Opponent goes to 9 [G] remains in your mana pool.
- Cast Prey Upon targeting Bloodhunter Bat and Fog Bank killing Fog Bank.
- Attack with Bloodhunter Bat Mogg Flunkies and Veilborn Ghoul for 9 damage.
Congratulations Sean you will receive a signed Fervor!
The winner Ryan Shaffer provided two viable solutions. Here they are in his own words:
A needlessly convoluted (but in keeping with the spirit of the puzzle) solution. In response to Sorrow's Path trigger:
- Equip Kitesail to Puresteel Paladin for free (via Puresteel Paladin and Leonin Shikari).
- Equip Livewire Lash to Puresteel Paladin for free.
- Tap Scrubland Bayou and one Plains to play Hideous End on the Paladin. Livewire Lash triggers target your opponent. These go on the stack.
- Respond by tapping your second Plains to play Path to Exile on the Paladin. Livewire Lash triggers target your opponent. These go on the stack.
- Respond by tapping two Forests to activate Trophy Hunter targeting the Paladin (which has flying via Kitesail). This goes on the stack.
- Trophy Hunter ability resolves. Paladin which has 1 damage from Plague Spitter on it already dies. Trophy Hunter gets two +1/+1 counters.
- The two spells targeting Paladin fizzle (so you don't lose life off Hideous End). The two Livewire Lash triggers resolve hitting your opponent (who falls to 23). Kitesail and Livewire Lash fall to the ground. The stack is now empty save for Sorrow's Path.
- Equip Lightning Greaves to Leonin Shikari.
- Tap Temple Garden to play Hunger of the Howlpack targeting Kemba who gets six +1/+1 counters (via Morbid off the Paladin).
Move to declare attackers and attack with three creatures dealing 8 + 4 + 10 to your opponent to kill him exactly (22 damage).
A simpler solution:
- Equip Kitesail to the Puresteel Paladin.
- Tapone Forest and one Plains to shoot the Paladin (which has flying via Kitesail) with Trophy Hunter.
- Trophy Hunter's ability resolves. Puresteel Paladin takes 1 damage and has 1 damage from Plague Spitter. It dies. Trophy Hunter gets two +1/+1 counters. Kitesail falls to the ground.
- Equip Lightning Greaves to Leonin Shikari.
- Tap your second Forestto play Hunger of the Howlpack targeting Kemba Kha Regent. Livewire Lash triggers; shoot your opponent (life = 25). Kemba gets six +1/+1 counters via morbid off the Paladin.
Right now you have a 4/5 Trophy Hunter with 3 damage a 6/6 Fungusaur with 3 damage an 8/10 (base) Kemba with 3 damage equipped with Livewire Lash and Bonesplitter to become a 12/10 and five lands untapped (Plains Temple Garden Savannah Bayou Scrubland).
Move to declare attackers and attack with your three creatures dealing 8 + 4 + 12 to your opponent to kill him exactly (24 damage). If that somehow fails you can pull the same Livewire spell-stacking trick to get a few more points.
Congratulations Ryan you will receive a signed Sorrow's Path!
If you have any questions comments or puzzle suggestions just email me at SCGthePuzzling@gmail.com as always. I hope you enjoyed this week's puzzles and I'll see you again next week!
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