Welcome to the fourth edition of Mind Twists! Thank you to everyone who submitted solutions this week—our winners are Chris Marshall ("Bludgeon Brawl") and Michael Sheng ("Pay for the Pact"). Check your inboxes!
Here are the solutions to last week's puzzles:
First I apologize for the setup. Apparently planeswalkers can't be put into play by means of Warp World and—
Uh oh. Here comes Gideon and it looks like he's carrying Nicol Bolas. Be right back.
- Use Tezzeret Agent of Bolas' -1 ability on Grafted Wargear turning it into a 5/5 creature. It becomes unattached to the Symbiotic Wurm causing you to sacrifice it and create seven 1/1 tokens.
- Use Gideon Jura's 0 ability to turn him into a creature preventing all damage that would be dealt to him.
- Tap both Mountains and cast Battle Hymn putting 9 mana in your mana pool.
- Cast Blasphemous Act destroying all creatures except Gideon.
- Use Liquimetal Coating's ability on Nicol Bolas Planeswalker turning him into an artifact and effectively equipment.
- Equip Gideon with Grafted Wargear and Nicol Bolas Planeswalker and attack for 17.
Congratulations Chris Marshall; you will receive a signed Bludgeon Brawl!
Pay for the Pact
Tinder Farm! The Invasion cycle of common taplands is definitely one of my favorites. I don't know about you but I've been having the time of my life playing Invasion Block drafts during Magic Online's 10-year anniversary celebration.
- On opponent's end step tap Savannah for G. Activate Fauna Shaman's ability discarding Scryb Ranger to get Anger.
- Use Knight of the Reliquary's ability to sacrifice the Savannah getting Tinder Farm into play tapped.
- Untap upkeep. Sacrifice Tinder Farm to add RW tap the Bayou for G. Use Knight of the Reliquary's ability to sacrifice the Bayou to get Urborg Tomb of Yawgmoth. Then tap Urborg and Dark Depths (which now produces mana) for BB giving you RWGBB in your mana pool. Pay for the Pact of the Titan.
- Draw whatever.
- If you didn't draw the Taiga play the Windswept Heath from the graveyard. Sacrifice it to search for the Taiga (or just play the Taiga if you drew it).
- Tap the Taiga and then activate Fauna Shaman's ability to discard Anger and find anything.
- Sacrifice Vampire Hexmage targeting Dark Depths awakening an angry Marit Lage. Attack with Marit Lage for 20!
Congratulations Michael Sheng; you will receive a signed Vampire Hexmage!
Here are the puzzles for this week:
Puzzle 1: Krenko's Recruitment
Krenko Mob Boss was not happy. His gang was currently celebrating the defeat of their rivals Talrand's Battalion in combat. Of course this was the perfect time for his Goblin Marshal to report the sighting of Jace Beleren on the other side of the town square. Whatever this intruding planeswalker was doing in Krenko's part of town it wasn't welcome—he needed to ambush Jace and take him down before the mind mage could react. Even worse Jace had brought along his pet Silent Arbiter making such an ambush almost impossible.
About two turns of the clock ago Krenko had sent his messenger boar to fetch his newly hired Goblin Recruiter. He seemed pretty competent (at least for a Goblin) though Krenko was starting to regret his decision to hire somebody who had already been banned from Leg'Aky's gang. The only other Goblin at Krenko's headquarters was his Gempalm Incinerator who had just finished preparations for a Brightstone Ritual.
Finally a pounding on the door.
"Sorry I late boss" apologized the recruiter as Krenko opened the door. "Stupid Wardriver shoot arrow through Recruiter's ear. Couldn't hear what boar saying." The Recruiter pointed to his left ear which sure enough had an arrow sticking out of it.
Krenko whacked the Recruiter on the head with the blunt end of his dagger's handle. "Boar no speak!" Krenko yelled. He was pretty sure that arrow was already there when he hired the Recruiter. "No matter. Get gang! Planeswalker in town square!"
Here's Krenko's Mob:
- 1 Anger
- 1 Arms Dealer
- 1 Caterwauling Boggart
- 1 Gempalm Incinerator
- 1 Goblin Artillery
- 1 Goblin Bushwhacker
- 1 Goblin Chieftain
- 1 Goblin General
- 1 Goblin King
- 1 Goblin Lackey
- 1 Goblin Lookout
- 1 Goblin Marshal
- 1 Goblin Matron
- 1 Goblin Piledriver
- 1 Goblin Pyromancer
- 1 Goblin Recruiter
- 1 Goblin Ringleader
- 1 Goblin Ruinblaster
- 1 Goblin Sharpshooter
- 1 Goblin Sledder
- 1 Goblin Warchief
- 1 Goblin Wardriver
- 1 Goblin Welder
- 1 Horde of Boggarts
- 1 Lavafume Invoker
- 1 Lightning Crafter
- 1 Mogg Raider
- 1 Mogg War Marshal
- 1 Moggcatcher
- 1 Reckless One
- 1 Siege-Gang Commander
- 1 Skirk Drill Sergeant
- 1 Skirk Fire Marshal
- 1 Skirk Marauder
- 1 Skirk Prospector
- 1 Skirk Volcanist
- 1 Sparksmith
- 1 Spikeshot Elder
- 1 Spikeshot Goblin
- 1 Stingscourger
- 1 Tuktuk Scrapper
- 1 Voracious Dragon
- 1 Warbreak Trumpeter
- 1 Warren Instigator
- 1 Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician
- 1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
- 1 Krenko, Mob Boss
- 1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
- 1 Tuktuk the Explorer
- 1 Zo-Zu the Punisher
- The format is Commander. Krenko Mob Boss is your general and has not yet been cast this game.
- It is currently your precombat main phase.
- You have the following cards in play: Goblin Marshal two 1/1 Goblin tokens Goblin Burrows Barbarian Ring and seven Mountains.
- You have no cards in your graveyard.
- You have the following cards in your hand: Gempalm Incinerator Brightstone Ritual and Goblin Recruiter.
- Jace has Silent Arbiter and lands in play. Jace is unaware of Krenko's plot so he has no responses to any of Krenko's actions.
- Jace has a Wayfarer's Bauble in the graveyard.
- Both players are at 40 life. Win this turn with absolute certainty.
Winner will receive a signed Krenko Mob Boss (as soon as it is available!).
Puzzle 2: Vigilante Injustice
For those of you looking for a challenge here's a tough one! Credit goes to my friend Leo McDonnell for designing this puzzle.
Here's the story… You're playing in a Magic Online draft but you disconnect after pack one and barely rejoin in time to play. You make the finals anyway (obv) and you bet your friend that you can win without sideboarding. You make it deep in game 3 but your opponent peels Gisela Blade of Goldnight like a sack and slams her on the (digital) table. In his excitement he forgets to attack for lethal. On your turn you draw Bone Splinters and realize you can win this turn.
You (1 life)
Opponent (11 life)
Board (all untapped):
Emancipation Angel (paired w/ Spectral Gateguards)
Seraph of Dawn (equipped with Bladed Bracers)
Spectral Gateguards (paired w/ Emancipation Angel)
Butcher Ghoul (via Stolen Goods)
Gisela Blade of Goldnight
Winner receives a signed Vigilante (In)Justice!
Bonus: SCG Open Series: Seattle
It looks like I'm heading up for SCG Open Series: Seattle this weekend so I figured I'd spend a little time talking about the deck I'm planning on playing. I'm not sure how many of you reading this care about what I'm playing in Standard so let me know in the comments whether this is welcome or unnecessary.
Here's the 75 I'm currently on:
- 1 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 2 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 2 Blade Splicer
- 2 Borderland Ranger
- 1 Fiend Hunter
- 1 Geist-Honored Monk
- 2 Huntmaster of the Fells
- 2 Phantasmal Image
- 1 Primeval Titan
- 3 Restoration Angel
- 2 Strangleroot Geist
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- 2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
A few months ago I wrote an article about the Four-Color Birthing Pod list with which I made Top 8 of the SCG Standard Open in Baltimore. The above list is more or less a straight update. Unlike the more straightforward Naya versions of Birthing Pod this one tries to just stay alive (durdle) long enough to get the Birthing Pods running and drop Elesh Norn on the table. Oftentimes the game ends in one big swing for 20+ damage.
So far I've been impressed by this list in the current metagame. When I played it in Baltimore I was happy to go up against a field of mostly Delver and Zombies dodging Humans and Ramp (less exciting matchups). Delver got Restoration Angel but so did I and it can come out a turn earlier in Pod. This deck dominates midrange decks having a similar midgame but a staggeringly powerful endgame. The current Esper Control lists aren't scary either lacking good ways to deal with a resolved Primeval Titan.
In the interest of time I'm just going to briefly discuss some of the recent changes to the deck. The four Cavern of Souls are great for providing that one-time color requirement in this deck making splashing for Phantasmal Image less awkward. Unfortunately that makes Strangleroot Geist awkward to cast—but is the 2/1 haster even good in this format? He's great against Zombies but that's about it right now so he's down to two copies. The Slayers' Stronghold is probably the most exciting land to fetch up with Primeval Titan. Before the fact that you couldn't Pod into something big and attack with it in the same turn was a huge problem for the deck but now every creature after a Primeval Titan threatens to kill right away.
The sideboard looks eclectic but I'm really happy with it. The deck needs so many pieces that I only want to take out 3-5 cards for any given matchup and the sideboard provides specific answers or specific threats that shine in different places. The Kessig Wolf Run is only really great against control so it has been moved to the sideboard. The two Gut Shots are just in the board to take out opposing Birds of Paradise and gain tempo in those matchups. Aside from that it has life gain artifact hate flying creature hate planeswalker hate (Zealous Conscripts) and the biggest creature in the format (Wolfir Silverheart) all Tutorable.
My trip to Seattle is going to take up the better part of this weekend so there's a good chance that Mind Twists will be on hiatus for a week. Enjoy the SCG Open Series: Seattle coverage and the spoilers that come out next week!
Until next time
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