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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Mar 04 2019 1:00pm
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These puzzles are more about trivia than strategy. The premise is you have to solve a bizarre board state with a tutor and a deck containing 4 of every vintage legal card. Can you figure out what niche cards fit the requirements to win? Here are volumes 1 and 2.

No easy warmup this time! We're just getting right into it.


1. The Case of the Obstructed Disinterment

With an 80,000 card deck, you can't believe you managed to draw both Entomb and Shallow Grave at the same time. Unfortunately, it happened while your opponent has an Uphill Battle in play and four Stifles in hand.

You could certainly get an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Goretusk Firebeast, or Vulshok Replica, but none would do anything. And yet your opponent is only at 2 life. You must be able to get something helpful, but what?

Your hand: Your board: Opp's hand: Opp's board:

Shallow Grave
Infernal Denizen  

2 Mountain
2 Swamp
4 Stifle Wandering Eye
Uphill Battle
lots of mana (not pictured)

Hints and solutions for all puzzles are at the bottom.


2. The Case of the Stacked Burn

Your opponent is at 8 life, you're at 5, and a fatal Lava Axe is pointed at you on the stack. You're sure your Mystical Teachings can get you out of this, but you're not yet sure how. You don't have the mana to cast a nonblack card, you don't have the time to cast a sorcery, Imp's Mischief would kill you, and Dash Hopes would do nothing.

What can you get that would win before Lava Axe resolves?

Your hand: Your board: Opp's hand: Opp's board:

Mystical Teachings
(Alms of the Vein)

1 untapped Island
8 untapped Swamp
irrelevant Hallowed Ground


3. The Case of the Temporary Shelter

Your Imperial Mask has been protecting you from the Searing Wind you know is in your opponent's hand, yet they are about to draw a Disenchant and kill you next turn. You consider transmuting for a 2cmc discard spell to stay alive, but you decide you can do even better than that by just winning the game this turn. How? You're both at 7 life, so a (Sovereign's Bite) won't cut it.

Your hand: Your board: Opp's hand: Opp's board:
Shred Memory
Koskun Falls
5 Swamp Searing Wind 11 land
Oracle of Mul Daya


4. The Case of the Two Furnaces

Your Furnace of Rath and Furnace Celebration will let any creature do a lot of work, yet you can only get a creature costing 2 mana. What could possibly deal 14 damage from this position?

Your hand: Your board: Opp's hand: Opp's board:
Dimir Infiltrator
7 land
1 Furnace of Rath
1 Furnace Celebration
irrelevant irrelevant


5. The Case of the the Triumverate

On this, your last turn before dying (in real life), you consider tapping all nine lands for a blind X=6 Genesis Wave. But with a deck this big, the odds of it actually helping are small indeed, even when you do have a Concordant Crossroads out. You decide to instead tap three lands for a Congregation At Dawn into a 3-point Wave.

What three creatures can you put on top of your library to deal at least 24 damage this turn? Remember that Genesis Wave will only work here on creatures with a cmc of 3 or less.

Your hand: Your board: Opp's hand: Opp's board:
Genesis Wave
Malignant Growth
Concordant Crossroads
on-the-stack Congregation At Dawn
irrelevant Melting



— ♦ — Hints & Solutions — ♦ —

With over 20,000 unique cards in print, many of these puzzles are likely to have alternate solutions. Please post any you thought of.


1. The Case of the Obstructed Disinterment

Hint: Most of us are used to only using Entomb to get creatures. But reading it carefully, you'll see it doesn't have to.

Black bars can be highlighted to reveal additional hints and solutions.

Solution: Just fetch a card that can deal 2 damage from the graveyard. You don't have the mana to flash back a Firebolt, but how about Conflagrate?


2. The Case of the Stacked Burn

Hint 1: The Alms of the Vein in your hand is not a red herring. You can (and probably must) use it.

Hint #2: You need a card that simultaneously deals 5 damage and lets you discard a card. And Lightning Axe can't hit players.

Solution: Kaervek's Spite. Don't forget to float mana!


3. The Case of the Temporary Shelter

Hint #1: I don't think YOU can cast anything to deal 7 damage here... but...

Hint #2: ...could your opponent?

Solution: Alpha had this funky card called Word of Command. Get that, and use it to make your opponent cast that Searing Touch on themselves.


4. The Case of the Two Furnaces

Hint #1: You do indeed need both Furnaces for the solution I thought of.

Hint #2: But you don't have to activate anything.

Solution: Heartlash Cinder. When it enters the battlefield, it will see chroma 6 and attack for 7 hasty damage, which gets doubled to 14.


5. The Case of the Triumverate

Hint: Some creatures stack well. Hero of Bladehold and Creakwood Liege are good examples, but are there any at lower CMCs?

Solution: Any combination of Ambuscade Shamans and Primal Forcemages will give you three 8/8s, attacking for 24 total.


Thanks for playing!