[Editor’s Note: More and more people have been sending”puzzle columns” to my Inbox. Since I think logically working through some actual play situations can be an effective teaching tool as well as being fun or entertaining, I decided to run Jeff’s column here. The question is whether you, the reader, are interested in more of these sorts of articles. Please make your opinions known in the forums and I’ll go about determining if we will be running more of these.]
Inspired by Brian McKay’s recent articles, and in homage to Mark Rosewater fine book, I present you some modern”Magic: The Puzzling” situations. Although these situations usually seem obscure and unrelated to actual constructed play, I have learned that the more practice you have with situations like these, the easier it is to identify the tough-to-find outs in real games of Magic. This is especially true for Limited formats, where you have to use cards for their not-so-obvious uses!
Do you have what it takes to come out the winner?
Puzzle 1 (difficulty: 2/10):
The first puzzle is more of a warm-up. Any dedicated Goblin player should have no trouble coming up with a solution in the bat of an eye. Can you?
You are running your typical Goblin Bidding deck while your opponent, Fred, has the nerve to show up playing an outdated Broodstar Affinity deck. You have managed to keep his threats at bay thus far with your Sparksmith, but his freshly cast Broodstar threatens to kill you on his next turn. Luckily, on your turn you topdecked a City of Brass!
Goal: You are at eight life, Fred is at thirteen. Kill Fred this turn.
Fred has no cards in hand.
Puzzle 2 (difficulty: 5/10):
You are playing your”customized” version of a Ravager Affinity deck, hoping to get some final mileage out of your Skullclamps before the fix is in. Unfortunately for you, your opponent, Gina, has been able to stay alive for a very long time, and you will lose to decking if you don’t do something fast.
Goal: You are at one life, Gina is at eighteen. It is your post combat main phase. Kill Gina before she draws her next card.
No cards in library
In Graveyard: Frogmite
Puzzle 3 (difficulty: 9/10):
You are playing your Elf and Nail deck, and you thought you were going to win last turn when you cast Tooth and Nail for Darksteel Colossus and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. However, on your opponent Ted’s turn, he played a Forest, cast Duplicant on your Colossus, and put down a Damping Matrix. Things turned back your way, though, when you drew Viridian Shaman this turn.
Goal: Ted is at thirty-seven life. Win this turn (note: there are several forests, but no elves left in your deck)
Thanks to Andrew Potozniak for testing out the puzzles. If you manage to find a solution that deals more damage than the number required, then congratulations! You’ve bested us both.
Until next time.