Hello everybody! It’s been a while since you last heard from me, and I apologize for my unexpected disappearance. The past few weeks have been rough for me; I’ve been dealing with a family emergency, life issues, and the beginning of the semester. However, I come bearing good news! It looks like I’ll be able to continue Mind Twists every other week with more head-scratching puzzles and more awesome giveaways.
I realize it’s been a while, but the winners of the last puzzle raffles are Lyle Waldman ("Two-Turn Plan") and Russell Jones ("Everyday I’m Shuffling…"). Check your inboxes! Also, if you have won a previous Mind Twists raffle but have not received your prize, please contact me. I believe I mailed out prizes to winners who replied to my emails, but it’s possible that I may have missed one.
On to this week’s puzzles!
Puzzle #1: Burn, Planeswalker
Inspired by the Quarterfinals of the SCG Legacy Open in Los Angeles
Leaning on the remains of a wall destroyed long ago, you breathe deeply as you try to catch your breath. Sulfurous air burns your lungs, and you curse the Vortex you invoked earlier. This life-mage is more powerful than the others, you think to yourself. I’m not usually the hunted one.
The rush of mana temporarily blocks out the burning air and gives you renewed hope. I just need one shot at him. His Knight can finish the job, but he will want to witness his victory. His hubris will mark his demise.
"It’s not looking good for Patrick; he really has his back up against the wall. I think he has one more turn to try to turn things around, but I don’t see that happening."
Your lone Lavamancer finally catches up to you. "Master, we must flee. The life-mage is completely unfazed by yourâ€”"
"Flee? I would rather end my life as a smoldering crater than refuse to fight. I would rather end his life as a smoldering crater than anything. Prepare yourself, Tim. We will carry the day."
"Master, I have exhausted myâ€”"
Finally, the life-mage arrives surrounded by his Alaran army: a Knight of the Reliquary, an Ethersworn Canonist, and a Qasali Pridemage. "So," he begins, "here is the final resting spot of the famed pyromancer. Personally, I don’t understand how you earned your reputation, and as you can see I am remarkably unscorched."
Lovely, you think to yourself. Another monologue. You think I haven’t heard these before? Also, I didn’t know you were a pyromancer, or famed for that matter.
Your mana fully returned, a spark ignites above your palm. Smirking, you think to yourself, One smoldering crater, coming right up.
- In play: 4x Mountain, Grim Lavamancer, Sulfuric Vortex (all untapped)
- In hand: Fireblast, Lightning Bolt, Price of Progress, Taiga, Flame Rift
- In Graveyard: Scalding Tarn
- No cards in hand, no interactive cards in graveyard
- In play: Ethersworn Canonist, Qasali Pridemage, 6/6 Knight of the Reliquary (tapped), Forest (tapped), Plains (tapped), Dryad Arbor (tapped), Savannah (Tapped), and Wasteland (untapped).
It is currently your precombat main phase. You are at 5 life, while your opponent is at 13. Your opponent’s next draw step will be Umezawa’s Jitte, and your next draw step will be Mountain. Devise a plan to win with certainty.
Puzzle #2: Return to Ravnica
It’s the night before the Prerelease of Return to Ravnica. Unable to decide which guild to play tomorrow, you spend all night comparing which guilds have access to which cards until you succumb to exhaustion and fall into a deep slumber…
You find yourself above the clouds, with a majestic gate before you. A Blazing Archon approaches. He greets you with his resounding voice, "Welcome to Ravnica!"
Suddenly, a Simic Sky Swallower appears from the clouds and rams into you.
"You may not enter," the Archon continues, "Goodbye now!"
"Wait! I’ve waited seven years for this! You can’t take this away from me!" you plead.
"Fear not, planeswalker," a new voice speaks. Rising from below the clouds, Trostani appears. "Here, take this army, and earn your passage through the gate to Ravnica."
- In play: Plains, Island, Mana Flare, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, Rampaging Baloths, Phantasmal Image copying Rampaging Baloths, Anger, Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
- In hand: Fireblast, Fling, Explosive Vegetation, Flesh Allergy, Verdant Catacombs, Cackling Counterpart, Reanimate
- In graveyard: Archaeomancer
Your opponent has:
- No cards in hand, no interactive cards in graveyard
- In play: Blazing Archon, Simic Sky Swallower (tapped)
You are at one life, and your opponent is at 40. It is currently your precombat main phase. Your library contains one of each Magic: The Gathering card ever printed, with plenty of basic lands. Figure out a way to win!
Winner of the raffle will receive a signed Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice (when available)!
Solutions to Mind Twists #11
Here is Lyle Waldman’s winning solution:
- On opponent’s upkeep, cast Noxious Revival (tapping a Forest) targeting the Island in the opponent’s graveyard.
- Cast Noxious Revival (tapping a Forest) targeting the Fog in your graveyard.
- F6 through the remainder of your opponent’s turn while he casts Wurmcoil Engine, attacks for 5, and passes (10 life).
- Untap, draw Fog.
- Tap WU, cast Viridian Claw.
- Tap G, equip Claw to Brindle Boar.
- Move to combat, attack with the team.
- Opponent must block to avoid lethal damage. The creature he blocks
is irrelevant, but assume it’s a three-power creature.
- After first strike damage, tap the remaining Forest, cast Fog
(opponent’s life: 2). Wurmcoil Engine does not deal damage, opponent
does not gain life.
- End the turn.
- Opponent untaps, draws Negate.
- Opponent attacks with Delver. He may or may not attack with
Wurmcoil. If he does, sacrifice Brindle Boar to gain 4 life before
damage is dealt, going to 3. If not, do not sacrifice it and go to 5.
- Opponent ends turn.
- Untap, draw Swamp. Play Swamp (mise).
- If Brindle Boar was sacrificed, equip Viridian Claw to
another creature (the creature is irrelevant).
- Attack with team. Begin decision tree:
- If opponent attacked with Wurmcoil Engine, he is at 8 life. He
will take 6 damage in each damage step, making 12 total and die.
- If opponent did not attack with Wurmcoil Engine, he is at 2. He
will take 5 damage in the first strike damage step (if he blocks a
three-power creature) and die.
Congratulations Lyle, you will receive a signed Noxious Revival!
This one was obviously pretty open-ended, but most people solved this by looping Wirewood Herald (sacrificing it then finding it with its own trigger), Lin Sivvi (sacrificing herself in response to her ability), or Skyshroud Poacher + Quirion Ranger. Maybe I should have left out Bloodthrone Vampire…
Here is Russell Jones’ winning solution:
- Tap lands for 30 mana.
Pay 5 (25) to play Green Sun’s Zenith, X=4. Fetch Skyshroud Poacher to battlefield (2 shufflesâ€”the Zenith shuffles itself in separately) and attach Lightning Greaves to it.
Pay 3 (22) and tap Skyshroud Poacher to fetch Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary to the battlefield (3 shuffles) and attach Lightning Greaves to it.
- Tap Rofellos for 23 mana (45).
- Bounce a Forest to use Scryb Ranger’s ability to untap Skyshroud Poacher, then move Lightning Greaves back onto the Poacher. Replay the Forest, then tap it (46).
- Pay 3 (43) and tap Skyshroud Poacher to fetch Fauna Shaman (4 shuffles). For simplicity, assume Lightning Greaves is moved around as needed to use tap abilities or to offload it away from something that needs targeting from this point on.
- Pay 1 (42), tap Fauna Shaman, and discard Eternal Dragon (to bottom of library) to fetch Wirewood Symbiote to hand (5 shuffles).
- Pay 1 for Wirewood Symbiote (41). Bounce Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary using Wirewood Symbiote’s ability to untap Skyshroud Poacher, then replay Rofellos (39) and tap it for 23 more mana (62).
- Pay 3 (59) and tap Skyshroud Poacher to fetch Quirion Ranger (6 shuffles). Bounce a Forest for Quirion Ranger’s ability to untap Skyshroud Poacher, then sacrifice Quirion Ranger to Bloodthrone Vampire, putting it back in the library.
- Repeat the previous step 19 more times, going to 2 mana, 25 shuffles, and 1 basic Forest (along with the other lands). On the last time through, fetch Wood Elves instead of Quirion Ranger. Fail to find a land, but shuffle anyway (26).
- Sacrifice all creatures to Bloodthrone Vampire (obviously sacrificing itself last and putting everything on bottom of library), discard down to 7 Forests, then end the Mindslaver turn.
- When you’re back to controlling your own turn, draw whatever then attack with Master of the Pearl Trident and Cosi’s Trickster. Opponent has no creatures and will take 30 damage (-9). Win.
Congratulations Russell, you will receive a signed Cosi’s Trickster!
That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Mind Twists, and if all goes well I’ll be back in two weeks. As always, you can contact me with questions/comments/solutions at [email protected].
Thanks for reading!
@Sunyveil on Twitter
We are Selesnya. We all about the fair fight — Thalia and Ethersworn Canonist ensure that our adversaries play fair as well. It’s a harsh multiverse out there, full of agonizing tendrils, flying spaghetti monsters, and oversized insects. But if we can stand together and unite our powers, we can survive any battle, bolts of lightning, and even the sudden urge to plow fields.
We do not discriminate who joins our ranks. Humans, Elves, Kor, Dryads, Faeries — even Oozes, Giants, and the occasional Praetor — we all believe in the Worldsoul and stand to protect it.
We are Selesnya, and we will prevail.