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Going Mental


I’ve been having fun with Mental Magic lately. For those who don’t know, this is a format in which the cards can do anything but what they say they do. There are many variations, but the rules I’ve been using are as follows:

  • You get 10 mana of any color to spend each turn. This mana only empties from your mana pool at the end of your opponent’s turn, but all other mana you may get empties as usual.
  • You may cast cards in your hand as any spell of the exact same mana cost—as long as it’s not the printed card and that spell hasn’t been cast yet this game. Hybrid spells may be cast using any valid mana cost (e.g. you may cast Grave Bramble as Kitchen Finks). You may pay life for Phyrexian mana spells, but you must use a card with the full mana cost (so Steel Sabotage can be Mental Misstep, but Darksteel Relic cannot).
  • Cards outside the battlefield have all their printed characteristics. You may cast flashback spells from the graveyard as above using their flashback costs (e.g. you may cast Cancel from your graveyard as Cackling Counterpart for 5uu).
  • If a card would enter the battlefield for any reason other than being cast, you choose a permanent with the same mana cost for it to become as it enters.


Your library is empty, and your hand contains the following cards: Balduvian Frostwaker, Child of Night, Incinerate, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Moonlace, and Skyshroud Ranger. Your opponent controls no permanents. Using only cards in the Modern format, deal infinite damage to your opponent this turn, according to the rules above.


You may not assume anything about your opponent's hand or library, except that he won't do anything relevant and he's at an arbitrarily high life total. You may not use any effects that bring in cards from outside the game.

Send your solutions to nex342+puzzle at gmail dot com with the subject line “Puzzle – Going Mental”, and I’ll include the best ones in next week’s article along with the next puzzle!

Good luck!

Solution to Last Week’s Puzzle

Turns out the monsters are pretty fierce! Qihan Long found solutions for infinite damage on turn five for both Spirits and Zombies. However, it looks like the Humans will be able to survive—Aaron Golas sent in the following solution for infinite damage on turn four on the play using only Human cards.

Play Mana Cards in Hand
Turn one 0 7
Forest g 6
Avacyn's Pilgrim 0 5
Turn two gw 6
Forest ggw 5
Avacyn's Pilgrim gw 4
Avacyn's Pilgrim w 3
Champion of the Parish 0 2
Turn three ggwww 3
Mentor of the Meek gg 2
Avacyn's Pilgrim, draw from Mentor 0 2
Turn four ggwwww 3
Village Bell-Ringer, draw from Mentor wwwwww 3
Fiend Hunter, exile Village Bell-Ringer www 2
Fiend Hunter, exile Fiend Hunter, returning Village Bell-Ringer wwww 1
Fiend Hunter, exile Fiend Hunter w 0

The three Fiend Hunters now exile one another in a loop, putting infinite +1/+1 counters on the Champion of the Parish. Finally, the Champion attacks for infinite damage.

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