I thought I’d try something a little different this week. This challenge was inspired by one in Mark Rosewater’s classic Magic: The Puzzling book.
Noah, Ryker, Austin, and Michelle have just settled in for some serious trading, but they’re having trouble figuring out how each of them can get the cards they want. They’ve got the following cards for trade:
- Noah has Robber Fly, Lurking Informant, Goblin Guide, and Gaea's Revenge.
- Ryker has Moroii, Gigapede, Zodiac Dragon, and Dragonstorm.
- Austin has Petalmane Baku, Zombie Outlander, Alpha Tyrranax, and Skyshroud Ridgeback.
- Michelle has Keeper of the Sacred Word, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Blightsteel Colossus, and Chaos Lord.
They each want the following cards:
- Noah wants Moroii, Zombie Outlander, Zodiac Dragon, and Chaos Lord.
- Ryker wants Lurking Informant, Petalmane Baku, Dragonstorm, and Robber Fly.
- Austin wants Blightsteel Colossus, Gaea's Revenge, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, and Goblin Guide.
- Michelle wants Skyshroud Ridgeback, Gigapede, Alpha Tyrranax, and she wants to keep Keeper of the Sacred Word.
Updated: The above options were changed to reflect a correction from the author.
The traders’ lives are complicated by the fact that they each have their own quirks when it comes to trading:
- Noah will only trade for creatures that win combat against the creature he’s trading away.
- Ryker will only trade for cards with exactly the same color(s) as the card he’s trading away.
- Austin will only trade for cards with higher rarity than the card he’s trading away (Chaos Lord is rare).
- Michelle will only trade for cards with a lower converted mana cost than the card she’s trading away.
Click here to see the image for the challenge.
Find a sequence of trades that leaves all traders with the cards they want.
Send your solutions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Puzzle – Bizarre Traders” and I’ll include the best ones in next week’s article, along with the next puzzle!
The first solution I received for last week’s puzzle, from Steven Yazinka, follows below. In it, I’ll refer to each creature as its printed name, ignoring any transformations that may be applied to it.
- Tap all your land for 28 mana.
- Crag Puca blocks Nova Chaser; Shapesharer and Cemetery Puca both block Hamletback Goliath.
- Use Shapesharer to turn Fire-Belly Changeling into Crag Puca (25 mana remaining).
- Swap Crag Puca’s power and toughness (24).
- Turn Crag Puca into Rustrazor Butcher (21).
- Let First Strike damage happen. Crag Puca kills Nova Chaser, you take 1 damage from the opponent’s Rustrazor Butcher, and Cemetery Puca triggers.
- In response to Cemetery Puca’s trigger, use Shapesharer to turn it into Crag Puca (18).
- Swap Cemetery Puca’s power and toughness (17).
- Allow Cemetery Puca’s trigger to resolve, paying for it to turn Cemetery Puca into Nova Chaser (16).
- Turn Fire-Belly Changeling into Rustrazor Butcher using Shapesharer (13).
- In response, use Shapesharer to turn itself into Nova Chaser (10).
- In response to that, use Shapesharer to turn itself into Crag Puca (7).
- Swap Shapesharer’s power and toughness (6).
- Let Shapesharer’s second activation resolve, turning it into Crag Puca.
- Let Shapesharer’s first activation resolve, turning Fire-Belly Changeling into Rustrazor Butcher.
- Hamletback Goliath’s 19 power is blocked by your two 2/10 Nova Chasers.