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Puzzling Magic #20 – So You Sphinx You Can Win

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Liz is playing a one-on-one game of Commander, pitting her Sharuum-commanded Sphinx deck against Ed’s crazy combo deck. She’s way up on the board, and she thinks she can close out the game this turn.

Liz is at 25 life and controls Isperia the Inscrutable, Sensei's Divining Top, Sphinx of Lost Truths, two Swamps, three Plains, four Islands, Azorius Chancery, Dimir Aqueduct, Godless Shrine, Oboro, Palace in the Clouds, Orzhov Basilica, Reflecting Pool, Reliquary Tower, Sol Ring, Sunken Ruins, Underground Sea, and Watery Grave. Her hand contains Disenchant and Enigma Sphinx. Her library contains, from top to bottom, Sphinx Sovereign, Phyrexian Metamorph, Sharuum the Hegemon, Vexing Arcanix, Sphinx Summoner, Academy Ruins, Minamo, School at Water's Edge, Chancellor of the Spires, and Day of Judgment.

Ed is at 9 life and has Doubling Cube, Forest, Hallowed Fountain, Island, Mountain, Overgrown Tomb, Plains, and Swamp on the battlefield. His hand is empty, but his graveyard contains Apocalypse, Cabal Ritual, Empty the Warrens, Fire Servant, and Kaboom!. His commander, Atogatog, is in the command zone.

Click here to see the board state for the challenge.

Challenge

It’s the beginning of Liz’s main phase. Figure out how she can win this turn.

Send your solutions to nex342+puzzle@gmail.com with the subject line “Puzzle – So You Sphinx You Can Win” and I’ll include the best ones in next week’s article, along with the next puzzle!

Good luck!

Special thanks to Liz Cady for creating the board-state image for this puzzle.

Solutions to Last Week’s Puzzle

It seems that my stab at last week’s puzzle was vastly suboptimal; I originally set the highest level at 275 copies, but this was blown out of the water in a few hours by Rast, who sent in a 3,000-copy solution. Rast built on this until ultimately 11,696 copies were created. That solution is presented below, but first, I want to give a shout-out to Ben Friesen, who sent in the first solution that broke 275 copies.

Play Mana Cards in Graveyard Cards in Hand Cards in Library
turn one 0 0 7 53
Forest g 0 6 53
Avacyn's Pilgrim 0 0 5 53
turn two wg 0 6 52
Island wug 0 5 52
Avacyn's Pilgrim ug 0 4 52
Deranged Assistant 0 0 3 52
turn three 1wwug 1 4 50
Hinterland Harbor 1wwugg 1 3 50
Avacyn's Pilgrim 1wwug 1 2 50
Mentor of the Meek ug 1 1 50
Avacyn's Pilgrim, draw off Mentor 0 1 1 49
turn four 1wwwwuug 2 2 47
Village Bell-Ringer, draw off Mentor 1wwwwwuug 3 2 45
Village Bell-Ringer, draw off Mentor 1wwwwwwuug 4 2 43
Mentor of the Meek, draw off Mentor wwwuug 4 2 42
Village Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors (stack untap trigger over Mentor trigger) wwwuug 5 3 39
Village Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors wwwuug 6 4 36
Sulfur Falls wwwuurg 6 3 36
Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Bell-Ringer wwwuurrrg 6 + 2 known 2 36
Fiend Hunter, exiling Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors uurg 6 + 2 3 34
Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Hunter, returning Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors wwwuurrrg 7 + 4 4 31
Fiend Hunter, exiling Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors uurg 7 + 4 5 29
Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Hunter, returning Bell-Ringer, draw off both Mentors wwwuurrrg 8 + 6 6 26
Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield wwwuurrrg 8 + 7 5 25
Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield wwwuurrrg 8 + 8 4 24
Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield wwwuurrrg 8 + 9 3 23
Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield wwwuurrrg 8 + 10 2 22
Flash back Past in Flames uurg 7 + 10 2 22
Flash back Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield uurg 7 + 9 2 21
Flash back Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield uurg 7 + 8 2 20
Flash back Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield uurg 7 + 7 2 19
Flash back Caravan Vigil, putting Forest onto the battlefield uurg 7 + 6 2 18
Flash back Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Bell-Ringer uurrrg 7 + 6 2 18
Flash back Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Bell-Ringer uurrrrrg 7 + 6 2 18
Back from the Brink rg 7 + 6 1 18
Flash back Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Bell-Ringer rrrg 7 + 6 1 18
Parallel Lives 0 7 + 6 0 18
turn five 1wwwwuuu

ggggggggg

8 + 6 1 16
Brink back Fiend Hunter, creating two tokens. Have the first remove the second, and the second remove Bell-Ringer, in that order. Bell-Ringer is removed and returned. 1wwwwwwuuu

ggggggggg

9 + 5 1 15
Brink back Fiend Hunter, flickering Bell-Ringer as above. 1wwwwwwwwuuu

ggggggggg

10 + 4 1 14
Parallel Lives wwwwwwuuu

gggggggg

10 + 4 0 14
Brink back Village Bell-Ringer, creating four tokens. Draw eight times off Mentors. 15×w uuu

gggggggg

14 + 3 8 2
Parallel Lives 12×w uuu

ggggggg

14 + 3 7 2
Parallel Lives wwwwwwwwwuuu

gggggg

14 + 3 6 2
Demonmail Hauberk wwwwwuuu

gggggg

14 + 3 5 2
Brink back Village Bell-Ringer, creating sixteen tokens. Draw once off Mentor. Only activate Deranged Assistant once. 66×w uuu

gggggg

15 + 2 6 0
Brink back Village Bell-Ringer, creating sixteen tokens. Don’t activate Deranged Assistant. 130×w uuu

gggggg

15 + 1 6 0
Brink back Village Bell-Ringer, creating sixteen tokens. Don’t activate Deranged Assistant. 194×w uuu

gggggg

15 6 0
Island 194×w uuuu

gggggg

15 5 0
Brink back Moldgraf Monstrosity, creating sixteen tokens 190×w uuuuggg 14 5 0
Cackling Counterpart targeting Moldgraf Monstrosity, creating sixteen more tokens 189×w uuggg 14 + 1 4 0
Flash back Cackling Counterpart targeting Moldgraf Monstrosity, creating sixteen more tokens 184×w ggg 14 4 0
Brink back four Doomed Travelers, creating a total of sixty-four 182×w ggg 10 4 0
Brink back four Mausoleum Guards, creating a total of sixty-four 166×w ggg 6 4 0
Flash back Unburial Rites targeting Disciple of Griselbrand 160×w ggg 4 4 0
Gutter Grime 156×w gg 4 3 0
Gutter Grime 152×w g 4 2 0
Gutter Grime 148×w 4 1 0
Brink back Geist-Honored Monk, creating sixteen tokens. Don’t allow the Spirit-creating abilities to resolve. 143×w 3 1 0

In response to the Monks’ triggered abilities, repeat the following steps with forty-seven of the forty-eight Monstrosity tokens:

Sacrifice a Monstrosity token to Disciple of Griselbrand, returning two Geist-Honored Monks to the battlefield. Don’t allow the Spirit-creating abilities to resolve. 142×w 1 1 0
Sacrifice both non-token Monks to Disciple. Don’t allow the Gutter Grime triggers to resolve. 140×w 1 + 2 1 0

With 16 + 47 × 2 = 110 Monk triggers and 47 × 2 × 3 = 282 Grime triggers on the stack:

Sacrifice the final Monstrosity token to Disciple, returning Geist-Honored Monk and Essence of the Wild to the battlefield w 0 1 0
Allow all Gutter Grime and Geist-Honored Monk triggers to resolve w 0 1 0
Sacrifice all Doomed Traveler and Mausoleum Guards to Demonmail Hauberk w 0 1 0
Champion of the Parish 0 0 0 0
Sacrifice all nontoken creatures (four Avacyn's Pilgrims, Deranged Assistant, two Mentor of the Meek, Geist-Honored Monk, Disciple of Griselbrand, Essence of the Wild, and Champion of the Parish) to Hauberk 0 0 + 11 0 0

Ultimately, the following Essence tokens are created:

  • (110 + 1 = 111 Monk triggers) × 2 × 16 = 3,552 Essences
  • (282 + 33 = 315 Grime triggers) × 16 = 5,040 Essences
  • (4 × 16 = 64 Doomed Travelers) × 16 = 1,024 Essences
  • (4 × 16 = 64 Mausoleum Guards) × 2 × 16 = 2,048 Essences

In total, 3,552 + 5,040 + 1,024 + 2,048 = 11,664 Essences are created.

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