CoolStuffInc.com

Treasure Mountain
   Sign In
Create Account

Pick Your Battles

Reddit

Lotleth Giant
You stare at Sun’s library, trying to figure out what he’s left on top of it. A Lotleth Giant, for example, would kill you outright on his next turn. A Selective Snare would also be pretty bad, seeing that it could wipe out most of your side of the board. And something that removes your Sky Tether would free up his 3/4 Aeromunculus - also not a good prospect for you.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that he’s placed something completely irrelevant on top of his library, and is just messing with your head.

“Well?” Sun asks.

“Well what?”

“I just declared the end of my turn,” Sun says patiently. “I asked if you had anything to play in response, and you started giving my library a weird look.”

You’re in the middle of another Guilds of Ravnica / Ravnica Allegiance Sealed Deck event today, and you have a slightly better handle on how the combined guilds work with each other. That doesn’t mean that your cards are any better, but it does mean that you have far less of a headache now than last week.

Your opponent’s fortitude, however, is nothing short of admirable: Sun has been so stoic that his expression wouldn’t be amiss in a professional poker tournament. Having just dropped a Deadly Visit on your newly-cast Flight of Equenauts, Sun surveilled for two and left one of those cards on top of his library. It’s exactly that one card that’s been driving you nuts for the last few minutes.

That said, Sun still has to draw whatever he’s placed there, so you have one more turn to see what you can do on your end. “I’ll pop my Gruul Locket to draw two cards,” you say.

Sun nods, and you add a Venerated Loxodon and a Root Snare to your hand. That, you admit, neatly solves a few scenarios for you. The Loxodon gives you an additional blocker, and the Fog effect means that your opponent isn’t likely to win through combat damage.

Then you move to your draw step, and pull some removal in the form of a Titanic Brawl. That makes you feel a whole lot better, especially since you can probably foil any attack that Sun’s planning to make in the near future. There’s still the problem of what happens if he draws a Lotleth Giant, though. Or, for that matter, what happens if he draws more removal… or surveil cards.

“Take your time,” Sun says.

“Thanks.”

Sun glances at the table, obviously assessing his position. “This Sky Tether of yours gives my Aeromunculus defender, right?”

You look up. “That? Yeah. And it makes it lose flying.”

“And that Glaive of the Guildpact on your Knight of Sorrows gives menace and vigilance?”

“Plus a power bonus for each Gate I control. So it also gives +2/+0 right now.”

Sun nods, as though mentally filing the information you’ve just given him. You raise an eyebrow.

“I don’t know how you can keep a completely straight face under this type of pressure,” you admit. “It’s almost as though you know you’re about to win this game.”

Sun looks at you and smiles. “Funny,” he says. “I was going to say the same thing about you.”

It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Sun before the beginning of his next combat phase.

You are at 8 life, with the following cards in play:

You have the following cards in your hand:

You have not yet played a land this turn. You still have a substantial number of cards remaining in your library, but you know neither the identities nor the order of those cards.

Sun is at 8 life and has no cards in his hand. He has the following cards in play:

If you think you’ve got a great solution in mind, don’t put it in the comments! Instead, send it to puzzles@gatheringmagic. com with the subject line “Puzzle - Pick Your Battles” by 11:59 P.M. EST on Monday, February 11, 2019. We’ll include the best ones in next week’s article along with the next puzzle!

Last Week’s Puzzle

Correct solutions to last week’s puzzle were received from Addison Fox, Matt Bocek, Brian Weinreich, Ryou Niji, Chris Billard, Sean Patrick Keatley, Sergey Sirotin, William H, Russell Jones, Hyman Rosen, David Foregger, Michael Feldman, David Arnold, and Greg Dreher.

“The line for this one ends rather simply: Getting a pumped-up Gateway Sneak through for lethal,” David Foregger writes.“But setting it up involves a few incidental side-effects and unusual targets, and an unexpected use of Omnispell Adept - casting a sorcery for *more* than its usual cost, but getting it out at instant speed. I had to double-check Oracle to be sure it allows that.”

“It’s very tempting to try to destroy Casey's blockers and force through enough combat damage,” Chris Billard observes.“With two castings of Bedeck and sacrificing Footlight Fiend to Severed Strands, you can almost do it… but Casey would still have at least one blocker. That would be enough to stop either the Glowspore Shaman or Omnispell Adept, leaving her with 1 life.” The fact that one of your five creatures - Junktroller - can’t attack at all means that an alpha strike won’t work as well as you want it to.

The judge call is important to your plans because as David notes, you’ll need to show your opponent that Omnispell Adept lets you cast sorcery spells at instant speed. This is necessary to the solution, as Sergey Sirotin writes:

  1. At the end of the opponent's turn, tap all your lands for mana (the Gateway Plaza for r).
  2. Cast Stony Strength to put a +1/+1 counter on the Gateway Sneak.
  3. Cast Bedazzle to destroy your own Gateway Plaza and deal 2 damage to the opponent, reducing his life total to 5.
  4. Activate the Omnispell Adept to cast Severed Strands, sacrificing the Glowspore Shaman, giving yourself +1 life, and destroying any of the opponent's creatures.
  5. Go to your turn and draw a card.
  6. Tap an Island and two Forests, and activate the Omnispell Adept to cast Vivid Revival and return Glowspore Shaman, Bedeck // Bedazzle, and Footlight Fiend to your hand.
  7. Tap a Forest and a Swamp to cast Glowspore Shaman, mill yourself for three cards and return the Gateway Plaza in your graveyard to the top of your library.
  8. Tap an Island and a Swamp to cast the Radical Idea from your graveyard by discarding your draw for the turn. Draw the Gateway Plaza.
  9. Tap the two remaining Swamps to cast Bedeck to give +3/-3 to the Gateway Sneak. It’s now a 5/1 creature.
  10. Play Gateway Plaza, and allow it to be sacrificed. Gateway Sneak becomes unblockable.
  11. Go to combat and attack with the unblockable Gateway Sneak for lethal.

“So this puzzle ended up being broken down into needing an unblockable lethal Gateway Sneak,” Brian Weinreich writes, “because otherwise there's no way to get through Casey's board. You don't often use removal spells to target your own permanents, but sometimes you have to get creative and utilize uncommon modes on cards to cross the finish line. Your draw for the turn ends up being irrelevant, and actually getting back Footlight Fiend makes it unnecessary. You have all the cards you need to win without it.”

“I really enjoyed the way both sides of Bedeck // Bedazzle were necessary,” David adds, “and how the purpose of Bedazzle was twofold: Getting the Plaza to your graveyard and dealing 2 damage to put Casey in range for our pumped-up Sneak. The instant-speed Severed Strands is the cherry on top.”

“This puzzle also actually made me like Omnispell Adept in Limited for a moment,” William H muses.“How dare you try to corrupt our minds in such a way?”