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Investigative Report

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“And how would you describe the way Magic: The Gathering appeals to you?”

Seasons Past
You stare at your opponent. You’re not sure if it’s polite to mention that she’s pointing a recording device at you, but . . . she’s pointing a recording device at you.

“You’re pointing a recording device at me,” you say.

She smiles and turns it off. “If I’d had known that you were the nervous type,” she says, “I would have talked to those ladies at the next table.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never been interviewed in the middle of a match before . . . What did you say your name was, again?”

“Whitney.”

“Whitney. Okay.”

When your opponent said she had joined your tournament on assignment for the local news affiliate, you were willing to humor her. It turns out she had quite the decent deck and was giving your spell-heavy pool a bit of trouble . . . but you weren’t exactly expecting the recording device.

“If you want to focus on the game,” Whitney says, “we can pick this up later. We still have some time.”

“Yeah, that would help. Where were we again?”

“I cast Seasons Past,” she says, “and brought back four cards from my graveyard. Do you want to see them again?”

“No, I’m good,” you say, reaching for your notes.

Confirm Suspicions
“You seemed worried about my Burn from Within, so you sacrificed the Clue tokens that you made from that 5-mana counterspell you played . . . ”

Confirm Suspicions, you mean.”

“Yes, and we each ended with some cards in hand,” Whitney says. “You spent a lot of time thinking about your draws, so I started asking you a few questions for my article. Then I brought out the recorder . . . ”

“Yeah,” you say. “Sorry about that. I’m just trying to think of how to play this.”

“Well,” Whitney says, “like I said, we still have some time.”

You glance at the cards in your hand again and start untapping your lands. “It’s okay, I think. You can ask me those questions again.”

“Right,” she says, turning her recorder on once more. “And if you’re nervous, that’s okay, too. So, again: How would you describe the way Magic: The Gathering appeals to you?”

“Er . . . I like it because it makes you think,” you tell her, “and because you . . . uh . . . ”

“Because what?” she asks.

You stare at the table. “Because you get to see these really great plays,” you say. “Like the one I’m about to make.”

It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Whitney before the start of her next main phase.

You are at 12 life with the following cards in play:

Tooth Collector

You have the following cards in your hand:

You do not know the identities of any of the cards that are currently on top of your library. After investigating your way into a lot of Clue tokens this game, you only have a few cards remaining in your library, but it’s enough for you to survive a few more turns.

You have the following cards in your graveyard:

Gisa's Bidding

Whitney is at 7 life. She has the following cards in play:

Whitney has the following cards in her hand, which she recently returned via Seasons Past:

Burn from Within

Whitney has the following cards remaining in her graveyard:

If you think you have a great solution in mind, don’t put it in the comments! Instead, send it to puzzles at gatheringmagic dot com with the subject line “Puzzle — Investigative Report”. 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 Russell Jones, Ryou Niji, Matthew Harvey, James Parmenter, Jordan Crittenden, Bohdan Yarema, Kriz Lee, Aaron Golas, Andrew Muravskyi, Etienne Brosse, Sanjay Saith, Subrata Sircar, Andrew McLaren, Tim Reinholz, Paolo Botta, Victor Munson, Hyman Rosen, Bill Murphy, and Chadwick Bond.

A special mention should go to David Hillel, too: David points out that Ever After shouldn’t be in your graveyard, as it is placed on the bottom of your library upon resolution. That said, this doesn’t affect the puzzle: “If you assume that the Ever After really is on the bottom of our library,” Andrew McLaren notes, “all you need to do to turn on delirium is sacrifice a land.”

In addition, Hyman Rosen and Tim Reinholz note that Anguished Unmaking can also give you delirium: You just need to cast it and then remove its target before resolution.

However, sacrificing a land seems to be the more promising avenue because you can use it to activate Pious Evangel’s ability. This kicks off Bohdan Yarema’s solution:

Notably, this solution completely ignores the Anguished Unmaking in your hand. “No wonder your opponent said he'd be happy with a draw,” Aaron Golas observes. “He probably saw that he's dead on the board!”

However, Jordan Crittenden points out that we don’t need to sacrifice Harvest Hand—it works equally well as an extra attacker:

There are several points that make the above solution interesting, namely:

  • Darnell has to block exactly two of your attacking creatures—or take at least 9 damage otherwise.
  • Darnell’s Skin Shedder kills any of your attackers in combat, which sets him up to lose at least 1 life from Wayward Disciple’s ability.
  • Sacrificing another creature to Bound by Moonsilver in your post-combat main phase represents another loss of 1 life.
  • Accursed Witch either dies in combat or can be sacrificed to Bound by Moonsilver, which will cause a loss of 1 life at the beginning of Darnell’s next upkeep.

“The argument is simple,” Ryou Niji concludes. “Our opponent must take at least 5 combat damage, and he either takes at least 1 more damage by not blocking the Accursed Witch or takes 1 more point of drain by killing Accursed Witch in combat. The sacrifice to Bound by Moonsilver represents yet 1 more point of drain, and the Curse will always seal the deal.”

Curiously, a solution that uses Anguished Unmaking does exist, as Russell Jones demonstrates:

“I can't fault Darnell for misdirecting your attention toward the Hulking Devil and trying to get you to accept the draw,” Victor Munson muses. “The writing was on the wall, even if it was mostly buried behind opaque card sleeve backs.”


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