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The Saga Continues

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Evra, Halcyon Witness
It looks like your attempt to make a Kicker-based deck has backfired. While your Dominaria booster draft has given you quite a few components -- two copies of Fight with Fire, a Sergeant-at-Arms, a Ghitu Chronicler, and even a Verix Bladewing -- the problem is that you haven't been drawing those cards often enough to make a difference.

In fact, most of your games have been downright slow, and you know why: You usually lay down a few early creatures, make a few attacks, cast one of your multiple copies of Powerstone Shard . . .  and then spend ages waiting for one of your bombs. Sometimes the wait takes a lot longer than expected, and it's caused you problems when playing against other slow decks.

Unfortunately for you, your opponent's deck is really slow. You and Enrique have been at your match for almost an hour, which means that you're now down to your last five turns. You're likely to end up in a draw if somebody doesn't do something soon, but neither of your decks seems very enthusiastic about the idea.

To be fair, you're closer to ending this one. Enrique is sitting at a precarious 4 life, and a few more turns should be enough to close this one out. However, Enrique has a Slimefoot, the Stowaway to ensure a regular supply of blockers, and he's used one of his two copies of The Eldest Reborn to steal your Sanctum Spirit out of your graveyard.

That said, Enrique's probably in the same fix. His creature quality is leagues better than yours, but he's had problems getting past a Bloodstone Goblin with Dub on it. On top of that, you cast Evra, Halcyon Witness a couple of turns ago, and it's single-handedly keeping his kicked Baloth Gorger from attacking.

And while you're processing all this, Enrique sighs, pays five mana to cast a kicked Untamed Kavu, and then ends his turn. "There's no way I'm getting past your board and killing you from 8 life," he admits.

You look up at the judge who's been watching your game for the past ten minutes. "That ends turn four," she says. "It's now turn five."

"Right," you say. "So if I don't win this turn, we draw this match?"

"That's the rule."

You glance at the cards in your hand. You've been hoarding a couple of Sagas there -- Triumph of Gerrard and The First Eruption -- mostly because you haven't seen any good plays for them in the last few turns. Your draw step gives you a Firefist Adept, and you chuckle. Even in a situation like this, your deck refuses to bring up one of your Kicker spells.

Enrique already has a pen in hand, and is reaching for your match slip. Your judge, on the other hand, continues to wait patiently on the seat beside yours. You wonder if she knows something you don't, or if she's just waiting for you to go through the motions of ending your final turn.

That, of course, assumes that you're just going for the draw. But if you're not, then this match will definitely be one for the history books.

It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Enrique before the end of your turn.

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 do not know the identities or order of any of the remaining cards in your library.

Enrique is at 4 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 -- The Saga Continues" by 11:59 P.M. EST on Sunday, May 6, 2018. 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 Ryou Niji, Addison Fox, Russell Jones, Greg Dreher, Andr Fernandes, Brendan Dufty, David Arnold, and Chris Billard.

"It's clear that your only path to victory is in the arms of your giant ape," Greg Dreher writes. "And due to Dianne's high life total, Grunn is going to have to battle alone. That means that the first step is dealing with your counterproductive Juggernaut."

"Given the amount of blockers and the opponent's life total," Andr Fernandes notes, "a few things become clear:

  1. The only way for us to win is if Grunn attacks alone and becomes a trampler;
  2. For (1) to happen, we need to have Juggernaut die before our combat step;
  3. To maximize Grunn's trampling damage, we need to deal as much damage as possible to the opponent's blockers from other sources.

With this in mind, your moves are clear. As Andr writes:

  1. Pay g to equip Short Sword to Juggernaut (now a 6/4).
  2. Pay gg to cast Ancient Animus, targeting Juggernaut and Yargle. Juggernaut dies and Yargle has 6 damage marked on it.
  3. Pay g to equip Short Sword back to Grunn, the Lonely King.
  4. Attack with Grunn. With Grunn's trigger on the stack, pay rr to cast Run Amok targeting him. Once both the spell and the trigger resolve, Grunn becomes an 18/18 trampler.
  5. In our worst case scenario, the opponent will block with all four of her creatures.
  6. Once blockers are declared, pay r to cast Shivan Fire targeting either Arvad the Cursed or Deathbloom Thallid.
  7. Yargle deals 13 first strike damage to Grunn. As an 18/18, Grunn survives.
  8. Grunn assigns 5 damage to all blockers (1 to Yargle, 1 to Arvad, 2 to Deathbloom Thallid and 1 to Drudge Sentinel) and 13 damage goes through, which is exactly enough considering the lifegain from Arvad.

"Witnesses at this point claimed to hear Dianne get up from the table," Russell Jones muses, "and mutter something in resignation that sounded like 'Yargle'."

Note that you can have Shivan Fire deal 2 damage to Arvad the Cursed during your main phase as well. If you choose to target Deathbloom Thallid with Shivan Fire, you'll need to wait until Dianne declares the Thallid as a blocker before you remove it . . .  or otherwise you have to contend with an extra 1/1 Saproling token.

"While nothing says 'simple math' like this puzzle," Ryou Niji adds, "it is a very neat idea, and a spectacular kill to boot."


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