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Dumpster Dive


Searing Blaze
CJ steps into the room and waves his arms around. "It's a wetsuit!" he says.

You raise an eyebrow. "Yeah, I would have thought that from the snorkel and flippers you're wearing. Now turn around."

CJ obliges, a little too eagerly for your taste. "I think they must have stuffed, like, everything in that storage closet. You think they have an opera suit in my size?"

"When I told you to turn around, what I really meant was for you to get out of here. You're burning the image into my brain right now."

CJ flops back into the bathroom, and you turn back to your game with Mari. "Where were we?" you ask.

"I just searched up an Asha's Favor," Mari says.

"Oh yeah, with your Totem-Guide Hartebeest. What are you putting it on?"

"I'll keep it straightforward and put it on my Ammit Eternal. Then I'll attack with it, unless you're doing anything else."

"Nothing from my side," you say.

Mari pushes her Ammit Eternal forward, and then pauses. "You do realize that that wasn't a wetsuit, right?"

"I know that that wasn't a wetsuit. Why do you think I'm trying to wipe the thought from my mind?"

"Oh good. I thought it was just me. Any plays?"

You glance at your Sewn-Eye Drake and decide to take a chance. "I'll cast Altar's Reap now," you say, "sacrificing my Grasping Scoundrel."

"Oooh, risky," Mari says. "Okay, that'll put a -1/-1 counter on my Ammit. Are you drawing anything good?"

You pull the top two cards of your library into your hand: Serrated Scorpion and Dredge the Mire. "No instants," you say, sadly.

"Can't get everything you want," Mari says.

"And that means I'll take the four damage."

Now it's Mari's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Are you sure? You'll be at two life."

"I'll get another turn to figure that out anyway."

"Okay," Mari says, removing the counter from her Ammit. "It's your turn."

"You guys absolutely need to try this!" CÚcile says, leaning against the doorway.

You look up. "That's definitely not your best look," you point out.

"It's an Arnold Schwarzenegger Halloween costume! Get to dah choppah!"

"And now that's burned into my brain," Mari says.

"I mean, this thing's probably bigger than a lot of storage units! CJ and I are finding things that are dated as far back as the seventies! Come on - there are a few things that would look really good on you both!"

You and Mari glance at each other. "I'm neither here nor there when it comes to looking through other peoples' dirty laundry," Mari says.

"Are we this bored now?" you ask.

"It'll be fun!" CÚcile says. "You can just do one each."

"One each?" you ask.

"One each. I promise."

Mari shrugs. "Whatever," she says. "We'll just finish this game first."

"Cool," CÚcile says. "We're two halls down, in the fourth room!"

As she leaves, you add a Searing Blaze to your hand. "So," you say, "how eager are we to pick through their stuff?"

"Oh, not so much," Mari says, smiling. "We can take our time."

It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Mari before the beginning of her next combat phase.

You are at 2 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, including a number of basic Swamps and Mountains. However, you know neither the identities nor the order of those cards.

Mari is at 6 life and has no cards in her hand. She has the following cards in play:

Mari has the following cards in her graveyard:

If you've got a solution in mind, don't put it in the comments! Help keep this puzzle a mystery to other readers!

Instead, if you think you've got a great solution, you can send your solution to puzzles@gatheringmagic.com with the subject line "Puzzle - Dumpster Dive" by 11:59 P.M. EST on Monday, May 11, 2020. 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 David Arnold, Hyman Rosen, and Michael Feldman. Russell Jones also provided an extremely close solution.

"This was tough one," Hyman Rosen writes. "I liked the idea of using multiple copies of Centaur Garden, although I wasn't positive that this was the right approach. But I couldn't make it work until I had a flash of insight that equipping Ensouled Scimitar to Devoted Druid could net a lot of mana. Even so, managing the details was still very intricate, such as getting and keeping threshold:

  1. Tap all lands except Nesting Grounds and Centaur Garden to add 7xu and 5xg.
  2. Activate Grand Architect, tapping Marang River Prowler to add 2.

  3. Tap and untap Devoted Druid to add g and a -1/-1 counter. Then tap Nesting Grounds, paying 1, to move the counter to Marang River Prowler. Marang River Prowler dies and Rancor triggers and returns to our hand.
  4. Tap and untap Devoted Druid multiple times, adding six -1/-1 counters to it and adding 7x{G}.

  5. For 1u, cast Marang River Prowler from the graveyard. Counter it with Deprive for uu, returning Island to our hand.

    • We have 4xu and 11xg.
  6. Play Island. Tap it to add u.

  7. For 2u, aura swap Arcanum Wings and Rancor on Embodiment of Insight.

  8. For u, cast Arcanum Wings on Centaur Garden.

  9. For 2u, aura swap Arcanum Wings and Infinite Reflection on Centaur Garden.

  10. For u, cast Arcanum Wings on Centaur Garden. Centaur Garden gains flying.

    • We have u and 7xg.
  11. For g, cast Rancor on Centaur Garden.

    • We have u and 6xg.
    • Centaur Garden gains trample and +2/+0 and becomes 5/3.
  12. For gggg sacrifice Grand Architect, Oakheart Dryads, Embodiment of Insight, and Ensouled Scimitar targeting Centaur Garden.

    • We have u and 2xg.
    • Centaur Garden gets a total of +12/+12 and becomes 17/15.
  13. For 1u, cast Marang River Prowler from our graveyard.

  14. Attack with the hasty flying vigilant trampling 17/15 Centaur Garden.
  15. For g, sacrifice Marang River Prowler targeting Centaur Garden. Centaur Garden gets +3/+3 and becomes 20/18.
  16. CJ can only block with Bassara Tower Archer. CJ takes 19 lethal trample damage.

Notably, the above approach will require you to animate Ensouled Scimitar after Devoted Druid dies. This is because turning an Equipment into a creature will immediately cause it to become unattached from its wielder, which would be bad for a Druid that's heavily-laden with -1/-1 counters.

Because your Auras are entering the battlefield multiple times, however, an alternative solution is available. This one takes advantage of Oakheart Dryads' ability for significant bonuses, as David Arnold writes:

  1. Tap Marang River Prowler and Grand Architect for 4. Use 3 to activate Ensouled Scimitar and make it a creature. (Forget about the last 1.)
  2. Tap Devoted Druid for g. Put a -1/-1 counter on the Druid to untap it.
  3. Use the g to activate Nesting Grounds and move the -1/-1 counter from the Druid onto the Prowler. The Prowler dies, and Rancor goes to your hand.
  4. Tap Devoted Druid for g. Put a -1/-1 counter on the Druid to untap it (now a -1/1).
  5. Use gu to cast the Prowler from your graveyard. Respond by paying uu and returning a tapped Island to your hand to cast Deprive and counter the Prowler.
  6. Replay the Island, triggering Embodiment of Insight. Make one of your tapped Islands a creature.
  7. Tap the Druid for g. Tap Centaur Garden for g and take one damage. Then use two Forests and an Island to cast Infinite Reflection for ggggu on Oakheart Dryads.

  8. Use gu to cast the Prowler from your Graveyard. This enters the battlefield as an Oakheart Dryads, gaining CJ one life from Soul Warden and giving Embodiment of Insight a total of +7/+7.
  9. Use uug to aura swap Rancor with Arcanum Wings. Give Embodiment of Insight another +7/+7.
  10. Use u to cast Arcanum Wings on Embodiment of Insight for another +7/+7.
  11. Go to combat and attack with Embodiment of Insight, which is 26/25 (2/3 with +2/+0 from Rancor and a total of +22/+22 from Oakheart Dryads bonuses). CJ can only block with Bassara Tower Archer, so you trample over for 25 damage and the game.

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