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Where it Lies


Editor's note: This puzzle has been corrected from its original version. We apologize for the inconvenience!

Grandmother Sengir
You take a seat across from Mari. "So," you say. "how long do you think CJ's going to take?"

"He just went to hit the can," Mari says. "It's not like that takes a really long time."

"I don't know. Sometimes it's hard to find a bathroom in this place. CÚcile actually got lost the other day, and..."

"That doesn't matter, really," Mari sighs. "Can you finish this game for him?"

"Well, he told me to take his place, so..."

"I got it. I just wanted to make sure I could stop holding back," Mari says, pressing one hand against her forehead.

Somehow you're not surprised at that. CJ isn't very good at limited play, much less impromptu booster drafts in a lockdown environment. Mari's made it a personal mission to try and show him how to raise the quality of his game, but her success so far has been debatable.

"So what's going on here?"

"CJ thinks we're at a stalemate," Mari explains, "but I think he's just forgotten that my Celestial Crusader exists. I've got enough ground forces to bury him, but I've held off from attacking with any of my flyers under the pretense that he's got a good thing going with Nectar Faerie and Grandmother Sengir."

"Okay," you say. "That explains why your Crusader and Eye Collector are untapped. What about the Regal Bloodlord?"

"I just cast that last turn."

"Ah, okay. So... life totals?"

"We're both at one life," Mari admits.

You raise an eyebrow. "That's interesting," you say.

"That's courtesy of the best play I've seen him make during this game," Mari says. "He got a Sleeper's Guile on his Master of Cruelties, took out my only untapped Black creature, and then got me to one."

"And he obviously hasn't been able to follow up on it."

"I gave him a few chances. Right around the time he left, I was about to give him one more opportunity to seal the deal before I ended everything and turned on the TV."

"That sounds like you're now giving *me* one more chance to seal the deal."

"He's lucky he decided to go for a bathroom break when he did," Mari remarks.

"Okay. So whose turn is it now?"

"Yours. CJ's already taken his draw - that's the face-down card over there."

You pick up the card and have a look. It's a Go for Blood - not a bad draw at all. You wonder what CJ would have done with it.

"So you're at one life, and I'm at one life," you say.

"Yeah, and you've got quite the board to deal with," Mari says. "So what'll it be?"

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

You are at 1 life, with the following cards in play:

You have the following card 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.

Mari is at 1 life and has no cards in her hand. She has the following cards in play:

Mari has no relevant 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 - Where it Lies" by 11:59 P.M. EST on Monday, June 8, 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 Sean Patrick Keatley, Russell Jones, Michael Feldman, and Hyman Rosen.

"The puzzle's title may most obviously refer to Kozilek and the Krakens," Michael Feldman writes, "but it could also easily hint that this is one tangled mess!

"It took me a while to sort through the possibilities. One key is realizing that Kozilek won't be helping you as an attacker. You never know when you might redraw it, so there might be less than four cards in your library when you recast it. You could survive that by sacrificing the mighty Eldrazi, but then you may as well have discarded it in the first place. Besides, annihilator won't do much good in one turn when CJ has all those lands to sacrifice.

"You might think of milling CJ to death with Venture Deeper, but even if you can get it back in your hand several times (you sort of can) and get another Island in play (you can, too), you still have a limit of uuuu, which wouldn't be enough even if you cast the spell four times. It's actually more limited than that, though, because to recur Venture Deeper, you need to cast Merfolk Secretkeeper as a creature and sacrifice it so that it hits your graveyard. That takes Blue mana as well, so really, you can only cast Venture Deeper twice at most, for a measly eight milled cards.

"With no effective mill and no guaranteed way to bust Leyline of Sanctity, combat damage is your only avenue. As it turns out, all that card drawing can really just come down to pumping out Krakens in an infinite loop."

"Let's work backward," Hyman Rosen notes. "We want to be in the following situation:

In order to kick off this combo, you'll therefore need to drain your library and graveyard (in addition to getting seven more draws). Interestingly enough, Russell Jones points out that you only need 4 mana to order an extra-large serving of calamari:

  1. Go ahead and let CJ make a token with Imperious Perfect if he wants. Auriok Champion will trigger and he gains 1 life (26).
  2. Pay 1 and sacrifice Ox of Agonas to Dark-Dweller Oracle. Exile your top card, which is useless. (13 cards in the library. 9 cards in the graveyard.)
  3. Pay u to cast Diminish on Kozilek. (13 cards in the library. 10 cards in the graveyard.)
  4. Pay rr to escape Ox of Agonas, leaving only Anger in the graveyard. Auriok Champion, Ox of Agonas, and Warstorm Surge all trigger.

    • CJ gains another life (27).
    • Discard your hand (which currently consists solely of Merfolk Secretkeeper) and draw three cards. Ominous Seas triggers for three more counters (4). (10 cards in the library. 2 cards in the graveyard.)
    • Warstorm Surge targets Swans of Bryn Argoll, causing the Ox's 5 damage to be replaced by five card draws, and Ominous Seas triggers again for five more counters (9). (5 cards in the library. 2 cards in the graveyard.)
  5. Tap Zuran Spellcaster to deal 1 damage to the 1/1 Kozilek, killing it and sending Sky Tether to CJ's graveyard. Kozilek triggers, shuffling itself, Merfolk Secretkeeper, and Anger back into your library. (8 cards in the library, 0 cards in the graveyard.)

"CJ will gain a life for each Kraken token," Sean Patrick Keatley writes, "but your 8/8s will far outweigh their blockers and life gain. Eventually when you are ready, discard Anger, then swing with all of your Kraken and they die!"

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