You glance at the board. "Well," you say, "you're playing a Contaminated Ground. I think that's a fair indication that your draft has gone south."
"It's not my fault the cards weren't coming. Stupid Unabridged Cube."
"It's bound to happen when you're drafting with one of each card ever printed, you know."
Your local game store hasn't received its Battlebond shipment just yet, so you and about twenty other players have had to content yourselves with individual previews once more. Unlike previous outings, you ended up with a fast deck that you easily piloted to a couple of victories. The quality of Mari's deck, however, is better imagined than described.
"If you're done complaining," her opponent calls from across the table, "I'd like to start my turn in earnest."
"Nothing's stopping you, Grace," Mari snaps.
Grace gives a dissatisfied look as she taps her Vectis Dominator. "Tap your face-down creature?" she asks.
"I'll pay two life and go down to two," Mari says.
Grace nods and glances at the Contaminated Ground enchanting one of her Plains. "This turns the land into a Swamp, right" she asks.
"Yes. What do you have in mind?"
Grace taps all seven of her lands and plays the last card in her hand, a gigantic Chancellor of the Dross. "I'll take two and go down to seven life," she says. "And if you're making faces at me right now, I must say that I find that very childish."
You glance at Mari, whose expression is now also better imagined than described. "I don't think she's doing it deliberately," you explain. "She's probably just going through her profanity filter."
"Tell her that I'm done with my turn, then," Grace says.
To her credit, Mari recovers quickly. She untaps her permanents, then draws and adds a Fumble to her hand. This seems to give her an idea as she starts studying the board.
"See a way to win?" you ask.
Mari looks up. "As a matter of fact, I do," she says. "Just give me a minute."
It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Grace before the beginning of her next combat phase.
You are at 2 life, with the following cards in play:
- Simic Fluxmage
- Esper Battlemage
- Chosen of Markov (with your Gruesome Deformity attached)
- Howling Banshee
- A face-down 2/2 creature (your Coral Trickster, with your One With the Wind attached)
- Call the Bloodline
- 3 Islands
- 3 Swamps
- Scoured Barrens
- High Market
You have the following card 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.
Grace is at 7 life and has no cards in her hand. She has the following cards in play:
- Mother of Runes (with Grace's Cathar's Shield attached)
- Scrapheap Scrounger
- Vectis Dominator (tapped)
- Kor Sanctifiers
- Kongming, "Sleeping Dragon"
- Guardian Lions
- Chancellor of the Dross
- 5 Plains (all tapped, one of which has your Contaminated Ground attached)
- 2 Swamps (both tapped)
If you think you've got a great solution in mind, don't put it in the comments! Instead, send it to email@example.com with the subject line "Puzzle -- All Thumbs" by 11:59 P.M. EST on Sunday, June 10, 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 Norman Dean, Addison Fox, Paul Simpson, Sean Patrick Keatley, Russell Jones, Hyman Rosen, Ryou Niji, Florian Kupferschmid, Greg Dreher, Zakk Appleyard and Simon Carmichael, and David Arnold.
"You have a creature that's potentially big enough to kill Mutt in one hit," Greg Dreher writes."Your only possible form of evasion is flying, but Mutt has three flying creatures. The solution is obvious: Make it so he has zero flying creatures."
"If the opponent is not going to disable our flyer, then we're going to disable his," Ryou Niji adds. "How else are we going to deal lethal on a crowded board with a deck? That does mean we need to activate the ability of Radjan Spirit three times and then kill it somehow, but Chakram Retriever has us covered."
Mutt can also activate his Radjan Spirit at any time to remove flying from any creature (our Launch-enchanted Artisan of Forms, for example). However, his only relevant move would be to use the Spirit to try and remove flying from the Grim Strider . . . and that's not possible with the sequence above.
There are a lot of minor variants to this solution: You could remove flying from Mutt's three creatures in any order, for instance. At the beginning of the sequence, there's also the possibility of casting Crippling Fatigue on the Radjan Spirit, then using the two activations of Disciple of Tevesh Szat to bump off the Stealer of Secrets.
One of the more curious variants, though, involves the fact that you can have Artisan of Forms copy anything based on the final Crippling Fatigue trigger. So if you wanted it to survive in style, you could have it copy the Oversoul of Dusk -- having copied the Radjan Spirit by this time, your Artisan is a Green creature when this happens. The Oversoul's protection from Black ability, of course, then causes the Crippling Fatigue to counter itself.
Sean Patrick Keatley points out that there's an interesting alternative solution to this puzzle, though:
"In the end," Russell Jones remarks, "Mutt takes 6 damage (to 0), and everyone goes home empty-handed. After all, who needs hands when you're a dog and can carry everything in your mouth?"