You glance at the board. “That’s not much of a prediction,” you say. “I mean, you’ve got a Demonlord Belzenlok, and you’ve taken out most of my good stuff.”
“Not for you,” Jane says. “For me!”
“For you? But you’re winning!”
“Heed these words, for Madame Kostana is never wrong!”
You pause for a moment, not quite believing what you’re hearing. “I thought you said that that was just your stage name,” you say, frowning.
“Madame Kostana isn’t just a stage name,” Jane sniffs. “She’s a lifestyle with a personality of her own.”
“O…kay,” you say, wondering what you did for the tournament software to pair you up for this match. “So… what does Madame Kostana think about the board state?”
“Just those two?”
Jane grins. “As it so happens,” she says, “I’m not about to give your Palliation Accord any more counters.”
You glance at the enchantment over on your side of the table. “Oh,” you say, and add two more shield counters to the Accord.
“I knew you would do that,” Jane immediately says.
“If I had the Drake block your Demonlord,” you note, “you’d just use your Ursapine to pump your Specter and come through for more damage.”
“That’s true,” Jane says, tapping her two Forests. “I’ll pump the Demonlord twice, then, to make it 8 damage coming at you.”
“And I’ll remove all six shield counters from Palliation Accord to prevent six of that damage. I’ll take two and go down to one life.”
“See?” Jane points out.
“You’re still alive,” she points out.“Remember what I said - you still have a chance to get back at me!”
You shake your head; the Unabridged Cube tournaments always seem to get the really strange people. But you suppose that if you can handle one of each card ever printed, you have to handle one of each player who can walk through the store’s entrance doors.
“So,” you add, “is that your turn, or…”
Jane taps three Swamps and drops a Fleshbag Marauder onto the table. “Sacrifice a creature?” she asks.
“Right,” you add as you move the Sentry off the table. “I assume that you’re drawing off your Garruk's Packleader…”
“Forest,” Jane announces, and turns over the top card of her library. You raise an eyebrow, because it’s indeed a Forest.
“Okay,” you say. “That was interesting.”
“Madame Kostana has many talents,” Jane says, as she plays the land. “It’s your turn.”
You untap and draw a Psychic Purge, which is oddly indicative of your thoughts right now: You’d like nothing more than to end this game, move away from the table, and get something from the drinks cabinet. Opponent or no opponent, there’s a limit to the sheer amount of kookiness you can take.
“There it is again,” Jane says.
“Danger,” Jane repeats. “And it’s coming in really strong right now. Madame Kostana doesn’t like it when she wastes her entrance fee on a match loss.”
It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat
Madame Kostana Jane before the beginning of her next combat phase.
You are at 1 life, with the following cards in play:
- Sailor of Means
- Banisher Priest (exiling Jane’s Arborback Stomper)
- Crackling Triton
- Eldrazi Displacer
- Dormant Gomazoa (tapped)
- Palliation Accord (with no shield counters on it)
- 2 Plains
- 3 Island
- Shivan Reef
You have the following card in your hand:
You have not yet played a land this turn. You still have a significant number of cards remaining in your library, but you know neither the identities nor the order of those cards.
Jane is at 5 life and has no cards in her hand. She has the following cards in play:
- Black Cat
- Phyrexian Rager
- Fleshbag Marauder
- Garruk's Packleader
- Demonlord Belzenlok (tapped)
- 4 Swamp (three tapped)
- 3 Forest (two tapped)
If you think you’ve got a great solution in mind, don’t put it in the comments! Instead, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Puzzle - Psychic Hotline” by 11:59 P.M. EST on Monday, November 12, 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 Addison Fox, Will Rybaltowski, Alex van Kampen, Marco Majoor, Russell Jones, Frederick Remolana, Max Bernstein, Chris Billard, Ryou Niji, Hyman Rosen, Michael Feldman, and David Arnold.
“This one requires some sequencing,” Alex van Kampen writes, “but nothing major. There's a few factors in play here, such as the trample on the Dread Slag, the Nemesis Mask and the fact that there's five creatures attacking us.
“This means that a few things need to happen:
Your actions for this situation therefore need to be timed properly, as Will Rybaltowski writes:
This isn’t the only method you can use to survive, though - there is an alternative solution that doesn’t use as many tricks but is just as strict on the timing. What makes this one interesting is that it allows you to take zero damage this turn, as Frederick Remolana notes:
This alternative solution even comes with its own variant: Instead of activating Heart of Yavimaya for a bonus to Thornwatch Scarecrow, you can tap Crossbow Infantry to deal 1 damage to the Dread Slag – making it a 9/9 with 5 damage on it, and fair game for the 4/4 Scarecrow.
Exactly how you get the kill for this game, of course, is up to you. “On your turn,” Russell Jones adds, “you can draw whatever, and then swing with a 3/3 Elephant token (possibly pumped to 4/4 by Heart of Yavimaya) against a field where the only untapped creature is pacified. Or you can just do nothing, and allow Pitiless Horde's upkeep trigger to deliver the fatal blow.”