Two Graves, No Waiting

Graveyard Busybody
You thumb through the cards in your graveyard. “Frost Breath, Tah-Crop Skirmisher, Mystic Meditation, and Broodhunter Wurm,” you say. “That’s four cards with flavor text in my graveyard. What about you?”

“Just one,” Rhea says. “Dakmor Plague.”

“Five cards in your graveyard, and only one of them has flavor text?”

“Those are the breaks,” Rhea shrugs.

It’s been a rough morning for you and the Unabridged Cube so far, mostly because it involves one of the worst Sealed deck pools you’ve seen as of late. That said — when you’re handling something that involves one of each card ever printed, those are the breaks. At least you now know that your Graveyard Busybody’s a 5/5 creature.

“It’d be bigger if it weren’t for that Honor the Fallen you played,” you grumble.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

Rhea has good reason to be as relaxed as she is. After stalemating the game at low life totals, she drew and cast a Sepulchral Primordial on her last turn. It turns out that your Busybody doesn’t do squat against the Primordial’s ability, and you were forced to watch as Rhea moved your Pathbreaker Ibex from your graveyard to her side of the battlefield. If you don’t die to a 5/4 Intimidate creature on her next turn, you’ll die to an Ibex-fueled stampede, and neither option looks good.

Now would be a good time for your deck to come up with a legendary pull, something that can stave off your impending defeat and get Rhea to sign the match slip in your favor. Unfortunately, your draw is an Elvish Eulogist, and you’ll have to make do with that.

“What’s your life total again?” you ask.

“Five,” Rhea says. “Did you draw something good?”

“I wish. Would you mind if I look at the cards in your graveyard again?”

Rhea obliges, passing you her cards. “Don’t forget,” she says, “your Busybody makes my graveyard yours.”

“We’re obviously still trying to get used to these new cards,” you admit.

That last remark, however, makes you think for a little while. Knowing that you have at least a few more resources other than the Eulogist in your hand, there might be a way to turn this game around. If only the dead could speak . . . 

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

You are at 3 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 do not know the identities or order of any of the cards remaining in your library.

You have the following cards in your graveyard:

Rhea is at 5 life. She has the following cards in play:

Rhea has the following cards in her graveyard:

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 —Two Graves, No Waiting” by 11:59 P.M. EST on Sunday, December 10, 2017. We’ll include the best ones in next week’s article along with the next puzzle!

Last Week’s Puzzle

Goblin Tunneler
Correct solutions to last week’s puzzle were received from Aaron Golas, Addison Fox, Norman Dean, Allen Smith, Matthew Harvey, Ryou Niji, Lucas Labuda, Tara Timmons, Michael Shoemaker, Ben Garrett, Thomas Driscoll, Chris Billard, and David Arnold.

“It’s clear that there’s no way to deal damage to Max outside of combat,” Ben Garrett remarks. “He’s got so many blockers that Caleb’s only option is to slip through an unblockable 4 damage in combat.”

Goblin Tunneler can help us get a creature through,” Matthew Harvey explains, “but we would need to give it haste. Luckily we have a way to do that — we just need to get Shinen of Fury’s Fire back into our hand so that we can Channel it. The real problem is how to deal with Mine Bearer and Intrepid Hero.

“We have to kill Mine Bearer with Prey Upon, because it will just kill anything that is foolish to attack. But to kill it, we need something with 4 power. We only have Chaos Harlequin that can do that, but how do we get it to survive Intrepid Hero?”

“Thankfully,” Allen Smith writes, “Split Screen gives Caleb a lot of control over what Chaos Harlequin's activation does. The tricky parts, then, are granting Tunneler haste and getting Harlequin to dodge the on-board removal.”

You can take your actions in a few different ways, but Norman Dean’s method throws some anticipation into the mix:

  1. Sacrifice Unbridled Growth to draw Goblin Tunneler.
  2. Tap a Mountain and sacrifice Shinen of Fury’s Fire to cast Infernal Plunge and add {R}{R}{R} to your mana pool.
  3. Cast Goblin Tunneler. ({R} floating.)
  4. Tap two Forests and sacrifice Rootrunner to put one of your tapped lands on top of your first library (the one you drew the Tunneler from). Use the Rootrunner’s Soulshift ability to return Shinen of Fury’s Fire to your hand. Use the floating {R} and discard the Shinen to its Channel ability to give the Tunneler haste.
  5. Tap the Tunneler to make the Chaos Harlequin unblockable this turn.
  6. Tap a Forest and equip the Harlequin with the Heart-Piercer Bow.
  7. Tap a Mountain and exile Desecration Plague from your second library to give the Harlequin +2/+0 until end of turn. It is now 4/4.

At any point from here on out, Max can try to destroy your Chaos Harlequin with Intrepid Hero. However, you have three open Red mana, and at least one land and two non-land cards on top of libraries 1, 3 and 4. You can therefore respond to the Hero’s ability by exiling the land to make Harlequin a 0/4, then exile the Beast Attack and Renegade Tactics to make the Harlequin a 4/4 again.

  1. Tap your last Forest and cast Prey Upon to have the Harlequin fight Max’s Mine Bearer.
  2. Move to combat and attack with the Harlequin. Use the Heart-Piercer Bow to ping the Intrepid Hero. This is Max’s last chance to use the Hero’s ability, to which you can respond as described above. The unblockable Harlequin connects for 4 damage, which is exactly enough to finish off Max.

“Unfortunately for Max,” Chris Billard adds, “His third option — Heavy Ballista — cannot do quite enough damage to stop the Chaos Harlequin. With Split Screen allowing us to see what each of our four libraries hold, Chaos Harlequin is suddenly a lot less chaotic.”


Unstable is available for Preorder!

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