The Wrong Crowd
You’re in the third and last game of your second round, and it’s been a tough one so far. Both you and your opponent, Tiffany, have traded control of the board multiple times. You pulled out an early 3/3 trampler in Korozda Monitor, only to see her Arrest it. She tried performing some graveyard shenanigans with Rot Farm Skeleton, on which you quickly played Agoraphobia. You started hitting her in the air for 2 damage each turn with Millennial Gargoyle, only for Tiffany to bust out her bomb: Deathpact Angel.
In fact, it’s the Deathpact Angel that’s giving you fits at the moment. Tiffany held it back at first due to her low life total, but a timely Bazaar Krovod on her side means that she’s now able to attack and untap the Angel for something close to the vigilance ability. To make matters worse, she also got a Bronzebeak Moa into play. When she followed that up on her last turn with a Battering Krasis, you were forced to throw something in front of her 5/5 in order to survive.
With the board quickly turning against you, you used Zhur-Taa Druid to cast Inspiration before the end of Tiffany’s turn, pinging her for 1 damage and drawing a Bioshift and a Wasteland Viper. This gives you a decent bit of hope for your next turn, and you finish things off by activating Agoraphobia to return itself to your hand.
At first you think that your plan is quite straightforward: Cast the Wasteland Viper to stop the Bronzebeak Moa, and replay Agoraphobia on the Deathpact Angel. You’d be open to any Rot Farm Skeleton combos once more, and you’d need a new way to break through Tiffany’s defenses, but this should be good enough to stabilize the table.
Then you move to your draw step, and pull a Faerie Impostor from the top of your library. That’s even better, you think — between the Millennial Gargoyle and the Impostor, you’d potentially have two flyers against an Agoraphobic Deathpact Angel. That would put your opponent on a slow, but decent, clock.
Or . . . you could always take the alternate route of winning the game with what you have.
. . . Wait, what?
It is the start of your first main phase. Defeat Tiffany before the start of her next combat phase.
You are at 4 life, with the following cards in play:
- Zhur-Taa Druid
- Bomber Corps
- Battering Krasis
- Millennial Gargoyle
- Korozda Monitor (with Tiffany’s Arrest attached)
- 3 forests
- 4 islands
- 2 mountains
- Gruul Guildgate
You have the following cards in your hand:
You do not know the identities of the next cards on top of your library.
Tiffany is at 6 life and has no cards in her hand. She has the following cards in play:
- Grim Roustabout
- Battering Krasis
- Bronzebeak Moa (tapped)
- Rot Farm Skeleton
- Bazaar Krovod (tapped)
- Deathpact Angel
- 3 plains (one tapped)
- 4 swamps (one tapped)
- Forest (tapped)
- Golgari Guildgate
- Transguild Promenade
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 — The Wrong Crowd” by 11:59 P.M. EST on Sunday, December11, 2016. 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 Russell Jones, Norman Dean, Dominic Chan, Aaron Golas, Ryou Niji, Subrata Sircar, Greg Dreher, Hyman Rosen, Jordan Oros, Luke Paulsen, Will Clendenning, Michael Feldman, and Bill Murphy.
“This week's puzzle seems really easy,” Ryou Niji writes.“We just bounce both flying blockers and get in for 5 damage. We do need to get rid of Steel Golem, but we can just activate Synod Sanctum targeting it —
*Reads Indomitable Archangel*
“ . . . Oh well.”
Steel Golem is a fine obstacle here. You have one piece of removal — Neurok Replica — as well as the ability to recur it this turn, but the Golem effectively prevents you from recasting the Replica. Making matters worse is that you have a lot of artifacts, and Indomitable Archangel’s metalcraft ability conveniently keeps them all out of targeting range.
(Suspension Field does count as a second source of removal — particularly since you can remove it and bring it back with Synod Sanctum — but since it can only exile creatures with toughness 3 or greater, it won’t be able to remove either the Skirge or the Harpy.)
Subrata Sircar writes: “The trick is to get the Steel Golem out of the way long enough to recast the Replica to bounce a second flyer, and then swing with your own flyer for enough. Since all your artifacts have shroud, you need something that sacrifices or doesn’t target.”
Fortunately, there’s such a thing on Maciek’s side of the table, and Luke Paulsen takes full advantage of this:
“For style points,” Greg Dreher adds,“you have the mana and life to pop that Bottle of Suleiman, and a land to sacrifice if you do get the Djinn.”
If you’re capable of gaining a lot of life from Scrapheap, though, this brings up the possibility of using Bottle of Suleiman as part of the solution. And it turns out that there’s a likely path to victory here, according to Russell Jones:
“The mind-blowing thing here,” Luke writes, “is that we actually have to play around a *positive* result from Bottle of Suleiman.”Reversing the activations of Synod Sanctum and Bottle of Suleiman above means that you might have a Djinn artifact token around the time Suspension Field re-enters the battlefield . . . but that also means that you can’t exile Steel Golem with it, since you’ll have a total of three artifacts then!
The only question that remains is how you managed to end up with an artifact-heavy pool of cards that all seem to hate each other. But then again, no one said that an Unabridged Sealed format was easy . . .