On the first day of Christmas, Oko gave to me: Eight cards for playing, counterspells to nerf them, another Lucky Clover, trampling Elementals, several static abilities, 9 mana for antics, and a big flippin’ Emmmbeercleeeave. Can you solve our hardest puzzle of the Throne of Eldraine season? Prove it!
- Play Gingerbread Cabin. Get a Food (which will not be used in this puzzle)
- Use Oko’s -5 to exchange control of your Lucky Clover and your opponent’s Elk.
- Cast Claim the Firstborn on your opponent’s Hypnotic Sprite.
– If your opponent counters with Mesmeric Glare, they also must copy Mesmeric Glare. Since the copy will resolve before the original, the original will fizzle and go to the graveyard. (And therefore the creature cannot be later cast from exile.)
– If they do not counter, they are able to cast their Hypnotic Sprite later to block. This outcome will preserve their board state as-is, effectively, but give you an extra attacker. Countering will also preserve their board state as-is, but not give you the attacker. There’s no other benefit to this outcome, so we don’t need to write up the “didn’t counter” line.
- Cast Storm the Citadel.
- Attack with a 4/5 Trample Thicket Crasher, 4/3 Flying trample Cloudkin Seer, and 4/3 Fresh-faced Recruit, into a 5/5 Sphinx, 3/3 Pattern Matcher, and 2/1 Hypnotic Sprite.
- (a) If the opponent double-blocks Fresh-faced Recruit with both artifact creatures, cast Embercleave on whichever creature is blocked by the 2/1. It will trample over for 4 first strike damage (and can destroy Pattern Matcher, but that doesn’t do anything) and then it and the unblocked creature will deal 5 + 4 regular damage for 13. A triple-block on the Recruit is worse. Therefore Recruit must not be blocked by more than one creature.
(b) If the opponent blocks Recruit with the Sphinx, cast Embercleave on whichever creature is not blocked by Pattern Matcher. It will trample over for 4 damage (or 5 if totally unblocked), then destroy the Pattern Matcher blocking the other trampler. At regular damage, those two creatures will then deal 5 + 4 (or 3 if the Embercleave creature was not blocked), for 13 (either 4 + 5 + 4, or 5 + 5 + 3).
(c) If the opponent does not block Recruit with the Sphinx, cast Embercleave on the Recruit. It will deal either 2 (Pattern Matcher) or 4 (Sprite) trample damage at first strike, and destroy the Sphinx. At regular damage, the other two creatures will trample over for either 4 + 1 (Matcher) or 4 + 3 (Sprite), and Recruit will deal 5. It’s either 2 + 4 + 3 + 5, or 4 + 4 + 1 + 5. Either way, it’s 14 for above lethal.
(d) There is no 6d. You won!
The Throne of Eldraine competitive puzzle season is now over. Congratulations to Allen Smith and the rest of our Top 4 finishers for demonstrating their puzzle prowess and taking home sweet prizes! Check out the leaderboard for the full results.
Theros: Beyond Death competitive season starts January 21. We’ll have some more just-for-fun ones in the meantime, though.
Thanks for playing and tune in again next week for more!