Standard Puzzle

Can You Win this Turn?

For the Grand Prix New Jersey coverage, I was asked to prepare several game play puzzles that could be shown in between rounds. (Following a suggestion from Ben Williams on Twitter, I definitely should have called this segment “Chat Lethal.”) In case you missed the stream, this article features five of the puzzles I created, and next week I’ll be back with the other five.

In all of today’s puzzles, you’re in your first main phase and the question is: How do you win the game this turn? You may assume that the opponent is tapped out and has no relevant permanents other than the ones shown.

A Toolcraft Exemplar Puzzle

We’ll start with several easy ones, but they don’t stay that way—the last puzzle in this article is more difficult.

Toolcraft Exemplar Puzzle

Click to enlarge.

  1. Play 2 Walking Ballistas, both for X=1.
  2. Attack with all Toolcraft Exemplars, now 3/2 first strikers.
  3. Since the opponent can only block two of them, they will take 6 first strike damage.
  4. Before their lifelinkers can deal regular damage, ping the opponent with both Walking Ballistas.

A TurboFog Puzzle

TurboFog Puzzle


  1. Cast Encircling Fissure with awaken. Trigger Dynavolt Tower.
  2. Attack with the 2/2 land.
  3. Cast Harnessed Lightning on the land. Trigger Dynavolt Tower. Choose to deal 0 damage.
  4. Activate Dynavolt Tower, targeting your opponent.

If this type of deck looks interesting, then you can get Roy van den Oever’s deck list, which posted a 9-5-1 record at Grand Prix Utrecht, in the Day 1 Summary here.


A Saheeli Rai Puzzle

Saheeli Puzzle


1. Activate Saheeli Rai’s -2 on your own Whirler Virtuoso. From here, there are 2 routes to victory (2a and 2b below) using the 3 energy gained.
2a. Make a Thopter, sacrifice the Thoper to emerge Elder Deep-Fiend, tap 4 Knights, and attack with 3 Whirler Virtuoso.
2b. Use an energy to tap Aether Hub for red. Cast Harnessed Lightning on a Knight. Then sacrifice Whirler Virtuoso to emerge Elder-Deep Fiend, tap 4 Knights, and attack with 2 Whirler Virtuoso.


A Rishkar, Peema Renegade Puzzle

Rishkar Puzzle

  1. Cast Rishkar, putting two +1/+1 counters on Sylvan Advocate.
  2. Tap Walking Ballista for mana, then cast another Rishkar, again putting both counters on Sylvan Advocates.
  3. Attack for 14 with both Sylvan Advocates and the Winding Constrictor.
  4. Post-combat, tap both Sylvan Advocates for mana and cast Walking Ballista, which enters with two +1/+1 counters.
  5. Remove all counters from the Walking Ballistas to ping the final 3 points of damage.

A Hidden Stockpile Puzzle

Stockpile Puzzle


  1. Animate Shambling Vent and activate Gideon’s +1 ability.
  2. Attack with all creatures.
  3. If the opponent blocks Gideon, then they will gain no life because all damage to Gideon is prevented. They will take 5 damage and lose the game.
  4. If the opponent blocks, say, Shambling Vent instead, then they gain 3 life but will still take 8 damage and lose the game.

This one may have been tough if you weren’t aware of the Gideon/Kalitas interaction or if you were distracted by all the other sweet cards. If this type of deck looks interesting, then you can get Lars Rosengren’s deck list, which posted a 10-5 record at Grand Prix Utrecht, in the Day 1 Summary here.


Thanks for reading! This is a fairly new type of content for me, so I’d love to get your feedback. Is this something you’d like to see more, either in video or text form? Do you have any suggestions for future improvement?

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