Arcana

Magic: The Puzzling, Duels Style

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The letter S!o you haven't played Duels of the Planeswalkers? And you've got some excuse like "I don't have an Xbox," which is fine, but that means you're missing out on some fun.

Well, we have good news! It occurred to us that the puzzles, while naturally more fun in a full Magic-playing environment, work pretty well on their own. So, thanks to puzzlemeisters Mark L. Gottlieb and Jay Schneider, here are the puzzles for your enjoyment. Keep in mind that they get harder as you go along. Good luck!

Challenge #1 – Garruk vs. Elspeth

Wings of Light Challenge

You're playing Garruk, and you're getting beat down by his Craw Wurms. You've got the situation under control, though, because you can win the game this turn. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. How can you win the game?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Glorious Anthem
Mass Calcify
Pacifism
2 Angelic Blessing

Your life: 4

Permanents you control:
7 Plains (untapped)
Skyhunter Skirmisher (untapped)
Soul Warden (untapped)
Youthful Knight (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
Holy Day
Goldenglow Moth

Garruk's hand:
(no cards)

Garruk's life: 14

Permanents Garruk controls:
6 Forests (all tapped)
Wall of Wood (untapped)
Spined Wurm (untapped)
4 Craw Wurms (tapped)

Garruk's Graveyard:
Rampant Growth
Grizzly Bears



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #2 – Elspeth vs. Chandra

Hands of Flame Challenge

You've been playing a fevered game against Elspeth, and it's all come down to this. Although you've knocked Elspeth down to just 1 life, you're in grave danger of losing next turn thanks to the Serra Angel that's been taking big chunks out of your life total and the Voice of All with protection from red that just joined it. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. How can you win the game?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Enrage
Raging Goblin
Threaten

Your life: 2

Permanents you control:
5 Mountains (untapped)
Earth Elemental (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
1 Lava Axe
1 Goblin Piker
1 Raging Goblin

Elspeth's hand:
(no cards)

Elspeth's life: 1

Elspeth's Graveyard:
Venerable Monk
Suntail Hawk

Permanents Elspeth controls:
5 Plains (all tapped)
Serra Angel
Soul Warden
Voice of All (the chosen color is red) enchanted with Holy Strength



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #3 - Garruk vs. Garruk

Teeth of the Predator Puzzle

Garruk is chewing into your life total with an unblockable Craw Wurm. It'll kill you next turn, so you have to win the game this turn. It's the beginning of your main phase, you've been stockpiling creature enhancing effects and it's now or never. Can you win on this turn?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
1 Roughshod Mentor
1 Blanchwood Armor
3 Giant Growths
1 Overrun
1 Might of Oaks
1 Duskdale Wurm

Your life: 5

Permanents you control:
5 Forest (untapped)
3 Grizzly Bears (untapped)
1 Elvish Piper (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
1 Spined Wurm
1 Rampant Growth

Garruk's hand:
(no cards)

Garruk's life: 8

Permanents Garruk controls:
7 Forest (tapped)
1 Craw Wurm (tapped) enchanted with Treetop Bracers
2 Civic Wayfinder (untapped)
1 Wall of Wood (untapped) enchanted with Blanchwood Armor
1 Wall of Wood (untapped)

Garruks Graveyard:
1 Rampant Growth
1 Giant Growth
1 Grizzly Bears



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #4 - Chandra vs. Liliana

Eyes of Shadow Puzzle

Your game against Chandra hasn't been going well. She's still at 19 life, and you're just at 1. Your opponent has a bunch of cards in her hand, and is playing a red deck – one burn spell and you're toast. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. How can you win the game?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Final Revels
Megrim
Mind Rot
Ravenous Rats
Terror

Your life: 1

Permanents you control:
5 Swamps (untapped)
Abyssal Specter (untapped)
Crowd of Cinders (untapped)
2 Drudge Skeletons (untapped)
Phage the Untouchable (untapped)
Megrim (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
Terror
Terror
Severed Legion

Chandra's hand:
(5 cards)

Chandra's life: 17

Permanents Chandra controls:
6 Mountains (all tapped)
Earth Elemental (untapped)
Lightning Elemental (untapped)

Chandra's Graveyard:
Goblin Piker
Lightning Elemental
Lava Axe
Lava Axe



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #5 - Liliana vs. Nissa

Ears of the Elves Puzzle

Liliana is toying with you. She's assembled an impressive collection of gigantic black creatures, but she's been content to sit back and let Hollowborn Barghest whittle away your life total. You've got one turn left—and even if you get rid of the Barghest, Liliana can finish you off with a single attack. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. It looks like you have no choice but to win the game this turn! The only question is . . . how?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Elvish Champion
Elvish Eulogist
Elvish Warrior
Eyeblight's Ending
Imperious Perfect
Overrun

Your life: 2

Permanents you control:
3 Forests (untapped)
3 Swamps (untapped)
Drove of Elves (untapped)
Elven Riders (untapped)
Immaculate Magistrate (untapped)
Lys Alana Huntmaster (untapped)
Moonglove Winnower (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
Gaea's Herald 
Giant Growth
Elvish Visionary

Liliana's hand:
(no cards)

Liliana's life: 13

Permanents Liliana controls:
7 Swamps (all tapped)
Crowd of Cinders (untapped)
Dread (untapped)
Hollowborn Barghest (untapped)
Nightmare (untapped)
Phage the Untouchable (untapped)

Lilana's Graveyard:
Unholy Strength
Raise Dead
Terror
Ravenous Rats



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #6 – Chandra vs. Jace

Thoughts of the Wind Puzzle

You're playing Chandra, and you're down to just 1 life. It's a dangerous position to be in, but you realize with delight that you can put Chandra away before she gets another untap step. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. How can you win the game this turn?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Boomerang
Cancel
Counterbore
Deluge
Evacuation
Put Away

Your life: 1

Permanents you control:
7 Islands (untapped)
2 Cloud Sprites (untapped)
Phantom Warrior (untapped)
1 Persuasion enchanting a Prodigal Pyromancer (untapped)
2 Wall of Spears(untapped)
1 Memory Erosion

Your Deck
15 Islands
Your Graveyard:
2 Unsummon
1 Air Elemental

Chandra's hand:
3 Shocks

Chandra's life: 5

Chandra's Deck:
30 Mountains

Chandra's Graveyard:
6 Mountains
2 Incinerate
2 Goblin Piker
1 Goblin Sky Raider

Permanents Chandra controls:
7 Mountains (all tapped)
Earth Elemental (untapped)
Flamewave Invoker (untapped)
Goblin King (untapped)
Lightning Elemental (untapped)
Raging Goblin (untapped)
Shivan Dragon (untapped)
Shivan Hellkite (untapped)
Rage Reflection (untapped)



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #7 – Nissa vs. Sarkhan Vol

Scales of Fury Puzzle

Nissa has a small army of gigantic, forestwalking Elves. Even worse, she's been gaining life each time Rhys the Exiled attacked. She's at 26 life, you're at 1, and the situation looks bleak. It's your turn, and you've already drawn your card. How can you win the game?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
Broodmate Dragon
Naturalize
Sprouting Thrinax
Terror

Your life: 1

Permanents you control:
2 Swamps (untapped)
2 Mountains (untapped)
2 Forests (untapped)
2 Goblin Deathraiders (untapped)
3 Saproling tokens (untapped)
Sprouting Thrinax (untapped)
Flameblast Dragon (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
1 Incinerate
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Rampant Growth

Nissa's hand:
(no cards)

Nissa's life: 26

Permanents Nissa controls:
5 Forests (all tapped)
1 Swamp (tapped)
Rhys the Exiled (tapped)
Elven Riders (tapped)
Elvish Champion (untapped)
Moonglove Winnower (untapped)
Coat of Arms (untapped)

Nissa's Graveyard:
Farhaven Elf
Elvish Visionary
Elvish Warrior



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:


Challenge #8 – Liliana vs. Ajani

Claws of Vengeance Puzzle

The fight with Liliana has been long and hard and she's pulled out all her unlocks. Next turn, the Corrupts she's taunted you with from her hand will defeat you. Do you have what it takes to deal 9 damage and defeat her on this turn?

Puzzle Setup

Your hand:
2 Incinerate
1 Sangrite Surge
1 Pariah
1 Wooly Thoctar
1 Rip-Clan Crasher

Your life: 1

Permanents you control:
9 Forest (untapped)
5 Mountain (untapped)
4 Plains (untapped)
1 Brion Stoutarm (untapped)
1 Mistmeadow Skulk (untapped)
1 Knight of the Skyward Eye (untapped)

Your Graveyard:
3 Rampant Growth
Farhaven Elf
1 Tundra Wolves

Liliana's hand:
1 Platinum Angel
2 Corrupt

Liliana's life: 9

Permanents Liliana controls:
19 Swamp (tapped)
1 Sengir Vampire (tapped)
1 Platinum Angel (tapped)
1 Dread (tapped)
1 Royal Assassin (untapped)
1 Ravenous Rats (untapped)
2 Megrim (untapped)
2 Underworld Dreams (untapped)

Liliana's Graveyard:
Raise Dead
Drudge Skeletons
Dusk Imp



Hint #1:

Hint #2:

Solution:




 Core Set Survivor!  

There are exactly sixteen cards that have been in every core set from Alpha to Tenth Edition. When Magic 2010 comes out, only eight cards will have been in every core set. Over the weeks before the Magic 2010 prerelease, we'll be counting them down in this special Arcana sub-feature, giving you an "IN" or "OUT" on one card a day. Step forward, Bog Wraith.

Reveal Bog Wraith's fate!

Air Elemental
Bog Wraith
Drudge Skeletons—IN
Fear—OUT
Giant Growth—IN
Giant Spider
Goblin King—OUT
Grizzly Bears—OUT
Howling Mine—IN
Nightmare—IN
Orcish Artillery—OUT
Regeneration—OUT
Rod of Ruin
Samite Healer
Scathe Zombies
Wrath of God

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