Puzzling Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for those who create, solve, and study puzzles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


Imagine you are playing a Magic the Gathering game of Sealed Oath of the Gatewatch. This means your deck consists of at least 40 cards, collected from four "Oath of the Gatewatch" booster packs, two "Battle for Zendikar" booster packs, and any number of the five traditional Basic Lands. You may assume your packs contain whatever cards you want, as long as each pack has the proper distribution (1 rare or mythic rare, 3 uncommons, 10 commons, 1 land, and possibly a foil of any card in the set replacing a common). You can find a simulation here.

It is the start of a match and your opponent mulligans to 0 with a deck consisting of 40 Basic Mountains. You may not assume the outcome of any choice they make. Whenever your deck is shuffled, including at the start of the game, you may assume it is stacked in any order you like, and you may choose to play or draw. What is the fastest that you can win such a game?

Measuring the quality of a solution:

Faster is better, so winning turn 4 on the play is better than winning turn 4 on the draw, and winning in your turn 4 upkeep on the play (Hedron Alignment?) is better than winning during your turn 4 combat step on the play. For equally fast solutions, the one that deals more damage (or life loss) wins. If you're tied on both speed and damage, the winner is the one with the most style points, subjectively assigned by me.

Update: @JonTheMon's Turn 2 answer was the one I came up with when solving this myself, but I'll leave the question open for the rest of the day in case anybody comes up with something better.

share|improve this question
What was the exact distribution in a booster again? something about 1 rare 3 uncommon and 10 commons and 1 basic land, right? And in case there was a foil it replaces the basic land card, which makes it possible to get 2 rares? – Ivo Beckers Jan 14 at 9:52
If there's a foil, it replaces a common, but otherwise, correct. – Zerris Jan 14 at 11:38
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Turn 2 combat:

T1: Eye of Ugin, 5x Eldrazi Mimic (1 foil)
T2: Mountain, Vile Aggregate - 30 damage
Total: 30 damage (42 on draw)

Turn 3 combat:

T1: Ancient Tomb, Eldrazi Mimic
T2: Ancient Tomb, Eldrazi Mimic, Eldrazi Mimic - 2 damage
T3: Land, Reality Smasher - 20 damage
Total 22 damage

Turn 3 draw combat:

T1: Forest, Scythe Leopard
T2: Ancient Tomb, Snapping Gnarlid - 2 damage
T3: Verdant Catacombs>Forest, Swell of Growth>Verdant Catacombs>Forest, Swell of Growth>Mountain, Reckless Bushwacker- 2x +2/+2, 5 landfall triggers - 7 + 8 + 4 + 2 = 21 damage
Total 23 damage

share|improve this answer
You can get a little bit more damage if your turn 3 is Tomb -> Swell -> Verdant -> Forest -> Swell -> Verdant -> Swamp -> Swarm Surge. – Ninety-Three Jan 14 at 15:20
@Ninety-Three Wouldn't I be down to 2 mana when I want to cast Surge? – JonTheMon Jan 14 at 15:25
You start the turn at 5 mana (forest plus two tombs) and cast two swells that cost a net of one each. – Ninety-Three Jan 14 at 15:38
Oh right, another tomb. – JonTheMon Jan 14 at 15:43
@Fodder Only applies to constructed. Sealed/draft has no such limit. – JonTheMon Jan 14 at 21:10

Have you heard of the Expeditions? Wizards is packaging super rare reprinted lands into Oath of the Gatewatch packs, and while those lands are not legal in Standard Constructed Magic, if you open them in Sealed, you're allowed to play them. So for this solution, I opened Eye of Ugin and Ancient Tomb as Expeditions. I also got very lucky in my Battle for Zendikar packs: both rares were Endless Ones, and both had a foil Endless One as well.

Turn 1:: Eye of Ugin, Endless One for X=2, Endless One for X=2, Endless One for X=2, Endless One for X=2.
Turn 2: Ancient Tomb, Thought-Knot Seer, attack for 8.
Turn 3: Swamp, Swarm Surge, attack for 22.

That's turn three, on the play, thirty damage during the first strike step.

Old solution

Turn 1: Island, Salvage Drone
Turn 2: Swamp, Transgress the Mind on yourself exiling Hedron Alignment
Turn 3: Swamp, Hedron Alignment
Turn 4: With Hedron Alignment's trigger on the stack, cast Grasp of Darkness on Salvage Drone. Use Salvage Drone's death trigger to discard Hedron Alignment. Resolve Hedron Alignment's trigger, reveal a Hedron Alignment in your hand, win the game.

share|improve this answer
Your old solution was the best Hedron Alignment win I could come up with. I feel like it should be possible to expedition it out on turn 2, but I couldn't find a line. Ancient Tomb > Hedron Crawler, followed by Mana Confluence > Hedron Alignment and Corpse Churn in turn 3 upkeep is so close, but I can't fit an exile in there... – Zerris Jan 14 at 15:54
@Zerris I came to the same conclusion, Transgress the Mind seems to be the only option for exiling it and you just can't fit it in anywhere. – Ninety-Three Jan 14 at 16:04

Turn 4, upkeep

Turn 1:
Play a Swamp

Turn 2:
Play an Island
Cast Transgress the Mind on yourself to exile Hedron Alignment

Turn 3:
Play an Island
Cast Hedron Alignment

Turn 4:
At the beginning of your upkeep, Hedron Alignment's ability triggers and goes on the stack.
In response, cast Corpse Churn to put a Hedron Alignment from the library into the graveyard.
The triggered ability resolves, you reveal another Hedron Alignment in your hand and you win the game.

share|improve this answer

First turn
play Swamp

Second turn
play Island
cast Transgress the Mind on yourself exiling Hedron Alignment

Third turn
Play Island
Cast Oath of Jace discarding another Hedron Alignment

Fourth Turn
Cast Hedron Alignment

Fifth Turn
Win the game in your upkeep by revealing the 4th Hedron Alignment in your hand

Other cards you draw, discard or have in your hand are irrelevant

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.