Normal MtG rules apply here. Your solution must work regardless of any possible choices made by your opponents; assume they do whatever makes it most difficult for you to win. If you would draw a card, you may assume that you draw any card remaining in your library, regardless of shuffling.

Puzzle Setup

You are playing in a multiplayer game of Magic. Decks are 60+ cards, no ban list besides unglued/unhinged, maximum four of each card unless the card says otherwise (or is a basic land).

All the other players have been eliminated, leaving only you and one opponent. It is your opponent's first main phase, nothing has summoning sickness, and no spells have been cast yet on his turn.

Win the game!

(If there are multiple solutions, the best is the one which wins on the earliest turn, secondary tiebreaker is dealing the most damage)

Your hand:
Angel's Grace
Borderland Ranger
Dark Ritual
Diabolic Edict
Glacial Ray

Your board:
Nullmage Advocate (Tapped)
Heritage Druid (Tapped)
Wellwisher (Tapped)
Door to Nothingness
Near-Death Experience
2 Mountains
2 Islands
2 Plains
2 Forests
1 Swamp

Your graveyard:
Ancestral Tribute
Cabal Ritual
Elephant Ambush
Hell's Thunder
Garza's Assassin

Your library:
Whatever you want

Your life:

Opponent's hand:
Decree of Annihilation
Mental Misstep
Rift Bolt
Rift Bolt

Opponent's board:
Sulfuric Vortex
12 Mountains
1 Island

Opponent's graveyard:

Opponent's library:
39 Mountains

Opponent's life:

  • $\begingroup$ This question is frustratingly open-ended. By asking us to devise a strategy that beats any possible opposing play, you're asking us to beat every possible opposing play, and since it's the opponent's turn, there are dozens if not hundreds of possible lines, I don't want to work out each of one hundred lines of play. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ There are actually fairly few lines, given that his entire deck is lands, and a few blatantly fail (for example, any line in which he doesn't attempt to cast Decree is clearly going to lead to an immediate win on your part). $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ There, removed a few cards to make it a little simpler. $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ There were a lot of opponent lines that ultimately lose, but delay your win for a turn or two, which means for scoring purposes you'd have to play them out (how would you score that anyway, average of lines, worst of?) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ I retract my comment about the opponent having too many lines of play. I had been thinking that the opponent had the option to cycle Decree, which opened up a lot more avenues, but if they do that, you can win on your first turn, so they have to cast it. Things are much less complicated then. My apologies. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 1:38

1 Answer 1


Well that was tough, but here it is, infinite damage on turn 1.

The opponent suspends two Rift Bolts, casts Decree, holding up Dispel for Counterspell and Misstep for Ritual.

Untap, take 2 from Sulfuric vortex, and draw Street Wraith.
Cycle Street Wraith to draw Bazaar of Baghdad.
Play Bazaar of Baghdad and activate it to draw and discard Call to the Netherwold and Fatestitcher.
Cast Call to the Netherwold for its Madness cost of zero, returning Street Wraith.
Cycle Street Wraith to draw Lion's Eye Diamond.
Crack Lion's Eye Diamond for UUU, and Unearth Fatestitcher.
Use Fatestitcher to untap Bazaar of Baghdad, tap it to draw and discard Fatestticher and Basking Rootwalla (casting Basking Rootwalla for Madness zero).
Unearth the second Fatestitcher, untap Bazaar of Baghdad, draw and discard Mulldrifter and Dread Return.
Flashback Dread Return on Mulldrifter, sacrificing all three creatures, drawing two cards.
Play Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall.
Play Lion's Eye Diamond, Lion's Eye Diamond, Ideas Unbound, crack Lion's Eye Diamond for UUURRR with Ideas on the stack.
Play Pestermite, Seething Song, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.
Make infinite Pestermites and deal infinite damage.

Today I learned you can win a game of Magic with five life and a one card hand. Cool.

To prove that "Opponent cycles Decree" is beatable: The opponent cycles Decree and casts both Rift Bolts at you. You untap, Vortex on the stack you use Nullmage to kill the Vortex and Wellwisher to gain 1 life, thus surviving to your draw phase. From there you play Bazaar, draw Lotus + Ancestral, and skip straight to that part of the above combo.

If the opponent casts a rift bolt at one of your creatures, you'll survive into your main phase and win as above.

  • $\begingroup$ And apparently you can do it in more than one way, since (past your third card) our solutions share nothing in common! Well done. Might want to include the proof that you can beat a Cycle'd decree, but that's not too hard. $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ Now I'm curious as to what you were doing, the only lines I could find were Flashback or Unearth. Flashback doesn't do anything (not enough life for Deep Analysis, the only good one), and the only Unearthable that does anything is Stitcher. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Hint: What vintage deck are you playing here? (Also, your second proof doesn't work, since you don't have the life to pay for cycling any more) $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Made it Vintage legal, just for you. Proof skips straight to the end stage of the combo, probably should have specified that. I was thinking your solution dealt infinite damage, which I don't think is possible without Dread Return -> Draw cards -> Do broken stuff. I guess you can dredge Narco Narco Narco Bridge Return Flamekin and deal lethal. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Better - Narco, Narco, Narco, Bridge, Return, Balustrade Spy. If you can't go infinite off that with all the cards in magic and a stacked deck, you're not trying. $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 17:30

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