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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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? $\endgroup$
    – Ivo
    Jan 14, 2016 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ If there's a foil, it replaces a common, but otherwise, correct. $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Jan 14, 2016 at 11:38

4 Answers 4


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

  • $\begingroup$ You can get a little bit more damage if your turn 3 is Tomb -> Swell -> Verdant -> Forest -> Swell -> Verdant -> Swamp -> Swarm Surge. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Ninety-Three Wouldn't I be down to 2 mana when I want to cast Surge? $\endgroup$
    – JonTheMon
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ You start the turn at 5 mana (forest plus two tombs) and cast two swells that cost a net of one each. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oh right, another tomb. $\endgroup$
    – JonTheMon
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Fodder Only applies to constructed. Sealed/draft has no such limit. $\endgroup$
    – JonTheMon
    Jan 14, 2016 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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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... $\endgroup$
    – Zerris
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @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. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 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.


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


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