Magic: The Tappening (Solution)

by John Wiesemann, with help from Dan Gulotta and Tanya Khovanova

Decoding and Finding Creature Cards

The title of this puzzle as well as the audio in the files clues Tap Code. In this code letters are laid out in a 5x5 grid in row major order. The code 1/3 represnets both K and C. To indicate a letter you tap out its coordinate in the grid; first tap out the row and then tap out the column. The first step is to decode the audio files using this code. The result are clues that, when resolved, are the names of creature cards from Magic: The Gathering. The clues and what they clue are broken down here:

  1. vast plain mercury compact = Steppe Lynx via Mercury Lynx
  2. stone forest material family = Petrified Wood-Kin via crossword type clue
  3. star of miracle grow = Quirion Dryad via Alan Comer's Miracle Grow
  4. copper phosphorus pupil = Student of Elements via Elements spelled with elements
  5. legendary antelope cockatrice lammasu = Mistform Ultimus via only creature with all of these types
  6. brick furnace enthusiast = Kiln Fiend via crossword type clue
  7. folktales symbol of justice jacket before m = Lorescale Coatl via crossword clues for "Lore Scale Coat L"
  8. run over by a merfolk = Wake Thrasher via flavor text

Identifying Cards in the Hands

To make use of the hands one must first identify each card by the part of it you can see. The image files are named for the first letters of the alphabet, which is not important to the puzzle, but used here to id the image. This is the order presented on the puzzle page:

A. Clutch of Undeath, Bonds of Faith, Pull Under
B. Enfeeblement, Riding the Dilu Horse, Coils of the Medusa
C. Favor of the Overbeing, Phyrexian Boon, Edge of the Divinity, Kindled Fury, Deathlace, Last Gasp
D. Flowstone Strike, Scar, Dizzy Spell, Shield of the Oversoul
E. Instill Infection, Fleeting Distraction, Cloak of Feathers
F. Library of Alexandria, Serra's Boon, Tomb Hex, Exploration, Mountain, Tattoo Ward
G. Shrink, Carapace, About Face
H. Sleeping Potion, Veteran's Reflexes, Stabbing Pain, Mark of Mutiny

Matching and Extraction

The number of audio files and the number of hands of cards is the same. They should be matched up such that no creature dies and no targeting/protection rules (or other rules) of Magic: The Gathering are broken. To do so follow these reasonable rules:

Play each card in each hand once in the order given (left to right), one at a time, as though each hand takes place in a single turn of separate games where all the mana needed to do so is available. Always use triggered abilities (even if they are optional), but never use any activated abilities. Assume no special actions (such as playing a land) have been performed yet this turn. Consider a draw to occur even though you don't have a deck and don't gain a card.

Each hand of cards will change (there may be a net zero change) the power and thoughness of the creature to which it matches. Use the resulting power and thoughness of the creatures to index into the tap code. Use power to get the row and thoughness to get the column. Read out in the order of the original 8 files (as the hands were presented in alpahbetical order). This results in the answer, BROWN ROT.

: = 1/2 = B
: = 4/2 = R
: = 3/4 = O
: = 5/2 = W
: = 3/3 = N
: = 4/2 = R
: = 3/4 = O
: = 4/4 = T

More Details

See growl.ods for details on how the hands change the P/T of each creature. See the below table for a proof of uniqe matching. The sets are identified by the word of the fist card name. Protected means that it is against the rules to target a creature with at least one spell in the hand, and the creature would still be alive when that card would need to be cast. If decoding the P/T using tap code is possible, it has been done in the table.

A. ClutchB. EnfeeblementC. FavorD. FlowstoneE. InstillF. LibraryG. ShrinkH. Sleeping
Steppe LynxDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadBDeadB
Petrified Wood-Kin DeadRProtectedProtectedProtectedProtectedProtectedProtected
Quirion DryadDeadDead9/6OHDeadDead6/6
Student of Elements DeadDeadWDeadDeadDeadDeadG
Mistform Ultimus NRW0/1BDeadDeadT
Kiln Fiend DeadDeadDeadDead8/1DeadR14/3
Lorescale Coatl DeadDeadQDeadODeadDeadN
Wake ThrasherDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadT

The following steps show that each bolded pairing is the only possible match such that all the creatures recieve a match that doesn't result in "Dead" or "Protected." The order of these steps in not unique; there is more than one way to prove this.

  1. Clutch kills everything except Mistform Ultimus, so Mistform Ultimus must match with Clutch and none of its other possible matches.
  2. Shrink kills or is protected from every creature except Kiln Fiend so it must match Kiln Fiend.
  3. Library kills or is protected from every creature except Steppe Lynx, so it must match with Steppe Lynx.
  4. Petrified Wood-Kin is protected from or dies to everything except Enfeeblement, so it must match with Enfeeblement.
  5. Wake Thrasher dies to everything except Sleeping, so Sleeping must match with Wake Thrasher and none of its other possible matches.
  6. Student of Elements dies to everything except Sleeping and Favor, but Sleeping is now taken so it must match with Favor.
  7. Lorescale Coatl dies to everything except Sleeping, Favor, and Instill, but Sleeping and Favor are now taken so it must match with Instill.
  8. Quirion Dryad and Flowstone are the last remaining items and must pair together.