People love to figure out first turn kills in Magic: the Gathering, and have been around since the beginning, when someone threw together a deck with Channel, Black Lotus, Fireball, Mountain. Pulling off a first turn kill in multiplayer is much harder, because you need to do much more damage to your opponents.

Assume the following:

  • You have 4 opponents.
  • Legacy Banned List.
  • You get to determine every card you draw (including starting hand).
  • Your opponents take no actions. (goldfish).

What is the maximum amount of total life loss that is possible? Not sure of the best way to rank submissions, perhaps fewest cards used, least mana used, most life loss, or least expensive cards. Perhaps an average of those values.

  • I don't like "you have perfect luck" thing in puzzles, because it allows you to ignore one of the biggest constraints in deck design. So my vote goes to 60 copies of Relentless Rats with the "reveal" ability of Chancellor of the Dross painstakingly pasted onto each one of them. >.>
    – Alex P
    Aug 9, 2012 at 21:51
  • @AlexP, CotD gets you more than half way there. You only need 8 more life lost in 4 cards. That shouldn't be too difficult. When you are talking about first turn kills, you pretty much have to have perfect luck.
    – user1873
    Aug 9, 2012 at 22:16

5 Answers 5


False Cure deck - I used to have a Vintage version of this deck, using proxies for all the expensive cards in the deck.

First Skyshoud Cutter causes opponents gain 5 life (25 life), False Cures and opponents lose 10 life. Remaining 3 Skyshroud Cutter's do the same.

  • 7 Cards (AVG 22.9 life/card). Cheating a little since we are giving opponents life
  • 6 Mana (AVG 55.3 life/mana), or using CMC instead 8.42
  • 40 * 4 life = 160 total
  • $14 + $1 + $1.50 + 4x$0.10 (approximate $16.90 total, AVG 9.47 life/$) (Prices by TCGPlayer.com, 5th lowest Near Mint price)
  • Not that big of an improvement, but you can make this cheaper (in monetary price) if you trade 1 Dark Ritual and 1 False Cure for 2 Skyshroud Cutters. Obviously, you can also trade de Bayou for an Overgrown Tomb :)
    – rahzark
    Aug 9, 2012 at 13:26
  • @rahzark, Thanks for the improvements. I should have remembered the pain lands (huge $ improvement). I will update the post with your suggstions. I wonder if any T2 solutions exist?
    – user1873
    Aug 9, 2012 at 16:37

Geth's Grimoire deck - Win through discard. Half as cheap, with a better AVG life loss per dollar.

8th card played, opponents discard down to 6. Draw 4.

Opponents discard down to 5 and -4 life (16). Draw 4.

Opponents discard down to 2 and -12 life (4). Draw 12.

Opponents discard down to 0 and -8 life (2 triggers remain on stack). Game Over

  • 15 cards (AVG 5.3 life/card)
  • 32 mana (AVG 2.5 life/mana)
  • 80 life loss total (16 on the stack not included.)
  • $7.40 (AVG 10.8 life/$)

Damned Spirits - Spirits to grave, and turbo mana. Cheapest combo so far.


  • 8 cards (AVG 10 life/card) I suppose you could "cheat" to increase the AVG by filling the deck with 52 cheap spirits. This would allow you to Exsanguinate for 52 (AVG 26 life/card). The highest life per card average, but not realistic.
  • 35 mana (AVG 2.5 life/mana)
  • 80 life lost
  • $4.65 (AVG 17.20 life/$)

Storm Kobolds - Storm for infinite damage (could Brain Freeze for mill and then Burning Inquiry to draw opponents out).


  • 8 cards (AVG 10 life/card)
  • 10 mana (AVG 8 life/mana)
  • 80 total life loss (infinite technically)
  • $5.70 (AVG 14.04 life/$)

You only need to win the game, you don't need to do infinite damage.

MTG Oops All Spells example list

One of several ways it can win on turn 1 is:

You only need the mana sources + Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer to win, so it's not really that inconsistent a turn 1 win against a goldfish.

  • I'm don't think this meets the requirements of the question which asks "What is the maximum amount of total life loss that is possible?" rather than other ways of winning. Jan 7 at 9:19
  • 1
    @PhilipKendall I thought about that, but the title (& also body) refers to "first turn kill", which does not require you to win by damage.
    – Allure
    Jan 7 at 9:29

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