Can you solve the wizard standoff riddle? – Dan Finkel
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Can you solve the wizard standoff riddle? – Dan Finkel

August 13, 2019


You’ve been chosen as a champion
to represent your wizarding house in a deadly duel against
two rival magic schools. Your opponents are fearsome. From the Newt-niz school, a powerful sorcerer wields a wand
that can turn people into fish, but his spell only works 70% of the time. And from the Leib-ton school, an even more powerful enchantress wields
a wand that turns people to statues, and it works 90% of the time. Lots are drawn, and you’re chosen
to cast the first spell in the duel. The Newt-niz magician will go second, and the Leib-ton enchantress third, after which you’ll repeat casting in
that order until only one of you is left. The rules of magic duels are strict, and anyone who casts out of
order immediately forfeits the duel. Also, to prevent draws, the rules stipulate that
if everyone’s still standing at the end of the first round, you’ll all be turned into cats. Now, you must choose a wand. Your wizarding house presents you
with three options: the Bannekar, which binds
one target with vines and casts effectively 60% of the time, the Gaussian,
which turns one target into a tree and works 80% of the time, and the incredibly rare Noether 9000, which banishes one target
to a distant mountaintop and casts perfectly 100% of the time. Your opponents are masters of strategy,
as well as sorcery, and you know they’ll make the choices that
maximize their own chances of success. Which wand should you choose and what strategy should you employ to have the greatest chance
of winning the duel? Pause the video now if you want
to figure it out for yourself! Answer in: 3 Answer in: 2 Answer in: 1 You reach for the Noether 9000 first. After all, it makes sense to enter
the duel with the most powerful wand. But before you pick it up, you consider
what would happen. As the most dangerous wizard, you’d also be the target
of the other two magicians, and you’d need to take
care of the most dangerous of them first. But afterward, there’s a 70% chance you’d
be struck down by the remaining wizard. That’s trouble. Maybe it’s better to take the Gaussian. It works 80% of the time, which means you wouldn’t be a target
until the enchantress was incapacitated. But if you succeeded in transforming her, you’d probably be turned
into a fish immediately after. If you transformed the sorcerer, the enchantress would almost
certainly turn you to stone. It would really be better if you missed. And that’s when you have an idea: what if you took the Gaussian,
then missed on purpose? Then, you would wait for the sorcerer
to attack the enchantress, and you’d have an 80% chance
of winning against the sorcerer. It’s a good idea, but there’s a problem; the sorcerer could also pass his turn and the enchantress, knowing that
she couldn’t pass without becoming a cat, would cast her spell on one of you. And since you’re the most dangerous
between you and the sorcerer, you’d be the target. And that’s when you see
what you really need to do: take the weakest wand, the Bannekar,
and miss on purpose. Now the sorcerer knows that
he’ll be targeted by the enchantress and he’ll have to try to turn her into
a fish to avoid being turned into stone. Seventy percent of the time he’d succeed and you’d have a 60% chance
of winning the duel at the beginning of the next round. If he fails, chances are he’ll be
turned to stone and you’d still have a 60% chance of
winning the duel against the enchantress. There’s a slim 3% chance
you’ll all be turned into cats, but when everything’s accounted for, you have better than even odds
of winning with this strategy. And that’s the best you can do. Here’s what the probability of winning
for the different strategies looks like. Who would’ve thought
that the best way to take your shot would be to throw away your shot?

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Sign up to be emailed the solution to the bonus riddle: https://brilliant.org/tededpoisonapples/! Also, the first 833 of you who sign up for a PREMIUM subscription will get 20% off the annual fee. Riddle on, riddlers!

  2. I would just take the 100% wand and shoot everyone in the room and forfeit the duel and not take any chance of turning into anything

  3. Guys, if they straight up told you that you could miss on purpose, the answer would've been obvious. Like any clever riddle, the answer was something so simple, it pissed you off you didn't think about it first. Y'all just salty.

  4. Okay the riddles are a cute idea but I've really gotten tired of having extra details explained in the answer. It was a good run, Ted-Ed.

  5. Yes yes yes i paused the video for a long tume so we or we or you hace to miss the shot then the red one shoot yellow because you have the weakess wand then shoot red

  6. Reminds me of the TriWizard Tournament, 3 wizarding schools but then 4:17 I'm not throwing away my shot! No not throwing away my shot

  7. Oh my gosh!!!
    The hamilton star at the end🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️😆😆😱😱🤣🤣🤣

  8. You maybe should have mentioned intentionally missing was allowed, I know it wasn’t explicitly stated that you couldn’t miss on purpose, but that rule the riddle solver needs to come with up on their own, which is typically a sign of a weaker riddle. When you open the door to solutions not stated clearly in the set up as being something you can, it means there is seemingly no limit to what somebody could creatively come up with as a solution. Who says I can’t cheat to win the duel? Maybe a friend of mine secretly casts an anti- magic charm on my opponents from the crowd reducing their chances of a successful hit, not one of your better riddles.

  9. If you shoot twice that means you are already in the 2nd round and you should have been turned into cats by then

  10. The real answer is take the 100% wand hit 90% when 60% casts move so they don’t hit you then cast at 60% and win
    100% chance

  11. I understand why the missing on purpose was left out, because it would've made the answer a bit more obvious. The thing is that it does make it a bad riddle. The fact that you can come up with missing on purpose also leaves room for other answers, such as wizarding a knife and just stab them to death. That's ofcourse an exaggeration, but I think you get the point.

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  13. The green bowl since its a 100% that you wont die IF you slice four apples into halves and eat the remaining 1

    If the whole apple that is not poison then you get 2 halves of poisoned apples (1 poisonous apple)

    If you ate the poisoned apple then you get a half of a poisonous apple (1.5 poisonous apple)

    No one said that slicing is illegal

  14. You said after the 1st round everyone would turn it to a cat and lose, so your answer is bunk.
    Show the 60% one, miss, then sit down.

  15. Have you guys ever heard of the Sphinx riddles ?? THOSE are riddles. These are called word problems. Yall really think yall clever lol every riddle yall make calls for a calculator…dats a waste of everybody time.

  16. Umm… taking the 100% chance one and targeting both wizards at the same time is what I would do. Wasn't stated in the rules that I couldn't. 😀

  17. Ok, I see that Hamilton reference you out in there TED-ed! I am not throwing away my shot! (My Shot from the musical Hamilton)

  18. You could also banish the person next so that if the enchantress went she would skip a turn and be disqualified

  19. The night before the duel, meet with the other two separately. Ask each of them whether they want to become murderer, or if they want to die for the amusement of the crowds. If either of them wish to avoid it, tell them that there is a way, but they must bring supplies for mountain survival. On the day of the duel, pick the Noether 9000 and use it on anyone who wanted to avoid the duel, and then yourself. Climb down from the mountain and start an uprising against the people who force children into deadly duels.

  20. Green apple.
    If you name apples A B C D E and you say that B and D are poisoned you could die only eating ABD, BCD, BDE. You have 10 combination in total (ABC, ABD, ABE, ACD, ACE, ADE, BCD, BDE, BCE, CDE) . So 3/10 (30%)
    In the red one you have A B E poisoned. You could die eating AE, BE, AB. You have 9 combination in total (AB, AC, AD, AE, BC, BD, BE, CD, CE). So 3/9 (33,3%)

  21. If you took the Gaussian and missed on purpose, the sorceror would probably kill the enchantress and you'd probably kill him. However you said there would be a 0% chance of winning with this strategy

  22. omg i won ! just cuz but cmon this riddles are tricky each time at the end have made up rules or not mention stuff you can do , ok for the apple I will turn em into apple juice and then make the other dude drink it all 😂

  23. The real problem here is that if they are all masters of strategy the enchantress is going to cheat since she knows she dies first.

  24. 4:15 I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT IM JUST LIKE MY COUNTRY IM YOUNG SCRAPPY AND HUNGRY AND IM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT

  25. Before you get to the battle bring warm clothes and blankets and use the noether 9000 on yourself and you would have one of the best wands in the world and not taking chanses

  26. Well if we can bend the rules like this, then you can just bundle up, Get the Noether 9000, use it on yourself, grab your Elytra, use your Fire Flower to propel yourself away from the mountain and back to the stadium, and then you see the outcome! Then use the Master Sword to strike down the other opponents, and you win!

  27. Easier solution: take the banishing one and use it on yourself. You will then be the last one standing (on a mountain)

  28. 4:05

    1.6% chance to win with Noether 9000 (100% success chance) when you pass the first turn?
    Someone please explain that to me.

  29. Haven't read the comments but I believe after about a minute of thinking and looking over the wands I banish myself to the mountain

  30. 4:14
    Me: ahhh….aha….ahahaH……AHhahahaHAHAHAHHAHAH HHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHHA

    I like Hamilton

  31. Sure…sure…or I could just take the most powerful wand and teleport myself far away from this duel to a remote corner of the planet!

  32. I think I have the answer to the bonus riddle.
    Eat from the green apple bowl. Here's my explanation:
    In the green apple bowl, there's a 60% chance of eating a safe apple. But, if you eat a safe apple, you still have a 50% chance of eating one poisonous apple. Then you have a 33% chance of eating the other bad apple and dying. There's also a 40% chance of you eating one poisonous apple first, and then there's a 25% chance of you dying, and a 75% chance of you eating one good apple, and after, a 33% chance of you dying.
    In the red apple bowl, you have 40% chance of eating one safe apple, which will keep you alive no matter what. But there's a 60% chance of eating a poisonous one. Then there is a 50% chance you will either die or live.
    Let's say your opponent eats a poisonous apple from the green, and you eat a poisonous one from the red. You have one 50% chance of surviving. Your opponent has a 75% to eat a good second apple, and then a 66% chance to eat another good apple. That's a 70% chance of survival. The green bowl is better.

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