7 Ways to Go Deep with Panharmonicon

by Taufik Indrakesuma on 20 December 2016, Tuesday

Taufik Indrakesuma

7 Ways to Go Deep with Panharmonicon

At Grand Prix Denver, Seth Manfield proved that Aetherworks Marvel isn’t the only 4 mana artifact good enough for competitive Standard play.

His Top 8 finish with White-Blue Panharmonicon has showed everyone that if you’re bored enough of the supposedly “stale” Standard metagame of White-Blue Flash, Black-Green Delirium, and Aetherworks, you can still play whatever you want and win.

Aetherworks Marvel Panharmonicon

Both Aetherworks Marvel and Panharmonicon thrive in metagames where you can “take turn four off” and not immediately die. Fortunately, our big 3 decks have pushed most of the aggressive decks out of the metagame, so this is prime time to sleeve up silly do-nothings.

But why stop at White-Blue Panharmonicon? If you’re like me, you also get bored pretty quickly when playing “established” decks that other people have tuned and tested for you. Why not go exploring for a bit? So, in the spirit of playing whatever we want, let’s see how far into the rabbit hole we can go with Panharmonicon, because blue and white aren’t the only colors with enters-the-battlefield effects.



The Deep Dive

So, what’s out there that we can abuse with Panharmonicon?

1. Eldrazi Displacer and Infinite Eldrazi Scions

Eldrazi Displacer Eldrazi Scion Token (1/11)

We start with the obvious combo that Seth’s deck exploited: Eldrazi Displacer making infinite Eldrazi Scions by blinking Drowner of Hope, which nets you 1 scion per iteration (you create 4 and need to sacrifice 3 to blink again). This can get you as many creatures as you want, as well as millions of colorless mana.

If the prospect of untapping with a giant army of 1/1s doesn’t appeal to you (perhaps you worry that your opponent has Fumigate in hand), Seth’s deck can use that wealth of mana to blink Thraben Inspector repeatedly and create enough Clue tokens to draw your entire deck and find a Thought-Knot Seer, which you can then cast and blink an arbitrarily large number of times to stack enough “draw a card” triggers to beat your opponent (if you want to practice writing with synonyms, try crafting a sentence like that one without repeating the word “infinite”).

Drowner of Hope Brood Monitor

It’s worth remembering that Drowner of Hope isn’t the only creature that allows you to do this: Brood Monitor produces three Scion tokens (six with Panharmonicon), so if you want to keep the combo but replace blue with green, it’s an easy substitution to make.


2. Value Creatures and Artifacts

Thraben Inspector Glint-Nest Crane Reflector Mage Cloudblazer Linvala, the Preserver Pilgrim's Eye

Here’s the other category that the White-Blue Panharmonicon deck utilizes, and to quite good effect. With Panharmonicon on the battlefield, Thraben Inspector makes two Clues, Cloudblazer becomes insane, Glint-Nest Crane gives you two shots at whiffing and ripping your hair out in frustration (or is that just me?), and Reflector Mage just makes your opponent want to flip the table. Linvala, the Preserver and Pilgrim’s Eye round out the random trips to Value Town that we can take with our favorite musical instrument.

Ishkanah, Grafwidow Angel of Invention

In addition to those, we have delirious Ishkanah, Grafwidows bringing extra spiders, as well as superstar draft mechanics Fabricate (highlights here: Angel of Invention and Marionette Master) and Support (Relief Captain triggering twice is better than Verdurous Gearhulk! Okay, fine, not really.)


3. Gearhulks

Verdurous Gearhulk Noxious Gearhulk Torrential Gearhulk Combustible Gearhulk

We can’t really talk about value creatures without mentioning the new titan cycle from Kaladesh. Most of the Gearhulks get absolutely ridiculous if you double up their ETB triggers.

I mean, not Cataclysmic Gearhulk and probably also not Torrential Gearhulk if you’re playing a Panharmonicon deck with no instants, but the other three get amazing value. Turn 2 Servant of the Conduit, turn 3 Panharmonicon, turn 4 Verdurous Gearhulk is everything a Timmy could ever hope for.


4. Energy-Makers

Okay, now we’re venturing off into the deep end. Energy counters are a wildly different direction to take the deck than what people have tried before. Kaladesh is littered with creatures and artifacts that produce energy upon entering the battlefield: the Thriving cycle, Aether Theorist, Whirler Virtuoso, Aethertorch Renegade, Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot, and the list goes on.

Whirler Virtuoso Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot

Panharmonicon doubles the amount of energy produced by these creatures, allowing you to… well, I guess we haven’t quite found something to do with all this energy beyond casting free spells with Aetherworks Marvel or pumping Bristling Hydra and Electrostatic Pummeler to epic proportions (okay, that’s not true because Epic Proportions only gives +5/+5 and trample, while Electrostatic Pummeler gets way bigger than that). But keep an eye out for any massive energy payoffs in Aether Revolt.


5. Mana Acceleration

Okay, this point isn’t really a way to abuse Panharmonicon’s triggers, but a way to start abusing them faster. I really only considered this while typing up the last line in the Gearhulk paragraph: The only thing better than a turn 4 Panharmonicon is a turn 3 Panharmonicon following a turn 2 Servant of the Conduit or Hedron Crawler.

Servant of the Conduit Hedron Crawler

Turn 3 Panharmonicon allows it to escape Spell Queller and Void Shatter on the play, and has the added bonus of making your opponent groan about the Revolutionary Rebuff stuck in their hand.


6. Allies

Wait, what now?

Yes, you heard me: Allies.

This is an opportunity to play Panharmonicon in a deck that doesn’t seek to play defense until an infinite combo appears, but rather to double your beneficial triggers in an aggressive shell and quickly kill your opponent.

Relief Captain Kalastria Healer Reckless Bushwhacker

Yes, the original Zendikar block Allies like Kazandu Blademaster and Hada Freeblade are way better cards, but some of the BFZ Allies still work pretty well with Panharmonicon. In addition to the aforementioned Relief Captain, we can also double up on our triggers from Kalastria Healer, Reckless Bushwhacker (with surge), and Tajuru Warcaller to boost our board position tremendously using Panharmonicon.

Munda, Ambush Leader March from the Tomb

Munda, Ambush Leader practically allows you to draw your whole deck while smashing your opponent’s face in. If that isn’t enough for you, you could even use something silly like March from the Tomb to do it all over again after your opponent casts a sweeper. What’s not to love?


7. Humans

Thalia's Lieutenant

Last, but definitely not least, we come to one of my favorite cards over the past year: Thalia’s Lieutenant. A W/G, W/U or even a Bant Humans shell could go absolutely insane with Panharmonicon, using Thraben Inspector, Reflector Mage, and Cloudblazer (a human!) for value while trump cards Thalia’s Lieutenant and Heron’s Grace Champion grow your team to epic proportions (oh, I already used this joke? Oops).

For those of you who know me and my love of puns, the best part of building this deck with a Humans subtheme is obviously the part where you get to name your deck Manharmonicon (or Panhumanicon, for the more politically correct version).


Beyond the Harmonica


Beyond the actual deck ideas, this little brainstorming exercise has inspired me to look beyond the “intended” use of a combo card. Here, we discussed the possibility of using Panharmonicon as a curve-topper to help aggressive shells have a better late-game. What if we applied the same thinking with other combo cards?

For example, Aetherworks Marvel doesn’t always have to be Emrakul-or-bust. What if we used it as a Phyrexian Arena-style card advantage engine in aggressive Red-Green energy decks? After all, I often see aggressive Red-Green energy decks with several dice on their energy counter token but not enough creatures on the board to take advantage of it.

What other cards can you think of that people haven’t fully explored? Have I even done a good enough job of exploring the full potential of Panharmonicon?

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