November 24, 2016

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Test Drive - Going Infinite

Welcome all to the Test Drive where I’ll be testing out a Standard deck and see how it plays out in today’s meta-game. Today’s deck will be centered around a build-around card from Kaladesh. This artifact has intrigued me ever since first revealed, and even during prerelease, I went undefeated thanks to the power of this card. This card would be Panharmonicon!

Panharmonicon is a card that takes advantage of enter the battlefield triggers. Luckily there are some great cards that can take advantage of Panharmonicon to achieve a lot of value. There are cards from all colours that can take advantage of what Panharmonicon has to offer, but I’ve decided to test out the Esper Infinite Panharmonicon deck.

This deck’s goal is to accrue value from all the creatures and artifacts that have enter the battlefield triggers. These triggers are multiplied for each Panharmonicon you can get on the battlefield. Eldrazi Displacer will allow you to recur those triggers and is also part of the infinite combo achieved with Panharmonicon and Drowner of Hope. This combo of three cards allows you to have infinite creatures, infinite mana, and infinite ways to lock down your opponent’s creatures.

Glint-Nest Crane provides an early blocker while also keeping your hand filled with cards. Prophetic Prism is free mana fixing that gets better as the game goes on. Thought-Knot Seer allows you to get rid of any threats from your opponent’s hand, which might just be there because of the Reflector Mage played the turn earlier.
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship allows you to take down enemy Planeswalkers and Drowner of Hope can save you time by tapping down opposing threats. Noxious Gearhulk provides a late game threat, while being removal and life gain all in one creature.

All the value listed above is greatly increased by every Panharmonicon you can put onto the battlefield as well.

So now I’m going to get into how the deck played. There are a lot of aggressive decks in today’s meta-game which means that this deck often had trouble in game one of each match. While playing in game one, if you were unable to get an early Glint-Nest Crane or Reflector Mage, it made for a difficult decision on turn four. When playing this deck, you want to get out a Panharmonicon as early as possible so that you can start to see extra value from every card you play, but if you get too far behind, too quickly, you are forced to play a three drop or a Thought-Knot Seer to try and stabilize. Cards like Smuggler’s Copter were especially troubling to deal with in game ones with only two Anguished Unmaking as ways to deal with it.

The games in which I could win game one were ones in which I could get out a Panharmonicon or two early and just gain card advantage and overpower my opponent with my resources. This is a deck where you are really trying to stabilize and turn a corner with it, but once you turn that corner it is hard to lose after that.

Where this deck shines is in post-sideboard games. The combination of cards and removal that you can bring in after game one allows you to prevent aggressive starts from your opponent and forces the mid and late game where you excel. Fragmentize and Immolating Glare allow you to deal with Smuggler’s Copter and other early threats from your opponent. Transgress the Mind can start to take out some powerful turn three and four plays and allow you to play Panharmonicon on turn four without worrying that you will be blown out from an aggressive start. Select for Inspection is great at preventing early threats and is a unique way with temporarily dealing with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar as well.

Without the threat of early damage taking you down too low, I could win most post-sideboard games with ease as the value achieved from the deck once it got into full swing was too much. I could achieve the infinite combo with Drowner of Hope just twice, but it was quite satisfying when it happened.

I would recommend giving this deck a try, but might alter it to have a little more removal in the main deck so that it will give you a better chance of winning more often in game one.

Thanks for joining me on this Test Drive and look forward to seeing what else Standard has to offer in the coming weeks!