W/U Panharmonicon with Ben Weitz and Pascal Maynard

Posted in Event Coverage on December 3, 2016

By Hallie Santo

With two midrange decks fighting for Standard supremacy, many pro Magic players have come to the conclusion that it’s best to go over the top at Grand Prix Denver this weekend. The tournament hall has been abuzz with talk of Aetherworks Marvel decks and turn four Emrakul’s. Of course, if so much of the field is trying to win with Emrakul, the question becomes, “How does one top the over-the-top deck?” We turned to a few of Team East West Bowl’s Eldrazi experts for answers.

“A lot of people think that Standard is stale, but I disagree,” says Ben Weitz, one of the team’s principal deck designers. “B/G Delirium and W/U Flash are very good decks, and they’re good against a diverse field.”

His teammate from the east, twelve-time Grand Prix Champion Pascal Maynard, agrees wholeheartedly. “This Standard format is very skill-intensive,” Maynard says. “Most players think that B/G Delirium is the better deck, but the match-up isn’t that straightforward.”

While some East West Bowlers chose to join Team B/G Delirium this weekend, Weitz and Maynard elected to try beating the boogeyman deck instead. “Once everyone starts playing the black-green deck, it becomes exploitable,” Weitz points out. “I expect to see a lot of weird decks this weekend.”

Weitz’s deck du jour may qualify as one of the weird ones. Its centerpiece is Panharmonicon, an artifact that has long been relegated to the realm of Limited build-arounds. Weitz’s blue and white invention includes plenty of creatures and artifacts with powerful “enter the battlefield” effects, including the format-defining Reflector Mage and Spell Queller; the menacing Skysovereign, Consul Flagship; and role-players like Cloudblazer and Thraben Inspector. He even found a nifty infinite combo including two of their favorite Eldrazi – Drowner of Hope’s enter the battlefield effect creates four Eldrazi Scions when Panharmonicon is in play, and if you feed three of those Scions to an Eldrazi Displacer, you can blink your Drowner as many times as you’d like, netting one Scion per turn.

The Aetherworks Marvel deck was certainly on East West Bowl’s radar – in fact, some of the team chose to play it today – but Weitz, Maynard, and teammate (3) Seth Manfield wanted to go one level deeper.

“Marvel has evolved to beat its natural predator, W/U Flash,” Weitz says, acknowledging the strength of the deck. “But Panharmonicon goes over the top of the Marvel decks, provided that they don’t have a turn four Emrakul.”

“The deck is great against Emrakul, too,” Maynard adds. “We have lots of answers: Stasis Snare, Reflector Mage, Displacer.”

“I once beat someone who cast Emrakul four times in one game,” Weitz says. Perhaps he can replicate that success in Denver this weekend.

Ben Weitz's W/U Panharmonicon

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