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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Against the Odds: Five-Color MOMamonicon | Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines | Phyrexia Standard

Against the Odds: Five-Color MOMamonicon | Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines | Phyrexia Standard

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 365 of Against the Odds. Phyrexia: All Will Be One is here, and we're kicking off our Against the Odds exploration of the format with a special episode! Which #MTGONE card deserves the honor of being the first Against the Odds card from the set? Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, of course! If you've been following Against the Odds for a while, you might remember that when Kaladesh was released back in 2017, our first Against the Odds episode for the set was a five-color pile built around Panharmonicon, an artifact that would go down as one of the most famous Against the Odds cards of all time. Today's deck—Five-Color MOMamonicon—draws inspiration from the original Five-Color Panharmonicon brew, overflowing with all of the biggest, sweetest, and most powerful enters-the-battlefield triggers in Standard, with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines being our Panharmonicon replacement! Is Elesh Norn the best Panharmonicon of all time? What sweet shenanigans can a five-color enters-the-battlefield-trigger deck pull off in our new Standard format? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: 5C Momamonicon

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The Deck

While there are a bunch of ways to play Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines in Standard, it's Against the Odds. It wouldn't be right to play some sort of Spikey mono-white build that just tosses in the new mythic for value, so we're going as deep as possible by playing all five colors to take advantage of all of the sweetest enters-the-battlefield triggers in the format!

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Why would we choose to overload our deck with enters-the-battlefield triggers? Because Phyrexia: All Will Be One gave us the best Panharmonicon of all time in Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. I've played more Panharmonicons than anyone and know from experience that the artifact has one big problem—it doesn't do anything right away—which makes it hard to find the time to get it on the battlefield without falling too far behind or literally dying. Elesh Norn solves this problem by having a massive 4/7 body, likely making it the toughest creature on the battlefield and allowing it to block anything, which greatly increases our chances of surviving to untap and do sweet enters-the-battlefield things. Even better, Elesh Norn also shuts down all of our opponent's enters-the-battlefield triggers with its Torpor Orb ability, which helps it survive removal like Ossification, Leyline Binding, and Brutal Cathar while also shutting down opposing threats like Bloodtithe Harvester, Sanctuary Warden, and Archangel of Wrath

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Our deck's other challenge is the mana. Even with the good dual lands in Standard, being five colors is tough, so we need some fixing. For this, we have two cards that are good early in the game for fixing our mana and even better once we have Mom on the battlefield. Topiary Stomper just tutors up a basic land, letting us snag whatever color we are missing, while Prophetic Prism is a trick from the original Kaladesh Panharmonicon deck, giving us mana of any color and also turning into a two-mana draw-two once we have Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, thanks to its enters-the-battlefield trigger.

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Outside of Mom, our most interesting support piece is The Eternal Wanderer, which is absurd in our deck. Its +1 blinks an artifact or creature, making it a great way to reuse our best enters-the-battlefield trigger, while its –4 ability gives us a pseudo-wrath that lets us keep Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines on the battlefield while leaving our opponent with their worst creature! Importantly, The Eternal Wanderer gives us a way to answer opposing Elesh Norns, which is important. Our deck does nothing if our opponent plays an Elesh Norn, which means having a few ways to kill a Mom that doesn't involve enters-the-battlefield trigger is key. This is why we are also playing a couple of copies of Go for the Throat alongside The Eternal Wanderer.

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The rest of the deck is pure value. We've got a ton of creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers that draw us cards, like Spirited Companion, Bladecoil Serpent, and Atraxa, Grand Unifier...

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We've got enters-the-battlefield triggers that work as removal, with cards like Ertai Resurrected, Aether Channeler, and Skyfisher Spider, along with enchantments like Leyline Binding that answer two permanents instead of one once we have Elesh Norn.

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We have recursion in Phyrexian Missionary, tutors like Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer, and lifegain from Workshop Warchief, all of which double up if we have Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines on the battlefield.

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At the top end of our curve, we even have Portal to Phyrexia, which makes our opponent sacrifice six creatures with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines on the battlefield and then lets us reanimate our best enters-the-battlefield creatures every turn! Basically, if a card has an interesting or powerful enters-the-battlefield trigger and it is legal in Phyrexia: All Will Be One Standard, it's likely in our deck!

The Matchups

The hardest matchups for Five-Color MOMamonicon are very aggressive decks. While we can beat aggro, we're also five colors and have a lot of tapped lands and expensive cards, which means we sometimes get slow draws that let our opponent run us over before we do anything cool. Black decks can also be annoying, mostly because black is the best color at killing Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, which makes it hard to keep Mom on the battlefield. On the other hand, Mom herself is great against every other color. Most white removal can't kill it; red and green removal struggle to get Mom, as a 4/7, off the battlefield; and blue decks can counter a Mom, but she's likely to stick around once she's on the battlefield. The good news is that if we can stabilize, our late game is pretty much unbeatable as we generate so much value and draw so many cards that, sooner or later, we'll put away pretty much any deck in the format!

The Odds

Record-wise, we finished with around a 60% win rate with Five-Color MOMamonicon, although this was recorded during early-access day, so I wouldn't really put much weight in the deck's record since everyone is trying new brews and the meta is very unique. What early-access day is best for (apart from having fun) is getting first impressions on a card's general power level, and I have to say that our two big payoffs—Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines and The Eternal Wanderer—both felt great. 

Apart from all of our ETB tricks, Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is just a massive body against aggro, making it surprisingly strong in a lot of matchups. Meanwhile, The Eternal Wanderer might be the strongest Standard card in the entire set. Its wrath mode is great, its +1 generates a ton of value, and its static ability makes it super hard for creature decks to kill. While it might not be in a five-color deck that looks more like a Commander brew than a Standard archetype, I think that both cards are going to be very good in Standard and should see a ton of play, which is super exciting. It seems like Wizards might have finally, after nearly six years, made a constructed playable version of Panharmonicon!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next week we're trying some more Phyrexia jank in Standard. Which card should we build around? Click here to vote!


Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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