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Brewing Core Set 2019: Tribal

Core Set 2019 is right around the corner, and thanks to an earlier-than-normal end to spoiler season, we've already got the entire set, which means it's time to start brewing! If you're waiting for the traditional expected value article, don't worry—it's coming next week. Generally, I try to publish it on prerelease weekend to give cards a chance to normalize in price after they are spoiled, and while it feels late for Core Set 2019, it's actually that spoiler season ended surprisingly early. 

Anyway, today's focus isn't on prices but on brewing. One of the most exciting aspects of Core Set 2019 is that the set provides a ton of support for various Standard-legal tribes. While this does include the Merfolk, Vampires, Dinosaurs, and Pirates from Ixalan block, the biggest beneficiaries are the tribes from Dominaria and Amonkhet blocks, like Zombies, Cats, and Knights. These tribes have been in a weird spot as far as Standard is concerned, with some very powerful pieces but not enough tribe members to really build true tribal decks (at least, not competitive ones). Thankfully, this changes with Core Set 2019 for many of these tribes. As such, we'll be working our way through a bunch of tribes today, showing off some deck lists and talking about the sweet new additions from Core Set 2019. Oh yeah, and because I couldn't resist, we'll wrap up the article with a special bonus section talking about the best Panharmonicon cards from Core Set 2019!

Biggest Core Set 2019 Additions: Death Baron, Graveyard Marshal, Liliana, Untouched by Death, Diregraf Ghoul

Perhaps the tribe that got the most support in Core Set 2019 is Zombies. It's easy to forget that a year ago, before rotation, the tribe formed the foundation for one of the best decks in all of Standard, even winning a Pro Tour! Then, rotation happened, Cryptbreaker and the other Zombies from Shadows over Innistrad left the format, and the tribe fell off the Standard map entirely. Well, now, Zombies are back thanks to Core Set 2019—at least for a few months, until rotation claims all of the Amonkhet Zombies. 

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The biggest reason to play Zombies in Standard is that the tribe is literally overflowing with powerful lords. While it doesn't have a two-mana lord like many of the Ixalan tribes (although Metallic Mimic can fill this role), it has two three-mana lords in Lord of the Accursed and Death Baron; plus, it has Liliana's Mastery on the top end of the curve, which is one of the most powerful cards in Standard that doesn't really see any play at the moment. If we toss in four copies of Metallic Mimic, the end result is that, of the 29 creatures (including Liliana's Mastery) in the deck, a massive 16 function as lords or pseudo-lords! As such, it should be easy to turn random Zombies into massive threats in short order.

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The other big upside of Zombies in our current format is that they don't really care about Goblin Chainwhirler. In fact, Dread Wanderer is the only creature in the deck that dies to Chainwhirler's enters-the-battlefield ability, and Dread Wanderer returns from the graveyard anyway, so this isn't really a huge deal. A bigger challenge is probably control decks. Without Cryptbreaker to generate card advantage, it is possible that one well-timed Settle the Wreckage or Fumigate can run Zombies' day, although a copy or two of Liliana, Untouched by Death and sideboard cards like Duress and Doomfall can help solve the problem, at least to some extent. 

The biggest question for Zombies is whether the deck should be mono-black or black–white. While most of the good Zombies are mono-black, Wayward Servant is a really solid two-drop, giving the deck a good source of reach and a way to win the game without attacking. Whether or not Wayward Servant is worth a clunkier mana base with Concealed Courtyard, Isolated Chapel, and friends is up for debate. While it probably isn't worth adding white mana just for Wayward Servant, the additional upside of the splash is that it gives Zombies some very strong sideboard options, with answers to aggro (like Authority of the Consuls) and artifacts / enchantments (Forsake the Worldly, Ixalan's Binding, Thopter Arrest), and some interesting options for protecting our creatures (like Shalai, Voice of Plenty) that are missing from Mono-Black Zombies. 

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All in all, it's hard to imagine that Zombies can't be at least semi-competitive in our current Standard format. The tribe has so many lords that it can get out of control very quickly. The addition of Diregraf Ghoul to the one-drop slot smooths out the curve, and Liliana, Untouched by Death has a lot of potential in the right build. The challenge is figuring out which build is best. On paper, mono-black seems extremely consistent, while WB Zombies will be somewhat less consistent but with a handful of additional answers to problematic cards, especially after sideboarding. The good news is that if you build one of the decks, you're a handful of lands and sideboard cards away from having the other build too, so switching between builds from week to week shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just be warned: out of all the tribes we'll talk about today, Zombies is one of the least likely to survive rotation this fall (assuming we don't get a ton of powerful Zombies in Guilds of Ravnica), so if you do invest in the tribe, your investment will very likely only be good until the beginning of October, when you'll have to find a new deck for post-rotation Standard.

Biggest Core Set 2019 Addition: Valiant Knight

By the numbers, Knights didn't get a ton of new toys in Core Set 2019. In fact, there's only one Knight from the entire set that I'm excited about for Standard, but thankfully it's a good one: the new lord Valiant Knight. While it might sound strange to get excited about a four-mana lord, Valiant Knight actually fits onto the perfect spot on the Knight curve. While the above deck doesn't have any Knight one-drops (mostly because they all tend to get wrecked by Goblin Chainwhirler), picture the following curve: you play Knight of Malice on Turn 2, you play History of Benalia and make a Knight token on Turn 3, you get another free Knight token from History of Benalia and play Valiant Knight on Turn 4, and then on Turn 5, History of Benalia ultimates, pumping all of your Knights +2/+1, and you activate Valiant Knight to give your team double strike. The end result is that all of your random 2/2 tokens are actually 5/4 with double strike, and unless the opponent has a Settle the Wreckage, the worst case is that you wrath your opponent's board, as they are forced into a ton of painful chump blocks, while the best case is that a couple of your Knights get through for damage and you 20 the opponent on Turn 5!

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Perhaps the biggest upside of playing Knights in Standard is the combo of Knight of Malice and Knight of Grace. While these cards might not look like much, the combination of protection from the two best removal colors in Standard and first strike to lock down the early-game attackers from various aggro decks makes both of these cards incredibly powerful. They are almost never bad, and occasionally you get random free wins against control builds, which don't have many blockers and really struggle with the hexproof from black or white blanking their removal spells. Benalish Marshal is also extremely powerful. While it does take some work to make three white mana on Turn 3 in a two-color deck with enough dual lands (and the minimization of black cards), it is possible to pull off. 

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Maybe the most questionable card in Knights is Metallic Mimic—having one toughness can be pretty painful against Goblin Chainwhirler. It's also one of the only Knight cards that rotates in the fall, so if you are looking to build Knights with an eye toward post-rotation Standard, it might be worth avoiding Metallic Mimic altogether. Unfortunately, there isn't a great replacement. Dauntless Bodyguard would be an easy inclusion in the one-drop slot if it weren't for Goblin Chainwhirler; otherwise, the next best options are things like Oathsworn Vampire and Benalish Honor Guard, neither of which are especially playable in Standard. Another dark horse option is Sigiled Sword of Valeron, which offers a ton of value if we can get it equipped onto a creature, especially one of our first-striking two-drops. The problem is that if we spend three mana to cast Sigiled Sword of Valeron and another three mana to equip it only to get blown out by Abrade or a creature-removal spell before we get to attack, we'll probably lose the game by skipping two turns in a row. This being said, the equipment might have potential post-rotation when Abrade leaves the format, depending on what the meta game looks like in Guilds of Ravnica Standard. All this is to say, Metallic Mimic isn't great in the deck, but it's probably the best of the not-great options. 

All in all, Knights have a lot of potential in Standard. They naturally avoid some of the most heavily played removal in the format, and they have great blockers against aggro in the early game and the ability to close out games quickly thanks to History of Benalia and Valiant Knight. Plus, being in white and black means the tribe not only gets great removal in Fatal Push and Cast Out but also good sideboard options like Duress to deal with opposing control decks. Oh yeah, and apart from Metallic Mimic and some lands, the tribe survives rotation this fall almost completely intact, so Knights is a great option if you are looking for a tribe that is good now and potentially even better this fall.

Biggest Core Set 2019 Additions: Leonin Warleader, Ajani's Pridemate

GW Cats has one major problem: it's extremely reliant on one-toughness creatures, which means Goblin Chainwhirler is a nightmare. While we do what we can to fix the problem by playing the full four copies of Radiant Destiny to keep our Cats out of Goblin Chainwhirler range, there will still be games where we don't draw it and essentially just lose to a Goblin Chainwhirler

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Thankfully, Core Set 2019 brings with it some good news as well: Leonin Warleader is an extremely powerful Magic card, reminiscent of former Standard staple (and occasional Modern playable) Hero of Bladehold, trading battle cry for a relevant creature type. One of the weaknesses of the Cat tribe in the past was the four-drop slot, where apart from Huatli, Radiant Champion, there simply weren't many good options for the Cat tribe. Leonin Warleader fixes this problem, dodging most red removal with a solid 4/4 body and making some lifelinking Cat tokens to power up Pride Sovereign and benefit from Regal Caracal. The other Core Set 2019 addition to the deck is Ajani's Pridemage, which is mostly just an upgraded version of Longtusk Cub, since the Cat deck doesn't really produce much energy. While we aren't built to maximize the power of Ajani's Pridemage like Modern Soul Sisters, we do have enough random lifelink Cat tokens that we should be able to slowly grow it into a big threat over the course of a few turns. 

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All in all, Cats is a powerful and fairly budget-friendly tribal deck with two big problems. First, as far as the immediate future, for all of its power, the Cat tribe simply lines up poorly with our current metagame. In the past, one of the big upsides of Cats was that it was great against Mono-Red thanks to all of the lifegain, but the printing of Goblin Chainwhirler turns a good matchup into a middling or even bad matchup. Plus, sweepers can be a major issue against control, since Cats have a difficult time rebuilding unless they have a Huatli, Radiant Champion emblem or a sideboard card like Lifecrafter's Bestiary. Second, over the long haul, it's worth mentioning that Cats will cease to exist at rotation. While Leonin Warleader will stick around, the loss of Regal Caracal, Pride Sovereign, and all of the other Amonkhet block Cats means that, unless there's a shocking number of Cats in our return to Ravnica, the Cat tribe will be relegated to Commander tables after October. As such, if you don't already have the pieces for the deck, it's worth keeping in mind that your investment in the Cat deck will be for the summer only.

Biggest Core Set 2019 Additions: Thorn Lieutenant, Elvish Clancaller

While it's possible to build a straightforward tribal build of Elves in our current Standard format, adding a revolt sub-theme offers some interesting possibilities. Both Narnam Renegade and Greenwheel Liberator are very above the curve, assuming we can play them with revolt on a fairly consistent basis. In theory, the combination of Renegade Map and Unbridled Growth makes this possible while also allowing us to cut down to just 18 real lands, increasing our chance of drawing action in the late game. Plus, both Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion are Elves, so we can take advantage of some of the same strong starts as the Steel Leaf Stompy decks, where a Turn 2 Steel Leaf Champion is good enough to beat some decks on its own. 

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Maybe the most interesting part of the deck is Song of Freyalise. One of the odd parts of Elves is that between Llanowar Elves, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, and Marwyn, the Nurturer, they are really good at making extra mana, which allows us to dump our hand quickly. Unfortunately, things can be challenging when it comes to pushing through lethal damage to close out the game. Song of Freyalise lets us explode out the gates on the early turns by tapping all of our creatures for mana, and then it eventually lets us get in a huge, trampling attack on the turn we get the third lore counter. It's also a sneaky way to trigger revolt in the midgame on the turn that it sacrifices itself. While we don't have a ton of payoffs for making extra mana, it's important to remember that if we have tons of mana and nothing in hand, we can always use it to pump our Thorn Lieutenant or search out additional copies of Elvish Clancaller to pump our team. 

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The biggest downside of Revolt Elves is that, since we are mono-green, we don't really have any removal in the main deck, so we are all-in on flooding the board with creatures, making them into big threats with Elvish Clancaller and Song of Freyalise, and beating our opponent down. While Song of Freyalise specifically help us get through blockers, there's definitely a risk that we will dump our hand and find out that our board isn't quite good enough to close out the game, and there isn't much we can do other than drawing and playing more Elves with the hope that we can get through for lethal eventually. On the other hand, the tribe is fairly budget friendly and gets even cheaper if you cut Metallic Mimic for something like Kujar Seedsculptor (which is a downgrade, but for casual, budget play, it's probably better to avoid the soon-rotating Metallic Mimic anyway, and doubly so considering it's the most expensive card in the deck by a considerable margin). 

As far as the post-rotation future of Elves, while the deck will lose the revolt sub-theme, it's also one of the tribes most likely to get help in Guilds of Ravnica block. Both original Ravnica and Return to Ravnica blocks had fairly heavy Elf sub-themes, so unlike Cats (which are unlikely to get much support in the future), Elves is one of the tribal decks that could go from budget / casual in Core Set 2019 Standard to tier / competitive in Guilds of Ravnica Standard, assuming the right Elves see print. For now, Elves seems like a fun kitchen table deck and might have success on the FNM level but could use a bit more help to really break into the top tiers of Standard. If this help comes in Guilds of Ravnica, look out, because Elves could be very good.

Biggest Core Set 2019 Additions: Resplendent Angel

It's probably a stretch to consider Mono-White Angels a true tribal deck, since it only has a total of 11 Angels, but regardless of these technicalities, the curve of Resplendent Angel into Shalai, Voice of Plenty into Lyra Dawnbringer makes Mono-White Angels one of the decks I'm most excited to try in Core Set 2019 Standard. In reality, Mono-White Angels is basically a mono-white midrange or mono-white control deck looking to leverage a ton of really powerful cards and all the solid removal that white has to offer. The theory of the deck is simple: play a really powerful, must-deal-with threat every turn and hope that sooner or later, the opponent runs out of answers. Along with the new Core Set 2019 addition Resplendent Angel, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Lyra Dawnbringer, and Karn, Scion of Urza can all win the game by themselves if left unchecked. 

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Resplendent Angel itself is pretty insane. A 3/3 flier for three is already a fine deal, but Resplendent Angel is even better, with its self-pumping / lifelink ability making it a great draw off the top in the late game, where it can take over the game by making a flock of 4/4 Angel tokens while also keeping our life total out of the danger zone thanks to the lifelink. It's also great with Lyra Dawnbringer's rarely relevant Angel lord ability. One of the problems with trying to build Angel tribal in the past was that, apart from the legendary Shalai, Voice of Plenty, all of the Angels in the format were five or more mana. Having a three-mana Angel is a huge deal in and of itself, and the fact that Resplendent Angel is an extremely powerful card in its own right is a bonus.

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While the deck is absurdly expensive—by far the most expensive deck we'll talk about today—the good news is that it doesn't really lose anything at rotation except for a couple of uncommon removal spells that can easily be replaced, along with secondary threats in Walking Ballista and Gideon of the Trials, which are just two-ofs. As such, even though it costs a lot to put the deck together, you're getting a lot of post-rotation staples. Even if Mono-White Angels doesn't work out, you still should be able to find a tier home for Lyra Dawnbringer, Karn, Scion of Urza, and friends post-rotation, so your money shouldn't go to waste. 

All in all, there really isn't a whole lot to say about Mono-White Angels: there isn't a ton of synergy, instead relying on out-powering the opponent with the best white and colorless cards in the format. While we already have all of the playable Angels, it is worth mentioning that the deck could easily splash a second color if needed, with blue offering more card advantage, black offering discard and additional removal, and green allowing us to activate Shalai, Voice of Plenty's activated ability. So even though the threats in the deck are more or less set, there are still plenty of options for customization and making the deck your own. 

Biggest Core Set 2019 Additions: Sarkhan, Fireblood, Dragon's Hoard, Spit Flame, Demanding Dragon, Lathliss, Dragon Queen

Last but not least, we have Mono-Red Dragon, which is the deck on our list most heavily influenced by Core Set 2019. The basic idea of the deck is simple: we have a lot of removal for the first couple of turns to hopefully keep the board clean. On Turn 3, we play either Sarkhan, Fireblood or Dragon's Hoard, and then on Turn 4, we start slamming huge, powerful flying Dragons and hopefully smash our opponent to death in the air over the course of a couple of turns. 

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While Sarkhan, Fireblood hasn't gotten the best early reviews, it can be extremely powerful in the right deck, mostly thanks to the ramp ability. Playing a five- or six-drop Dragon on Turn 4 is a pretty huge game, especially since many of our Dragons (like Glorybringer and Demanding Dragon) double up as removal spells. Dragon's Hoard is basically our backup Sarkhan, Fireblood, giving us five mana on Turn 4 to cast a Dragon while also giving us some late-game utility, since we can use it to draw cards. 

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Perhaps the strangest card in the deck is Lathliss, Dragon Queen, which—at least, at first glance—looks more like a good general for Commander than a Standard playable creature. While being legendary is a bit clunky, drawing multiples isn't as bad as it looks, since we can always cast the second copy to make a 5/5 Dragon token with the first copy. Plus, if we have a 6/6 flier sitting out on the battlefield for a few turns, we're probably winning the game anyway, even with some dead draws. The curve of Mono-Red Dragons is actually pretty insane. Imagine playing Sarkhan, Fireblood or Dragon's Hoard on Turn 3, Glorybringer or Demanding Dragon on Turn 4, Lathliss on Turn 5, and then a kicked Verix Bladewing on Turn 6 to make two 4/4 flying Dragon tokens (one from Verix and one from Lathliss). Short of a wrath, it seems like this curve should beat a lot of decks. 

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Another card worth considering is Sarkhan's Unsealing, which offers a ton of damage in a deck overflowing with four-power (or more) Dragons. For right now, Chandra, Torch of Defiance is likely better, since it can work as a backup ramp spell as well as a removal spell while also threatening the game-winning ultimate, but if you are looking to make the deck a bit more budget friendly and rotation-proof, running Sarkhan's Unsealing over Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a reasonable option that knocks almost $70 off the deck's price tag. 

All in all, Mono-Red Dragons is probably the closest thing we have to a deck like Free-Win Red in Standard. While we don't have Blood Moons, Chalice of the Voids, Ensnaring Bridges, or the other Modern lock pieces, slamming huge Dragon after huge Dragon starting on Turn 4 is a pretty good way to pick up free wins. Of course, similarly to Free-Win Red, Mono-Red Dragons is a fairly all-in deck. If we don't draw our ramp or our opponent can kill our Sarkhan, Fireblood or Dragon's Hoard, there's a risk that we get stuck with a bunch of expensive, uncastable Dragons in hand as we get run over by aggressive decks. Still, Mono-Red Dragons is a great option for Core Set 2019 Standard if you are a fan of Dragons and like slamming huge, powerful threats!


While there are a ton of non-tribal decks that I'm excited to build with Core Set 2019 cards, those will have to wait for another day. Out of the decks we talked about today, I'm most excited for Mono-White Angels and Mono-Red Dragons. While I'm not sure exactly how good either deck will be, both look extremely powerful on paper. Meanwhile, if I had to pick the best deck from the list, it would probably be one of the two Zombie decks. Having a massive 16 lords is pretty rare in Standard, and the support cards are good as well. I'll probably start with Mono-Black Zombies, but the White–Black Zombies deck has potential too, thanks primarily to the good white sideboard cards.

As for the rest of the decks, WB Knights looks solid, although the question is whether going full-on tribal is better than playing some of the Knight-ish WB Midrange decks with Vehicles and Karn, Scion of Urza that have been floating around. It might be that the WB Midrange / Vehicles decks are better before rotation but Knight tribal will have a chance to shine after Kaladesh block rotates. Finally, both GW Cats and Revolt Elves seem like fun, casual, budget-friendly options more than top-tier decks, in part because our current Standard format—overloaded on Goblin Chainwhirlers from the red decks and sweepers like Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate from control—is pretty punishing to decks that plan on going wide with one-toughness creatures. While both can probably win some games and are great kitchen table options if you like the tribes, I wouldn't expect to win a Grand Prix or even a Magic Online league with either in our current format.

Oh yeah, one last quick thing before we get to our bonus Panharmonicon section: while I didn't want to rehash everything in this article, Goblins are looking pretty good in Standard as well, especially post-rotation. Make sure to check out our Goblin Trashmaster preview article for some lists! While the Goblins lists are from fairly early into spoiler season, not much has changed, with the only potential addition being Dark-Dweller Oracle, which may or may not be good enough to slip into the two-drop slot in Goblin tribal. Anyway, with the tribes out of the way, let's talk about something that's really important: the 10 best Panharmonicon cards from Core Set 2019!

Bonus: Top Panharmonicon Cards from Core Set 2019

#10: Dwarven Priest

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Dwarven Priest has a ton of pan-tential, although it comes in near the bottom of our list because few Panharmonicon decks are interested in going wide. While it's certainly possible to build some sort of token Panharmonicon deck, perhaps with Lena, Selfless Champion and Mentor of the Meek, it's hard to imagine that Dwarven Priest will beat out something like Sunscourge Champion in a typical Panharmonicon deck.

#9: Psychic Symbiont

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One of the most powerful things you can do with Panharmonicon is draw extra cards, and Psychic Symbiont not only draws two with Panharmonicon but also makes the opponent discard two, all while leaving behind a not-that-bad flying body. Blue and black are some of the better Panharmonicon colors in Standard, which is also a plus for Psychic Symbiont, although it's worth mentioning that the six-drop slot is extremely competitive, with Noxious Gearhulk, Demonlord Belzenlok, Torrential Gearhulk, Marionette Master, and Demon of Dark Schemes all fighting for one or two slots. Is it possible that Psychic Symbiont will beat out the competition? Yes. Is it likely? Probably not.

#8: Skilled Animator

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Skilled Animator looks strange but might actually be a good way to close out the game in an artifact-heavy Panharmonicon deck. Apart from the style point you get from turning Panharmonicon into a 5/5 and using it to beat the opponent to death, cards like Skyscanner, Prophetic Prism, Aethersphere Harvester, Metalspinner's Puzzleknot, and random artifact token makers like Aviation Pioneer have all made appearances in past Panharmonicon decks. If you manage to have two flying artifacts on the battlefield (along with Panharmonicon) when you resolve Skilled Animator, it does a pretty good imitation of Nissa, Steward of Elements' ultimate.

#7: Riddlemaster Sphinx

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Bouncing opposing creatures is a great way to take advantage of Panharmonicon. In fact, the months before Reflector Mage was banned was the one time that Panharmonicon actually developed into a tier deck in Standard. Unfortunately, Riddlemaster Sphinx isn't Reflector Mage, and six mana is a lot to bounce a creature or two, even with a solid 5/5 flying body. While Riddlemaster Sphinx could sneak into a deck as a one-of and goes up in value if you happen to be playing Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign (another underrated Panharmonicon card), it's also possible that it's just too expensive to be effective.

#6: Reclamation Sage

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Reclamation Sage is a great artifact-removal spell for a Panharmonicon deck, and with the amount of powerful Kaladesh artifacts in the format until rotation in October, there's actually a fairly reasonable argument to play one copy in the main deck along with more in the sideboard. 

#5: Exclusion Mage

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While Exclusion Mage is pretty far from Reflector Mage, it's still a solid addition to a Panharmonicon deck, setting an opponent back and chump blocking in the early game and then double-bouncing in the late game post-Panharmonicon. It's also worth mentioning that Exclusion Mage is even better in Naban, Dean of Iteration builds of Panharmonicon, since it's a Wizard. A curve of Naban, Dean of Iteration into Exclusion Mage into Academy Journeymage seems miserable for most creature decks to beat. Oh yeah, and while Panharmonicon might be rotating this fall, assuming Wizards doesn't give us a surprise reprint, Naban, Dean of Iteration will stick around.

#4: Skyscanner

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Skyscanner doesn't look like much, but it's actually one of the best Panharmonicon cards in the set, coming down early to draw a card and chump anything and then generating card advantage in the late game with the help of Panharmonicon. It's also an artifact, which could be an upside if someone actually figures out the Skilled Animator build of Panharmonicon, allowing Skyscanner to turn into a surprisingly fast clock in the air.

#3: Vampire Sovereign

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Panharmonicon decks are actually pretty simple: you fall behind in the early game because you have to take off Turn 4 (hopefully) to play Panharmonicon, and then you hope that the value Panharmonicon generates allows you to catch back up and eventually pull ahead. Vampire Sovereign offers a great way of catching back up the turn after you play Panharmonicon by gaining a massive six life. The drain ability also offers a way of closing out the game without actually attacking the opponent, which can be important because many of the creatures that are best with Panharmonicon are small and not all that great at attacking. Plus, black is one of the best Panharmonicon colors in Standard (to the point where we have played Mono-Black Panharmonicon decks in the past). The combination of these factors makes Vampire Sovereign one of the best Panharmonicon cards from the entirety of Core Set 2019.

#2: Pelakka Wurm

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While the massive mana cost of Pelakka Wurm likely means it's a one- or two-of at the top end of the Panharmonicon curve, we did get a sweet Panharmonicon ramp card in Core Set 2019 to help generate the mana we need to cast Pelakka Wurm in a timely manner (but more on this in a minute). Assuming we actually cast it, gaining 14 life would essentially reset our life total, which is great in general but especially helpful against any sort of aggro deck, where a single Pelakka Wurm with a Panharmonicon on the battlefield should essentially close out the game even before we start attacking with the 7/7 trampler.

#1: Elvish Rejuvenator

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While this might seem like a surprising pick, the single best Panharmonicon card from Core Set 2019 is a lowly common: Elvish Rejuvenator. One of my favorite Panharmonicon decks is Five-Color Panharmonicon, where you get to play every sweet Panharmonicon creature in the entire format. The problem is that making the five-color mana base work can be a challenge, especially since many of the best enters-the-battlefield creatures have double colored mana costs. Elvish Rejuvenator not only solves this problem by allowing us to put any land from the top five cards of our deck directly onto the battlefield, but if we happen to have Panharmonicon on the battlefield, we get to do this twice, which is a ton of ramping for just three mana. Plus, on Turn 3, Elvish Rejuvenator helps make sure that we hit our land drops to cast our Panharmonicon on time, and pulling lands out of our deck increases our odds of drawing action with cards like Champion of Wits and Skyscanner! While certainly not limited to Panharmonicon brews, Elvish Rejuvenator should be one of the first cards you add to the list if you are playing a green-based Panharmonicon deck.


Anyway, that's all for today. What Core Set 2019 tribe are you most excited for? Do any of these tribes have the potential to break into Modern? What other sweet Panharmonicon cards did I miss? Let me know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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