At this point, if any person has been around when I open my trap, they know that they suddenly prefer absolute silence – but they will also have head about Panmeria at great length. So I’ve decided to write this first piece about something other than Panmeria:
There are thousands of undiscovered creatures living deep in our ocean, the last Earth-bound frontier. Wow.
Thank you for reading.
For my second piece, I’ll be writing about Panmeria.
http://ouritblog.com/tag/nucleus-software-process/ Why Panmeria? Doesn’t every card in this deck blow?
http://voteconservativesandiego.com/category.php First of all: Yes.
But, that doesn’t mean the deck is bad – cards like Kitesail Freebooter and Ichor Wellspring are also pretty bad relative to what other cards a typical deck could be playing, but when You’re playing other humans like Thalia’s Lieutenant or engine cards like Scrap Trawler, these cards tighten the nipples of every pre-teen in a five mile radius.
Right now one of the top decks is dredge, and one of the reasons this deck is so good, is because it is a resilient, inevitable deck. It can start poorly and not have dredgers, but it is nearly impossible for it to have zero engines in the first three turns (Probability of 1+ hits in three draws plus opening hand is 0.997565067), so it’s going to get milling at some point. With the addition of Creeping Chill, the resiliency of this deck has only increased. It now has recursive threats, life gain to stifle aggro matchups, and with Conflagrate, has game ending cards if drawn at the right moment. Not only that, but many of these win conditions, like Chill and Conflagrate, are essentially free to put in the deck, as you can ditch them when they’re bad to Cathartic Reunion or Faithless Looting.
Panmeria has all that as well. In what I believe to be the best version of the deck, the amount of resilience it has is on par with dredge, given that it fulfills all the same qualities. Panmeria keeps every hand with two or more lands, because the deck revolves around drawing extra cards and having them enter the battlefield acts as an additional half of a card – so the rate at which you should mulligan is low. (The obvious question there is, what if those lands are both colorless? The answer is still yes. You have two Pilgrim’s Eye, so any one land with those gets you out of the screw. Also, you have 16 dedicated white sources and two Ghost Quarter if things go South. The chances you miss are only 0.095113244, so that’s pretty good.) Panmeria also gets to freeroll some life gain as well with Seraph Sanctuary, Lone Missionary, and Blessed Alliance. Since 2 of these are combo pieces, you put them in your deck and just gain random bonuses from playing them. Blessed Alliance is important against Bogles, Death’s Shadow, and Infect – but the four life can come to you in a pinch and be great. Emeria, the Sky Ruin and Sun Titan give all your threats recursion, and since they have an ETB as well, the value brings you right past Go and you get your 200$. Also, you have a combo that on turn four you can have an empty board, and on turn 5 have infinite life. (Have Seraph Sanctuary out, on their end step, cast Restoration Angel, then untap and cast Felidar Guardian. They blink each other infinitely, triggering Sanctuary every loop. This ape, free win is another reason that this deck is reasonable in the current format.)
Also, if a deck lets you have Panharmonicon for any amount of time, there is a good chance you can Fireball them out of a game with Sunscorched Desert. It also has a solution to the “I drew the bad cards of my deck” solution: just draw more cards, and the other cards may have the text to make up for the lost value. One last facet of resiliency is that the deck doesn’t fold to Emeria dying or getting tagged with a Spreading Seas effect. Titan can get it back if it is destroyed, and Flickerwisp or Felidar can blink a wet Emeria to dry it off.
So it’s resilient, but so is Hollow One, Dredge, and other top decks. What pushes Panmeria over the top?
` One of the many great things about the deck is its removal, none of which is damage based. Since it one shots people from any life total, and wins most games that go very long, it has the propensity to run Condemn and give their opponent any amount of life. It has the requisite four Path to Exile, to… well you know what that does. Blessed Alliance and Settle Wreckage are removal spells that don’t do damage, target, or care about indestructibility. And Wrath of God main deck is never expected, but when you can get all your things back and they can’t, it makes it a shoe-in.
The three last reasons you should play Panmeria are more personal victories. The deck, as much as know-it-alls and arm-chair experts would like to say otherwise, is not a known entity. There have been variations that have had some amount of mediocre success in the past, but people don’t really play this deck. That makes it extremely hard to play against – when your opponent could cast just about any card, it’s hard to choose what to play around. It’s also very, very cheap – about 40$ online (plus the cost of a new mouse for all the clicking your opponents will watch you do) and less than 300 in paper makes it an easy purchase. The last reason is that it has a lot of play to it. With Felidar on the battlefield, Resto acts like a counter spell to targeted removal of any type. Some lines force you to combo over two turns, draw your deck, and kill on the OP’s upkeep. When you win, it feels very rewarding, because it was you, not your deck, that won. Also, you get look in the eyes of a filthy Burn player as you steal all their hope from their empty, god forsaken, dog-shit soul. But that’s really just icing on the cake.
Ok, but why should I play this deck now? None of these cards are new, and neither is the archetype.
Astute observation, reader! This deck has had two major upticks in success, and both for the same reason: the format got fair. The first was when Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Blood Braid Elf got unbanned. People dropped every degenerate and linear deck they had to play these sweet “new” cards. But both of these cards are obnoxiously fair and create board – based advantages the turn they come down, but ultimately you’re still alive the turn they are played. Decks before the unbanning were playing Karn Liberated and killing you. They were untapping turn 3 with a Goblin Electromancer, and killing you. They had been ramping all game and your pitiful clock couldn’t stop them from casting Scapeshift and sodomizing your lifeless body. Panmeria came to play Magic the Gathering; other decks were coming to play Modern.
With Jace and BBE, however, people realized that they liked playing magic too. Most of your blinking of Wall of Omens and Pilgrim’s eye was enough to keep you at parity with the card advantage generated by both of the unbanned cards, and Jace was only ever a problem when he was on an empty board, which was seldom turn 4. BBE just got blocked… forever. I remember watching people BBEing into an Inquisition of Kozilek, looking at my hand of four drops, and bumping into my Wall of Omens. Sick card, dude.
The second major uptick came with the printing of Assassin’s Trophy. I want to be clear: I don’t think more than 20% of people probably switched decks or even thought about this card when deciding deck choices, but like bees and a swarm, this card moved the meta game in a direction which suited Panmeria. Let me explain.
Assassin’s Trophy is one of the best modern removal spells available at present, because it can deal with any one permanent. By extension, that means glass cannon strategies or strategies that revolve around a single permanent sticking get reasonably worse. This means decks with recursion are much better (like Dredge and Panmeria). The flip side is that synergy and velocity are also better, because one removal spell isn’t likely to topple the Jenga tower (decks like Humans, Panmeria, Dredge, Affinity). However, modern is still fast, so decks need to be able to kill quickly or have a survival game plan or else it won’t matter that they had a choice removal spell. The decks that become the best are the most resilient decks that produce a true game of magic by turn 4. The top 10 decks in modern at the time of writing all represent this trend.
- Humans and
- Bant Spirits, both having individual threats being redundant and resilient to spot removal
- Tron, given that it can piece together a land after one is destroyed with incredible consistency
- U/W Control Because counterspells protect their planeswalkers and Celestial Collonnade and Terminus deals with many threats at once without any on death triggers
- Jund, because it has more live top decks and is the most likely to use Assassin’s Trophy itself – I imagine this will stay on top only as long as people try to play things that are susceptible to great removal
- Burn, because every card in the deck does the same thing
- Storm, because it doesn’t even need a creature to win and can win as early as turn 2
- GDS, I wager, is the anomaly, but my gut tells me that targeted discard and Stubborn Denial is enough to protect it from these types of trend swings
- Hardened Scales just wins because it profits off of dying triggers and is chock full of large threats.
This is why Panmeria is also good, as the only actual target Trophy can nail is Panharmonicon. If you kill a creature, it comes back with Emeria or Titan. If you kill Titan, it ramps to Emeria to get back titan. If you kill Emeria, Titan can get it back. Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, Dismember, you name it – it’s just really not that good. Even path gets us a land which helps future threats gain recursion.
Fine. I can believe it’s good. But when is it bad?
Well I’ll put it this way: if your opponent is trying to bend the rules of the “turn four format” that we were all indoctrinated with, you’re going to lose.
That being said, here are a couple of guides to help you with bad matchups.
Tron: As you see your opponent play their Urza’s Tower, and maybe even an Expedition Map, you have no reason to panic. They might have been fooled into playing eldrazi tron. You beat that shit all day long, even through Ulamog, The Ceaseless Hunger – it’s winnable, and if you try hard enough it’s even favorable. As they play their Urza’s Mine, well, still no need for panic. Oh, they’re just going to crack their map and get their third land? Well if they have Reality Smasher, your Wall of Omens really buys you a turn and a card, so don’t worry. They play their Urza’s Power Plant and slam Karn? Here’s some step by step instructions.
- Put your left hand on your left ass-cheek
- Put your right hand on your right ass- cheek
- Pull them apart like your life depends on it
- Search desperately for joy as you scream into the void
Storm: If they are on the play, it’s for the best. Once you see Shivan Reef into Sleight of Hand, you can concede the match and go eat lunch. Sometimes, when you do this, they will complain that they didn’t get to play magic. I haven’t figured out a polite way to respond to such a moronic complaint, so I’m really all ears for this one.
Counter’s Company: I keep thinking to myself that this really shouldn’t be such a hard matchup, but you really only have so many Path to Exiles. Also, one of your main ways to win damage based combo matchups is to gain infinite life, and that just doesn’t play here. So what I suggest doing here is making them show you what their finisher is, and if they only have one, you have a chance in the sideboard – Settle the Wreckage and Pithing Needle for Rhonas, the Indomitable and Leyline of Sanctity and Pithing Needle for Walking Ballista. Regardless, you’ll still end up as a wounded, PTSD war vet, rocking and muttering to himself in the corner, but corners offer plenty of shade and two dimensions of back support, so it could be worse.
I’ve played this deck for over a year now and am now rocking a solid 64% win rate all-time, which is anecdotal, but the point is that I’m not very good at magic and I’ve managed to do this; people see this deck and think it sucks because every opening hand looks like a nursing home and every early board state looks unbeatable, but they should instead be drawn to the fact that you still have 7 cards in hand on turn 6 and your late board states look unlosable. If we judged every deck the same way we judge new decks then we’d be saying nonsense things like “but what if tron doesn’t get all three lands?’ and “what if storm’s opponent has interaction?” and “What does elves even do against a board wipe?” They have plans, and so does this deck. I hope you give it a try next time you want a wild ride from a nimble, coy white mistress.