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Thread: Food Chain Combo

  1. #501

    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by ryO! View Post
    FYI here's a little bonus.
    497 players "rogue" deck winning it.

    http://www.thecouncil.es/tcdecks/deck.php?id=12104

    hope you like it kudos for the winner & the nice list
    That list is very interesting. It's like he hybridized Food Chain with Omnitell and splashed in some Natural Order goodies. I do not like the fact that he is not running Aether-Grisle package, particularly since he has all four Empaths and Grisle is there in the board, but you can't argue with results.

    I'm particularly interested in how all the Green mana dorks make Natural Order really effective here. That's worth exploring.

  2. #502
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    I've played four matches in the Tournament Practice room with this now and am 3-1 (lost to Burn, beat High Tide, Esper Stoneblade, and Dark Maverick). Next I'm going to try cutting one Empath, both Mulldrifters, and a Progenitus for 2 Vendilion Clique and 2 Ponder. Though I would like to get Aethersnipe and Griselbrand back in the maindeck as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by grokh View Post
    Hi,

    I think the Show and tell package comes in for having a transformal sideboard-plan, on game 2, you become a Show and Tell/Omniscience deck, so your opponent has sideboarded only dead cards.

    I'm working on a Food chain + Aluren plan on my side, i'll post a list soon
    Yeah, it is a transformational plan but what I'm wondering is what hate he is dodging by bringing in the Show and Tell package. Abrupt Decay and Pithing Needle are worse if you take out the Food Chains but it's not like bringing in Show and Tell in reanimator to blank their graveyard hate or whatever. Transformational sideboards are great but I'm not sure what matchups or hate cards this is really targeting. Though I will say that Fierce Empath for the right fatty and then Show and Tell just wins games.


    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumC View Post
    That list is very interesting. It's like he hybridized Food Chain with Omnitell and splashed in some Natural Order goodies. I do not like the fact that he is not running Aether-Grisle package, particularly since he has all four Empaths and Grisle is there in the board, but you can't argue with results.

    I'm particularly interested in how all the Green mana dorks make Natural Order really effective here. That's worth exploring.
    I agree that the four Empaths seemed like too much. In the maindeck I generally only wanted to tutor for Emrakul (though I did get Progenitus once as insurance FoW fodder). And I also missed Aethersnipe and Griselbrand.

    Natural Order is a nice just win card. And it requires less work than Food Chain.

  3. #503
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Maybe it's just me that dont get it, but is Griselbrand really that important? If you cast Fierce Empath, will you not always go for Emmy? In his particular list with NO and Food Chain I dont see the need for Griselbrand main. Only in SB with Omniscience to draw into Emmy. Aethersnipe is for problematic cards I guess?

    Please enlighten me. :-)

  4. #504

    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by PollePotDK View Post
    Maybe it's just me that dont get it, but is Griselbrand really that important? If you cast Fierce Empath, will you not always go for Emmy? In his particular list with NO and Food Chain I dont see the need for Griselbrand main. Only in SB with Omniscience to draw into Emmy. Aethersnipe is for problematic cards I guess?

    Please enlighten me. :-)
    Aethersnipe is great as a toolbox card, yeah, but it also opens up an alternative win condition without Griffin. With Emrakul (or Progenitus) you can only cast it if you're comboing out anyway. Grislebrand gives you this line of play:

    Ingredients: Fierce Empath, Food Chain, some way to cast Empath and generate another 1UU. (Sac a wall, for example)

    1. Cast Empath, fetch Aethersnipe.
    2. Evoke Aethersnipe targeting Empath. Retain priority.
    3. Sacrifice Aethersnipe to Food Chain for seven green mana. Allow stack to resolve.
    4. Cast Empath, fetch Grislebrand (GGGG in pool)
    5. Sacrifice Empath to Food Chain for four black mana, for a total of GGGG + BBBB in pool.
    6. Hard cast Grislebrand.

    From there, I typically draw 7 right away because you're very likely to hit a Griffin or a way to get one, and then you just go bonkers dumping your hand.

  5. #505
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumC View Post
    Aethersnipe is great as a toolbox card, yeah, but it also opens up an alternative win condition without Griffin. With Emrakul (or Progenitus) you can only cast it if you're comboing out anyway. Grislebrand gives you this line of play:

    Ingredients: Fierce Empath, Food Chain, some way to cast Empath and generate another 1UU. (Sac a wall, for example)

    1. Cast Empath, fetch Aethersnipe.
    2. Evoke Aethersnipe targeting Empath. Retain priority.
    3. Sacrifice Aethersnipe to Food Chain for seven green mana. Allow stack to resolve.
    4. Cast Empath, fetch Grislebrand (GGGG in pool)
    5. Sacrifice Empath to Food Chain for four black mana, for a total of GGGG + BBBB in pool.
    6. Hard cast Grislebrand.

    From there, I typically draw 7 right away because you're very likely to hit a Griffin or a way to get one, and then you just go bonkers dumping your hand.
    Yeah, this is a pretty powerful line. Though if you do have access to a Griffin then you most likely will go with Emrakul. And three Giffins and three Manipulate Fates does mean that you are decently likely to have a Griffin. I'm going to keep the Aethersnipe and Griselbrand in the board for now to see if I miss it.

  6. #506
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Update: I have won all eight of my matches online since changing a few cards (and am 11-1 overall since picking up the Natural Order list. The deck is very powerful and people clearly don't know how to play against it. And although I questioned it I also have been really liking the Show and Tell sideboard plan. After game one I just pick which two of the three plans of attack seem the best for the matchup and then go from there. Swapping Food Chain (plus Manipulate Fate and Misthollow Griffin) for Show and Tell (and more fatties) is the easiest switch but Natural Order for Show and Tell is reasonable as well.

    I also haven't missed the Aethersnipe into Griselbrand plan like I thought I might. And I have even cast Progenitus off of Misthollow Griffin and Food Chain. My only complaint is too much clicking.

    Swan Song has been great out of the board.

    I like Vendilion Clique. I haven't had to win this way yet but with a few exalted triggers it can be a decent clock.

    My current list:

    4 Noble Hierarch
    2 Birds of Paradise
    2 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Ponder

    3 Manipulate Fate
    2 Daze

    4 Food Chain
    2 Vendilion Clique
    3 Fierce Empath

    3 Misthollow Griffin
    4 Natural Order

    4 Force of Will

    1 Progenitus
    1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

    3 Tropical Island
    2 Island
    2 Forest
    4 Misty Rainforest
    2 Scalding Tarn
    2 Wooded Foothills
    3 Verdant Catacombs
    1 Dryad Arbor

    sideboard
    2 Relic of Progenitus
    3 Swan Song
    1 Aethersnipe
    2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    2 Omniscience
    1 Griselbrand
    4 Show and Tell

  7. #507

    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by Holden1669 View Post
    Update: I have won all eight of my matches online since changing a few cards (and am 11-1 overall since picking up the Natural Order list. The deck is very powerful and people clearly don't know how to play against it. And although I questioned it I also have been really liking the Show and Tell sideboard plan. After game one I just pick which two of the three plans of attack seem the best for the matchup and then go from there. Swapping Food Chain (plus Manipulate Fate and Misthollow Griffin) for Show and Tell (and more fatties) is the easiest switch but Natural Order for Show and Tell is reasonable as well.

    I also haven't missed the Aethersnipe into Griselbrand plan like I thought I might. And I have even cast Progenitus off of Misthollow Griffin and Food Chain. My only complaint is too much clicking.

    Swan Song has been great out of the board.

    I like Vendilion Clique. I haven't had to win this way yet but with a few exalted triggers it can be a decent clock.

    My current list:

    4 Noble Hierarch
    2 Birds of Paradise
    2 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Ponder

    3 Manipulate Fate
    2 Daze

    4 Food Chain
    2 Vendilion Clique
    3 Fierce Empath

    3 Misthollow Griffin
    4 Natural Order

    4 Force of Will

    1 Progenitus
    1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

    3 Tropical Island
    2 Island
    2 Forest
    4 Misty Rainforest
    2 Scalding Tarn
    2 Wooded Foothills
    3 Verdant Catacombs
    1 Dryad Arbor

    sideboard
    2 Relic of Progenitus
    3 Swan Song
    1 Aethersnipe
    2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    2 Omniscience
    1 Griselbrand
    4 Show and Tell
    i really like the new list it reminds me the NoRug list when MM wasn't banned but with the super secret tech of food chain added !
    one question though, why no deathrite over birds ?
    the flying is nice but ... not DRS nice.
    i really think it could be an improvement

  8. #508
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    I'm tempted to give the old NO Food Chain plan another whirl.

    What do you guys think about Ruric Thar in the sideboard as an NO target / empath target with Food Chain but if no griffins? He's a blowout against storm decks which I usually find to be a poor matchup for us.

  9. #509
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by ryO! View Post
    i really like the new list it reminds me the NoRug list when MM wasn't banned but with the super secret tech of food chain added !
    one question though, why no deathrite over birds ?
    the flying is nice but ... not DRS nice.
    i really think it could be an improvement
    I think Deathrite vs. Birds is one one of the next things to examine along with Top vs. Ponder. My inclination is that Birds are better because as a combo deck we want to be sure that we get the mana and I don't know that we should be adding black to the manabase just for Deathrite (and without access to black mana Deathrite is much worse). But that's just a guess and Deathrite is a great card that we'd be glad to have against Dredge or Reanimator.

    Quote Originally Posted by nevilshute View Post
    I'm tempted to give the old NO Food Chain plan another whirl.

    What do you guys think about Ruric Thar in the sideboard as an NO target / empath target with Food Chain but if no griffins? He's a blowout against storm decks which I usually find to be a poor matchup for us.
    Ruric Thar, Elesh Norn, and Iona all seem like decent sideboard inclusions for the Food Chain/Show and Tell plan and Ruric Thar would be great with Natural Order as well. I like the Ruric Thar plan quite a bit. I think I may swap one in for an Emrakul in the board.

  10. #510
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    I've always liked the NO Food Chain plan. Used to run it in the sideboard back when we were just UG (OG). :)

    Haven't been playing much lately -- been really busy! Sorry I failed on that tourney report too, hah. I still plan on writing up a primer... once my schedule frees up. Soon. <3
    Currently playing Manipulate Fates. Learn about the Magic Card Market.

  11. #511
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Guys, I've decided to try and write a new primer for the deck. The original one seems horribly outdated. I'll post it here in this thread first and so everyone (all five of us ;) ) will get a chance to comment on it and bring me feedback. If you guys like it I will write to the mods and ask for this thread to be archived and will create a new thread :)

  12. #512
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Food Chain Combo



    I - What is the deck about?
    II - Examples of decklists
    III - How does the deck win?
    IV - Key Cards
    V - Utility creatures
    VI - Protection
    VII - Cantrips
    VIII - Lands
    IX - Less common Cards
    X - Sideboarding
    XI - Strengths/weaknesses
    XII - Matchups
    XIII - Articles etc.


    I - What is the deck about?

    The Food Chain deck is a combo deck that seeks to resolve a Food Chain and a Misthollow Griffin. Once this is achieved the griffin is exiled with the Food Chain to generate five blue mana. Four of those five mana are used to recast the griffin from exile. This process is repeated an arbitrary large amount of times each time netting an extra mana and the deck then wins by resolving an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn which will be cast from your hand using some of your practically infinite mana and will therefore trigger and give you an extra turn.

    The deck is not as consistently fast as some of Legacy's other combo decks (like storm or sneak and show), and so has to consider being able to play a longer game from time to time. It achieves this by playing a lot of creatures and can, when needed, play out a more midrangey gameplan.

    II - Examples of decklists
    Martin Bosco - TLA - 2013 - Legacy - Jouernaut. First place finish out of 497 (27.10.2013) http://www.tcdecks.net/deck.php?id=12104

    1x Dryad Arbor
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    2x Birds of Paradise
    2x Mulldrifter
    2x Progenitus
    3x Misthollow Griffin
    4x Fierce Empath
    4x Noble Hierarch
    2x Daze
    4x Brainstorm
    4x Force of Will
    3x Manipulate Fate
    4x Natural Order
    4x Food Chain
    2x Sensei's Divining Top
    2x Forest
    2x Scalding Tarn
    2x Windswep Heath
    4x Island
    4x Misty Rainforest
    4x Tropical Island

    Sideboard:
    3x Leyline of Sanctity
    3x Relic of Progenitus
    4x Show and Tell
    1x Griselbrand
    2x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    2x Omniscience

    Gottfried SjŲdahl - Danish Legacy Masters 23.03.13 - 4th place finish out of 85 players http://mtgpulse.com/event/12649#177066

    3x Misthollow Griffin
    3x Fierce Empath
    1x Consecrated Sphinx
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    4x Baleful Strix
    4x Deathrite Shaman
    4x Brainstorm
    3x Abrupt Decay
    4x Force of Will
    3x Manipulate Fate
    4x Ponder
    3x Inquisition of Kozilek
    4x Food Chain
    1x Swamp
    1x Island
    2x Underground Sea
    2x Bayou
    3x Tropical Island
    4x Polluted Delta
    3x Verdant Catacombs
    3x Misty Rainforest

    Sideboard:
    2x Obstinate Baloth
    3x Spell Pierce
    3x Golgari Charm
    1x Abrupt Decay
    1x Misdirection
    1x Duress
    1x Cabal Therapy
    3x Relic of Progenitus

    Martin Nielsen - BoM Trial Copenhagen. 6th place out of 35 http://mtgpulse.com/event/14323#202791
    4x Deathrite Shaman
    3x Fierce Empath
    2x Wall of Blossoms
    1x Griselbrand
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    1x Aethersnipe
    3x Misthollow Griffin
    1x Lim-DŻl's Vault
    4x Force of Will
    2x Misdirection
    4x Brainstorm
    4x Ponder
    1x Inquisition of Kozilek
    2x Duress
    3x Manipulate Fate
    4x Food Chain
    2x Underground Sea
    2x Tropical Island
    1x Bayou
    2x Ancient Tomb
    1x Flooded Strand
    1x Polluted Delta
    3x Verdant Catacombs
    4x Misty Rainforest
    2x Island
    1x Forest
    1x Swamp

    Sideboard:
    2x Vendilion Clique
    2x Spellskite
    3x Spell Pierce
    2x Golgari Charm
    2x Abrupt Decay
    2x Surgical Extraction
    2x Relic of Progenitus

    III - How does the deck win?
    The deck will rarely win before turn three. It will sometimes win on turn three and once in a blue moon on turn two, but it is more common to win on turn four or later. You will generally look to mana ramp during turn one and/or two using Deathrite Shamans or Noble Hierarchs as well as cantripping or tutoring depending on your hand. Eventually you will want to resolve a Food Chain, ideally with creatures already on the battlefield, ready to be exiled into the chain. For this reason the deck also likes cheap utility creatures. Cantripping creatures like Baleful Strix and Wall of Blossoms are popular choices but other versions of the deck run others such as Wall of Roots, Coiling Oracle, Court Hussar etc.

    You have countermagic to protect you in setting up your combo turn. Depending on how much you feel like splashing black, targeted discard is also a valid option for protection.

    A few examples on the different ways the deck can win:

    The nuts:

    T1, play forest, tap to play Noble Hierarch.
    T2, play another land, tap your two lands and the hierarch to cast Food Chain. Exile the Hierarch into the Food Chain for GG. Cast Wall of Blossoms, draw a card. Exile Wall of Blossoms into the Food Chain for GGG. Cast Fierce Empath, searching up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Exile Fierce Empath for UUUU. Cast Misthollow Griffin. Make infinite mana, cast Emrakul, take extra turn. Swing for 18 and annihilate 6. Defacto win.

    Whether this happens on turn 2 like in this example or in later turns, this is how the deck most often wins: resolve a Food Chain, get griffins online and resolve Emrakul.

    The half combo:

    This is a situation in which you resolve a Food Chain and one to three of your Griffins but do not have a way to get to Emrakul. In this situation you are still in a favored position, because often enough having the ability to swing for 9 a turn with vigilance and flying creatures that are immune to removal (you can always hide them in exile with the Food Chain in response to a piece of removal or after blockes have been declared, before damage) will win you the game. Note: you can prevent lifelink by declaring a griffin as a blocker of, say, a Griselbrand and then before the damage exile it to the Food Chain. How effective this is will depend on how many griffins you get into play. With a Manipulate Fate resolved this should be three. If you only have 1 griffin it can usually buy you enough time to find the win. If you have three griffins they will often win the game on their own.

    The other half of the half combo:

    This is a situation where you have a Food Chain resolved and a Fierce Empath in hand, but do not currently have a way to get to a griffin to create infinite mana. This is where the Aethersnipe and Griselbrand come into the fray. If you have a resolved Food Chain and are able to cast a Fierce Empath as well as produce UU1 (either from exiling creatures other than the empath or by simply having the mana on board) you will be able to hard cast Griselbrand. Hereís how it works:
    • Cast Fierce Empath. It triggers and you tutor up Aethersnipe. Now cast Aethersnipe for its evoke cost (UU1). When it enters the battlefield, two triggers will go on the stack. One is its bounce EtB trigger, the other is its Ďsacrifice this creature because you cast it for its evoke costí EtB trigger. Since you control both triggers you get to decide in what order they go onto the stack in. Choose to put the evoke sacrifice on the stack first (meaning it will resolve last) and then the bounce trigger on top (meaning it will resolve first). Then target the Fierce Empath with the bounce trigger and return the Empath to your hand. Now, in response to the sacrifice trigger, exile the Aethersnipe to the Food Chain netting you 7 mana of any one color. Choose G. You now have GGGGGGG. Use GGG to cast the Fierce Empath you just bounced leaving you with GGGG. Find Griselbrand. Then exile the Empath for BBBB leaving you with GGGGBBBB and hey presto! Just enough mana to hard cast Griselbrand. Depending on the game state and the contents of your hand either draw a bunch of cards and find a griffin to go infinite and cast emrakul. Or simply ride Griselbrand to victory

    The non-combo:
    In case your Food Chains get extracted or extirpated or you just canít get them online your deck has ways to grind out victories. This is the least preferable road to victory the deck has but can be something to fall back on. It will usually involve some kind of beatdown plan using the griffins either to swing with exalted from the hierarchs or in a nice life-gaining recursion plan with Deathrite Shamans (use it as an infinite chump blocker until you can find the rest of the combo by exiling it from your GY to gain 2 life with Deathrite and the recasting it).


    IV - Key cards
    • Food Chain: Not much to be said about this card. The combo engine of the deck. Itís worth it to note that Pithing Needle naming Food Chain will do exactly nothing. Food Chainís ability is a mana ability and therefore cannot be stopped by a Pithing Needle. Nor can it be Stifled or even responded to. Phyrexian Revoker can stop Food Chain as it stops mana abilities, so be aware of that sucker.
    • Misthollow Griffin: The other half of the infinite mana loop. A 3/3 flyer for UU2 is not something to write home about. They are really only ever good in two situations. 1 is to pitch to a Force of Will or a Misdirection (value town) and 2 is in conjunction with a resolved Food Chain. In both situations the griffins are worth their weight in gold.
    • Emrakul, the Aeons Torn: Most often our win condition. 95 % of your wins will come from opponents scooping to you resolving Emrakul.
    • Fierce Empath: Tool box creature that will most of the time double as Emrakuls 2-4. Can also favorably be used to find an Aethersnipe. Either to chain into Griselbrand or simply as a blue card to pitch to force.
    • Manipulate Fate: Ah, the most efficient tutor in the deck and one of the most fun cards to resolve. Will nearly always be a ďreaderĒ as not very many people will have seen it before. In this deck itís stupidly good. The card might as well read: U1, sorcery. Search your library for 3 cards named Misthollow Griffin and put them into your hand. Shuffle your library. Draw a card. Seeing as this is a bit of a rogue deck most opponents wonít know what this is for the first time they play you. I mean, reading the card, it just looks bad. The truth is that this is often what allows you to set up a win. If you already have one of your griffins in hand then go find 2 griffins and another copy of Fate. Once an opponent is wise to what youíre up to this card will have a big countermagic bulls eye on it so be mindful of that. But that can also work in your favor as it can be used to bate out countermagic when you already have a griffin in hand.



    V - Utility creatures
    Ideally you want creatures on the board already before resolving a Food Chain. That means playing enough cheap creatures that actually matter. Examples of those:
    • Noble Hierarch: Mana ramp is great and is an integral part of the deck as it allows us to power out a Food Chain on turn 2. The Exalted can often become relevant as well.
    • Deathrite Shaman: The jack of all trades when it comes to mana dorks. Ideally you want your dork to always be able to generate mana on turn 2 and as such an argument can be made for Noble Hierarch over DRS. But the versatility, ability to act as a win condition of his own and his synergy with a griffin in the yard (the only place we do NOT want our griffins to end up) make him relevant.
    • Wall of Blossoms: We need a 2CMC creature to help our mana curve out and make comboing off with Food Chain more smooth. The wall is also great at blocking Nimble Moongose and Mishraís Factories all day long and cycles when he enters the battlefield. The advantage of this creature over Baleful Strix is that it is mono colored. Occasionally it is a problem to get a strix down using Food Chain as it can only create one color mana per activation.
    • Baleful Strix: In practically all but the mono colored argument better than Wall of Blossoms. We can sometimes have a hard time surviving for long enough to win when a tempo deck flips an early delver (hey, who canít) and so itís great to have way to trade to stave off death.
    • Aethersnipe: The bounce effect will from time to time become your only main deck answer to some permanent based hate. An example of this is its relevance in game one against Death and Taxes as a Phyrexian Revoker colds our Food Chain. Is also a nice additional answer to Show and Tell and of course acts as a way to get our own Griselbrand into play without a Griffin (see above).
    • Mulldrifter: As with Aethersnipe, Mulldrifter is another way to exploit the synergy of Food Chain and Evoke. Some players (including myself) have moved away from playing this creature as it is really only a card when there is a Food Chain resolved. That being said, when that is the case it is awesome. It then nets us 3 mana of any one color and draws us 2 cards.
    • Wall of Roots: An alternative two-drop that doesn't cantrip but instead acts as more mana ramp.


    VI - Protection

    Counterspells:

    • Force of Will: this card is particularly relevant when playing with the Griffins as they can be pitched and still played later from exile. Pretty straight forward.
    • Misdirection: this will be meta dependant. Itís awesome to have 1-2 extra force of wills in counter wars, but Misdirection can also do a lot of work to re-direct an Abrupt Decay trying to pick off your Food Chain or a wayward Hymn to Tourach.
    • Daze: Can be used to protect the combo while going off on early turns. Quickly loses its relevance though.
    • Spell Pierce: stays relevant for longer but not as good on the combo turn as Daze unless you have waited an additional turn to leave up the U required. Would rarely see how both Pierce and Daze can be fit in so it will usually be one or the other if either at all.

    Targeted discard:
    • Duress, Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek. They can all be relevant in different scenarios. Running discard should mainly be to pick off something like a Thalia or Revoker, or alternatively, an Abrupt Decay or to help fight faster combo decks. Some people prefer to have discard in the sideboard to bring in and then rely solely on countermagic to protect the combo game 1.


    VII - Cantrips
    • Brainstorm: Not going to write an essay on why Brainstorm is awesome.


    Whether or not you want to run Brainstorm's less beautiful cousins, Ponder or Preordain, will depend on how you decide to balance your deck between cantripping creatures and cantrip non-creature spells. This is actually a point of some contention. Most people recognize that the deck needs to run a critical number of creatures to opperate. As such and argument can be made for running cantripping creatures over cantripping instants and sorceries. Examples of these creatures are the aforementioned Mulldrifter and Court Hussar as well as Raven Familiar. The issue with these creatures are that they are quite mediocre up until you get a Food Chain resolved. Once that happens it quickly becomes value town. The problem with this is, that we want our cantrips to help find the Food Chain, not to be awesome once we've found it. I believe the proper way to go about it is to run some number of "elvish visionary" type creatures (2-drops that draw a card when entering the battlefield) along your mana dorks. As such we can meet our need for having enough creatures but should still have room for some non-creature cantrips.

    VIII - Lands
    • This will greatly depend on your deck construction. For a combo deck this deck is hungry for mana and so don't get too overreliant on our mana dorks thinking that means we can skimp on land. I'd say we need to run at least 19 lands. 20 might be more correct. I'd argue that you should be working to include some basics in whichever list you end up with. Against wastelands you'll often need to be able to fetch out an island and a forest. The first to be able to cantrip and the latter to be able to put out mana dorks and eventually ensure you can produce the G for Food Chain.
    • Ancient Tomb: I personally like running at least two of these. Especially if you're running Natural Order as you will more often be able to combo on turn 2.


    IX - Less common cards
    • Natural Order: Some people are having success with running a Natural Order package as a secondary combo plan to Food Chain. The upside is that you are able to attack your opponent from different angles and wonít get colded by an ill-timed Surgical Extraction or the likes. The downside is mostly the space it takes up in the deck. You typically sacrifice either cantrips or counterspells both of which are needed to enhance your Food Chain plan. You also need to up your green creature count.
    • Lim-DŻlís Vault: The main issue of the deck has always been to find a reliable way to tutor for Food Chain. Cards such as Intuition have been tried to limited success. Even a white splash for Enlightened Tutor. LDV seems like the best option if your mana base can support the black splash. Iíd recommend running this as a one- or two of.
    • Show and Tell: Some decks run a transformational sideboard plan which seeks to transform the deck into a show and tell deck siding in more emrakuls and griselbrands.
    • Vela the Night-Clad: An alternative win con to Emrakul. Avoids combat so isn't bothered by cards like Ensaring Bridge. Also pitches to Force of Will and can be tutored up Empath. One problem, though, is that targeted creature removal will stop us from winning. Once she enters the battlefield they can respond to us casting our first Griffin by casting a Swords to Plowshares on her.


    Retired cards
    • Maga, Traitor to Mortals: Used, predominately early on, as an alternative win con to Emrakul. Maga has pretty much been retired now. You canít use the Empath to tutor for Maga and the win depends on an EtB trigger than can be stifled.



    X - Sideboarding
    How you sideboard with this deck will depend wholly on your strategy. Some people aim to run transformational sideboards. Either something like a Show and Tell package or alternatively a beatdown plan including Tarmogoyfs and Vendilion Cliques. In my opinion, all plans need to take into account our weak matchups which is primarily other combo decks. We need graveyard hate to fight dredge and reanimator and we need answers to storm combo decks as well.

    Other than that we need a way to answer hatebears. Abrupt Decay is great at this and since our mana base is much stronger than many other combo decks (it needs to be as we are more mana hungry) we don't have to settle for bounce spells. Running sweeping effects such as Golgari Charm or Dread of Night is also a good way to go about hitting Death and Taxes and Maverick.

    A template for a sideboard might look something like this:

    4x Gravehate
    2-4x Additional countermagic. Flusterstorm or Swan Song are strong
    2-4x Abrupt Decay
    2-3x Sweeper effects, Golgari Charm for instance.

    Some other cards to consider would be:

    Misdirection
    Thoughtseize
    Spellskite
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    XI - Strengths/weaknesses

    How does this deck compare to other (combo) decks?

    So why play this deck? Well it's a lot of fun first of all. There are other faster and more consistent combo decks out there, but this does have some merits when compared to them:
    • No reliance on the graveyard: Unlike many other combo decks of the format we don't care one iota about graveyard hate (extraction effects notwithstanding).
    • Combo unaffected by Gaddock Teeg: Okay mr T(eeg) stops Natural Order, but our main plan shits all over him seeing as our combo is mainly creature based and Food Chain is 3CMC.
    • Combo (largely) unaffected by Thalia: Getting a Food Chain on the battlefield at 4CMC can be tricky but otherwise your combo, much like with Teeg, doesn't care about the Tax that Thalia demands.
    • An Emrakul that doesn't care about Karakas: You hard cast Emrakul. It's the only way for you to get him into play. That means you get an extra turn. That means screw Karakas. If they bounce him, make another million mana with your griffins and re-cast him, get another extra turn and Bob's your sister

    If we look at some of the weaknesses of the deck it goes back to the aforementioned lack of speed and consistency. Also if it doesn't run a secondary combo plan (Natural Order for instance) it is overly reliant on resolving a Food Chain. With no direct tutors that can be a problem. Further more we can suffer against decks that run a lot of removal. Removing our utility creatures both hampers our mana development and can mean the difference between winning on the turn you resolve Food Chain or having to wait a full extra turn to untap your mana.


    XII - Matchups
    • Death and Taxes
      This matchup becomes a lot more managable if you are splashing black. What will kill you is if they get a clock on you (Stoneforge Mystic) AND are successful with their mana denial strategy (so fetch basics). As an added wild card in game 1, Phyrexian Revoker will also be a big problem for you as you now need to find your Aethersnipe to bounce it if you want to combo off. That being said we can still win before they get set up but I'd say we are probably the underdog game 1 against a skilled pilot although not by a huge margin.

      After sideboarding they get to bring in Ethersworn Canonist but not much else. The canonist shuts you down in your tracks and will need an answer. Luckily we get to bring in Abrupt Decays and Golgari Charms which will often be enough to hose them. Dread of Night is also an option instead of the Golgari Charms but it doesn't deal with Revoker.

      Try to be fast in game 1 as they will most likely win the long game. After sideboards you still have the possibility of a quick and dirty combo win, but you will probably end up taking up a more controling role. Get down your Food Chains even if they have a revoker naming it. Build up your hand and board and then, when everything is assembled, kill their hatebear(s) and win. This setup might involve creature combat and chump blocking but can often come out favorably for us.

      *If you are running a NO package then you can sidestep the revoker issue in game 1. The problem will be to a) have a green creature survive for long enough to get NO'd and b) to get to 4 non-food chained mana.

    • Sneak and Show
      They are faster than us. They also have as much if not more countermagic to protect themselves. They do, however, run the risk of you holding something relevant for their Show and Tell such as your own Emrakul, Griselbrand or Aethersnipe. They also won't have a way to deal with a resolved Food Chain. They won't be bothering to counter your 1 and 2 CMC creatures so try and set up your board. This will most likely come down to a race to see who gets there first. This will usually be them and that's tough. Your counterspells (and targeted discard if you run it main) will be very valuable to you in this matchup.

      You will have to bank on getting a little lucky and either go off before them, have enough counter to deal with their combo or have a "hate" piece in hand for their show and tell.

      Natural Order seems quite weak here as Progenitus is just embarrassing when facing emrakul or griselbrand.

      After sideboard be mindful of their Red blasts as they will be looking to counter your griffins. This is true against any red deck and something to be aware of. Normally your opponent will ALWAYS attempt to counter your Food Chain. If they let your Food Chain resolve you can normally be completely sure they won't be holding any countermagic that can target your griffin (disregarding corner cases with Daze). But here you might get to resolve your Food Chain only to have your one griffin red blasted and uselessly now in the yard.

      After board, Golgari Charm can be a hedge against Sneak Attack. Other than that I'd advise bringing in more counterspells. Vendilion Clique is a great card in this matchup if you have them.

      Not a great matchup but not horrible.

    • Omniclash
      A lot of the same principles apply against Omniclash as against Sneak and Show. One major difference is that your spoiler cards in hand (Emrakul, Griselbrand) are by and large cold against them (Aethersnipe notwithstanding). They resolve show and tell and turn over Omniscience, your emrakul is not doing anything. Griselbrand might draw you into enough countermagic to counter their incoming Enter the Infinite but it's not for sure and if they are already holding countermagic it's going to be an uphill battle.

      They are slower than Sneak and Show and do not have access to red blasts post board.

    • ANT/TES
      One of our worst matchups. We go into this a pretty big underdog. This should be reflected in your sideboard where we need to be able to get in more tools to fight them. They are faster than us, more consistent and play proactive disruption in the form of targeted discard which can both target our combo pieces as well as our countermagic. That being said it's by no means an unwinnable matchup. Hope you get a hand with force of will(s) as well as some cards that actually matter to your gameplan. Then, also hope that your opponent hasn't gotten a discard heavy hand. In this matchup we need to hurry up and win. We need to be able to do this while having some countermagic to protect ourselves with.

      After sideboard it does get better. I advise boarding in both targeted discard and more countermagic. Also, if you're running the NO package having access to Ruric Thar post board helps a lot. Be mindful of their Xantid Swarms when you stare into that beautiful counter heavy hand.

      All in all a bad matchup.

    • Delver Tempo (RUG, BUG UWR et al)
      Depending on which tempo deck you meet this is a very swingey matchup. If they manage to do what a delver deck does and strangle our resources while dropping an early threat, our mana- and creature hungry plan will quickly become untenable. You need to play against the tempo deck like you would if you were playing with most other decks which means that you fetch basics and do so while playing around Stifle and Daze. You might also need to invest countermagic into protecting your early creature drops from their removal. This can be hazardous as you might need the countermagic to be able to go off through their countermagic.

      A resolved Manipulate Fate can be very strong against them. 3/3 flyers blank their delver of secrets which is often their quickest threat. They also have no way to interact with a resolved Food Chain*. Your plan against these decks will be to play out your creatures while cantripping. You need to build up a mana base and some creatures and ideally win on the turn you resolve your Food Chain. The half-combo (Griffins + Food Chain but no Emrakul) will be enough 90 % against them, but of course full combo is better.

      They typically don't run any hatebear type effects in their sideboard (caveat: UWR might side in Canonist and/or Meddling Mages). Only thing to really watch out for after boards is Krosan Grips in RUG-delver.

      If they get the nuts (a flipped delver, countermagic and are able to stifle/wasteland/bolt your mana sources) prepare to lose. If you are able to sidestep this then the matchup improves a lot. Being on the play is also huge in this matchup.

      *The BUG variants have Abrupt Decay so they are exempt from this statement.

    • Elves
      A decent matchup imo. They will probably be a little faster than us at reaching their combo turn but that's not a given. They don't interrupt your mana development and will most likely not have any targeted discard during game 1. Be sure to counter their combo pieces (Natural Order and Glimpse of Nature). As long as you can keep them from comboing (which, of course, is not a given that you can) you will often be able to goldfish them as they don't mess with your plan.

      Also, don't go for the NO plan yourself unless you have sufficient countermagic to protect yourself during the turns in takes for Progenitus to kill them. Your Progenitus won't be a match for their Craterhoof alpha swing for 40+.

      After sideboards watch out for discard and Abrupt Decays. Some lists also run Qasali Pridemages so be mindful of those. Bring in Golgari Charms.

    • Shardless BUG
      Prior to the printing of Abrupt Decay this was a fine matchup. But Abrupt Decay pushes it towards them being favourites. Their discard spells can be rough. Misdirections shine against Hymns and can be decisive. They don't have enough countermagic nor a particularly fast clock but you will need to dodge their discards. If you go for the NO plan (which is a fine option in this matchup) be mindful of Liliana, ie. leave up another creature to sack if at all possible. If you've been able to dodge their discard you still need to keep an eye out for Abrupt Decay. You often won't win from the first Food Chain you resolve. Targeted discard works quite well against them.

      This matchup can often drag out long enough for a suspended Ancestral Vision to become relevant. Misdirection is a house against vision.

    • Esper Stoneblade (and Deathblade variants)
      A matchup that can be troublesome depending on what build they're running. Playing against both countermagic and targeted discard is always a challenge. Generally I find the more controlling builds with Snapcaster Mages and Vendilion Cliques to be most challenging. The NO backup plan is good as they will often have no way of answering Progenitus and won't put you under enough early pressure to have a meaningful clock if you can resolve NO on turn three or four. The best you can hope for is for them to ignore you and focus on developing their own board. Ie, if they just stampede towards resolving a Jace or a turn four Batterskull. If they - which most skilled pilots will do - in stead focus on disrupting your hand and board with Thoughtseizes and Swords to Plowshares on your mana dorks etc and back that up with Snapcaster Mages for recursion then you're in for a bumpy ride. They'll resolve their big spell eventually.

    • Dredge
      Depending on your setup you'll have access to Deathrite Shamans during game one but will still be the underdog. As most players will tell you, a single Deathrite Shaman will seldom be enough to hold back dredge. Hope to be faster than them which will pretty much only happen if they brick and/or you get the nuts. We need sideboard hate for this matchup. I like to always carry four pieces of targeted graveyard hate. I like to mix it up between extraction effects and stuff like Relic of Progenitus or Tormod's Crypt. Games 2 and 3 get much better although I never like facing this matchup.

    • UWx Miracles
      A fine matchup. They have pretty much no way of dealing with a resolved Food Chain pre-board. Watch out for Terminus on your attack with Emrakul. It is recommended that you resolve a Manipulate Fate and thus have all three griffins at the ready. In that case, simply exile them and play them again during your second main phase (if you have the mana of course). They typically won't be able to handle three griffins that are immune to removal. Counterbalance isn't great to stare down, but Food Chain being a 3CMC and the Griffins 4CMC mean we are much better suited to combo through a CB compared to combo decks with lots of 0, 1 and 2CMC spells. Still, I'd side in Abrupt Decays to handle the enchantment as they can still lock us out of the game.

    • Goblins
      Not as good a matchup as it would be for many other combo decks due to our dependency on our lands. That being said I would still consider us to be favorites in this matchup. Just watch out for their wastelands and ports. Don't keep greedy one-lander hands, especially if that land is a dual. If you have force of will in your opener during game 1 be ready to snap-force Aether Vial as it is by far their most relevant spell game 1 The only exception might be if you need the blue pitchable card to help power through an early win (say, a Manipulate Fate). If they open on lacky then force of will it unless you are able to resolve a (profitable) blocker before it can connect ie. Wall of Blossoms or Deathrite Shaman preferably. After sideboarding expect them to bring in Thalia and Ethersworn Canonist. I'd side in some Abrupt Decays for this. The decays can also be used in a pinch to prolong the game a turn or two by sniping a Goblin Piledriver or a lackey at the right time.

    • Merfolk
      This is a poor matchup, make no mistake. We play islands so all of their dudes are unblockable. Their dudes also represent a quick clock. They play wastelands to hamper our mana and they play enough countermagic to pose big problems for us resolving our combo pieces. Some of them also play the nastiest sideboard card ever in Llawan, Cephalid Empress. If they ever resolve her your only shot will be to resolve a Natural Order IF you're even running NO. She dodges Abrupt Decays and all relevant sweepers we might run.

      The plan against this deck is to ignore their board development and develop your own board with 1cmc and 2cmc creatures. Then try and resolve a combo win through their countermagic. This usually means having some countermagic of your own and/or targeted discard. Thankfully this deck isn't played much :)

    • Maverick
      A decent but potentially troublesome matchup. They aim to strain our mana by wastelanding us and landing a Thalia so fetch basics and hope you have more mana dorks than they have Swords to Plowshares. If you get a Food Chain resolved but need more time to set up the win then be sure to counter any Green Sun's Zenith where X is more than 1. Otherwise expect them to fetch up a Qasali Pridemage to do the nasty on your Food Chain. After sideboarding they'll have Ethersworn Canonist and, depending on the build, might also have a black splash for some thoughtseizes and the likes. Bring in Abrupt Decays for the Canonists. Also, board sweepers like Golgari Charm are also good here. If you plan to win through resolving a Fierce Empath to tutor up emrakul then be mindful of them having access to W2 as they might be slowboating an Aven Mindcensor.

    • UB Tezzeret
      Most of the time a good matchup. Their trademark chalice@1 play on turn is not anywhere near as crippling for us as for a lot of other decks. It's bad if you've kept a hand of Deathrite Shaman and 2x Brainstorm but otherwise you should be able to get past it easily. They'll never make Chalice@2 and you should be able to set up shop and win before they make a Chalice@3. They play precious little countermagic, usually just 4x Force of Will. After board watch out for targeted discard and Lodestone Golem. Particularly the last one will be brutal if they manage to stick it. Be sure to keep in your countermagic to try and ensure this doesn't happen. This means also countering Transmute Artifact if they have enough mana to pay out the difference.


    XIII - Articles etc.
    Really good introduction article by Tyler Tyssedal:
    http://www.quietspeculation.com/2012...-fate-and-fun/

    Avacyn Restored legacy preview by Drew Levin has a section devoted to (an admittedly very early) version of the deck:
    http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/l...cy_Review.html
    Last edited by nevilshute; 12-09-2013 at 08:49 AM.

  13. #513
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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Good job nevilshute!!!!
    I hope that the mods will open a new thread with your primer!!
    Ignorance is strength

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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtk3 View Post
    Good job nevilshute!!!!
    I hope that the mods will open a new thread with your primer!!
    Thanks! Will work on it some more later today and in the coming days. Feel free to comment :)

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    Re: Food Chain Combo

    Quote Originally Posted by nevilshute View Post
    Thanks! Will work on it some more later today and in the coming days. Feel free to comment :)
    I would include Vela the Night-Clad: wins on the spot with griffin, can be tutored with empath, its abilities are relevant for the aggro plan and pitches to force of will. Note that with her combat step is not needed, so you don't have to worry about ensnaring bridge (which is seeing more play in these days) nor about your opponent's left with lethal in the battlefield after the annihilation trigger.
    Ignorance is strength

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