It’s not every day that a new deck comes around in Legacy, but in recent months we have had three strong decks that improve pre-existing shells. Ondřej Strasky did a good write-up of 4c Czech Pile here, so I won’t go deeper into that deck. Instead, I’m here to give you the basics of Food Chain, and later in the week, Moon Stompy, so check back for that.
Marius Hausmann, 1st place at MKM Milan
Marius Hausmann has had an excellent showing with the deck in recent weeks, winning a whopping three tournaments with the new Walking Ballista build of Food Chain. It’s been getting hotter on Magic Online as well, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before it replaces Shardless B/U/G as the B/U/G midrange deck of choice.
Walking Ballista makes previously difficult matchups significantly easier. Past iterations of the deck ran Fierce Empath and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which are mostly blanks until you have a Food Chain in play. Walking Ballista is always live, and does a good job clearing the board of creatures and pressuring opposing planeswalkers.
Here’s how the new combo works: First, you resolve a Food Chain. Then, you can cast either Misthollow Griffin or Eternal Scourge, and then exile itself and re-cast it until you have an arbitrarily large amount of mana. Then you can cast Walking Ballista to finish them off.
While this is a 3-card combo, all of the creatures are relevant by themselves. Furthermore, if you are able to Manipulate Fate for 1 Eternal Scourge and 2 Misthollow Griffins, that’s an easy way to access one half of your combo, while also giving you card advantage. Finally, even if you don’t have Walking Ballista, most decks in Legacy will struggle to beat recurring 3/3s. If you have Food Chain and Manipulate Fate, you will have three 3/3s that have pseudo-vigilance because you can exile them and recast them post-combat. You can also exile them at any point to dodge removal.
To round out the deck, Food Chain plays some of the best creatures in Legacy: Deathrite Shaman, Baleful Strix, and Leovold. Deathrite Shaman is great in a mana-hungry deck, and Baleful Strix is an excellent way to buy time to set up your combo. Leovold is a new inclusion making many B/U/G lists, and it functions well in this deck as a way to disrupt your opponents while you’re hiding behind a flock of Baleful Strix.
Abrupt Decay serves as a great catch-all, and Manipulate Fate is essentially a 2-mana draw 4. The rest of the spells are the standard Legacy blue staples of Ponder, Brainstorm, and Force of Will. If you have never felt the value of Force of Will exiling Misthollow Griffin, I urge you to give the deck a spin.
Here are some quick matchup guides. You’ll find most matchups fall under three categories:
- Grindy matchups where the combo is powerful because it gives you another angle of attack
- Fast decks like Burn and Eldrazi where you want to quickly combo
- Decks like Reanimator where you can board out the combo and play the control role
Game 1, Miracles has very few ways of interacting with Food Chain or Manipulate Fate so you should be able to run them over with recurring dorks. Jace is their main route to victory, and if you can stave that off with Walking Ballista you are in good shape.
If they are on a heavy-Mentor build, Engineered Plague naming Human is a good option.
Make sure you fetch for basics when possible—the goal is to survive the early game and keep their board as clear as possible. It’s totally fine to spend a Walking Ballista to kill an unflipped Delver or Young Pyromancer. Eventually, if you survive long enough, their Dazes will become dead cards and your card advantage will pull you through.
Show and Tell and Reanimator
Basically, your combo matches up poorly, so instead you morph into a control deck. You have plenty of answers for their threats, so you just need to stay alive and beat them up with dorks.
Death and Taxes
Name Human for Engineered Plague. Against Death and Taxes, Walking Ballista runs all over Mother of Runes. If they name Food Chain with Phyrexian Revoker, you can easily Ballista the Revoker. If they name Ballista, they are unlikely to beat recurring vigilant 3/3 flyers.
Thoughtseize for Krosan Grip. Lands is a surprisingly easy matchup because Food Chain plays many basic lands and the combo is very difficult for Lands to interact with. Post-sideboard, there is plenty of hate too. Just be ready to battle through some artifact hate like Sphere of Resistance.
Same plan, stay alive and combo them out. Baleful Strix is a beating, and this should be a pretty good matchup.
Next time, I’ll take a look at a deck that’s all acceleration, lock pieces, and threats. Until then, try this one out!