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A Banquet Fit For A Tyrant: Food Chain SBT Primer

Commander / EDH* BUG (Sultai) Competitive Infinite Combo Suicide Black

Lilbrudder


Description

INTRODUCTION

A dedicated Food Chain Sidisi, Brood Tyrant deck has been something I have hoped for ever since thegigibeast pointed out SBT has combo potential with the card. This list is the fulfilment of that hope. The deck functions very similar to ShaperSavant and BigLupu's food chain Tazri, but with a few minor differences.

1) Lacking white, we lose out on a handful of great cards. These include mana dorks (ex. Noble Hierarch, efficient enablers (i.e Enlightened Tutor), protection spells (i.e Silence), and spot removal (i.e Swords to Plowshares). However, the vast majority of enablers are available to SBT and she has the same number of finishers (3 in total). One minor advantage SBT has is that her 3 color mana base allows for slightly more consistent color fixing.

2) Due to the nature of SBT's finishers, with Laboratory Maniac playing a role in the tidespout tyrant line, SBT has a built in backup combo in Laboratory Maniac+Demonic Consultation/Tainted Pact. This combo gets around gravehate and allows the deck to win if Food Chain gets permanently exiled. I also have included a small Notion Thief+Timetwister/Windfall package to set up another compact (meaning all cards are useful on thier own) 2 card combo giving me two more paths to victory than FC Tazri. The fact that Tazri is still better is ok since FC Tazri is a top 3 deck in cEDH. This deck is testing stronger than FC Proshh, which is still generally considered to be a tier 1 deck (see comparative analysis for details).

As General Tazri and Prossh, Skyraider of Kher have proven, Food Chain is an incredibly fast and resilient combo capable of winning in the most competitive of environments. The advantage food chain has over other cheap 2 card combos is that cards like Plunge into Darkness, Demonic Consultation, and Tainted Pact will often tutor for both halves of the combo since you can exile eternal scourge or misthollow griffin while digging for Food Chain. This friendliness to exile also makes it harder to get rid of the combo and opens up other ways to tutor for combo pieces (i.e Extract).

Another strength of this combo is its incredible mana efficiency. The combo requires that you combine Food Chain+Eternal Scourge. While this combo technically costs to hard cast both, in most circumstances you only pay for just Food Chain since you can exile other creatures you control with Food Chain to help pay for Eternal Scourge. This makes one drop mana dorks essential as they can be tapped then exiled on turn 3 to assemble the combo with a reasonable degree of consistency. This degree of mana efficiency allows one the luxury of tutoring for Food Chain or Eternal Scourge on turn 2.

To simplify matters the combo is essentially Food Chain+Eternal Scourge+FC Outlet. Sidisi serves as a tutor that converts this three card combo into an easily assembled two card combo. Once Eternal Scourge + Food Chain is on the board together Eternal Scourge can be exiled and recast from exile until I have infinite colored mana for creatures. Then I can exile and recast Sidisi, Brood Tyrant in the same manner to mill enough of my library to reveal Dread Return along with Walking Ballista/Tidespout Tyrant, and Eternal Witness or just Vela the Night-Clad. At this point I can sac 3 zombies to Dread Return to reanimate:

1) Eternal Witness to return to my hand then cast Walking Ballista for a billion X with Food Chain and kill the table.

2) Vela the Night-Clad. Then exile and recast etenal scourge until all opponents are dead.

3) Eternal Witness then cast a recurred Tidespout Tyrant. Then bounce and recur e-wit until I have drawn my entire graveyard and bounced all opponents permanents. Then cast Laboratory Maniac and Brainstorm or any other cantrip with fast mana sources like Lotus Petal for the uncontested win.

4) Tidespout Tyrant then exile and recast Eternal Scourge to bounce all my opponents permanents, then kill the table slowly and uncontested with an army of zombies. While less good than the other options in many ways, Tidespout has the advantage of taking out ridiculous board states and all but ensures victory by bouncing everyone elses board position each turn cycle.

At its core this deck really only cares about two things:

1) RAMPING/FLOODING THE BOARD WITH CREATURES For Food Chain, any creature is a ritual effect just waiting to be used to win the game. We dont need to go all in like Proshh, who uses upwards of 30 creatures because we dont need the mana as badly. Also there are only so many worthy canidates for these precious few card slots and any BUG list worth its hefty price tag should be using as many high quality cards as possible. These are simply the very best creatures I have found for this particular deck.

ONE MANA DORKS: I use them all because all of them are incredible at facilitating early wins. I firmly believe that one of Tazri's primary advantages over SBT is access to Avacyn's Pilgrim and Noble Hierarch. If I had more they would be in this list without doubt. Even Boreal Druid is great.

TWO MANA UTILITY CREATURES: These little powerhouses eliminate the cost of Eternal Scourge completely.

Dark Confidant: Efficient card advantage. He is an autoinclude

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip: He loots, he flips, he flashes back...or he just functions as a delayed Black Lotus.

Wall of Roots: This card has suprised me with just how fast it accerates my gameplan.

Riftsweeper: I honestly hate cards like this, but its necessary to have and it does come in handy as a ritual.

I would ideally like a couple more of these cteatures, but I won't dilute my deck for it.

OTHER RAMP SOURCES:

These are simply the best non-creature forms of ramp available to me: Mana Crypt; Sol Ring; Mox Diamond; Chrome Mox; Lotus Petal; Mana Vault; Carpet of Flowers;Dark Ritual.

2) DIG AGGRESSIVELY FOR A COMBO.: In addition to fast mana, to win early and often two other things are necessary; A high tutor density and quality card advantage engines.

I'll start first with the tutors. Here are the obvious includes:Mystical Tutor; Vampiric Tutor; Demonic Tutor; Imperial Seal; Lim-Dul's Vault Worldly Tutor;

Then we have the reckless tutors: Plunge into Darkness; Demonic Consultation; Tainted Pact, which set Food Chain apart from the rest of the pack. To use this deck to its fullest potential you must be willing to roll the dice and exile most of your library (or in the case of Plunge into Darkness put yourself on the brink of death for a chance at greatness. These cards will sometimes kill you, but they give an unmatched competive edge and are what make the deck fun to play. It does take some practice to use these cards effectively and slamming them down is not always the best course of action.

Then we have the three mana tutors: Grim Tutor; Drift of Phantasms; and Perplex, which can put either half of our combo into our hand but are somewhat hard to cast and slow. Fortunately 3cc is a very useful selection of spells to choose from. I may eventually cut one or two of these, but they have worked well so far.

Card advantage engines are often as important as tutors for advancing our gameplan:

The very best are Ad Nauseam and Necropotence. Both serve as 1 card win conditions most of the time by digging so deep on turn 2-4 that I have all the resources necessary assemble my combo through disruption the following turn.

Timetwister & Windfall: Helps offset the large number of card disadvantage enablers in my deck. Its not uncommon to burn through 5-6 cards on turn 1-2 so to go back to a full seven with enough ramp in play the following turn is simply great. The fact that it also 2 card combos with Notion Thief is just gravy

The next two best card advantage engines are Sylvan Library and Mystic Remora. They are simply great.

After that we have cheap cantrips with upside in Ponder, Gitaxian Probe, Impulse,Preordain and Brainstorm. These help the deck hit land drops and dig for essential cards for a minimal investment. They are also essential for top deck tutors and for winning the turn I assemble my backup labman combo.

The problem with Food Chain SBT has always been she lacked the outlets necessary to aggressively go for the combo. The only mana free finisher I had at my disposal when I first adapted the combo to SBT included Tidespout Tyrant, Dread Return, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, Triskelion, and Eternal Witness in a convoluted sequence that killed the entire table with mike+trike once Food Chain+Eternal Scourge was assembled. This made Demonic Consultation a complete nobo and limited the effectiveness of Tainted Pact severely. I was only able to make the combo work as a replacement for the four horseman combo (mesmeric orb+basalt monolith) in a shell devised by Voidia that also incorporated Hermit Druid and Necrotic Ooze combo. I added mike+trike to this for a safe HD finisher and labman+tainted pact as a graveyard free combo. Looking back it is pretty amazing the deck worked as well as it did. It was wonderfully complex and incorporated all 5 combos into a synergistic shell that was quite consistent and fast.

That deck got food chain a small amount of recognotion in the cEDH community as a viable option in SBT decks. However, the fatal flaw of my design was there was not enough slots to interact with the board beyond counterspell protection due to having so many combo pieces. It was brutally fast, but I had few ways to slow down other decks.

Then Walking Ballista was spoiled and everything changed. This gave SBT Food Chain a true finisher. The line became simpler and effective. Dread Return into Eternal Witness and then cast a recurred Walking Ballista for 10000000000 X. This one card allowed the deck to streamline considerably and at first glance it also was also a big upgrade for Necrotic Ooze combo.

However, after some brief testing it was clear that without my pile of (mostly) worthless fatties my cc was too low for Necrotic Ooze combo and Hermit Druid was no longer pulling its weight without having a backup "safe" finisher in mike+trike. HD also created the most dead slots so it was first to go.

I ended up dropping HD and I fattened up my curve to create this 2 combo build. In many ways it was an upgrade, but despite some synergy between Nooze and FC combos there was too many restrictions on Nooze and past turn 3-4 all the nooze pieces became dead weight unless I used Timetwister to reset my library.

Then TheDevicer pointed out that Vela the Night-Clad was also a food chain SBT outlet. This allowed an even more elegant line of Dread Return into Vela then cast and exile Eternal Scourge until all opponents are dead. With two outlets, Food Chain SBT combo now had some bones.

As fate would have it I had actually come up with a somewhat less card intensive line for my own jank Food Chain outlet (as described above).

That gave me 3 legitimate FC finishers, which is all General Tazri has. I could then drop Necrotic Ooze combo all together, add Tainted Pact and Demonic Consultation. Not only do these cards now tutor for both multiple combo pieces at once at times, both also 2 card combo with labman. To fill those empty slots I added many more sources of card advantage and ramp to speed up my clock and trimmed all extra fat from the build to make ad naus better.

Comparison between Proshh and Sidisi.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher was the original Food Chain general for good reason. Proshh can go infinite all on his own with food chain, but to kill a table he needs one other card. Fortunately, Proshh is also a free sac outlet and token generator, which allows him to end the game with a large number of outlets (ex. Zulaport Cutthroat). Due to this high concentration of finishers Prossh and food chain often feels like a "1 card combo" a good proportion of the time. While this is a huge advantage, proshh is a 6 MANA combo piece. This requires the deck to play high number of creatures to help "ritual" into Prossh early, which limits what else the deck can do. It also makes the deck fairly linear and somewhat fragile since a boardwipe can set the deck back considerably. One advantage of the high creature creature count is that Prossh is better against stax effects like Thorn of Amethyst.

Sidisi on the other hand needs Eternal Scourge or Misthollow Griffin to go infinite with food chain. However, like General Tazri she serves as a "free" tutor to get your outlet. Sidisi can mill as much of your library as needed to put Dread Return (sometimes Eternal Witness) and one of three food chain outlets into the graveyard. She also provides "free" zombies along the way to ensure Dread Return always has the needed fodder to combo off. This method has clear disadvantages to Tazri or Proshh as the combo has more moving pieces and dread return can get stuck in hand to mess up the combo sequence. It also often uses the graveyard, which is often hated hard in cEDH. (It must be noted that if you have food chain in hand already tainted pact can be used to exile one of misthollow griffin and eternal scourge while bringing an outlet to hand. This elmininates the need for the graveyard entirely). Despite these disadvantages she has at least two clear advantages over Prossh.

1) Her color identity is vastly superior. Blue is obviously the strongest color in edh and red is often considered the weakest (although white sucks too). This provides SBT with much better interaction spells, card advantage engines, and a higher tutor density. Moreover having access to notion thief+wheels can often win the game before you attempt the combo as it provides ridiculous resources while also destroying other decks ability to interact with the combo in any meaningful way.

2) Sidisi does not have to be cast until after the combo starts with food chain mana, whereas Prossh is a 6 mana combo piece. For Prossh to win on turn 3, prosh needs multiple creafures in play or a creature chain like Imperial Recruiter. Sidisi on the other hand can literally win the game with any 1-2 casting cost creature in play on turn 3, which makes the turn3 win much easier and more frequent with SBT. Her access to free combo protection (i.e Force of Will) makes an early combo much more likely to succeed.

The most common and simple line to victory in SBT food chain is as follows.

T1) Land+ mana dork

T2) Land+Tutor (or more if you use a 1-2 mana tutor)

T3) Land+Food chain+tap then exile dork for 3 mana+Eternal Scourge+durdle=GG

In terms of raw speed the two decks are roughly similar with Sidisi having more potential for speed and Prossh being more consistent due to his availability in the command zone. Sidisi is usually more mana efficient as tutoring for Eternal Scourge or Food Chain with a 3 mana tutor costs the same as Proshh (6 mana total). If we use something more efficient (demonic tutor, vampiric tutor; imperial seal extract etc.) Sidisi has more mana to interact with the board or play draw engines early. Moreover, 3 mana on turn two and 3 mana on turn three is easier to come by than 6 mana on turn 3, especially after you have spent 3 mana already on food chain itself. Granted SBT's path to victory costs more cards, but she also has more ways to replenish her hand quickly. At the end of the day SBT is very close to Prossh in power level and has the potential to surpass prossh in future sets and/or if someone can improve upon my design. She already has better combo protection, more paths to victory, and more slots for interaction. She also has the added benefit ofsurprise, since many SBT decks use Hermit Druid, Necrotic Ooze, and 4 Horseman combos instead of, or in conjunction with, Food Chain.

TL;DR: Food chain SBT is the newest cEDH combo deck. While it will take some time to see how good she can be, SBT has potential to become better than FC Proshh.

Updates

Here is the first wave of changes. A special thanks to angelforge, CarneAsadaNachos, and Enderkr.

Fauna shaman > manipulate fate

Cyclonic rift > gitaxian probe

Memory's Journey > yawgmoth's will

Dimir machinations > windfall

Fauna shaman has been pretty decent but its got too many hoops to jump through to be good. Manipulate fate is simply more focused and is a cantrip

Cyclonic rift is great, but honestly for this deck its just a 2 mana bounce spell and chain of vapor is better for this deck. Gitaxian probe helps me advance my gameplan and is never a bad card to have in hand

Memory's Journey has some corner case value, but I would rather concede those games for the raw power and value yawgwin brings to the table. This change goes well with my deck building philosophy of "when in doubt, go with quality."

Dimir machinations is the worst of my 3 transmute tutors and while I am almost always happy to see these terrible (outside this deck) cards, three is one too many. Windfall just provides more value overall since it allows me to keep powerful but deficient opening hands. It also goes well with yawgwin.

Comments

Dredge4life says... #1

Is Rhystic Study too clunky for this build? Also, someone's finally using Mystic Remora and that makes me incredibly happy.

January 11, 2017 8:46 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #2

Yeah Rhystic Study is a bit too midrangy for what this deck is about :-/ If I am spending 3 mana on something it needs to get me either tons of cards immediately or tutor directly for food chain combo. Mystic remora is great :-) most games its like an Ancestral Recall with upside.

January 11, 2017 9:04 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #3

Daedalus19876: Given your love for the brood tyrant, you may find this interesting

January 12, 2017 10:09 a.m.

Quicksilver says... #4

January 12, 2017 11:14 p.m.

angelforge says... #5

Hey cool list, I like this and I like Food Chain so I'm happy to see more FC decks. I'll try to come up with some more stuff to improve your list, but I have a couple points I want to make RE: FCP vs FCS.

1) Red vs Blue

Blue is definitely better than Red at interacting, but I think Red is much better at interacting with blue than that. What I mean is you can interact with other decks a lot better then Prossh can. But Prossh can interact with you better than you can with him. Defense Grid, City of Solitude, and Vexing Shusher are all incredibly frustrating cards against counter decks, and the mana-efficient instant disruption (4 1cmc pieces MD with a 5th available but not MD at the moment) helps get those pieces through.

2) Backup Wincon

The Lab Man backup wincon might be a better backup, but Prossh can just use his Food Chain wincons for a much faster win then commander damage, while not taking up any slots. Purphoros is the main 'backup' - he gives 14 damage on the first prossh cast, and then turns 2R into 7 damage with his anthem ability. Purph+Goblin Bombardment ends the game in two Prossh casts.

I value not devoting cards to a backup wincon more then the strength of the backup itself, but I think that might just be a school of thought, not necessarily right or wrong.

3) 4 mana Sidisi vs 6 mana Prossh

You Food Chain Ritual into Sidisi, just like you Food Chain Ritual into Prossh. I have a lot more creatures than you so the 2 mana isn't THAT much of a jump (in addition to lines like Imperial Recruiter -> Goblin Matron->Goblin Bushwhacker which makes 5 mana for Prossh while finding a wincon). So while the mana cost difference is an issue, it's very mitigable in practice.


My biggest issue is you've opened yourself up to graveyard hate in addition to all of the other hate Food Chain decks have to deal with. I play Stax and I'm a lot more happy to see Tazri then Prossh, because his additional reliance on spells makes him weaker to all of the Thorn affects. You not only have that but also have to fight through cards like Faerie Macabre, Rest in Piece, Leyline of the Void, Grafdigger's Cage, Tormod's Crypt, and the spicy Yixlid Jailer.

I think you want Top and Mirri's Guile because they're good cards. I'd just cut 2 lands but I'm a greedlord.I like Treasured Find more then Noxious Revival, because it's net 0 cards whereas NR is -1. But they're both good.Perplex is cute but I don't think it's worth it. Maybe it's OK because it tutors both your looper and FC, but 3cmc counters aren't great.Luckily we're playing Vintage Commander and not Modern Commander, so we get Gitaxian Probe. 0 mana draw a card is pretty good, so I would get that in your list - unless you have a good reason to leave it out?I would cut Fauna Shaman, card is kind of slow.

Have you thought about playing dredge cards? I'm not sure you want to but I think it's something to explore.

Good work on this 99 though, I'm looking forwards to seeing where it goes. I'm copying my comment and pasting it to your Reddit thread to get discussion going there as well, so reply to whichever.

January 15, 2017 2:15 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #6

Thanks man. I was hoping you would give some feedback as I think your work with Proshh is excellent.

1) You make some fair points on the difference between red and blue. I guess all I would say is that if you played any of those cards I would be happy since I could just combo off without having to wait for counterspell backup.

2) Thank you for clearing up that misconception on Prossh. As for labman, I am not actually devoting any slots to my backup win condition since labman ends the game in the tidespout tyrant line.

3) This particular one I disagree with you since all SBT need to win is any creature in my deck on turn 3, whereas you need multiple creatures or a chain of creatures as you described.

As for your issue with the grave hate I agree that it is a big issue in theory. In my testing, however, I can frequently get the outlet in hand with demonic consultation or tainted pact to bypass the need to use the graveyard unless my outlet gets countered and still win by turn 3 or 4 pretty consistently.

As for your suggestions. Treasured find is something I will take a good hard look at. I may cut one land for guile or top, but I hate being that greedy since I really want to hit my first 3 land drops. Probably just a difference due to our builds having different needs. I agree probe is a good add. I never use perplex as a counter, just a tutor and 3cc tutors fit on my ideal turn 3 curve just fine. However I probably need to cut at least one of them since 4 is a bit clunky. Fauna shaman is slow, but I feel the interaction with drift of phantasms makes it much better, but I agree Its still probably not playable. Dredge cards are way too slow and inconsistent in my experience. Even if I was playing an all in reanimator build, I would probably not use them.

Again thank you for the excellent food for thought. I will update my comparative analysis section to account for what you taught me about Proshh

January 15, 2017 4:22 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 1 week
Last updated 4 days
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.91
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 1/1 Spirit, Jace, 1/1 Bird
Folders Want to make/ideas, EDH, BUG
Top rank #35 on 2017-01-21
Based on
Views 1115

Revision 10 (5 days ago)

-1 Cyclonic Rift main
-1 Dimir Machinations main
+1 Manipulate Fate main
-1 Memory's Journey main
+1 Windfall main
+1 Gitaxian Probe main
-1 Fauna Shaman main
+1 Yawgmoth's Will main

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