BG Food is fairly old news in Historic at this point. It’s at the point where it has become one of the pillars of the format, and a safe bet to bring against pretty much any field, but particularly a field with plenty of Phoenix.
With that said, the New Capenna Championship saw a lot of innovations in the sideboards of Food lists, and several entirely new approaches to things, particularly in the mirror. Our team, Sanctum of All, arrived at a blue splash and Mnemonic Betrayal as our tech for the mirror, but there were several options we considered, and I wanted to break down the theory behind several of these decisions so you can pick the optimal list for your next event, and so that you can understand what goes into teching a known archetype like this going into a tournament, rather than starting from scratch.
Going into the tournament, our approach was to try and figure out matchups against what we felt were the pillars of Historic – Phoenix, Food and Control. We were particularly focused on beating Phoenix, because Phoenix is always overrepresented at Championships, regularly being at least a quarter of the field. Food has historically been very favored against Phoenix, so that made Food a strong contender right off the bat.
There were two main axes we had to try and stay ahead on in that matchup – we needed to be resilient against Hidetsugu Consumes All, and we needed to make sure we weren’t too soft to lists with a bunch of added aggression. In terms of the mirror, we needed a strategy that effectively went over the top of or around the previous sideboard plan of playing a Culling Ritual, then using the mana off it to rebuild with Lurrus. Finally, the control matchup was just bad, and we needed to improve it in some way or the other, whether that was devoting more slots to it or finding some new tech for it.
Our first approach: a red splash.