One of Legacy’s coolest decks has proven to have staying power, and has even improved with Aether Revolt. It’s a deck with the ability to beat down, protect against opposing combos, and to combo off itself.
Food Chain isn’t the most exciting card in a vacuum. It does offer some ramp by letting you play creatures and sacrifice them to make even more expensive creatures, but Lotus Petaling isn’t amazing, even more so in a format where Lotus Petal is already legal. Instead, you’re looking to push this enchantment to the limits to maximize your mana and combo potential.
The best way to do that is with Misthollow Griffin. Thanks to Food Chain exiling creatures when you sacrifice them, the combination with Misthollow Griffin produces infinite mana. Once you cast the Griffin for 4 mana, you exile it to create 5, and then can cast it again from exile for 4, netting yourself a single mana for each iteration.
This combo also works with Eternal Scourge, and the Scourge comes with protection from removal spells like Lightning Bolt by sending itself to exile in those instances where the Griffin would go to the graveyard. This is nice insurance for games where you’re trying to beat down and don’t have your Food Chain yet.
Manipulate Fate is an odd card to see in any list, but it’s your best way to set up the combo. Exiling Griffins or Scourges is akin to drawing them, and Manipulate Fate will actually draw you another card on top of that. It’s a tutor for half of your combo and an Opportunity, all for 2 mana.
It won’t find Food Chain, but luckily, Legacy is really good at drawing cards, starting with Brainstorm and Ponder. Within your creature suite, you have a full play set of Baleful Strix to dig deeper and to keep your life total high.
Deathrite Shaman is one of the most broken creatures ever printed, and it’s fantastic here. It’ll ramp to turn-2 Food Chain into turn-3 combo. It can finish an opponent off or gain some life. It can even start the Food Chain combo in games where an opponent may have Thoughtseized, countered, or killed a Misthollow Griffin by exiling it from your graveyard. Shaman brings the whole deck together.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest is a new addition and completely shuts down a number of strategies, even the mirror. He’s incredible against this deck, as so many of the cards are there to dig for the combo. Shutting that off often makes it hard to lose, and Leovold does work against popular cards in Legacy.
The other big gain for the deck is in Walking Ballista. Ballista can come down early and have an impact. There are creatures like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in Legacy that may slow you down, or are just hard to block with your Baleful Strix. Killing Dark Confidant or a planeswalker is another bonus. This is also a big upgrade as a way to win the game when you have infinite mana over a card like Emrakul, as it isn’t a complete mulligan early.
Force of Will gives you protection for your combo or from opposing combos. It’s also pretty amazing that exiling a Misthollow Griffin to your Force is just a free bonus card. With 10 blue card drawing spells, 4 Force of Wills, and 9 blue creatures, your blue spell count is strong enough to make Force consistently great. And for those problematic permanents that just slipped into play, especially Counterbalance, there’s a full play set of Abrupt Decay to keep you safe.
I love the Food Chain combo decks, and I see people actually putting up great results both online and in paper. These new additions only make the deck stronger, and I’m excited to see what this archetype can do going forward!