It’s nearly Thanksgiving folks! This week on New Perspectives I decided to take you through the most fitting mechanic for the holiday: Food! I’m going to show you as many weird and interesting ways to use Food as I can think of, so you’ll be well-equipped to feast this Thursday.
If your first thought was that we should attempt to eat the Food, congratulations! You’ve guessed its purpose. Eating the physical cardboard token is not recommended, but “eating” this token in-game is what it’s for; for two mana we can sacrifice the token and gain three life. This isn’t a bad investment and there are plenty of times during a game that “eating” the food is our best choice.
As Richard Garfield Intended
There are plenty of cards from Throne of Eldraine that make good use out of Food tokens. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is a good example: Sacrificing our Food tokens now generates card draw! Similarly, Savvy Hunter can create Food tokens and turn them into card draw as well. Tempting Witch poisons our Food and feeds it to our opponents instead! Throne of Eldraine brought us plenty of interesting cards that were intended for use with Food, but that’s not what we’re looking at today; to really amp up our Food token shenanigans, we’ll need to look elsewhere.
Trash to Treasure
If we want to accomplish something interesting or weird in Magic, Artifacts are the first place to look. There are so many artifacts, and so many have synergy with each other, that any new artifact is inevitably breakable using something that already exists. Daretti, Scrap Savant‘s -2 ability is a good example of this: In a fair situation, sacrificing one artifact to reanimate a different artifact is almost balanced. However, turning a single Food token into a Wurmcoil Engine or Platinum Emperion is a pretty good deal! While this isn’t exclusive to Food tokens (after all, it’s any artifact), using Food as fodder for Daretti, Scrap Savant‘s ability (and others like it) is a great place to start “breaking” them. Unfortunately red can’t create Food tokens (aside from Witch’s Oven) so if we’re playing Commander, it can’t be just a Daretti deck.
Brudiclad is a great way to make a bunch of Food tokens, as we only need one Food for it to become many. If we spend our time building up a bunch of different tokens, then we play Brudiclad, as long as one of the tokens is Food we’ll suddenly have enough Food to feed the entire table! If we control a Disciple of the Vault or a Marionette Master, each of those Foods represents a threat to our opponents when we sacrifice them for life. We can also sacrifice them to a card like Extruder or Slobad to get them in the graveyard without spending mana. We could turn them into mana with Krark-Clan Ironworks, feed Scrapyard Recombiner so he has the energy to create a Construct, or place them on the Throne of Geth so we can proliferate that Darksteel Reactor, or head to the Trading Post to start drawing cards. We have plenty of options, and they’re all very fun.
Unfortunately the colors in which the most Food is created are green and black, yet there aren’t many interesting things we can do with Food in those colors. Bloodbriar can become menacing, and Vraska, Golgari Queen‘s +2 can turn Food into card draw and life gain, but that’s basically it. Any of the colorless options mentioned previously would also work in those colors, but we’re still missing that “Wow!” factor.
If we really want to win with Food, we don’t want to eat it: We have to make our creatures eat the Food. No, no, we have to make our creatures DEVOUR the Food!
Devour is a mechanic that lets us sacrifice any number of creatures as the devouring creature enters the battlefield. That creature then enters the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters on it based on the number of creatures we sacrificed.
The first problem is that devour requires the sacrifice of creatures, and Food tokens are not creatures. What can we do?
There are a few different ways this can be achieved. One of the easiest is through March of the Machines. For four mana, this enchantment turns all of our noncreature artifacts into creatures with base power and toughness equal to their converted mana costs. This has some “conventional” uses; we can turn our mana rocks and passive-effect Artifacts into decent-sized creatures, for example. There was a Modern deck a while back that played many of the Borderpost cards (i.e. Fieldmist Borderpost, Mistvein Borderpost, etc.), cascaded into Restore Balance, and finished the game off with March of the Machines. It was pretty fun to pilot, but nobody likes to be on the receiving end of Restore Balance.
But I digress. March of the Machines is the key piece of the puzzle, but it isn’t the only thing we need in order to devour our Food. Since Food is a token, it actually doesn’t have a converted mana cost, meaning when we cast March of the Machines we end up with a bunch of 0/0 creatures that will immediately die. That’s not ideal! The Food creatures need to stay alive so our creatures can eat them, otherwise this will all be for nothing!
The other half of this two-card “combo” is the extremely versatile Leyline of Vitality. In reality all we need is any sort of anthem effect to give our creatures at least one toughness; Humility, Godhead of Awe, Glorious Anthem, Gaea’s Anthem, and a plethora of other effects can be used. In the case of Leyline of Vitality, our 0/0 Food creatures will now be 0/1 Food creatures, meaning they won’t die to state-based actions. That means our hungry, hungry creatures can devour them! Maybe we can finally get that Mycoloth to stick around for longer than a turn.
Feast Your Heart Out
You might wonder what this actually accomplishes. Why wouldn’t I play goblin tokens, or Endrek Sahr? If that’s what you’re thinking, then I believe you’re in the wrong mindset for this festive occasion. How can our opponents imagine defeating a deck that was able to devour its Food? It’s LITERALLY A FLAVOR WIN. If that’s not a victory, then I don’t know what is! Join me next time when I bury all my Treasure tokens.