Deck Tech: Food Chain with Koki Kageyama

Posted in Event Coverage on November 27, 2016

By Chapman Sim

At the end of Round 11, there were only two players at 11-0 and one of them was Kageyama Koki. Currently at the top of the Swiss standings, he looks like he knows what he's doing.

Kageyama is a relatively-new player with less than two years of experience. Picking up his first Magic card only during Khans of Tarkir block, most might expect him to be mediocre at best. However, if he has proven anything, it is that he has quickly caught up with twenty three years worth of Magic cards within a short time span and is now competing in Legacy with high levels of mastery!

Clearly, Magic is never too difficult to learn!

Koki Kageyama, Top in Swiss after Round 11!

While doing his research in preparation for Grand Prix Chiba, which is his third Grand Prix, he came across something similar and found the engine of Food Chain to be very abusable. Not only that, the deck looked like a lot of fun and he quickly put together the deck and started practicing. Relentlessly putting in games for the past three months, he's now very familiar with all the interactions in his deck and understands what to do in various matchups.

“When I found the deck online, it is a little different from what I have today. However, the concept is the same and that it is a deck that works well against all fair decks. Shardless Sultai, Delver, Miracles, for example, are all examples of fair decks and Food Chain has a good matchup against them.”

Just these two cards alone generate infinite mana that you may spend on creatures. Exiling Misthollow Griffin gets you five mana and you recast it back for four mana. And then you repeat it over and over. The same trick works with Eternal Scourge as well, because both these creatures are special in a way that they can be cast from exile.

In order to find these cards, Manipulate Fate is perfect.

“This is the most important card in beating Miracles. They must counter it. If it resolves, I'm basically drawing four cards for the price of one. Misthollow Griffin and Eternal Scourge cannot be killed by 'exile' effects, so Swords to Plowshares is useless against them. And if they use Terminus to put it at the bottom of my library, I can cast another Manipulate Fate to get all of them into exile again. If they end up in the graveyard somehow, I have also Gurmag Angler to delve them away and also Deathrite Shaman to exile it.”

By the way, you can also exile Misthollow Raven to Force of Will. Nifty! It is bizarre that a powerful deck like Miracles could get beaten up by a card as odd as Manipulate Fate but in this shell it is probably one of the best tools.

Once Kageyama has infinite mana, he can use Fierce Empath to search for Emrakul, the Promised End. Alternatively, he can also go for Tidespout Tyrant to bounce his opponent's entire board of permanents and also bounce Baleful Strix over and over again to draw his entire library. Once you have unlimited mana at your disposal, it's not all that difficult to win.

But what if you don't always find Food Chain or if it gets destroyed or countered? Kageyama says that Plan B is actually very solid as well.

“Misthollow Griffin and Owl beatdown is the way to go. You'll be surprised how fast the damage adds up, and I also have Deathrite Shaman to make them lose life. I don't always rely on the combo and actually I won Round 10 by attacking with two Misthollow Griffin that my opponent had no solution to.”

Kageyama also points out that the deck is actually “very grindy” too. For example, Baleful Strix is usually a two-for-one, Misthollow Raven and Eternal Scourge can't ever be killed, and Manipulate Fate is bonkers (never thought I'll ever say that in my lifetime). There's also Brainstorm, Ponder and Sylvan Library which makes it possible to stack up against decks like Shardless Sultai who also share common elements.

“Against unfair decks, Game 1 is tough but at least we have Force of Will and Thoughtseize in the maindeck so we have a chance. My bad matchups are Sneak and Show, Reanimator and Storm. If you understand the weaknesses of Food Chain, we can tune the sideboard to deal with those archetypes.”

Most players certainly did not expect Food Chain this weekend and Kageyama has claimed a lot of victims. Will Eternal Scourge win yet another Grand Prix? Let's see if Kageyama can win a couple more matches to lock up his spot in the Top 8!

Koki Kageyama's Food Chain

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