Deck Tech: Food Chain with Eric English

Posted in Event Coverage on January 8, 2017

By Corbin Hosler

As the final round of Swiss dawned on Grand Prix Louisville, players across the room were locked in tense fights, with the Top 8, pro points, cash prizes and pride on the line as they battled.

In that context, it's unfortunate to sit down across from your Round 15 opponent and see none other than Pro Tour champion and No. 23 Alexander Hayne, playing the most popular Day Two deck in Miracles.

Unless, that is, you're Eric English, and you're casting Eternal Scourge and Misthollow Griffin. And maybe a Food Chain.

Welcome to Legacy in 2017, where Eternal Scourge is a legitimate threat to win a tournament.

It works like this: resolve Food Chain. Cast Eternal Scourge or Misthollow Griffin. Sacrifice it to the Food Chain to make mana. Recast the creature from exile, net one mana, rinse and repeat. End the chain by casting Emrakull, the Aeons Torn to take another turn and end the game. TO provide redundancy, Fierce Empath serves as a stand-in for Emrakul that is more easily cast without a Food Chain.

"Or you can just attack with 3/3s; that's what I've done a lot this weekend," English laughed after finishing Day One undefeated. "People expect you to be a combo deck; they don't expect you to just attack them."

Surprisingly, English's deck is more than capable of doing just that. Food Chain decks in the past have been clunky combo decks that struggled mightily with other combo or with Delver of Secrets decks. But with the printing of Leovold, Emissary of Trest, English believes the deck is more than capable of winning without ever casting Food Chain. It's a major leap forward for a deck that has always existed on the fringe of Legacy, and one that served English well throughout Grand Prix Louisville.

Eric English took his Food Chain deck to a perfect 9-0 record on Day One in Louisville.

"Lots of games you don't necessarily have Food Chain, but between Deathrite Shaman, Abrupt Decay, Baleful Strix and now Leovold, you just play all the best Sultai cards," he explained. "Decks trade their resources early, and all of a sudden you're in a topdeck war. I can cast Manipulate Fate, which in this deck is really just a two-mana, draw-four cards where three of them are creatures. If decks don't have a late-game plan you assemble this little army and they just can't deal with it. I played against one Miracles player this tournament who thought I was playing a pure combo deck — he boarded out his Terminus and then I just killed him with 3/3s."

The deck has continued to evolve over the years, and with the recent additions of Eternal Scourge and Leovold, English feels the deck is close to perfect.

"Over time it's gotten more and more precise," he said. "It's part Sultai value deck, part combo, where all the pieces intersect. The best part, by far, is casting Force of Will by exiling Misthollow Griffin. You can also delve away any Griffins that die with Gurmag Angler. Fierce Empath can be a little wonky, but that's the price you pay for having a combo kill built into your deck."

The deck may have begun the weekend off the radar, but that may change after English's deep run here in Kentucky. Are we looking at a new Legacy contender?

"There are advantages to playing the rogue deck," English said. "It has a lot of powerful cards, it just also plays some more... special cards. But it's a lot of fun, and it's actually good."

Eric English's Food Chain

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