Golgari Food | ELD Standard
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Hello guys! Ondrej and Stan here at the venue of MC 7. We decided to sit down and use one of the WotC provided computers to write down Stan’s thoughts on the BG Food deck. Ondrej is here mostly for moral support, and for his typing skills (Stan still hasn’t learned how to use a computer). So let’s first answer the question, why did Stan choose this deck? The answer lies in Food just being the most powerful strategy, that’s hard to prepare against. Compared to Fires, which is a deck that’s easier to hate out, it’s very hard to find what beats Food. The reason for that is that the deck is good on defense. It’s hard to attack through Cat + Oven, Wicked Wolf is a great roadblocker, you have a strong late game engine, that can provide you with life gain to stabilize, so you’re harder to finish off. You always have the ability to be proactive and create big card advantage against the control decks with Reaper, Trail and Castle. There might be specific tournaments that could be taken by surprise with various deck, but Food is always going to be the safe choice. There are two options on how to build the deck. Jund or plain BG. Advantage of Jund is that it’s better positioned against deck that can’t interact with Mayhem Devil (UG decks), while BG is strictly better against aggressive decks, and comparable or better against other metagame decks. So you should plan accordingly based on what you expect to face.
Moving forward, here’s the list Stan would recommend.
There are some clear 4-offs like GIlded Goose, Witch’s Oven and Trail of Crumbs, but in our opinion 4 Midnight Reaper is also must. This card is incredibly good versus any slow decks, while never being super bad. The combo of Oven + Cat + Reaper gives you a free card every turn, which is super strong engine, and wins you a lot of games. It’s also decent against sweepers, that can be potentially problematic against deck that plays cards like Goose and Paradise Druid.
We also have 4 Murderous Rider, because our late game engine is simply the strongest in the format (maybe with the exception of UW), so you’re just trying to prolong the games. It’s very nice that this card works with Trail of Crumbs, finding a removal can be crucial sometimes.
There are some versions running only 3 Cauldron Familiar, and we believe that choice is very close. Obviously they’re great against any aggro decks, but also against decks, where you need to find your draw engine as fast as possible. On the other hand, it’s kind of bad versus green decks, because the games go long and excessive Cats are useless. Once again, metagame accordingly.
On the other hand, lots of versions play four Casualties of War, but we have only two. In most matchups, you need to play only one per game. We have the third in board for matchups, where it really shines (Fires, mirror). The most surprising card in our list is the Bolas’s Citadel, which no other Food players played. It might look poor against a field of decks full of maindeck Brontodon and Casualties, but once you hit the late game, you can just generate enough advantage once it hits the board to take over the game. It’s also a great finisher, if you need to kill someone fast, and without entering the combat. For example, the Temur Adventure deck can kill you with Fling, while they stall. Citadel foils this plan very well.
Some other competitors have cut down on the Paradise Druid, but we don’t have much to do on turn two, so we’ve included three copies. It’s great in mirror of Food, because the expensive cards are crucial, while it doesn’t die to splash damage of sweeper. It’s also supports Ceratops, which we believe is one of the most important cards in the format (more on that later). Druid can help get it into play a turn earlier, or give it haste, which might be the difference between winning and losing the game. You should always have four Wolf in your 75, depends on how aggressive your metagame is. The main deck number ranges from two to four, just make sure to have access to the whole playset.
Both Massacre Girl and Vraska are situational cards. They shine in some matchups, and are poor in others. Thanks to Trail of Crumbs, it’s handy to have access to these cards even if they’re one-offs, because you can see a lot of cards in a single game.
As for the manabase, there are some versions without Temple of Malady, but it’s nice with the Bolas’s Citadel, and helps you fix Rider/Wicked Wolf. The numbers of Forest and Swamp could be swapped, we have an extra Swamp, because of the Citadel, but if you chose to omit that card, you should add a Forest. Castle Lochtwain is an important part of the deck. It’s good vs Food, and great vs UW, but drawing a tapped land can hurt you against the aggressive decks. The right number is probably between 2-3, so once again, prepare for your metagame.
Sideboard In the tournament, Stan had 1 Assassin’s Trophy, which is a solid card against the Embercleave decks, because it’s very versatile, but if the metagame will mirror the MC, it can be cut moving forward. On the other hand Shifting Ceratops is a must 4-off, one of the best sideboard cards in Standard. Flash decks have a hard time beating it, so does UW control. It’s also very useful against Fires. It doesn’t die to Clarion, can’t be bounced by Teferi, blocks the blue Cavalier and trades with Kenrith.
Moving forward, we’ve added an extra Noxious Grasp to the deck. It’s the best card against UG decks to answer Nissa, Nightpack Ambusher or Risen Reef from the Elemental version. It’s also good versus RG or any Innkeeper deck.
The rest of the sideboard is for rounding out the numbers of main deck cards, and versatile answers like Duress, Return to Nature and even Epic Downfall. Downfall plays an important role as an exile effect, which is good against Midnight Reaper and the Cavaliers.
Return to Nature has gotten better, with the rise of Temur Adventures. Stan had only one for this tournament, because that deck wasn’t on the radar before the deck submission. Moving forward, we’d suggest playing two naturalize effects, either second Return or first Brontodon.
In - 2 Duress, 1 Epic Downfall, 4 Shifting Ceratops, 1 Casualties, 1 Return to Nature
Out - 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Vraska, 1 Citadel, 2 Wicked Wolf, 3 Paradise Druid, 1 Trail of Crumbs
This matchup is evenish. First game is in their favor, but we improve postboard, while they don’t get much. Our sideboard cards are strong, and the ones we board out are poor in this matchup. Usually, they need to have a big Fires turn in order to win, so play accordingly. For example try and play Duress the turn before Fires can come down, so you have the highest chance of hitting. Casualties are the MVP in this matchup.
In - 1 Epic Downfall, 1 Casualties, 1 Vraska, 2 Grasp
Out - 2 Familiar, 2 Oven, 1 Massacre Girl
In - 1 Citadel, 1 Vraska, 1 Casualties, 1 Epic Downfall, 2 Return to Nature
Out - 4 Murderous Rider, 1 Familiar, 1 Massacre Girl
These matchups are a bit different. Against Jund you have the advantage going late game, but you NEED to answer Korvold and Mayhem Devil. Therefore, we bring in as many answers as possible. Oven and Familiar get a bit worse, because they are weak versus Mayhem Devil, but you want to have access to the combo in the late game. Versus BG the game is pure grind. Citadel shines, so does Trail. Return to Nature is an important answer to those cards. Removal gets a lot worse, because their creatures are less key. Paradise Druid is quite good here, because gaining mana advantage leads to game wins.
In - 1 Wicked Wolf, 2 Grasp
Out - 1 Familiar, 1 Murderous Rider, 1 Casualties
Sideboarding here is a little tricky, because there are a lot of versions of BG nowadays. Against the Chris Kvartek version with Regisaur, Casualties, and Murderous Rider are better. Casualties answers Henge, but you prefer it to Return to Nature, because that card is too situational versus decks with few artifacts. Rider shines versus Regisaur, although I’m not sure they should keep that card postboard. Versus the Ally Warfield Lucky Clover version, Vraska is what you want, clean and efficient answer to the powerful artifact. Casualties get a bit worse, because the matchup is faster, and you win the lategame with Trail.
In - 2 Grasp, 4 Ceratops, 1 Vraska Out - 2 Casualties, 3 Wicked Wolf, 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Swamp You board out your expensive cards, and the games usually go long, so you want to trim a land in order to prevent flooding. In the words of our champion mister Kanister “Counterspells are good against expensive cards”. We feel that this matchup is close, your best card is Trail, because once you resolve, they can’t answer it. On the other hand their key cards are Nissa and Nightpack Ambusher, so we try to answer those.
In - 4 Caretops, 2 Duress
Out - 2 Casualties, 2 Wicked Wolf, 1 Massacre Girl, 1 Citadel
This matchup is more about speed, their lategame is much worse than UG, so once you stabilize, you should be good. Once again, Trail is the MVP. Wicked Wolf is an answer to Skarrgan Hellkite, while Vraska kills Spyglass. Swap those cards based on what you see, in the dark we’re happy with having the split.
In - 1 Citadel, 4 Ceratops, 2 Duress, 1 Vraska
Out - 2 Casualties, 1 Massacre Girl, 4 Rider, 1 Wicked Wolf
Game one is rough, because they’re basically preboarded. Postboard you get much better, because you ditch your worst cards, and Ceratops gives you a new angle of winning. The games go long, always try and keep in mind Cleansing, have a good rebuild, if possible. Castle Lochtwain is the MVP, they have a hard time beating that card.
In - 2 Grasp, 1 Downfall, 1 Citadel
Out - 2 Casualties, 1 Trail, 1 Massacre Girl
If they have Paradise Druid, Massacre Girl shines, but I expect the Mengucci version to become the most popular. This is the worst matchups for this deck, because their lategame overpower yours thanks to the Finale of Devastation + End-Raze Forerunners combo. Therefore we need to be aggressive, but that’s quite hard, because our deck isn’t built for that. We need to lean into Citadel finishing them off, or just spiking a lucky Midnight Reaper beatdown draw.
In - 1 Wicked Wolf, 1 Vraska, 1 Downfall Out - 1 Citadel, 1 Midnight Reaper, 1 Casualties
WIcked Wolf is an allstar against them. Always kills a creature, and blocks their whole board. Your primary way of losing is to Embercleave. While Casualties are quite slow, it’s an answer to it, and we keep one postboard. Overall this is a solid matchup, you might lose to their best draws, but otherwise you’re fine. It’s important to mulligan aggressively, we can’t afford to keep a slow hand, and winning from five is possible thanks to the Wolf. Temur Adventures
In - 2 Grasp, 1 Wolf, 1 Vraska Out - 4 Rider
This is how we would board against the stock Innkeeper version. Against the Depraz non- Innkeeper version, it’s quite different. Wicked Wolf, Grasp and Casualties are bad, but you want an extra Citadel, Ceratops and Vraska. You want to be more proactive than reactive. RG Aggro
In - 2 Grasp, 1 Wolf, 1 Downfall, 2 Return to Nature
Out - 1 Casualties, 1 Citadel, 2 Paradise Druid, 1 Vraska, 1 Reaper
Very good matchup. We’re bringing in Return to Nature, because they almost can’t kill you with creatures. The only two problematic cards are Henge and Embercleave.