GP Vegas Tournament Report - Food Chain (47th place)

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GP Vegas Tournament Report - Food Chain (47th place)

Postby Spopavich » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:12 am

Hey everyone, I decided to write a tournament report from my first ever GP. All in all it was a really positive experience, and I look forward to attending more in the future. Almost the entirety of my opponents were easy going, fun to play with, and competent. I have been playing Food Chain for two years, almost exclusively. The deck felt extremely powerful, and I was more than happy with my choice. I had several opponents who I could tell didn't feel confident interacting with the deck or knowing what to counter. I was able to win 2 byes on Wednesday during the legacy trials, and ended up going 12-3 by the end of day 2. Moving forward I would maybe switch 1-2 things, but I'll get to that later. My list has been evolving for awhile, here is the 75 that I ran:

Food Chain://

4x Deathrite Shaman
3x Baleful Strix
2x Leovold, Emissary of Trest
2x Trinket Mage
2x Walking Ballista
2x Misthollow Griffin
1x Eternal Scourge

4x Food Chain
4x Manipulate Fate
4x Brainstorm
3x Ponder
3x Force of Will
2x Fatal Push
1x Abrupt Decay
1x Dimir Charm
1x Misdirection
1x Painful Truths

3x Underground Sea
3x Tropical Island
1x Bayou
1x Swamp
1x Island
1x Forest
4x Misty Rainforest
4x Verdant Catacombs
2x Polluted Delta

2x Faerie Macabre
2x Toxic Deluge
2x Duress
2x Thoughtseize
1x Abrupt Decay
1x Misdirection
1x Force of Will
1x Carpet of Flowers
1x Pithing Needle
1x Nihil Spellbomb
1x Kitchen Finks

I'll start with a breakdown of the creatures. I have seen most lists allotting 4 slots for Griffin/Scourge. I tested it, and think it is a mistake. I never needed or wanted more than 2 griffins. In fact, in the combo matchup I almost always sideboarded out a griffin, leaving only 1/1. The scourge is extremely important in being able to combo off a turn earlier. I also think that the majority of the time I would rather have Manipulate fate in my hand than a Griffin. Leovold honestly wasn't as powerful as I expected him to be, but that is likely because of the matchups I was paired against. Trinket Mage was spicy, and paid dividends for me. You'll notice my sideboard has 2 cards that are able to be tutored with his EtB effect. He's also blue, and a 2/2 chump blocker which is nice.

As far as the spells are concerned I was happy with the variety I ended up with, with the exception of Dimir Charm. That card was awful for the entirety of the tournament, and I shouldn't have played it in my deck. My thought process was that I could play it in my removal slot, but G1 it would help my matchup against combo. However, leaving 2 mana open during my opponents turn while not knowing whether or not they'd even attempt to cast something was not a situation I wanted to find myself in. I have already cut it for a 3rd Fatal Push, but am considering Sylvan Library as an alternate option. Painful Truths was awesome, and it won me several games single handedly. With all that being said, the absolute MVP of the tournament was Misdirection. Head and shoulders above the rest, that card was amazing and won me big games when it mattered the most. You'll get the details of that in the breakdowns of my games.

I have seen some people running 2 islands, but I never found myself in a spot where I needed a second one. My Sideboard is probably what I tinkered with the most. Carpet of Flowers was a clutch last-minute addition. I ended up sideboarding it in for at least half of my matches. That card is extremely powerful when you're playing a deck as mana starved as Food Chain. I am still on the fence about the correct split of Duress and Thoughtseize. If anyone has some input, I'd love to hear it. Here is the breakdown of my games:

Round 3 vs. Matt (BUG Delver) 2-0
I don't remember much of this match, as it went pretty quickly. I don't think I ever felt threatened, and BUG Delver is a good matchup for me.

Game 1:
My notes say that I fought through a Hymn, Goyf, Gurmag, Abrupt Decay, and Force of Will. I had the nuts, and ended up comboing off around turn 5 after I stabilized at 12 life.

Sideboard: -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Verdant Catabombs, -1 Force of Will, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Misdirection.

Carpet of Flowers always got exchanged for a land. If I played against decks that ran Wasteland, I switched it out for Verdant Catacombs. If they weren't running wastes, it came in for a basic swamp. Other than that I just switched out Dimir Charm for better removal, and Misdirection is strictly better than Force of Will in this matchup.

Game 2:
My opener included 2 Deathrite Shaman, a Manipulate Fate, and I believe a either a Ponder or Brainstorm. He cast T1 deathrite (I found out next turn he kept a 1 land hand). I untap and cast my own deathrite and pass. Now here is where things get interesting. He casts Thoughtseize, and takes my 2nd Deathrite Shaman as opposed to my precious Manipulate Fate. I can chalk this up to one of two things. Either he really wanted to make sure he was able to utilize his own deathrite, or he had no clue how to play against Food Chain. Obviously that was a huge mistake on his part. I went ahead and untapped, cast Manipulate Fate, and won the game easily. I didn't use any fetches, and won the game handedly, without comboing off.


Round 4 vs. Keenan (Punishing Maverick) 1-2
Keenan was a really nice guy, and we ended up running into each other several times during the event. I ended up losing this match, which was disheartening. Sending me to 1-1 in actual matches played.

Game 1:
He kept a bad hand, with 1 land and a Deathrite Shaman. He was on the play and ended up casting a Chalice of the Void on 1. I only took damage from a sack land, and 1 Deathrite Shaman target. Won with Eternal Scourge and Misthollow Griffin beats.

Sideboard: -3 Force of Will, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Misthollow Griffin, +2 Faerice Macabre, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Pithing Needle, +1 Misdirection.
I really don't know exactly what he was playing after game 1, and just guessed to the best of my ability. Knowing he was on a Lands strategy of some sort.

Game 2:
He casts T1 Deathrite Shaman, T2 Ethersworn Cannonist, and then takes 3 turns in a row dropping Knight of the Reliquary. I just couldn't maneuver around the cannonist, and lost to a hoard of Knights.

Game 3:
This game was painful. He mulled to 6, I was on the play. I had a great hand, and completely controlled the game/board state. I had a the full combo waiting in my hand, with a resolved Leovold, Emissary of Trest as well as a Deathrite Shaman, and Baleful Strix. My only problem was that I didn't have a griffin, scourge, or Manipulate Fate. He ended up top decking the Thespian's Stage he needed to create Marit Lage. "It's okay" I thought, I have so many outs. I cast another Baleful Strix, drawing another card. I block his Marit Lage and try again. No luck. After my second strix died, I actually ended up casting a Ponder, finding another Ponder, fetching, and still couldn't find the Manipulate Fate or one of the creatures I needed. After this game I was kicking myself for sideboarding out the griffin.


Round 5 vs. Corey (4C Delver) 2-1
This was definitely one of the best matches of the event. 4C Delver can be a quick deck with lots of firepower, and Corey knew how to pilot it. The most life I had when a game ended was 7, and game 3 I ended up winning with 1 life left.

Game 1:
I took a mulligan to 6. He was on the play, and cast Delver of Secrets. I draw and attempt to Fatal Push, which he counters with Force of Will. I somehow managed to fight through a Wasteland, and one of my fetchlands getting stifled. I actually resolved a Food Chain and attempted to combo off. He had 1 card in hand, and stifled my Food Chain trigger to buy him a turn. He top decked a Lightning Bolt. Game over.

Sideboard: -2 Force of Will, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Painful Truths, -1 Verdant Catacombs, +1 Misdirection, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Abrupt Decay, +2 Toxic Deluge, +1 Duress.
You'll notice the trend that Dimir Charm gets sideboarded out every game, in favor of more focused removal.

Game 2:
I let him extend his board state while building my combo in my hand. I actually cast 3 manipulate fate this game, using 2 of them to draw out 2 copies of Daze in his hand. He was able to beat me down to 7 life before I combo'd.

Game 3:
This game was extremely intense, and went to turns. We had a group gathered around watching us. I took a mulligan to 6, and he was on the play. There were several swings back and forth, but we ended up both having resolved Deathrite Shaman's. He got me down to 3 life before I stabilized. I beat him down with griffins, using my deathrite to keep me alive. It is worth noting however that he could have top decked a Lightning Bolt for 3 draws to win him the game. Once I accepted the fact that a top deck Lightning Bolt would beat me regardless, I got much more aggressive and put him away.


Round 6 vs. Ben (Sneak and Show) 2-0
This match took probably 15 minutes, and wasn't very competitive. I played against a ton of Sneak and Show in vegas, and this one just worked out favorably for me.

Game 1:
I had an advanced boardstate, including a Deathrite Shaman, 2 Baleful Strix, a Food Chain, Trinket Mage, and several lands. Unfortunately for me I didn't have any of the other combo pieces. He resolves a Show and Tell, putting Emrakul into play. I durdle for a turn, and then he attacks me for 15 with his annihilator 6 triggers. I am able to sacrifice 6 permanents, while still keeping a Baleful Strix and Deathrite Shaman in play. I block and kill his Emrakul, and untap. I play a land and proceed to Deathrite Shaman him to death.

Sideboard -1 Misdirection, -1 Swamp, -1 Misthollow Griffin, -2 Fatal Push, -1 Abrupt Decay, -1 Dimir Charm +1 Force of Will, +2 Duress, +2 Thoughtseize, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Pithing Needle.
Throughout the tournament I loved being able to side in such a strong package against combo. 4 Discard spells and 4 Force of Will helped me a ton.

Game 2:
He opens with Lotus Petal, Ancient Tomb, Blood Moon. I look down at my hand to reveal no basic lands, and Force of Will pitching Misthollow Griffin. I draw and cast Deathrite Shaman. I think I combo'd him turn 3-4.


Round 7 vs Paul (Show and Tell) 1-2
Paul was from Canada, and we had some good games. He drew some insanely powerful hands, and I did my best to combat them with no avail.

Game 1:
He casts Show and Tell turn 2, it resolves. I put Food Chain into play, and he has an Emrakul. I untap and combo off! That was easy.

Sideboard: -1 Misdirection, -1 Swamp, -1 Misthollow Griffin, -2 Fatal Push, -1Abrupt Decay, +1 Force of Will, +2 Duress, +2 Thoughtseize, +1 Carpet of Flowers.

Game 2:
I cast a Thoughtseize, revealing 2 Brainstorm, Ponder, Intuition, and Cunning Wish. I take the Cunning wish and pass. He cantrips for a turn or two and attempts to cast Show and Tell, I counter it with Force of Will. He forces back and I lose.

Game 3:
He had the nuts, there was no stopping him. I had double force in my opener, as well as a thoughtseize. I cast T1 Thoughtseize, revealing 2 Impulse, Cunning wish, Omni, and Show and Tell. I take Show and Tell. I draw into a 3rd Force of will, and proceed to attempt to advance my board. He ends up fighting through all 3 forces, resolving Show and Tell, putting Omniscience into play, then casting Emrakul fo' free. I still think taking his Show and tell was my right play, but maybe I should have taken the Omni, since he had other avenues of finding his Show and Tell.


Round 8 vs. Adam (Turbo Depths) 2-1
I hadn't ever played against Turbo Depths before, and it was an interesting experience. This match also had one of my favorite plays of the GP, involving my Pithing Needle.

Game 1:
He is on the play and mulligans. He casts Vampire Hexmage T2, and creates a Marit Lage at the end of my turn. I lose.

Sideboard: -2 Fatal Push, -1 Dimir Charm, +2 Faerice Macabre, +1 Pithing Needle
Like I said, I don't really have much experience against the deck. I think these were the correct choices though.

Game 2:
This game lasted longer than the first, and I start to assemble my combo pieces. He has a Dark Depths in play, and I am forced to use my Trinket Mage to search for Pithing Needle. After I reveal my Pithing Needle, I ask him plainly "I can call a Judge over, but I'll just ask you. Does naming Vampire Hexmage with Pithing Needle stop you from using his ability?". Now you see, I knew that it was effective, I just wanted to judge his reaction. He needs to work on his poker face. Not only did it work, it almost seemed like he was encouraging it! So I cast Pithing Needle naming Thespian's Stage. I watch his face sink as he untaps and plays a Thespian Stage from his hand. I win with Griffins and Deathrite Shaman.

Game 3:
I forced his T2 Into the North, which is effective in slowing him down. I control the game and win with griffins.


Round 9 vs. Steven (Burn) 2-1
Steven was a super friendly guy, and we ended up checking in with each other throughout the tournament. Misdirection won me this match, with some soul shattering plays.

Game 1:
He plays and casts T1 Goblin Guide, revealing a Fatal Push. I untap and cast Deathrite Shaman. He casts swiftspear, bolts my deathrite, and swings for 4. I didn't really recover, and he wins game 1 easily.

Sideboard -1 Painful Truths, -3 Force of Will, -1 Dimir Charm, +1 Misdirection, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Kitchen Finks, +2 Duress.
Just moving towards value oriented cards that don't lose me life or cost me a card.

Game 2:
We go back and forth this game, with him being fairly creature heavy. I duress him early, revealing 2 Fireblast, Goblin Guide, and Exquisite Firecraft. I take the Exquisite Firecraft. As the game progresses he has an Eidelon on board, and swings with his Goblin Guide to take me to 3 life. Attempts to cast Fireblast, I Misdirection targeting his Eidelon. Boom, I untap and combo off.

Game 3.
I actually got to cast both of my Misdirection this game, the first one being a pivotal, match saving play. He plays and casts a Goblin Guide, attacks to reveal another Fatal Push (sound familiar?). I draw and cast Deathrite Shaman. He untaps, plays a mountain, and attempts to cast Searing Blaze on my Deathrite! I misdirect it to his goblin guide. This play alone won me the game. I untap and eat his guide to gain 2. A couple turns later I misdirect his bolt to his own Monastery Swiftspear. Proceed to beat him down with Griffins. On to day 2!

Round 10 Kelsey (Show and Tell) 2-1
Kelsey wasn't as friendly as my other opponents, maybe it was just because it was day 2. We had some good games, and he was my only opponent of day 2 not playing Delver.

Game 1:
I kept a 1 land hand with swamp and Deathrite, risky. I top decked a land, and out raced him. Combo'd off turn 4 with Force of Will + Misdirection backup. Actually encountered a weird situation where I'd lose the ability to counter twice if he let my Food Chain resolve, and attempted to counter my griffin instead. Didn't matter, won anyway.

Sideboard: -1 Swamp, -1 Misdirection, -2 Fatal Push, -1 Abrupt Decay, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 [card]Misthollow Griffin[/card], +2 Duress, +2 Thoughtseize, +1 Pithing Needle, +1 Force of Will, +1 Carpet of Flowers.

Game 2:
I kept a hand with Thoughtseize, and some combo pieces. I cast Thoughtseize and attempt to out race him, it doesn't work. He resolves Show and Tell putting Omniscience into play, then casts Emrakul. Onto game 3.

Game 3:
This game was interesting, we both had seemingly strong hands, but without any counter magic. He casts turn 2 Show and Tell, which resolves. He puts an Emrakul into play, and I put in Food Chain. He passes, I untap and combo off!


Round 11 vs. Vince (BUG Delver) 1-2
Vince was from Nevada, and was wearing Darkside gaming gear like a lot of people there. We had some good games. I feel as if I am favored in this matchup, but sometimes their mana denial is successful and I am not able to catch back up.

Game 1:
He plays, I attempt to fight through a Daze, wasteland, and Force of Will. It doesn't work, and he Gurmag Angler's me to death while I hold all the combo pieces in my hand sadly.

Sideboard -1 Verdant Catacombs, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Force of Will, +1 Misdirection, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Carpet of Flowers.

Game 2:
I keep a 1 land hand with a basic forest, Deathrite Shaman, and Carpet of Flowers. He fetches for an Underground Sea and casts a Deathrite of his own. I untap, no land. I cast Carpet of Flowers, move to my second main phase. Add 1 blue, remove his land for another mana, and cast Manipulate Fate. After removing my creatures I top deck a land, play it, and pass. I don't draw another land, but I don't need one. He is apprehensive to play another blue source, and fetches for a bayou. I fetch and cast a Misthollow Griffin. I win with beats.

Game 3:
He plays, and casts Thoughtseize T1. Takes my Food Chain. I draw and play Deathrite, He untaps and casts a Delver, and then Fatal Push on my Deathrite. I have a Ballista in my hand, as well as a Trinket Mage. So I cast Ballista for 1, and kill his unflipped Deathrite. He then casts Hymn, getting my Trinket mage and a land. Where's Misdirection when you need it? The game gets extremely grindy from this point. He resolves a Deathrite, and I don't draw anymore removal. He had 4 life when I died, so it was a fairly close game.

After I lost I was pretty bummed, knowing that it knocked me out of top 8 contention. I had been wanting to play a 2HG event for months prior to coming, and now if I lost 1 more match not only would I not win a prize, but I will have skipped the 2HG event just to scrub out at the end. Can't have that, that's why I had to win out.


Round 12 vs. Andrew (BUG Delver) 2-0
I'm not in danger in either one of these games, and they end fairly quickly even without me having to combo out. Ah, redemption.

Game 1:
He plays and casts Delver. I draw and attempt to Fatal Push, which he counters with Force of Will. He gets me to 13, but I stabilize after resolving Manipulate Fate and begin to cast creatures.

Sideboard -1 Verdant Catacombs, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Force of Will, +1 Misdirection, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Carpet of Flowers.

Game 2:
I end the game with 17 life, and my only notes are "Win with griffins".


Round 13 vs. Josh (BUG) 2-0
Another easy win for me, losing to that BUG Delver deck still haunts me. I never saw a Delver on his end, or any shardless agents. As far as I know he was just playing a midrange BUG deck. Before our game I mentioned my interest in the 2HG event. After I won he asked me if I would like to concede to him, so that I could play in it. Fat chance!

Game 1:
He resolves a True-Name Nemesis, I save my counter magic for when I combo off next turn.

Sideboard: -1 Verdant Catacombs, -1 Dimir Charm, -3 Force of Will, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Misdirection, +2 Toxic Deluge.

Game 2:
He mulligans to 6. Carpet of Flowers wins me this game, being an extremely effective mana ramp. He overextends and casts a gurmag. I untap and cast Toxic Deluge, it resolves. I beat him down with griffins.


Round 14 vs. Colin (Grixis Delver) 2-1
Colin was a serious player, but a nice guy nontheless. He told me he was X-0 at the end of day 1, and had lost all 3 of his games on day 2. He was slightly tilted.

Game 1:
He plays and casts delver T1. Blind flips, and then casts 2 more delvers. Untaps and blind flips both of them. I lose.

Sideboard: -1 Verdant Catacombs, -1 Dimir Charm, -1 Painful Truths, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Misdirection.

Game 2:
I mull to 6. Another big game for Carpet of Flowers. It probably won me this one too. We both have resolved deathrites, but I decay his. I am able to combo off turn 3 or 4 with the help of Carpet and my extra mana from Deathrite.

Game 3:
He plays and casts Delver. I draw and cast Deathrite shaman. He untaps and blind flips delver, and casts his own deathrite. He then attempts to Lightning Bolt my Deathrite, I misdirect it to his instead. That ends up winning me the game as I combo out a couple turns later, after going down to 7 life from his flipped delver.


Round 15 vs. Matthew (Grixis Delver) 2-1
Overall Matthew was probably my least friendly opponent of the weekend. I'm sure nerves had something to do with it, but he was pretty salty. Our games were extremely close, and competitive. My deck was so good to me during this match, giving me all the right top decks when I needed them.

Game 1:
When I lost my hand consisted of 3 Manipulate Fate, 2 Trinket Mage, and 1 Walking Ballista. I guess my deck was saving the lucky draws for the next 2 games. He resolved a Gurmag Angler and caved my head in with it.

Sideboard: -1 Verdant Catacombs, -1 Dimir Charm, -3 Force of will, +1 Carpet of Flowers, +1 Abrupt Decay, +1 Misdirection, +2 Toxic Deluge.

Game 2:
He forced my T1 Deathrite. I guess he was aggressive because he had a pretty strong hand. He wasted me twice, and pyroblasted my Manipulate Fate. Things were looking pretty grim for me here. He had a flipped Delver, and a Young Pyromancer in play. He casts Cabal Therapy naming Food Chain, I reveal 2 Food Chain, Manipulate Fate, and Trinket Mage. He gets them both, and flashes therapy back to take my manipulate fate. He then proceeds to cast a Gurmag Angler. I'm dead, right? Wrong. Untap and top deck Toxic Deluge. I give everything -5/-5 and watch him realize he made a huge mistake, he is visibly upset. Flustered, he untaps and passes. Not drawing anything of substance I suppose. I untap and cast an Eternal Scourge from exile. Next turn I draw a land and cast a griffin. I win.

Game 3:
Here we go, for all the marbles. I joke around with him, he stares at me with contempt. He plays and comes out blazing, in fact my exact notes were "He had everything". T1 Delver, blind flip, T2 Pyro. I wait as long as possible, and he gets me down to 2 life. I have a resolved Food Chain, with scourge and griffins sitting safely in exile. I even drew the Trinket Mage, the problem is that I only have 2 lands. He wastelanded me, and killed my deathrite. With 1 card in my hand, and lethal on the board, I draw my card. It's a land. I play it and combo off. He is incredible salty. Deathrite Shaman, Carpet of Flowers, or a Baleful Strix would have also been outs for me.


I want to thank all of our great local players for keeping me sharp. It helps that everyone has become so good at playing against the deck, and you guys made me stronger! I finished the day with a newfound excitement about competitive magic, and hope to play in more GP's in the future. Feel free to comment with sideboard choices that you thought were wrong, or any critique of the deck in general. Thanks for reading.

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