A majority of the decks being played at Magic: The Gathering’s Mythic Championship this weekend are Food archetypes built around Oko, Thief of Crowns.
Oko is the face of Magic’s Throne of Eldraine set and he’s taken over Standard in casual and competitive play. The planeswalker is able to drop onto the battlefield as early as turn two thanks to Green mana ramp cards. Oko is also a Food engine who can also steal an opponent’s creatures and turn any artifact or creature into a 3/3 elk.
There are three main Food archetypes being played at Magic’s last tabletop tournament of the year.
- Simic Food (Blue-Green)
- Bant Food (Blue-Green-White)
- Sultai Food (Blue-Green-Black)
The shell of each of these decks is almost identical. Four copies of Oko practically guarantees the destructive planeswalker a two-drop onto the battlefield thanks to Gilded Goose, Once Upon a Time, Arboreal Grazer, and Paradise Druid. Getting Oko out as soon as possible is key since he’s able to avoid a turn-two counterspell and can immediately begin producing Food tokens.
Food tokens are the main focus within these three archetypes and each has a supporting cast that takes control of the board state through aggressive creatures, planeswalkers, and removal spells. The most common planeswalkers and creatures that fans will see at Mythic Championship VI in Food archetypes include Nissa, Who Shakes the World (planeswalker), Wicked Wolf (creature and removal), and Hydroid Krasis (evasion, cantrip, and life gain).
Simic is the most basic Food archetype and the foundation of what Bant and Sultai decks are built upon. Players are able to ramp faster due to only having a two-color mana base. The ideal curve of a Simic Food deck looks something like this:
- Turn one: Gilded Goose or Arboreal Grazer
- Turn two: Oko, Thief of Crowns
- Turn three: Paradise Druid for ramp or Gilded Goose to remove an opponent’s creature
- Turn four: Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Ramp is essential in a Simic Food deck, allowing a player to get Nissa onto the battlefield by turn four and pump the power on creatures like Hydroid Krasis and Voracious Hydra.
Wicked Wolf and Voracious Hydra remove threats in conjunction with Oko while protecting the planeswalkers. Nissa gums up the board state with 3/3 lands, providing additional mana each turn. And Hydroid Krasis provides card draw and life gain while having the ability to go over the top.
But being able to steal from an opponent is what wins the match for Simic Food. With finishers like Mass Manipulation, players can steal just about every creature an opponent has on the battlefield—if they have the mana. Ramping keeps a player one step ahead of an opponent during a match while providing the necessary mana to use Mass Manipulation as a finisher. Agent of Treachery is another option that’s able to steal anything from lands to other planeswalkers.
Adding a splash of White to the Simic Food package allows a player to have more control over a match via an old favorite in Standard, the planeswalker Teferi, Time Raveler. Once the king before Oko stole his throne, Teferi prevents an opponent from casting Instants when it isn’t their turn while bouncing key cards back to hand with the added benefit of cantrip for tempo.
Bant Food also provides additional removal options in conjunction with Wicked Wolf through the board wipe card, Time Wipe. And if some cards still persistently threaten either the player or Teferi, Deputy of Detention is a low-cost creature who can remove any non-land permanent from the battlefield.
Rather than splashing White for added benefits, Sultai Food uses Black. The archetype has become a favorite among Magic pros due to the power and removal a player can gain from Black.
The most prominent card in Sultai Food decks is the removal of Green and White planeswalkers and creatures via the Instant Noxious Grasp. But it’s not the only addition that provides an advantage over the other two Food archetypes.
Adding Black opens the door for planeswalkers like Liliana, Dreadhorde General and Vraska, Golgari Queen. In combination with Noxious Grasp, Vraska thwarts Oko and his mischievous deeds. Liliana, on the other hand, gums up the board state with zombies and controls the battlefield by forcing an opponent to sacrifice their creatures.
Rounding out the cast of Food archetypes
Within each Food archetype, there are several cards that players like to add. Most are removal based but also provide additional options for a victory.
- Disdainful Stroke
- Veil of Summer
- Thrashing Brotodon
- Casualties of War
- Aether Gust
- Massacre Girl
- Legions End
- Questing Beast
- Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
- Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
As long as Oko is legal in Standard, Food archetypes will dominate the meta. You can watch all the action unfold at Mythic Championship VI from Nov. 8 to 10 via a livestream of the tournament on Magic’s Twitch channel.