Since the Lord of the Rings set came out, players have looked towards finding ways to maximize these powerful cards. In Modern, it’s quite clear that Orcish Bowmasters and the One Ring have solidified their positions as some of the best cards in the format. Yet, that doesn’t mean that other cards don’t stand out. Players are still finding innovative ways to utilize Sauron’s Ransom and the Landcyclers, like Lorien Revealed.
From the get-go, players were experimenting with different shells for Samwise Gamgee, due to its combo potential. There have been plenty of Food deck variants featuring Samwise that have popped up from time to time. While some maximized The Underworld Cookbook, one recent player decided to build heavily around Chatterfang, Squirrel General. Not only did this experiment work, but it even managed to win Sunday’s Magic Online Modern Challenge! Today we’ll be taking a look at all the different angles this deck can attack from and what made it have such good success.
The easiest way for this deck to win is to utilize the Samwise Gamgee combo. How this combo works is that, if you have Samwise Gamgee and a Food token in play, you can return Cauldron Familiar from your graveyard by sacrificing the Food token. This will then trigger Samwise Gamgee, netting you another Food token. If you have a repeatable sacrifice outlet, which in this case the deck plays one copy of Viscera Seer, you can sacrifice Cauldron Familiar, then return it back to the battlefield again by sacrificing the Food token. You can then repeat this process over and over, draining your opponent for one every time.
While this combo is quite effective and requires three cards to make work, this deck also can combo without Samwise in play, thanks to the power of Academy Manufactor. Academy Manufactor allows you to generate a Food token, Clue token, and Treasure Token altogether whenever you generate one of them individually. So, with Lonis, Cryptozoologist in play, you normally get just a Clue token whenever another nontoken Creature enters the battlefield under your control. With Lonis and Academy Manufactor in play, however, you get all of the above.
This means that if you have the same repeatable sacrifice outlet, Cauldron Familiar, and a Food token alongside Lonis and Academy Manufactor, you can repeatedly bring back Familiar just like with Samwise. These combos give the deck the ability to kill relatively quickly, something typical Food and sacrifice strategies can struggle with. They also make the opponent constantly fear the ability for the combo to be assembled, potentially causing them to play differently than they otherwise would. Pairing these combos with the absurd amount of value this deck can generate, and you’ve got a gameplan.
Read More: MTG Monkey Staple Is Falling Off Its Throne
Tons of Value
Lonis, Samwise, and especially Academy Manufactor do an excellent job generating tons of value, even without the combo assembled. Part of what makes this deck so scary is that it has so many ways to generate Food tokens and tons of ways to convert Food tokens into additional value beyond just life gain. Lonis and Manufactor can churn through your deck pretty efficiently, and Samwise can utilize Food tokens to bring back important Historic permanents, including Manufactor itself. Manufactor is really the key for letting this deck generate absurd amounts of value.
A card like Gilded Goose works well as a mana dork but can continuously produce Food tokens in the late game. Pair that with Manufactor and you get Treasures and Clues galore in the process. Witch’s Oven obviously pairs well with Cauldron Familiar, but with Manufactor in play you generate cards and mana at the same time. Any card that generates either a Food, Treasure, or Clue token simply becomes a premium value engine with Manufactor in play, and what better way to maximize all of this value than to pair these cards with Chatterfang!
Chatterfang works well with token production of any kind. Every time you make any type of token, you get a Squirrel token as a bonus. This can really get out of hand with Manufactor as well, as every time you make a Food, Clue, or Treasure token, you also end up netting three Squirrel tokens. Chatterfang even lets you use those Squirrel tokens to buff up one of your Creatures for a turn to get in extra damage. With an evasive Creature like Gilded Goose in play, this ability can certainly come up. It’s clear this deck is value-centric with a combo built in, but how does it reliably find Manufactor and various combo pieces?
Digging for Specific Cards
One of the big benefits to playing a deck with such a high Creature count is that you get to utilize Collected Company. Collected Company is a fantastic card in this deck for multiple reasons. First, this deck gets a lot of value out of its three-drops, and Company digs for your best cards. Second, Company can find your remaining combo pieces on your opponents end step, so your opponent has to constantly be aware that the combo can potentially be assembled if they ever tap out. Company hitting multiple Creatures at once also helps make Samwise and Lonis create even more tokens.
Beyond Company, this deck also utilizes four copies of Chord of Calling. Chord can find any of your best value cards as well as any missing combo piece. Chord lets you get away with running only one copy of Viscera Seer too, since the card is relatively weak unless needed for the combo and you can always search for it when needed. Both Company and Chord being Instants helps against various board wipes, including Living End, and having the ability to combo lets the deck race opposing combo decks. Cauldron Familiar even gets around the Protection given by The One Ring!
Perhaps the deck’s biggest weakness is its manabase. Running Lonis, Samwise, Familiar, and Chord all in the same deck really forces you to play a painful manabase that’s very vulnerable to Blood Moon. The color requirements are so important that this deck only plays two copies of Urza’s Saga, which would otherwise be a great addition to the deck. Gilded Goose and Delighted Halfling definitely help this situation though, and the deck is certainly powerful when it gets going. Samwise has definitely flown under the radar in the presence of the One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters, but given its recent success, it should not be taken lightly.