Sam, Loyal Attendant - Illustration by Campbell White

Sam, Loyal Attendant | Illustration by Campbell White

Throne of Eldraine introduced Food tokens, which became one of my favorite Limited mechanics. It added so much texture to the format, giving control decks legs against more aggressive decks leveraging Rimrock Knight and other cheap creatures.

Food made a triumphant return with the Lord of the Ringsset and popped up again with Wilds of Eldraine, giving us a critical density of Food cards. With so much support, it’s time to turn our great, lidless eye to Commander to see what kind of nonsense we can get up to with Food!

Let’s get cooking!

The Deck

Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit - Illustration by Axel Sauerwald

Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit | Illustration by Axel Sauerwald

Commander (2)

Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit
Sam, Loyal Attendant

Creature (35)

Avacyn's Pilgrim
Birds of Paradise
Cauldron Familiar
Elves of Deep Shadow
Gilded Goose
Viscera Seer
Blood Artist
Bloom Tender
Corpse Knight
Dark Confidant
Farmer Cotton
Pippin, Warden of Isengard
Samwise Gamgee
Samwise the Stouthearted
Sarinth Steelseeker
Tangled Florahedron
Academy Manufactor
Boromir, Warden of the Tower
Experimental Confectioner
Jaheira, Friend of the Forest
Loran of the Third Path
Merry, Warden of Isengard
Peregrin Took
Savvy Hunter
Skyclave Apparition
Tireless Provisioner
Apothecary White
Captain Sisay
Elanor Gardner
Gyome, Master Chef
Ratadrabik of Urborg
Blossoming Bogbeast
God-Eternal Bontu
Generous Ent
Izoni, Center of the Web

Instant (11)

Malakir Rebirth
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Vampiric Tutor
Worldly Tutor
Deadly Dispute
Eladamri's Call
Chord of Calling
Flawless Maneuver
Teferi's Protection
Snuff Out

Sorcery (9)

Many Partings
Demonic Tutor
Nature's Lore
Night's Whisper
Winds of Abandon
Agadeem's Awakening
Toxic Deluge
Turntimber Symbiosis

Enchantment (3)

Utopia Sprawl
Trail of Crumbs
Aura Shards

Artifact (7)

Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Talisman of Hierarchy
Talisman of Resilience
Talisman of Unity
Ashnod's Altar
The One Ring

Land (33)

Boseiju, Who Endures
Bountiful Promenade
Caves of Koilos
City of Brass
Command Tower
Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
Exotic Orchard
Forest x4
Godless Shrine
Indatha Triome
Llanowar Wastes
Mana Confluence
Marsh Flats
Overgrown Tomb
Plains x2
Prismatic Vista
Swamp x3
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Temple Garden
The Shire
Undergrowth Stadium
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Vault of Champions
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth

The first hurdle I ran into came from a sad truth: Food isn’t great outside of Limited. Gaining life isn’t the payoff you want it to be. Remember when we mocked white because every white card in a cycle gained life and was much weaker than the rest?

So how can you utilize Food with greater impact than gaining some life? LTR expanded the strategy with cards like Samwise Gamgee and Peregrin Took. This is a mid-power creature-combo deck utilizing Food as its primary input to feed combos.

In addition to the combos, the deck has a solid midrange game plan utilizing Food as token payoffs. These effects lend flexibility to the deck; you can sneak a win with combos or simply attack your opponents. The two strategies overlap a lot, so the deck has a solid foundation. I came to this theme wanting to do more with Food than crack it for lifegain and am quite satisfied with the result.

The Commanders: Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit + Sam, Loyal Attendant

Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit Sam, Loyal Attendant

Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit might have carried The One Ring to Mount Doom, but this deck highlights the  hero who made the journey possible: Sam, Loyal Attendant.

Sam provides a reliable stream of Food for your other cards to feast on. The cost reduction ability makes cracking Food less painful, though it’s still not the highest priority. Sam plays a vital role in the deck: There isn’t a ton of continuous Food production. Lots of cards that use Food produce one when they come into play, like Experimental Confectioner or Elanor Gardner, but producing Food is harder than creating Treasure or Clue tokens.

As for this Frodo, it provides access to black for important combo pieces like Cauldron Familiar and Experimental Confectioner. If you go for a more midrange game plan focused on creatures, you can crack a few Food to draw cards and make Frodo deal plenty of damage, though that tends to be plan B.

Food Production

Sam, Loyal Attendant

Sam, Loyal Attendant knows its way around some potatoes but can hardly feed an army on its own. Thankfully, the deck has several other means of producing Food.

Farmer Cotton

Farmer Cotton produces the most Food of any individual card in the deck. Coming with a swarm of tokens ends fair games.

Samwise Gamgee

Samwise Gamgee might be the single most important card in the deck. It produces Food consistently, but many of your combos feature this 2-drop.

Peregrin Took

Peregrin Took increases your Food output and adds some extra oomph to your other token producers while acting as a combo piece.

Tireless Provisioner

Tireless Provisioner tends to make Treasure tokens early to establish a board state before flooding the board with Food later in the game. You have to love flexible cards like this.

Apothecary White

Apothecary White requires some aggression to produce Food, but this deck doesn’t mind attacking. It doubles as a token producer to extend your board presence; this deck has a strong token subtheme, so additional token production is welcome.

Gyome, Master Chef

Gyome, Master Chef makes sure all its Food is nutritious, fortifying your creatures against all kinds of ailments. It’s also a sneaky tap effect to deal with aggressive threats.

Food Payoffs

These cards reward you for producing all that Food by directly caring about Food or by being the payoff for all this sacrifice fodder.

Pippin, Warden of Isengard Merry, Warden of Isengard

Pippin, Warden of Isengard and Merry, Warden of Isengard are vital components of the midrange game plan. The partner mechanic ensures that finding one nets both, which provides incredible value. It only takes a few turns of Merry creating Soldier tokens for Pippin’s buff to become a dangerous threat.

Experimental Confectioner

Experimental Confectioner fits this deck perfectly. It’s primarily a combo piece with Peregrine Took but contributes to the fair game plan.

Savvy Hunter

Savvy Hunter converts extra Food into cards and rewards you for getting aggressive.

Elanor Gardner

Elanor Gardner provides a bunch of extra lands. Note that its end step ability only cares about whether a Food was sacrificed during your turn; it doesn’t need to be to Elanor's own ability.

Trail of Crumbs

There’s a high enough permanent count for Trail of Crumbs to provide potent card advantage. It gets better with ways to sacrifice multiple Food in a single turn.

Sarinth Steelseeker

Sarinth Steelseeker turns all those Food tokens into card advantage, drawing lands and filtering your draws with its pseudo-explore ability. You even have a few effects to get cards from the graveyard.

Academy Manufactor

Academy Manufactor greatly increases your artifact output. You’re mostly interested in the extra mana from Treasure, but having some Clues lying around rarely hurts.

Jaheira, Friend of the Forest

Jaheira, Friend of the Forest turns all your Food into Mox Emerald! It’s one of the strongest Food payoffs, even if the textbox doesn’t say “Food.”

Blossoming Bogbeast

Blossoming Bogbeast provides the only lifegain payoff in the deck besides Frodo. It’s a solid Overrun effect to end games with your token armies and works well with Pippin, Warden of Isengard for a hasty finish.

God-Eternal Bontu

God-Eternal Bontu converts a board of Food into a grip full of cards. Izoni, Center of the Web provides similar value and extra board presence via Spiders.

Card Advantage

Many of your Food payoffs draw cards, but you can never have too much card draw. I’m lumping my tutors in here. They aren’t technically card advantage but serve a similar purpose: letting you see extra cards to find what you need.

Dark Confidant

Dark Confidant does incredible work in any deck with a low curve. Having this much card advantage stapled to a creature helps the midrange gameplan.

Night's Whisper

I don’t think I’ve ever built a black EDH deck without Night's Whisper. Given its efficiency, I doubt I will.

The One Ring

My lawyer told me I had a legal obligation to put The One Ring in my Sam and Frodo deck. Given the sheer card advantage this multiformat staple represents, I couldn’t disagree.

Captain Sisay

Many of the combos in this deck feature cards from LTR, which had a heavy enough legendary theme that Captain Sisay becomes a powerful tutor option. Nearly every combo utilizes at least one legendary permanent, plus you can get cards for the fair gameplan like God-Eternal Bontu and Pippin, Warden of Isengard.

The strongest tutors are Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor, which find anything you need in a given situation. Creatures are vital, so Worldly Tutor and Eladamri's Call find combo pieces and other valuable cards.

Chord of Calling

Chord of Calling rounds out your tutors with an expensive option that lets you put the threat directly into play. This card can assemble combos at instant speed which opens unique windows for wins.


You can’t play Commander without some plan to interact with your opponents unless you’re playing at a super casual table. This deck aims a little higher on the power scale, so it needs tools to fight back.

Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile are the gold standard for spot removal. Snuff Out lets you deal with most threats for the low cost of some life.

Skyclave Apparition

Skyclave Apparition deals with most threats, especially sticky things like planeswalkers and The One Ring that your spot removal can’t handle.

Loran of the Third Path Aura Shards

Loran of the Third Path destroys artifacts and kills enchantments on a stick with some card advantage. Aura Shards lets all your creatures blow things up when they enter.

Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge can be awkward in a creature-centric deck, but sometimes you just need a board wipe to reset the battlefield.

Winds of Abandon

Winds of Abandon can be spot removal, but I like saving it for a finishing move that leaves your opponents without blockers. The flexibility between the two options really makes the card.

This is a creature deck, so your interactive package should consider the danger posed by board wipes. Teferi's Protection, Flawless Maneuver, and Boromir, Warden of the Tower provide team-wide defense against sweepers. Boromir lets you get a protective spell with Chord of Calling and is a combo piece.

Agadeem's Awakening Ratadrabik of Urborg

Agadeem's Awakening lets you rebuild after a wrath has gone off. Since this deck leans on legendary creatures, Ratadrabik of Urborg provides surprisingly good protection from the first wrath.

Malakir Rebirth and Samwise the Stouthearted protect individual creatures, provided they aren’t exiled. Reanimate loosely falls under this category as well, though it has much more utility than simply reviving a dead Samwise Gamgee.

The Mana Base

Let’s start by examining your mana accelerants. There’s a typical assortment of mana dorks: Birds of Paradise, Elves of Deep Shadow, Avacyn's Pilgrim, and Utopia Sprawl enable a turn 2 Sam, Loyal Attendant while fixing your mana.

Bloom Tender Nature's Lore

You’re in three colors, so Bloom Tender feels like a natural inclusion. I’m a big fan of Nature's Lore in any deck with a green Triome to grab.

Sol Ring Ashnod's Altar

You also have Sol Ring and all three on-color Talismans. Ashnod's Altar is the final mana rock, which mostly enables combos.

Many Partings The Shire

As for lands, you have a bit of value. I’m considering Many Partings a tapped land that makes a Food token; The Shire also makes Food. All three on-color channel lands from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty are here, as are an assortment of MDFC lands from Zendikar Rising to smooth out our draws. Beyond this handful of value lands, you’re playing a simple mana base that aims to fix your three colors.

The Strategy

You’re playing for the midgame. Neither the combos nor fair game plan go off quickly enough to win early. For either strategy, ramp is important. However you win, it begins with deploying a hand full of creatures.

You should play Sam, Loyal Attendant as quickly as you can. However this deck wins, it does so with Food tokens, and Sam provides them consistently. As the game develops and you find tutors, you should consider how you want to win and what to grab.

If you’re looking to win fairly, tutoring up interactive spells and top-end like God-Eternal Bontu and Blossoming Bogbeast close out fair games. Token producers like Farmer Cotton and Merry, Warden of Isengard bridge the gap between early ramp and late finishers.

If you want to combo off, plan out the combo you want to use. Samwise Gamgee works in many of your combos but it’s hardly the only combo piece. Try to find some of the less assuming cards first. For example, Experimental Confectioner looks cute and harmless until Peregrin Took comes down. While you shouldn’t lie to your opponents about what the deck is capable of, you don’t need to announce how every piece fits in your overarching game plan.

The deck’s greatest strength lies in its versatility. It has both combo and fair game plans, but they aren’t out of sync. Sure, Experimental Confectioner and Peregrin Took generate an infinite combo, but they’re also reasonable cards to play in your Food-based midrange deck. Peregrine fuels cards like God-Eternal Bontu, Izoni, Center of the Web, and Sarith Steelseeker. The Confectioner adds more bodies for Blossoming Bogbeast and Pippin, Warden of Isengard. This leads to a very smooth game play experience. You’ll have plenty of flexibility to switch between the two strategies as you see fit without worrying about drawing the wrong half of the deck.

Combos and Interactions

Here we are with the meat of the deck! These combos primarily utilize Food in some form or another, but there are alternative combos.

Peregrin Took Experimental Confectioner

Peregrin Took + Experimental Confectioner

This one’s simple. You need both permanents in play and at least three Food tokens.

Activate Peregrine’s ability to draw a card by sacrificing three Food. Experimental Confectioner triggers three times; each trigger creates a Rat that comes in with a Food thanks to Peregrine’s other ability. Rinse and repeat to draw your entire deck and make three Rats for each card drawn!

A few ways to win with this on the spot include Corpse Knight, Blood Artist + Ashnod's Altar/Viscera Seer, and Pippin, Warden of Isengard giving all those rats haste and power.

Boromir, Warden of the Tower Ratadrabik of Urborg

Boromir, Warden of the Tower + Ratadrabik of Urborg

You need both permanents in play.

Sacrifice Boromir to its own ability. This triggers Ratadrabik; stack the triggers so that Ratadrabik’s resolves first, creating a token copy of Boromir. Then Boromir’s trigger resolves. Make the token copy your Ring-bearer so it becomes legendary. Rinse and repeat for infinite ETB/death triggers. Blood Artist and Corpse Knight provide win outlets.

Samwise the Stouthearted + Ratadrabik of Urborg + Ashnod's Altar or Viscera Seer

You need all three permanents in play.

Sacrifice Samwise to your sacrifice outlet, triggering Ratadrabik. When it makes a token copy and Samwise’s enters ability triggers, make the token copy your Ring-bearer. It follows the same pattern as the previous combo; Samwise just needs an external sacrifice outlet.

Samwise Gamgee + Cauldron Familiar + Ashnod's Altar or Viscera Seer

For this combo, you need all the permanents in play plus a Food token.

Sacrifice the Familiar to your sacrifice outlet. Then return it to play by sacrificing your Food.

This triggers Samwise Gamgee, creating a Food token. Rinse and repeat to drain your opponents (and get infinite colorless mana via Altar).

Samwise Gamgee + Farmer Cotton + Ashnod's Altar + Academy Manufactor

This one’s a doozy. You need everything but Farmer Cotton in play; Cotton needs to be in your hand. You also need the mana to cast Farmer Cotton where X=2 or more.

Cast Farmer Cotton. When it enters, it’ll make two Food on its own, plus one from Samwise Gamgee’s trigger; Academy Manufactor produces three Treasure and Clue as well.

Sacrifice Farmer Cotton to Ashnod's Altar, then sacrifice your three Food to Samwise Gamgee and return Farmer Cotton to your hand. You can then recast Farmer Cotton for using the mana floating from Ashnod's Altar and two of your three Treasure tokens.

Rinse in repeat for infinite… everything! Death triggers, card draw, mana, enters triggers, and infinite Halfling tokens. If you throw in a Peregrin Took for extra Food production, you can even get infinite life out of the deal.

Rule 0 Violations Check

The strong combo element will raise eyebrows, especially at casual tables. This really isn’t a casual deck, so make sure you’re upfront about your power level and what the deck can do as part of any rule 0 conversation. You can always agree to not use any of your combos. The only cards in the deck that are solely combo pieces are Ashnod's Altar and Viscera Seer.

Budget Options

The first place to start cutting is the mana base. You can save a shocking amount of money by ditching fetch lands, shock lands, and the like in favor of tapped lands. You’ll play slower but significantly cheaper. Of note, Murmuring Bosk makes for an excellent Indatha Triome substitute since Nature's Lore still finds it. You can always proxy some of these lands, as long as your playgroup is okay with proxies.

Captain Sisay works as card advantage and a tutor, but you can find similar sources of card advantage in the likes of Hour of Need or Beast Whisperer, depending on which element you want to keep.

Bloom Tender can be any 1- or 2-mana accelerant you’d like. Armored Scrapgorger offers some additional graveyard hate if that matters.

All the expensive tutors like Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor can be replaced with cheap card advantage like Sign in Blood. You could also look for budget tutor substitutes, like Fauna Shaman.

Teferi's Protection is among the best protective spells in the format with a price tag to match. Heroic Intervention has seen enough reprints to keep the price competitive.

I mostly included The One Ring for flavor, but this multi-format staple costs far too much. Call of the Ring provides steady card draw while retaining that flavor.

Other Builds

Focusing on lifegain is the easiest way to take this partner pairing in another direction. I leaned away from that strategy, but lifegain decks have plenty of support. You can trim various combo pieces for cards like The Gaffer, Cleric Class, and Heliod, Sun-Crowned, just to name a few payoffs (or keep the combo train going with cards like Archangel of Thune and Spike Feeder).

You could also lean harder into token synergies. Tokens are already a solid subtheme of this deck and a crucial part of the midrange plan; a little extra support from cards like Inspiring Leader, Mondrak, Glory Dominus, and Thalisse, Reverent Medium could push that theme to the forefront. This tokens route would be a great way to move away from the combos and into a more casual deck.

Commanding Conclusion

Samwise the Stouthearted - Illustration by Irvin Rodriguez

Samwise the Stouthearted | Illustration by Irvin Rodriguez

Building a Food deck posed an interesting challenge: How did I want to leverage an honestly weak mechanic? Tales of Middle-earth opened this archetype quite a bit, much to its improvement.

Utilizing Food as a resource for abilities other than life gain synergizes felt like the most unique way I could utilize it. How would you build a Food deck? Which commander(s) would you have chosen? Let me know in the comments below or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe and keep cooking!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *