Last updated on November 22, 2021

Gilded Goose - Illustration by Lindsey Look

Gilded Goose | Illustration by Lindsey Look

Modern Horizons 2 changed the landscape of Modern forever. It’s no surprise that adding some of its powerful cards to Arena has impacted Historic. Today I’ll be looking at one of the newer decks to hit the high mythic ranks of the Arena Ladder: Golgari () Food, or Squirrel Food as some have been calling it.

I first noticed this deck when Cho Jaeseok tweeted that he achieved #1 Mythic. Players have since adopted the strategy and several players qualified for the Crimson Vow Championships with various iterations of the list.

The Deck

Cauldron Familiar - Illustration by Milivoj Ceran

Cauldron Familiar | Illustration by Milivoj Ceran

I talked to MtgJulian about his version of the deck:

The Strategy

1-Drops

Gilded Goose

For anyone familiar with the Food deck over the years, most of these cards are well-known staples. First up is Gilded Goose, which makes everything run smoother. It has synergy with every card in the deck.

Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven are the linchpins of your strategy. Everything revolves around sacrificing and returning the cat to generate recursive value.

Fatal Push

Fatal Push is the choice piece of interaction for you in this deck. You can kill almost any threat for one mana.

Village Rites

Village Rites is an efficient way to exchange our irrelevant creatures for valuable cards.

Soul-Guide Lantern

Soul-Guide Lantern is a nod to how prevalent Arclight Phoenix and Mizzix’s Mastery are in the current meta.

Valentin, Dean of the Vein is good against Arclight Phoenix and in mirror matches. It exiles your opponent’s creatures as they die, and the reverse side allows you to push through damage versus chump blocking Cauldron Familiar.

Ravenous Squirrel MH2

Ravenous Squirrel is the deck’s new toy. It grows big fast, getting permanent +2/+2 every turn if you’re activating Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar. It can also refill your hand by sacrificing leftover food in the late game.

2-Drops

Trail of Crumbs

Trail of Crumbs is how your deck wins in grindy matchups. It finds your combo pieces and gives you ways to sink mana every turn for good value.

Deadly Dispute

Deadly Dispute is another recent addition to the deck. It’s much more reliable to assemble the Witch’s Oven plus Cauldron Familiar combo with access to such powerful card selection.

The Meathook Massacre

The Meathook Massacre doubles your cat-oven combo’s effectiveness by making your opponent lose life whenever you sacrifice Cauldron Familiar. It also has the added utility of being a board wipe or removal against decks with small creatures.

Your Companion

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Lurrus of the Dream-Den usually gets its value by letting you replay a defeated Ravenous Squirrel. Your deck has plenty of ways to spend your mana and generate extra resources that Lurrus often doesn’t find an opportunity to see play before most games end. Your deck could move away from using Lurrus as a companion in favor of cards like Binding the Old Gods for that reason.

It’s a free inclusion for these current configurations.

Tips and Interactions

Witch's Oven - Illustration by Alexander Forssberg

Witch’s Oven | Illustration by Alexander Forssberg

Sacrifice decks reward intricate knowledge of all the corner cases and an ability to think outside the box. Your plan is to create death by a thousand cuts, so it’s important to develop a method to recognize how much damage you have at any given moment.

The most common route to victory is assembling Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar with The Meathook Massacre in play. Looping the cat every turn stacks up damage quickly, and each extra Oven or Ravenous Squirrel acts as a multiplier.

You can use Gilded Goose’s ability to sacrifice a food for mana and then spend that mana on a Trail of Crumbs trigger with it in play. And if you have Cauldron Familiar in the graveyard, you can hold priority and sacrifice multiple Foods to stack the cat’s return-to-the-battlefield triggers and draw extra cards with Trail or put more counters on Ravenous Squirrel. This is useful when you don’t have more ways to sacrifice your cat but you do have extra Food.

The Meathook Massacre is fine to cast for X=0 when your plan is to grind with the cat-oven combo. Acting as a damage multiplier is often the card’s most important function.

Mulligan Guide

The Meathook Massacre - Illustration by Chris Seaman

The Meathook Massacre | Illustration by Chris Seaman

The best hands include ways to create and use your game objects. You want to cast permanents in the early turns, so look for draws with a clear plan to spend your mana. If it’s post-board, think of how your hand lines up against your opponent’s average gameplan and look for cards that interact well. Thoughtseize is good if you’re up against combo/control, for example.

Sideboard Guide

Izzet Phoenix Matchups

In

Out

Selesnya Humans Matchups

In

Out

Control Matchups

In

Out

Mirror Matchups

In

Out

Wrap Up

Trail of Crumbs - Illustration by Daarken

Trail of Crumbs | Illustration by Daarken

Cauldron Familiar plus Witch’s Oven strategies have been at the top of the Historic metagame forever. The deck has evolved by cutting the higher mana value cards in favor of a Lurrus of the Dream-Den companion with the addition of new powerful cards like The Meathook Massacre and Ravenous Squirrel. Lowering the mana curve makes the deck faster and more consistent.

What do you think of this build? If you’ve taken it for a spin on Arena, how did it perform for you? Let me know in the comments down below! And make sure to grab Arena Tutor if you are heading over to MTGA. It’ll track your matches, help improve your play, and best of all, it’s free.

That’s all for me. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll see you in the next one!

2 Comments

  • Mathew November 17, 2021 12:47 am

    I’ve done a white splash for rite of oblivion which has been a huge upgrade over mortality spear.
    Hidden stockpile has also grinded out games for me, usually letting me chump block forever in the absense of cat-oven, but sometimes letting me go wide as well.
    Warlock Class deserves a mention. It usually acts as half village rites, half meathook massacre and its been great. Rarely do you get it to level 3, but if so its game-over.

    • Dan Troha November 17, 2021 8:02 am

      Great suggestions, thanks for the ideas!

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