Historic Sultai Food Deck Guide: Brewing in a Top Hat

Lonis, Cryptozoologist Art by Andrew Mar
Lonis, Cryptozoologist Art by Andrew Mar

Welcome back to Brewing In A Top Hat, I am back after a little visit back to my hometown to see some family, and I am excited to dive into Jumpstart: Historic Horizons.  This first brew is a neat take on the modern deck that I play, Hell’s Kitchen.  It utilizes new cards, Nettlecyst, Thought Monitor, and Lonis, Cryptozoologist in conjunction with the Cat-Oven combo to make tons of food and clue tokens.  Finally it looks to make a big swing in with the Nettlecyst on either a Gilded Goose or a Feasting Troll King.

(H) MonkeyinaTopHat Hell's Kitchen 

Creatures (20)
4
Cauldron Familiar
4
Gilded Goose
2
Glimmer Bairn
3
Lonis, Cryptozoologist
3
Emry, Lurker of the Loch
4
Feasting Troll King
Spells (5)
2
Bone Shards
3
Metallic Rebuke
Artifacts (9)
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Witch's Oven
4
Nettlecyst
Enchantments (2)
2
Trail of Crumbs
Lands (24)
4
Blooming Marsh
4
Botanical Sanctum
4
Breeding Pool
4
Castle Garenbrig
1
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
4
Overgrown Tomb
1
Spire of Industry
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Bone Shards
1
Phyrexian Reclamation
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Assassin's Trophy
1
Trail of Crumbs
1
Metallic Rebuke
2
Reclamation Sage
2
Binding the Old Gods
1
Shifting Ceratops
2
Vivien Reid

Card Selection

Emry, Lurker of the Loch Art by Livia Prima
Emry, Lurker of the Loch Art by Livia Prima

Lonis, Cryptozoologist, Cauldron Familiar, and Witch’s Oven: This is the main engine of the deck.  The idea is to keep bringing it back so you can build up a bunch of clues.

Bone Shards: Sorcery speed removal is weirdly relevant in this meta with all the Serra’s Emissary naming instant, plus it lets us discard Cats and Trolls.

Gilded Goose: Goose plays a pivotal role in this deck.  It does so much more than ramp us ahead.  Play it + Witch’s Oven and activate it once to get to three Food tokens so you can return a Feasting Troll King. Attach a Nettlecyst to it and push through huge damage with flying.  Use the life gain from multiple food tokens to get through early life pressure.

Glimmer Bairn: This is one of our finishers.  It can eat all our Clue and Food tokens to get enormous.  Just one attack through can be enough to win the game.

Soul-Guide Lantern: More than just a meta call, with Emry this gives us access to extra card draw every turn.

Trail of Crumbs: Trail is fantastic for those grindy games against control.  If you can get one out early enough you should be able to keep up in resources.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch: Sure she can bring your Witch’s Ovens and Nettlecyst back, but don’t write off playing her early just to put cards in your graveyard.  That is where we like our Cats and Trolls to live before we bring them back.

Metallic Rebuke: Almost always costs one blue for a strong interaction.  It’s a rare enough card that they usually won’t see it coming.

Nettlecyst: MVP finisher.  Even if they handle our graveyard these guys can be a constant threat.  Please no Shatterstorm.

Feasting Troll King: It is easier than you might realize to get one of these out from your graveyard, so don’t be afraid of milling them or discarding them to Bone Shards.

Castle Garenbrig: Remember, one activation gives you enough to hard cast Feasting Troll King.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

MTG - FEASTING TROLL KING, an art print by Nicholas Gregory - INPRNT
Feasting Troll King Art by Nicholas Gregory

Jeskai Control/Combo

INOUT
+1 Metallic Rebuke-1 Bone Shards
+1 Trail of Crumbs-4 Feasting Troll King (vs Emissary)
+2 Assassin’s Trophy-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+2 Binding of the Old Gods (vs Emissary)
+2 Vivien Reid (vs Emissary)

This is the match up you will play the most of, so it would be a good idea to check out the different versions of the list that are available.  There is a version that is straight control that tries to win with Shark Typhoons and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.  There is a version that uses Indomitable Creativity to pull out Serra’s Emissary and can sideboard into other large creatures and there is the classic version that uses Magma Opus and Torrential Gearhulk.

You are going to want to out grind them with Cats and Trail of Crumbs.  Remember, Cat doesn’t target or cause damage, so even if they use Emissary to give themselves protection you can still damage them.  Bone Shards is a sorcery, so usually it will get through game one since they usually declare instants.  Game two you can bring in enchantment and Planeswalker removal and spread them even thinner on what they can declare.

Phoenix

INOUT
+1 Soul-Guide Lantern-1 Trail of Crumbs
+2 Vivien Reid-2 Gilded Goose

This is a pretty good matchup for us, especially if we can get the SGL-Emry loop up.  Try to keep your Rebukes for their removal and your Bone Shards for their Stormwing Entity’s and Sprite Dragons.  Try to get to their Phoenixes while they’re in the graveyard.

Selesnya Company

INOUT
+1 Metallic Rebuke-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Bone Shards-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+2 Binding the Old Gods-1 Glimmer Bairn

The angel version is a very, very bad matchup for us because of all the life gain.  The combo version with Scurry Oak is a little easier, and the classic unthemed version is probably the easiest.  Skyclave Apparition can get to our Ovens and we can’t get them back with Emry so try to keep your Rebukes for those.  The nice thing about this deck is you can use Lonis’s second ability to steal their stuff.  I usually sacrifice three Clues and try to grab either Apparition, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, or Elite Spellbinder.

Jund Sacrifice

INOUT
+1 Soul-Guide Lantern-1 Glimmer Bairn
+1 Trail of Crumbs-3 Metallic Rebuke
+2 Reclamation Sage-4 Gilded Goose
+2 Bone Shards
+2 Binding the Old Gods

This is our worst matchup simply because they have Mayhem Devil and we don’t.  You must answer that card on sight or your own strategy will be your undoing.  Rebuke it if you can, but think hard about using that last piece of removal on anything else.

Merfolk

INOUT
+2 Bone Shards-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+1 Metallic Rebuke

Emry is a bit too slow for this match up.  We want to try to save the Metallic Rebuke for Coco, and use our Lonis to steal with Svyelun of Sea and Sky or their Merrow Reejerey.  With a Lonis and cat-oven set up, you can try to use their swarm of fish against them while draining them with cats.

Humans

INOUT
+2 Bone Shards-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+1 Trail of Crumbs

This is a great match up for Trail of Crumbs.  You want to grind them down with Cats and Trolls while keeping advantage with Trail of Crumbs.  They usually don’t pack much interaction, especially game one, so go ham.  Steal with Lonis and keep ahead on board and you should come out on top.

Shamans

INOUT
+2 Bone Shards-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+1 Metallic Rebuke

This match up is going to come down to if you can steal or remove their Harmonic Prodigy’s.  The advantage they can generate with that thing is very explosive.  If you can get a hold of a Prodigy with your Lonis, then you want to aim for their card advantage engines like Elvish Mystic and Seasoned Pyromancer.  The latter is especially good to steal because it can give us tokens for Glimmer Bairn and a discard outlet for cats and trolls.

Tips, Tricks, and Musings about the deck

When do I use Lonis’s second ability? I have so many clues and it looks so juicy!

I know you want to, but it’s probably not worth it. You would be better off cracking the clues to draw more cards and get close to your Nettlecysts. The rare occasion that you do want to use it is against creature-dense lists that are lower in mana value. That means decks that are running Collected Company since they need a lot of creatures to hit with and they all need to cost three or less.  Sacrificing three clues will usually grab you something worthwhile.

What are those Reclamation Sages in the sideboard for? They weren’t mentioned in your sideboard guide!

They will usually come in when I see Grafdigger’s Cage, Rest in Peace, or Soul-Guide Lantern on the other side. They are also decent against Blue-White Control decks that use a lot of Banishing Light effects and every now and then you will run into an Auras deck.  I like to pretend they could tip the scales in that match up, but the truth is it’s unwinnable.

Wouldn’t Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar have been so cool to get?

Ugh. I wanted the cookbook package so badly, and when they revealed Yawgmoth, Thran Physician I thought we might have a shot, but it came and went. Alas, maybe next Anthology.

Other Cards and Budget Options

Here are some other cards that I tried and evaluated for you. Some were playable and some, not so much. Adjust for your collection to craft the version that works best for you, without blowing all your wild cards.

Thought Monitor: Good card draw, but the deck is already very tight.  Hard to fit it in.

Chart a Course: It was good in play testing. I like that it let you dump trolls and cats to the graveyard, but ultimately it got cut for more interaction.

Llanowar Elves: It’s a good card, no doubt. Goose is just slightly better.

Mox Amber: The list can hold anywhere between six and ten legendaries, and with Emry you can do some neat tricks to generate mana quickly. Ultimately a little too cute, and didn’t end up working as well as you would hope.  If you do decide to use this I’d also suggest a copy or two of…

Paradox Engine: With Cat-Oven, Emry, and two Chrome Mox you will drain them infinitely.  The combo version built around this could want a copy of Whir of Invention too.

Lazav, the Multifarious: Copying a Lonis to get twice the clues was pretty fun, but ultimately interaction is probably a better inclusion.

Stitcher’s Supplier: If you want to play more graveyard base I could see using this, but honestly there is a lot of graveyard hate flying around.  You’re better off leaning into the Nettlecyst/affinity side.

Parallel Lives: Hilariously fun, but not super competitive. However, when it pops off boy does it pop off. I had a 35/35 Troll on turn four once because of it.

Ulvenwald Mysteries: With a Glimmer Bairn out you can sac a clue then sac the 1/1 that clue makes to give your Glimmer Bairn +4+4. With Lonis you can make a bunch of 1/1s in their end phase, and maybe steal one of their creatures to boot.  Also it just acts as a second engine for generating clues with Cat-Oven.  Wish it cost 2 instead of 3.