When I was a kid we had cats, because no one ever owns just one cat. We did have this one, though, that would assault the electric can opener every time you tried to use it, because it had been Pavloved into thinking that sound meant it was going to get fed. I could have been opening a can of paint, and the infernal monster would still be trying to stick its head in.
Cat Food may not be exactly Tier 1, but it amuses me endlessly, and I really enjoy playing it – so much so, that I’m brewing a Black Devotion deck for Pioneer that includes the Cat Food combo. I mean, I get to play with COMBO in STANDARD! Who doesn’t love that?
16 Swamp (ANA) 58
3 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
3 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
3 Lazotep Reaver (WAR) 96
4 Footlight Fiend (RNA) 216
4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237
4 Ayara, First of Locthwain (ELD) 75
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
4 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
2 Witch’s Cottage (ELD) 249
1 Syr Konrad, the Grim (ELD) 107
As is my wont, I’ve gone with basic Black. There are definitely merits to including Red – notably for Mayhem Devil, or White – notably for Cruel Celebrant. However, I really enjoy the smooth operation of a mono-colored build. Trying to run multiple colors in the current Standard meta also has the potential to greatly slow down your board development, as the majority of available dual lands enter tapped.
One great aspect of this deck is that it operates super low to the ground. You can do most of your set up before your opponent has counterspell mana available. It can easily recover from board wipes, and it doesn’t actually need to attack to win. Because of this, I’ve actually found the deck to have a decent match up against Oko/Food. You can also dodge some spot removal with your sac outlets, and occasionally goozle a Murderous Rider, sending it to the bin, instead of on an Adventure.
In your first turn or two, you typically want to play to maximize your combat damage. So if you have a Gutterbones and a Knight of the Ebon Legion in your opening hand, you’ll want to run out the Gutterbones first. After that, look to maximize your combo situations. A great turn 2 play is Priest of Forgotten Gods, because you’ll be able to run out 1-2 more creatures on turn 3, and sac them immediately for value, making your opponent sac a creature, and giving you more mana to develop your board further.
Keep an eye on synergistic plays. For example, the Knight of the Ebon Legion will get pumped off any type of damage done, as long as it amounts to at least 4, so it’s possible to trigger it just off combo damage, even if you don’t have a profitable attack with it.
Be very judicial with your use of Murderous Rider. There’s precious little removal in this deck, and you’re going to want to hold those up for threats which can get around or above your wall of chump blockers.
Don’t be shy with your Castle Locthwain activations, but be smart with them. If you’re going to activate it on your turn, consider doing it before your draw step, so you’ll have fewer cards in hand. Of course, be sure to play out everything you can before firing it off.
I’ve mostly been playing this in Bo1 ranked play, and it’s done fairly well there. I’m not sure at this time how I’d construct a sideboard. Duress and The Elder Spell would certainly be potential inclusions.
Thanks for hanging out. I hope you have a great time tossing cats at your opponents’ faces.