Do you like cooking, consider yourself a foody, and also like playing Commander? Then you must have been as excited as I was when Gyome was revealed. The first commander that cares about Food tokens, which were initially introduced a while ago in Throne of Eldraine with a fairy-tale slant, takes the theme into slightly different—but still just as playful—direction. And par for the course for a master chef, the flavor is simply on point.
At the beginning of our end step, Gyome gives us Food tokens equal to the number of nontoken creatures that entered the battlefield under our control this turn. I like to think of a chef here who prepares enough meals for every customer patronizing their restaurant. Gyome can also use these Food tokens to tap a creature and give it indestructible until end of turn. So they literally consume the Food for a nutritious boost but also feel a bit sluggish for a little while afterward. You wouldn't want to attack or block right after a hearty meal either, right?
So what kind of chef is Gyome? The Gordon Ramsey-type who has mastered the art of cooking, a perfectionist trying to create the most flavorful dishes? More of a Jamie Oliver with a focus on nutritious budget meals? Maybe even an Anthony Burdain-type who travels all over the world to learn about and try different cuisines with friends and a carefree attitude? This all depends on how you like to play Magic and how powerful you want to build the deck. Gyome can represent each of these different chefs, either by focusing on combos or just building a Food "tribal" deck. As always I opted to find a middle ground by combining and adapting a little bit of everything to create a fun casual deck that can still win through combos. We don't want things to get too salty, or bitter, but rather aim for a sweet balance in our blend.
In order to make Gyome work we need to have a solid base recipe with good ingredients. Nontoken creatures coming into play will give us Food tokens. Food tokens are also artifacts., so we should look to find ways to use these creatures and artifacts for other forms of advantage and not only for life gain or Gyome's second ability. Following this idea we need creatures that generate value when they enter the battlefield or have a useful ability. We can use small mana dorks or creatures that ramp when they enter the battlefield like Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, Wood Elves, and Farhaven Elf to help us create Food tokens quickly. Other utility creatures like Reclamation Sage and Eternal Witness we can cast for cheap, creating Food and also providing effects to help us in any given situation.
Creatures like Plaguecrafter and Demon's Disciple help us generate more Food while also getting rid of our opponent's creatures. We can also use such creatures as ingredients for other spells. We can sacrifice creatures that have already done something for us for spells like Diabolic Intent, Village Rites, Fain, the Broker, Viscera Seer, et cetera. We can even include spells that let us sacrifice our Food tokens such as God-Eternal Bontu, Krark-Clan Ironworks, Reprocess, and Costly Plunder.
With our main ingredients in play, we need to add spice to give our meal some depth. Since we are trying to generate a good amount of Food artifact tokens we can use Cranial Plating to boost the power of any of our creatures. Including Inspiring Statuary allows us to tap the tokens to cast other spells. Alternatively, since Food tokens sacrifice themselves, we can use Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest to put +1/+1 counters on our creatures or trigger Marionette Master each time we use a Food token to drain someone's life. Similarly we can trigger Witch of the Moors before our end step to make our opponents sacrifice a creature and let us return a creature from the graveyard to our hand. Feasting Troll King gives us three Food tokens when cast and can also be reanimated from the graveyard to the battlefield by sacrificing Food tokens. Finally, a good way to make sure we generate more Food tokens is to double them with Parallel Lives and/or Doubling Season.
As for the big finish and our main game plan, the deck can win by surprising people with combat, using the buffs explained in the previous section or Gyome's second ability to tap our opponent's blockers. (Gyome is as good at fighting as cooking. You will be surprised how often you'll be able to kill players with commander damage.) The deck can also combo out with Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond. The combination works by having an opponent lose life or us gain life. This will start an infinite loop where your opponents' life will all be drained down to zero. For redundancy we even have Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose and Dina, Soul Steeper, which can take the place of Sanguine Bond for a faster combo. Do not underestimate the power of life gain, as it can keep us alive long enough to set up our combo.
Whether you want to achieve a Michelin star or just cook good food for your family and friends, Gyome can be a fun deck to play in your EDH games. It provides a flexible scale depending on how fast you want to win versus the power level of the playgroup. I tried not to go full Food tribal as I found that strategy not to match my palette. However, Food tokens are an interesting way to add an artifact strategy to a Golgari/Witherbloom shell. I really do hope we can get more Food-related cards in future Magic sets.
What do you think of the deck? Does it stoke your appetite or do you prefer a different flavor profile? Leave your critique in the comment section below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.