Hi everyone, welcome to my first article. I’m Jelle Gyselinck. reigning Gentry Champion, pompous twit and jolly magic player. Today I want to talk about one of my new favourite formats in Magic the Gathering: Gentry (or League Standard, as it used to be called). A format that has been very good to me (due to some sheer luck and good friends, insert honourable mention of Tom Vandevelde).

I like the format because it allows for a lot of brewing. No more of that copying a list online, changing 4 or 5 cards and calling it your own. No! Actual brewing, sitting in front of your computer with 5 tabs open containing all legal sets, going over and over them until you practically know the entire format. Well ironically, I’m here to give you my new decklist in the hopes that you will like it and maybe copy it or at least consider it when testing your own brews.

It has come to my findings that people say that with the new meta control and more so blue centered control will take a hard hit, even be unplayable. That is because of the disappearance of good hard counters (Cancel, Disdainful Stroke) and good card draw (Enhanced AwarenessTreasure Cruise), for more information read Tom Vandevelde’s article. I, for one, do not agree and will not let that happen.

I am a blue player at heart and like to be in control at all times. Whether or not I will succeed is yet to be seen. This is still the beginning of the format and we have a long road ahead of us. I can’t tell you that it will actually work because there is no meta yet, but like a brilliant man (Dale Carnegie) said: ” Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Sorry for the drama, but if you know me, you know I like my fair share.

Ok, on to my first draft of a U/B control decklist:

Lands (25)
Crumbling Vestige
Evolving Wilds
Submerged Boneyard
Island
Swamp

Creatures (0)

Instants (17)
Anticipate
Complete Disregard
Deny Existence
Grasp of Darkness
Silumgar's Command
Spell Shrivel
Ultimate Price

Sorceries (16)
Languish
Murderous Compulsion
Pieces of the Puzzle
Pore Over the Pages
Reave Soul
Rise from the Tides

Other Spells (2)
Jace's Sanctum
Ob Nixilis Reignited

I already have some ideas for a sideboard but let’s wait with that until there is some notion of a meta, ok?

Ok, let’s start with the key card, the one that makes the whole deck possible: Rise from the Tides! This card is an easy win condition to build around. All you need is a lot of instants and sorceries, preferably instants and sorceries that prolong the game so you can wait as long as possible to play that Rise from the Tides. So we’re talking about removal, counters and card draw. Blue is of course a given color since the card we are building around is blue.

Now about the other color, I need a lot of removal in the form of instants and sorceries so I’m looking at black or red since those offer me most.

I chose for black for a couple of reasons:

  • The removal is more direct, you’re gonna play some long games so you also want be able to remove the big stuff.
  • Languish! (I know that in this format you shouldn’t build around a rare card, but believe me, it’s a good enough reason)
  • There are more reasons but those will become clear when I explain my card choices.

The rare choices!

Since we’re only allowed to play 4 rares in this format and only one of each, you want them to really have an impact on the game. Here I chose for 4 cards that do very specific things that no other non-­rare card in the format does.

1. Languish

The mass removal you need and want in this deck. Not much to say about this card I think. You could argue that a deck with this much removal doesn’t need mass removal and you could be right. But this card allows you to play towards it when you have it in hand to gain a necessary card advantage. And it gives you an out to some situations you wouldn’t be able to win without it.

2. Silumgar’s Command

This card (although it costs a lot) does exactly what you want. Winning time (bounce and removal), hard counter and most of all, it can destroy a planeswalker. Something this deck will probably have trouble with since we’re only playing 3 counters and we don’t have creatures to attack. So all in all the card you want/need.

3. Jace’s Sanctum

This card is insanely good in this deck (and probably this deck only, go have your 15 minutes of fame, little one!) Everything becomes easier after you drop this card. Your removal cost 1 (or 2 in case of Complete Disregard), your card draw costs less and everything searches to other answers with the scry. Not hard to imagine that this card will do good in a deck that only plays instants and sorceries, but believe me, it’s even better than you imagined.

4. Ob Nixilis Reignited

The bomb you are looking for. Like most planeswalkers, this one also has a lot of impact on the board and does exactly what we need: draw cards and destroy creatures. But it does something more, it gives us an alternative win condition. It may be thinking extremely out of the box, but in case people expect a lot of decks with tokens (or this deck) they might play Virulent Plague on their sideboard. This would shut our whole deck down. An other card (which is even more extreme to think of) is Infinite Obliteration. So apparently this planeswalker is just what we need and so another reason I wanted to play black.

The Uncommons

4 Submerged Boneyard

Because of the consistency, I really wanted to dedicate 4 uncommon slots to my lands. I think it’s a wise choice and would probably do it more with other decks in this meta (if possible of course, 15 uncommons is not a lot).

4 Rise from the Tides

It is yet unclear to me wether I want 4 or wether I could actually only play 3. Testing will hopefully clear that out. (editor’s note: Jelle is currently leaning more towards 3 copies)

3 Ultimate Price/2 Grasp of Darkness

I think my removal slots are far from ideal, this is again because I do not have a clear view on how the meta will be. If people play a lot of devoid (which I don’t think is very unlikely), I will play less Ultimate Price and more Grasp or Flaying Tendrils.

2 Pore Over the Pages

I do not worry about playing sorceries and not being able to keep mana open, since we do not play a lot of counters. This is also why we play Crumbling Vestige. So what we have here is 5 mana to draw 3 cards, untap 2 lands and discard a card! More than enough reason to take at least 2 uncommon slots.

To conclude, I want to say that this deck is insanely fun to play with and there is a lot of room for changes. So I challenge you all to play, test and comment on it. I’m always more than happy to discuss decklist and card changes, although I must warn you that I also tend to be very stubborn about my ideas.

Another conclusion is not about the deck but about the article. I have never written one, so this is my first. That might have been clear, since I do not have a style yet, I probably don’t write well and there are probably a lot of mistakes in the form or what not to do as a writer and even spelling mistakes. I just wanted to write about the format and let you have an insight in an idea that I’m excited about.

Jelle Gyselinck,
Reigning Gentry Champion and Pompous Twit

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Jelle is a Belgian Magic player that first got in touch with the game when he was just 8 years old. That means he’s been slinging spells and crashing in with creatures for over 20 years. He has some experience on the top most level of competition with 2 Pro Tours and having played more Grand Prix than he cares to count. He split the first Gentry Finale and won the second one, making him the most successful player in the format to date.
Jelle likes brewing decks, doing all sorts of sports, playing League of Legends and chess. Most of these go better with some extra spirit according to him so don’t be surprised to see him acting and playing with above average flair.

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