By Jelle Gyselinck

As you all know (or should know) some time ago was the Gentry Invitational. This is a promotional tournament organised by Niels Viaene in which 8 players who have recently done a more than outstanding job in the field of Gentry Magic are playing a single elimination tournament on camera. I have had the pleasure to be invited every time and it’s something I really look forward to. But this time a little more since Niels hosted it in his new house, where he installed a little studio to live stream the whole thing. To make it even cosier, he invited some more people, so we had a viewing party ánd he even made Spaghetti for everyone.

Needless to say that I was excited.

But all of this is just a warm-up for the Big Gentry Tournament coming this Spring: The Gentry Open. I’m here to talk about that. What you can expect, what to play and why you should go! Just like in Standard and Modern, the metagame of Gentry shifts. New decks arise and old ones need to adapt or disappear. I like to look at it in seasons. A little like fashion, what’s in this season and what is totally last season. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to try to explain what you can expect and what might be something for you in Gentry by means of fashion. It might be something for you, it might not, but I think it’s a fun way to write a new article. So here we go:

The Invitational gave us a good look at what’s popular (or IN) this season. Find the Invitational decklists here.

Black

The first thing that jumps out when we look at the decks of the Invitational is the same thing that I predicted in the beginning of the season and that is that black has made a comeback. In the 8 decklists there are no less than 39 Swamps, closely followed by Plains with 36. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Black has received a whole bunch of strong cards that fit in every black deck, whatever the theme of the deck is. Although they mostly lean to a more controlish build. So the “little black dress” is back (some say it was was never gone) and is very often seen with a ‘The Scarab God‘-bracelet. If you like to control every eye in the room this is something for you. The male alternative here is the Tuxedo.

But black alone is a little too dark for most tastes (Unless you’re Niels), so I think it’s best to add some accessories. The nice thing about black? Everything goes with it. Want an aggressive touch? Add red pumps/tie. Want a more stable look? Wear a white necklace/shirt. Do you like to go more adventurous? Put on green eye-liner/bowtie. And finally, we all know a black dress always works with a pair of blue eyes for that controlled, determined look.

White

As I said before, the popularity of white closely follows the popularity of black, and that is more because of the strong cards that remain from last season. It also benefits from some new additions in the form of Adanto Vanguard and Legion Conquistador. And although we find some white back in some control decks, it has a more aggressive nature. Especially in a wide form. Most aggressive white decks go wide with a lot of tokens. Therefore I will call it the Wife-beater (Tank top) of this season. If you have the body for it a must have, especially if you want to show that you are not one to mess with. For the ladies with the same interests I would recommend a Singlet. This piece of clothing is often seen together with a blue Jeans, as shown by Invitational winner Frederik.

Fashion don’ts

If there are do’s, there obviously must be don’ts. Some of these outfits are hard to pull off, some are last season and some shouldn’t be in your wardrobe in the first place and if they are it’s time to burn them. And while we’re on the subject of burning let’s talk about it some more. Mono red Burn isn’t an outfit that is a totally don’t, but it definitely is something hard to pull off. But, if done well and by avoiding some popular decks, this might still work. It’s just a little sad that they banned the ‘Ramunap Ruins‘-earrings, because that would totally go with this red cocktail dress.

If you’re a redhead and have want to wear that blue dress that you still have from last season, I’m not going to stop you. But I think you might have a hard time.
Whether it is a Red-Blue prowess deck or a Blue-Red control deck, doesn’t matter, I would recommend not to do it and try another outfit. Both decks lost too many key cards (Rise of the Tide; Chandra, Flamecaller; Monastery Swiftspear) and have a hard new enemy (Duress; Profane Procession). Of course there are always people who can pull it off, but I advise against it.

Something else that is very last season is not an entire outfit, but more a specific piece of clothing: the striped black/white T-shirt, Hidden Stockpile. This was all the rage last Spring and Summer and the year before that, when Gentry Giants Ian and Pepijn really pulled this off. With both black and white being the two power colors this season, you would think that this card would still be good. Apparently it’s not. I guess it’s mostly because Ulvenwald Mysteries rotated out, and maybe because it got some extra bad match-ups. Some people didn’t want to admit it and lost face being seen with this. So you can try to suprise me and prove me wrong, but I would avoid this last season knock-off as much as you can.

While there are really multiple styles not to try, and I’m not talking only about this year, I’m only going to talk about one more and that is the 4 or 5 color themed decks. It’s a very hippy-like “style”.  This makes for some very exciting games one in 25 times. The problem is that it’s absolutely horrible in those other 24 moments. The moments where you have the wrong mana, where you are always a turn late or you just stand next to that flashy girl in her cocktail dress or that aggressive guy in his Tank top. So for the enthusiasts out there, know that just cutting one color will make your outfit just that much better.

So now that I have given you the basics of how Gentry will look this year, let’s talk about optimising your outfit. I will go over this quite quickly because this is not an exact science. Every look and every style is different, and so is optimising it. When you’re aggressive try not to use too many colors, Gentry has a slow mana base and every color slows it down exponentially. I would advise to stay with one color and if needed to add a little extra color. But make sure that everyone can see what your dominant color is. Do you want to try a midrangy three color style? Can do! But the same goes for this: the third color should be light, so it isn’t noticed immediately. And lastly, whatever you like to do, you have to watch your curve! Don’t get me wrong, I mean that you need to have something everywhere. Your outfit shines with a right curve. Some extra or not enough at one point in the curve isn’t bad. It just means you have to adjust your outfit to it, and shine!

For now I’m going to end it here. But know that there are a lot of looks I haven’t talked about here. Doesn’t mean they are not fashionable, doesn’t mean they are. But this is just an article and I can only talk about so much stuff. But, as most of you know, you can send me your designs and I will take a look at them. That, by the way, doesn’t mean you have to agree with my comments on them. I just expect you to take criticism, as I sometimes give my opinion quite harshly.

Furthermore I hope to see you all wearing dashing outfits at the Gentry Open on April 8 at Outpost Ghent. Wether you’re wearing a smooth suit or an eccentric melange of clothing, I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

 

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Niels Viaene came into contact with Magic first through the Kazz & Zakk starter set in 1996, but it wouldn’t be until 2000, around the time Prophecy came out that he actually started playing magic thanks to his nephew. Niels’ Magic career has been a roller coaster up to now, including Grand Prix Paris 2009 top 8, Pro Tour San Diego 2010 top 8, becoming a L3 Magic Judge in 2015 and managing the community effort that is the League of New and Beginning Magic: the Gathering Players, the birthing ground for Gentry since 2012. All this comes from a deep love for the game that is far from diminishing.

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