By Niels Viaene

The Gentry Open is looming, April 20th is just a week away, and that means that the bye winners through the leaderboards are setting in, but there are a bunch of other bye winners as well. To highlight these and to take a look at some of the stories in the leaderboards we will go over them here.

Bredene

The Leaderboard in Bredene is a pioneer in most seasons. Taking place on the first Saturday of the month it is often the first leaderboard to start and close a season, and this time it was full of suspense.

Kobe Keymeulen popped up as a new challenger this season and was headbutting with Tom De Wael all the time. In the 6th session Kobe took a 9 point lead to finish really strong but could not make it to the final event. Due to only the top 6 results counting Tom would have a hard time catching up. In the end, Tom would need to win out in a group of 17 or more players to at least tie the race. 14 Showed up and Kobe held the lead to win a bye!

Merksem

In Merksem a group of players has been championing Gentry with restless abandon. This season, a new challenger solidified himself in their ranks. Jelle Lauwers came, saw, and conquered. Even after skipping the January edition, he had enough of a lead in order not to show up and still get the slot. He was not the most consistent player, however, that title goes to Ben Van Hal, who could have taken the bye if only he showed up on more than half the events. A promising setting for the next season.

St. Niklaas

The Brainfreeze based community had a rough start, and solidified Sander De Rudder, the Van Raemdonck brothers Dries Cappaert as clear leaders. In the end, it was Sander and Steven Van Raemdonck that were racing each other to the starts taking a huge lead from the rest of the pack. A new challenger appeared in Tim Vermeire, but he could not scratch them. In the last leaderboard event, a bunch of new players showed up and people returned stranding the leaderboard just two players shy of awarding two byes (for every 32 players, there is a bye). Sander came out on top. Let’s hope Steven can avenge his position at the Open.

Magic Arena

This was the first time there was a Leaderboard on Magic Arena as well. The first edition had a lot of little issues and unfortunately had to begin with best-of-1 matches but it still proved a healthy breeding ground for talent. Yens Goethals returned to Gentry after a hiatus, secured an Invitational slot through this Leaderboard and ended being last man standing there with his trusted Temur Gates deck.

He finished the season in the top 2 together with Ruben Naudts, running with white weenie and mono red, with both of them securing a bye!

Other byes

There was a Magic Arena challenger event with the eventual bye going to Tom De Wael with Sultai Midrange. And during Card Market Series Gent there was a tournament awarding a bye that was won by Sander De Quick running a new and updated version of 4 color Gates.

Gent

In Gent, Alan Schuer has again taken the top spot, returning to his aggro roots with mono red. As a former Gentry Open Champion, that would not be too surprising, but it was not an easy run. A lot of players have established themselves as competitors for the top spot with consistent attendance to pretty low places.

Alan currently has a 22 point lead which should be enough to secure first place, again because only 7 of 8 finishes will count, unless the attendance is over 21 for the last event AND he does not show up to play, which I sincerely doubt will happen.

So that means there is nothing to pay attention to, right? Well, there is… For one, this is the only leaderboard that is still open, with a final event on April 18th. And since it already has 43 players in it, there will be a second bye to be won. And that bye… oh boy, is it ever contested!

On full attendance, Peter Steenbeke and Lars Meeussen are leading the pack, but they have less points to gain than the suitors. Peter will lose 7 points before adding the points for the last event. Lars will lose 11. That puts them in reach of quite a few players. First is Niklas Vermeulen, a mainstay in the Gentry community that has really picked up his play lately. He shares the 99 point spot with Kobe Keymeulen, the winner of the Bredene Leaderboard.

Wait… He already has a bye… Does that mean he will have 2?

It does not, A player that wins byes outside of leaderboards is skipped in the leaderboard. If that bye came from another leaderboard, they are skipped in the smallest leaderboard they are part of. In this case, that means Tom De Wael gets the Bredene Leaderboard slot in case Kobe also takes a slot in Gent.

But wait, Tom already has a bye… So he gets passed as well in case Kobe wins and the bye would go to Alan Schuer for coming third in Bredene.

But wait, Alan will already have a bye… So he gets passed and the bye would land on Amaury Henneaux!

Phew, what a cascade. Of course, none of this is relevant if Kobe does not get second place… 😀

But wait, there’s more! Within distance are two more players in Renzo Verkooren and Thijs Weytens, two very solid players that realistically have a shot at making it if the stars align. They are both on just 5 events and especially Thijs would need a lot of the top players not to show up and do well for an actual chance but it is there.

Conclusion

That is a lot of excitement still to settle just days before the Gentry Open, and a lot depends on the attendance of the event, so if you are rooting for the players that are still duking it out in the Gent leaderboard, join the fun a create more meyham!

See you at the Gentry Open!

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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