By Niels Viaene

The Latest edition of the Gentry Open, on April 20th, will be one that I will remember fondly for quite a while to come. I would like to take you on a tour through everything that went down surrounding the event.

Before the Event

A big part of managing a community, and especially one like the Gentry one, is making sure people feel like they are part of something meaningful. That is why I am always looking for ways to add meaning. That lead me to introducing the Open to start with, made the original trophy, stream, and got the website you are now reading started.

I needed something new, and the fact the trophy ran out of space to add names lead to looking at ways to update that. I searched for a new trophy but that seemed underwhelming. I ended up settling on going for giving the winner their very own trophy. But that did not seem fair to the previous winners so I did what everyone would have done… I made one for every winner up to now!

All previous winners were contacted and invited to join the event in the hopes of getting all people that have helped shaped the Legacy of Gentry together in one frame.

It worked and yielded an amazing picture. Do you remember all of them and can you rank them in time?

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Who is your favorite Gentry Open winner?

The Metagame

In the weeks leading up to the event, there were a lot of people talking about decks that were breaking the metagame. Some decks were “far too good” according to some people and took away the fun in playing the event. The funny thing was that depending on who and when exactly you would ask, you would get a different answer. Mono-red was too good, with all their direct damage spells and efficient creatures, because they were too fast to deal with. Gates was too good with Gatebreaker Ram and Gate Colossus. Black-White afterlife was too resilient. Wilderness Reclamation and Nexus of Fate had too strong a lategame.

When the event actually started, it turned out all of them were right. All of those decks were “the most played” and “the most dominant deck” at the event with not a single deck being played more than 6 times, or 12% of the metagame. In the end, 24 different decks were seen at the Open, out of 54 players, and 8 different decks secured a slot in the top 8 with both expected suspects, metagame brews and ‘casual’ decks rounding it out.

The Top 8

Disregards the glowing eyes, this are mere mortals…

As mentioned before, the top 8 featured 8 different decks. Due to time constraints it was not possible to put every match on camera and the following people were eliminated in the quiet confines of privacy.

Pepijn Degryse

Pepijn came back from a break from magic but took his comeback very seriously. As far as I know he tested and worked with Sande De Quick and settled on a list that aims to take all the good stuff from 4-Color Gates and replaces the part that is weak to Black-White Afterlife with the silver bullet for them in Cry of the Carnarium. Gates Unblazed is what he brought but fell with in the quarterfinals.

Gates Unblazed (60)
Growth Spiral
Hydroid Krasis
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
Mortify
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Vraska, Relic Seeker
Cry of the Carnarium
Duress
Essence Scatter
Fungal Infection
Gate Colossus
Gatebreaker Ram
Guild Summit
Ixalan’s Binding
Moment of Craving
Negate
Spell Pierce
Syncopate
Azorius Guildgae
Dimir Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Island
Orzhov Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Swamp
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Fungal Infection
Healing Grace
Mephitic Vapors
Moment of Craving
Naturalize
Negate
Syncopate

Ben Van Hal

Ben hails from a rather new and slightly isolated communitty in the world of Gentry, honing his skills in Merksem and its Leaderboard. He brought a deck to the table that many would consider to be a ‘casual’ deck or even a ‘kiddie’ deck, and proceeded to wipe the floor with his trusty saprolings all the way into the top 8.

Main deck (60)
Vraska, Relic Seeker
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Tendershoot Dryad
Ethereal Absolution
The Eldest Reborn
Sporecrown Thallid
Sporeswarm
Song of Freyalise
Slimefoot, the Stowaway
Yavimaya Sapherd
Vicious Offering
Saproling Migration
Fungal Infection
Deathbloom Thallid
Swamp
PLains
Foul Orchard
Forest
Evolving Wilds
Sideboard (15)
Naturalize
Moment of Craving
Ill-gotten Inheritance
Duress
Dead Revels
Crushing Canopy

Ian Ide

Ian came back from a long time away traveling and when he showed people his deck most people would have been skeptical. Mono Green Ramp has not been a solid contender in the metagame so far but there is something special about a big creature coming down early and putting a Blanchwood Armor on there. In a meta that is very focused on taking out small creatures, it proved too much for a lot of his opponents in the swiss. His Streak ended in the quarterfinals.

Main Deck (29)
Pelakka Wurm
Arboretum Elemental
Carnage Tyrant
Druid of the Cowl
Generous Stray
Llanowar Elves
Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar
Skyscanner
Steel Leaf Champion
Suspicious BookCase
Thrashing Brontodon
Vine Mare

$ Adventurous Impulse (27)
Cobbled Wings
Blanchwood Armor
Talons of the Wildwood
20 Forest
Sideboard (15)
Rubble Slinger
Ravenous Daggertooth
Rabid Bite
Crash the Ramparts
Naturalize
Titanic Brawl

The quarter-final on camera

That makes three people that fell in the quarter-final. The fourth one is whoever loses “the Battle of the Jelles” in which Jelle Gyselinck faces off against Jelle Lauwers. Most people familiar with Gentry will know Mr. Gyselinck, a former champion, and, less known, one of two people that drew the first Gentry Open that therefore had no champion, making him the only person that has 1.5 titles under his belt. He brought the deck he thought would still be the best choice in Black-White Afterlife to the event, needing only to fear well-prepared people that pack Cry of the Carnarium.

Main deck (60)
Orzhov Guildgate
Forsaken Sanctuary
Plains
Swamps
Duress
Blade Juggler
Mortify
Adanto Vanguard
Final Payment
Pitiless Pontiff
Imperious Oligarch
Martyr of Dusk
Unbreakable Formation
Ministrant of Obligation
Midnight Reaper
Seraph of the Scales
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Dead Revels
Ixalan’s Binding
Sideboard (15)
Dead Revels
Grotesque Demise
Bring to Trial
Daybreak Cheplain
Healing Grace
Never Happenend
Fungal Infection
Duress


He must have sighed in a big relief to see he got paired against Jelle Lauwers, a known competitive grinder in the outside Magic world that has been solidifying his name as a Gentry player in Merksem. Lauwers did not, in fact bring the feared Cry to the table, opting for a Bant Hexproof build that aims to play untargettable creatures and enchant them to make them even harder to deal with. See below if it was enough to sneak into the semi-finals.

Main deck (60)
Open the Gate
Spell Pierce
Adanto Vanguard
Druid of the Cowl
Negate
Squire’s Devotion
Bring to Trail
On Serra’s Wings
Ixalan’s Binding
Vine Mare
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Chemister’s Insight
Sphinx’s Insight
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Blessed Light
Carnage Tyrant
Karn, Scion of Urza
Llanowar Elves
Selesnya Guildgate
Tranquil Expanse
Azorius Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Plains
Island
Forest
Sideboard (15)
Crushing Canopy
Bishop’s Soldier
Adamant Will
Daybreak Chaplain
Bring to Trial
Blessed Light
Selesnya Locket
Negate
Essence Scatter

The semi-final

The first semi-final is between Kobe Keymeulen and Ruben Naudts. Kobe has revealed himself as a Control player at heart and brought Esper Control to this event. Some of you will know him from his role as a co-caster for the Gentry Invitational, but if you play in Ghent or Bredene you sure have seen him around.

Mainboard: (60)
Search for Azcanta
Revitalize
Fungal Infection
Blink of an Eye
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Essence Scatter
Syncopate
Islands
Plains
Swamps
Dimir Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Settle the Wreckage
Mortify
Orzhov Guildgate
Seal Away
Ixalan’s Binding
Chemister’s Insight
Gate Colossus
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
The Eldest Reborn
Cry of the Carnarium
Sphinx’s Insight
Sideboard: (15)
Duress
Healing Grace
Negate
Moment of Craving
Undercity Embrace
Demystify
Cancel

Here he faces off against Ruben Naudts, a St. Niklaas based player that has been coming more to the foreground, both as a player and a community member, he brought mono blue aggro as his deck of choice.

Main deck (60)
Tempest Djinn
Sphinx of Foresight
Pteramander
Mist-Cloaked Herald
Merfolk Trickster
Siren Stormtamer
Negate
Blink of an Eye
Opt
Spell Pierce
Curious Obsession
Syncopate
Dive Down
Entrancing Melody
Jace, Cunning Castaway
20 Island
Sideboard (15)
Deep Freeze
Disdainful Stroke
Spell Pierce
Negate
Essence Scatter
Faerie Duelist
Omenspeaker

In the second semi-final, we see Jelle Gyselinck square off against Arthur Hugaert. We already had an introduction to Jelle’s deck in the quarterfinal, he is the one playing Black-White Afterlife to beat his namesake in the last round. Arthur, in the meantime, has some Gentry history as well, being the other half of the finalists of the Gentry Open I. Yes, both people in that final 3,5 years ago are back at it in this match.

Arthur is playing Drakes, a deck that was considered the top dog before Ravnica Allegiance came out. Back then it was fighting against Golgari Explore for the title of top dog in the format. The only new addition in his deck is Pteramander, but it looks like Crackling Drake and his buddies did not need more help to reach the semi-finals.

Main deck (60)
Island
Mountain
Highland Lake
Izzet Guildgate
Crackling Drake
Enigma Drake
Pteramander
Niv-Mizzet, Parun
Chart a Course
Tormenting Voice
Dive Down
Lava Coil
Beacon Bolt
Negate
Opt
Shock
Spell Pierce
Radical Idea
Expansion//Explosion
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Search for Azcanta
Sideboard (15)
Disdainful Stroke
Spell Pierce
Omenspeaker
Wall of Mist
Essence Scatter
Negate
Shivan Fire

The Finale

The last two men standing are Ruben Naudts, running Mono-Blue Aggro, and Jelle Gyselinck, with the Black-White Afterlife menace that has been touted as the best deck in the format. In these past matches, we have seen it very secure threatened. Here, it finds itself in the final against one of the hardest decks to play and to play against. Will Jelle become the first person to hold two Gentry Open titles or will Ruben take the Trophy back to Sint Niklaas to join the one Michiel Van den Bussche brought there before? Let’s see…

See you at the next Gentry event, have fun brewing with War of the Spark!

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Congratulations Ruben Naudts, winner of the 8th edition of 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.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Announcing the Open and Invitational – Gentry

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