By Niels Viaene

The Gentry tournament scene works in seasons. There are two seasons, one starts when the September set comes out and the format rotated. The other one when the spring set comes out late April. Throne of Eldraine started the 10th season Gentry has, and with every season we have a chance to evaluate how things are going and to introduce changes to keep things fitting and interesting.

One of the things that was a recurring theme in the past year was the stress that is created between people that want to take Gentry seriously and the fact that it is used as a casual format between beginning players. The fact ‘the League of New and Beginning Magic: Players’ was the birthing place of Gentry and houses its leaderboard has become an issue that needs addressing.

Outside of Ghent, we have seen communities struggling. Gentry is not a big format, and once the support and interest for it start dwindling, playgroups often fall apart and events stop happening. From those communities, we often hear lamentations from isolated players that still want to play Gentry but no longer have an opportunity to. They often arrive at the Gentry Open untested, which sometimes gives them an edge as they bring ideas people had missed or discarded, but usually means they struggle to prepare for the metagame.

We aim to address both of these by reworking the Leaderboard system in Ghent. Instead of having one of the League nights be a Gentry Leaderboard and not catering to our new players or to players that might not want to play Gentry, the Leaderboard will be moved to a monthly weekend event. There will still be Gentry events in the League, but they will be of the casually focused type, with the following structure:

Casual Gentry
Cost: 10 euros
Time: 19:00
Location: Outpost Ghent
4 Rounds
4 wins = 5 Boosters
3 wins = 4 Boosters
others = 3 Boosters

With this structure, we want to make clear that participation and fun are more important than winning. I would love for the more experienced players to use these events to try out wacky decks and to help new players get into the format and teaching them how to build decks. In short, to turn it into a beginner-friendly League event again.

The new Leaderboard

On every third Saturday of the month, we host a Competitive Gentry Leaderboard (link to the series, don’t forget to check the correct date). They start at 13:00, take place in Outpost Ghent, and will cost 10 euros to participate. They are Competitive events that require decklists and will use a standard swiss tournament structure. Prizes go to everyone with a winning record in the swiss and the winner after the single-elimination rounds gets a bye. The accompanying Leaderboard will award a single bye at the end of the season if it reaches 64 unique players or more. That Leaderboard will also determine a voting group for people to choose their Invitational champion.

There is a lot to break down in that paragraph, so let’s go bit by bit:

  • Every third Saturday of the month: That means we are moving the event out of the Thursday night rotation of the League to have a fixed time where new players know they can play magic. The League will now always offer the most recent set as a draft format, except for the last evening of a set.
  • They start at 13:00: The 19:00 starting time of the League event was keeping people for being able to attend due to working too late or having too much travel time to get to and from the event. We want this new event to be available for anyone that is interested in Gentry at the top level and hope this will allow people from St. Niklaas, Kortrijk, Leuven, and Brugge, that currently have no tournament circuit, to attend and play Gentry all season long if they so desire.
  • Take place in Outpost Ghent: The store has been one of the biggest supporters of the League and Gentry for its entire existence. For the kind of events we host, they offer a large enough space and all the accompanying utilities the event needs. Keeping the event in the store is or way of thanking them for that.
  • Cost 10 euros: This is the baseline of the prize for a League event. We see no reason to change this as we feel it is a point of the cost that is fair and attainable for most people. Even in times where boosters are being increased in value, the League will not increase its prices.
  • They are competitive events: In Magic, there are 4 types of events: Casual, a free to play sort of deal, Regular, a tournament setting that is very supportive and forgiving, Competitive, more focused on maintaining fair play and structure, and Professional, keeping players to the highest level of technical play. League events are Regular events, which allows us to focus a lot on teaching you the game and the tournament structure. These events will be Competitive, like the Gentry Open. We decided to do this for two reasons. First, these events are for more serious players, and the prize on the line is important enough for some of those players that a higher standard of play is required. Secondly, we see that a lot of people are lost at the Open, when they are exposed to Competitive for the first time, even with the very friendly mentality we apply to it there. These events can serve as a testing ground, to ease into Competitive more.
  • Require decklists: A part of maintaining fair play is decklists to enforce players not to change their deck during the tournament, play an incorrect number of uncommons or rares or presideboard against certain opponents. There will be deck checks at this event for that reason. A fun side effect is that we will have access to more decklists to share on this site. So look forward to more meta-analyses on here as a consequence.
  • Use a standard swiss tournament structure: Where League events cap the number of rounds, these will have a number of rounds based on attendance, then a cut to a top group, followed by 2 or 3 single-elimination rounds. This is the same structure that is used for the Gentry Open. Starting at 13:00, that means people should finish the swiss rounds in time to get dinner and be ready for a night out.

9-16 players: 5 Rounds and top 4 single elimination
17-32 players: 5 Rounds and top 8 single elimination
33-64 players: 6 Rounds and top 8 single elimination

  • Prizes go to everyone with a winning record in the swiss: At the end of the swiss rounds, we give prizes to anyone that ended them with more than half wins. These prizes come from a pool of boosters that has 3 packs for every player in the event and will be given based on match result. The numbers below are a baseline that may be increased in odd cases.

For 5 rounds
10 boosters for 5-0
8 boosters for 4-0-1
6 boosters for 4-1
5 boosters for 3-1-1
4 boosters for 3-2

For 6 rounds
12 Boosters for 6-0
10 Boosters for 5-0-1
8 Boosters for 5-1
6 Boosters for 4-1-1
4 Boosters for 4-2
2 Boosters for 3-2-1

  • The winner after the single-elimination rounds gets a bye: The winner of every Event will get a bye to the next Gentry Open and a Gentry/League playmat. This change is implemented to make it more interesting for people that are coming from further to win something meaningful in the event. There will be extra prizes in the single-elimination rounds. These could be deckboxes, sleeves, and leftover boosters from the swiss payout system. A possible payout could be the one below:

Winner: Bye and playmat
Finalist: Deckbox, Pack of Sleeves, 6 Boosters
Semi-Finalist: Pack of sleeves, 3 Boosters
Quarter Finalist: Deckbox, 1 Booster

  • The accompanying Leaderboard might award a single bye: We are keeping the points-counting aspect of the leaderboard. In addition to giving points based on reversed standings after the swiss, you get 8 Points for winning, 6 for a finalist finish, 4 for semis, and 2 for quarters. At the end of the season, the player with most points that has not received a bye yet will get a bye as well if there are 64 players or more total in the Leaderboard’s ranking.
  • That Leaderboard will also determine a voting group for people to choose their Invitational champion: The top 5-8 Players in the Leaderboard after the January edition will be put in a voting system to select one or more to play in the Gentry Invitational that takes place in February. Exact details will be announced later as these depend on how successful this circuit is and how well others are doing.

The Invitational Qualifier

Around Christmas, there will be a Gentry Invitational Qualifier. The winner will get a slot in the February Gentry Invitational. More information will be available in the future, but it most likely will be a part of a charity event the League will be organizing. Parties that want to help are welcome to contact me.

The Gentry Invitational

The February edition of the Invitational currently features one name, Glenn Janssens, winner of the last Gentry Open. We are going to add a second name to that very short list right here, right now. There is someone that has been selected many times but ended up never making it due to earlier plans or illness. This person is also an original deck builder and has appeared in a few Opens. In order to make sure she can attend, I am happy to announce that Emma Mangodt will have a slot in the next edition of the Gentry Invitational. The date is still pending, as we wait for the 2020 Magic Fest calendar to set the date.
As mentioned before, a third name will be added through the Invitational Qualifier, and one or two will be voted off the Competitive Leaderboard. The rest will be selected by community nominations and motivations.

The Gentry Open X

In the end, it all leads up to the Gentry Open. We are already looking and planning to make this event at least as epic as editions up to now and we hope you are too. With a new Gentry community starting in Outpost Antwerp there is some new blood again. Every location that plays Gentry can get its own Leaderboard. If you live in one that plays Gentry regularly but does not have a leaderboard, contact me. With the changes to the Ghent leaderboard system, we are looser in what we are allowing.

See you on the Battlefield,

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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