By Niels Viaene

Those of you that know me, probably know I like janky combo decks and decks that dork around before trying to actually win. Before rotation, I played Mayhem Devil Machine gun. Focused around Mayhem Devil and effects that made Treasures, like Ruthless Knave. After rotation, someone came to me and said, I must be happy to see Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven. At that time I only saw the missing potential for an explosive finish like I had gotten used to with my previous deck and dismissed it as too cute.

Seeing how strong that shell is in regular standard, though, made me reconsider, and I decided to start brewing. Please note that all decklists in this article are untested and would need some polishing to reach a state of being Competitively viable.

Mono Black

Since Oven is an artifact, we can try to stay monocolored. There are many advantages to do so, but most of them are for tempo and consistency of our mana base. In Gentry, playing multiple colors directly means a part of our lands will be coming into play tapped. This makes decks a lot slower. We can avoid this by staying mono colored. It also makes adding cards like Ayara a lot less painful to add to our decks.

To build an actual deck I went looking for ways to get more out of having the combo going, as having a free chump blocker every turn while draining your opponent for 1 is not strong enough to warrant inclusion of its own.

After some scribbling, I ended up with the following list.

Main deck (60)
20 Swamp
Witch’s Cottage
Cauldron Familiar
Burglar Rats
Lazotep Reaver
Plaguecrafter
Sorcerer’s Broom
Ayara, First of Lochtwain
Midnight Reaper
Dread Presence
Spark Reaper
Duress
Witch’s Oven
Spark Harvest
Epic Downfall
Foreboding Fruit
Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty
Liliana, Dreadhorde General

I kept feeling like the deck was missing something after finishing this build. I really lacks a bit of Food support and pretty much needs its rares to pair with the engine or not much is happening. Maybe in the future, when more cards are released that trigger on sacrifice, or creatures dieing, this will become more interesting. I considered Syr Konrad, the Grim and Vindictive Vampire, but going down that path put me on a completely different deck… *wink wink*

Rakdos

Splashing red gives us the mighty Mayhem Devil and its sister, Judith, the Scourge Dive.

There are different ways to build a Rakdos deck. I went with a more disruptive build that aims to take the game a little slower than it might be able to. An aggro version would play a lot more actual Rakdos Aggro cards than I ended up with. Footlight Fiend and Fireblade Artist would likely be in that list. I tried building a deck like that a while ago, though, and I really did not enjoy playing that version so here is mine:

Main deck (61)
Bloodfell Caves
Evolving Wilds
Mountain
12 Swamp
Witch’s Cottage
Cauldron Familiar
Burglar Rat
Lazotep Reaper
Mayhem Devil
Plaguecrafter
Spark Reaper
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Lilianna, Dreadhorde General
Grim Reaper
God-Eternal Bontu
Witch’s Over
Duress
Spark Harvest
Bladebrand
Thrill of Possibilities

This deck looks a lot more fun and interesting to play to me. I am still missing some better food interactions but at least I will be building advantage while cooking my cats.

Golgari

Ah, Green-Black, the more culinary of color combinations, for sure. Here, we get access to Trail of Crumbs, which sates both our desire for a trigger off the cat combo, and fitting better in a food supporting role. In addition, there are some interesting support cards to be found in Green.

In standard, this is where the deck gets its stream of food tokens, Golden Goose lays infinite eggs for them. Sadly, the goose is not worth it in Gentry, and we have to look elsewhere to get nourished.

Main deck (60)
Jungle Hollow
Evolving Wilds
Swamp
10 Forest
Gingerbread Cabin
Cauldron Familiar
Arboreal Grazer
Thrashing Brontodon
Grim Reaper
Fierce Witchstalker
Duress
Spark Harvest
Witch’s Oven
Trails of Crumbs
Epic Downfall
Aid the fallen
Golden Egg
Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
The Great Henge

This is the first time we are cutting down on our combo, but since Trail of Crumbs helps us find pieces, I feel it is justified. This deck has all the tools it needs to fight back against a deck like Gates, but will struggle against everything that aims to go wide, like Elementals and 2nd Draw. If you want to prepare better for those, cut some Epic Downfall and Thrashing Brontodon to make space for Cry of the Carnarium.

Jund

We have seen the version that supports food, we have seen the version that has better triggers, what happens when we try to combine them. Will it be pure bliss or the equivalent of putting pickles on ice cream?

Fitting in Mayhem Devil and Trail of Crumbs forces us to make some sacrifices in consistency. Luckily the Trail will help us overcome this.

Main Deck (61)
Evolving Wilds
Rugged Highland
Jungle Hollow
Bloodfell Caves
Mountain
Forest
Swamp
Cauldron Familiar
Arboreal Grazer
Mayhem Devil
Fierce Witchstalker
Korvold, the Fae-cursed
Witch’s Oven
Duress
Spark Harvest
Golden Egg
Aid the Fallen
Epic Downfall
Trail of Crumbs
Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
The Great Henge

Is this the best deck, then? It pings away tokens, has answers against big recurring creatures, can kill a planeswalker and drown control decks under card advantage. Who knows, it might be. It might be exactly what the format needs, or it might be trying to do way too many different things. I will be testing different versions and I hope to see it around.

For the record, these decks often feature the same cards, there is a reason for that. The configuration of 2 Duress, 2 Spark Harvest (if you have the fodder for it) and 2 Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty gives you a solid starting point to sideboard from while rarely being useless.

On the other hand, if you feel like you won’t be able to build these decks because you are short a specific rare, don’t. There are plenty of other cards you can use that fit pretty well in these decks. Priest of Forgotten Gods, Cavalier of Night and Rankle, Master of Pranks were in my decks at some point as well.

That is all for my right now, may you find how you prefer to cook your cat,
Niels Viaene

P.S. Remember the wink? I tried making a Dimir version of the deck, but a deck idea that was pitched by Frederik Mortier kept popping into my head and suddenly this was on my scribbling sheet:

Main deck (61)
Dismal Backwater
Dimir Guildgate
Island
Swamp
Secretkeeper
Order of Midnight
Burglar Rat
Lazav, the Multifarious
Wall of lost Thoughts
Gorging Vulture
Syr Konrad, the Grim
Doom Whisperer
Massacre Girl
God-Eternal Bontu
Lotleth Troll
Spark Harvest
Duress
Forever Young
Blood for Bones

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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