By Niels Viaene

For the fourth time in a row, we have a different region taking the top slot in the leaderboard, with Jelle Lauwers taking the lead after this 4th episode, having from the Merksem region. Do not disregard the other regions, though, as the top 4 currently has 4 different names. Notably missing is St Niklaas, but they have retake potential with Quinten’s finish and Mats being known to perform really well in Gentry. 29 people played in this edition as well, keeping the number of players remarkable stable as we continue.

4-0 Jelle Lauwers
Azorius Control

Deck (60)
Glass Casket
Plains
Banishing Light
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Realm-Cloaked Giant
Opt
Island
Negate
Omen of the Sea
Omen of the Sun
Thirst for Meaning
Chemister’s Insight
Tranquil Cove
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
The Birth of Meletis
Ominous Seas
Swamp
Dream Trawler
Essence Scatter
Ashiok, Dream Render
Narset, Parter of Veils
Dismal Backwater
Evolving Wilds
Elspeth’s Nightmare
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Keep Safe
Disdainful Stroke
Omen of the Sun
Clear the Mind
Essence Scatter
Pacifism
Disenchant
Light of Hope
Duress

Even though most people seem to agree that Black is best paired with Blue for optimal control, a few standouts are sticking to White’s flexibility in dealing with artifacts and enchantments for their choice. It makes for a deck that is a lot less forgiving when you make mistakes, and it is definitely less strong against very aggressive decks, but in the hands of a good player, it is a force to be reckoned with.

4-0 Ward Beutels
Izzet Drakes

Deck (60)
Opt
Mountain
Shock
Island
God-Eternal Kefnet
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Cathartic Reunion
Raking Claws
Sprite Dragon
Winged Words
Flame Sweep
Crackling Drake
Swiftwater Cliffs
Essence Scatter
Negate
Irencrag Pyromancer
Ominous Seas
Niv-Mizzet, Parun
Expansion
Sideboard (15)
Fire Prophecy
Raking Claws
Scorching Dragonfire
Negate
Quench
Thought Collapse
Didn’t Say Please

The name of this deck has fluctuated between ‘Spells’, ‘Drakes’, and ‘2nd Draw’, but Ward crushes the doubt here, going pretty much all in on both Crackling Drake and Sprite Dragon. He focuses heavily on getting one threat on the board and wrapping up the game through that. Since his Sprite Dragon can sneak under Essence Scatter, this deck is a nightmare for control to deal with while having Flame Sweep available to deal with aggressive rushes. A well-rounded deck that has what it takes to face any opponent. On top of that, it is very modular and can easily sideboard and shift victory conditions to adapt to different opponents and different metagames.

3-1 Ben Belmans
Simic Ramp

Deck (60)
Growth Spiral
13 Forest
11 Island
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Hydroid Krasis
Arboreal Grazer
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Leafkin Druid
Migratory Greathorn
Auspicious Starrix
Parcelbeast
Risen Reef
Incubation
Cloudkin Seer
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Ivy Elemental
Sideboard (14)
Disdainful Stroke
Negate
Stern Dismissal
Return to Nature
Clear the Mind
Mystical Dispute

One deck that deserves highlighting is Ben’s Simic Ramp taking three wins. He shows a flexible base that can be quite troublesome for a lot of decks but might miss some interaction to fight back against control. He chose not to go with Umori, the Collector to allow him to play more interaction. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen, but it is a good indication that just because you technically CAN play a companion, it is not always the correct decision to do so.

3-1 Sander De Quick
Dimir Control

Deck (60)
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Dismal Backwater
Dimir Guildgate
Lochmere Serpent
Ugin, the Ineffable
Chemister’s Insight
Omen of the Sea
Cry of the Carnarium
Narset, Parter of Veils
Essence Scatter
Devious Cover-Up
Island
Swamp
Murder
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Ashiok, Dream Render
Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor
Negate
Quench
Ominous Seas
Mystic Sanctuary
Sideboard (15)
Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty
Negate
Duress
Sorin’s Thirst
Quench
Pharika’s Libation

Dimir Control was a deck I touted as a great contender for the metagame when it was dominated by Boros Cycling. They are currently on the rise but are doing so without their nemesis as most people are no longer playing Cycling believing it has already been nerfed. That also means that control is currently all over the place with Dimir, Azorius, and Esper versions popping up left and right. They are often supported with many Planeswalkers, as we see here, but it seems there is a lot of variation that is still available.

On another note, it is great to see Sander return to Gentry after a short break and to see him on an archetype he enjoys playing.

Conclusion

We are about to arrive at the 5th Episode of this event. That is when the points start to really show how good players are. If you want to catch up, it is in your best interests to help the event grow, as your points are directly dependant on it. Since we are only counting your top 5 performances point wise, it is always interesting to bring in more people and to keep playing, you will never lose points by doing that.

See you at the next event,
Niels

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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