By Niels Viaene

This edition of the leaderboard marks the start of the second half of this season and comes with a reset. Everybody gets a fresh start to go for the top. This decision was made because the higher number of players in events during the isolation made it near impossible to catch up on the leaderboard.

When round 1 started, 20 players were digitally sleeved up and ready to go, of them 3 people that have never joined a Weekly before. That is a bit lower an attendance than we expected. Interestingly, a lot of the top players in the first part of the season did not attend this event. We expect them to come back and regain their positions, so expect some big shake-up after the 16th and 17th event.

4-0 Niels Viaene
Mono-B Aristocrats (Lurrus)

Companion (1)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Deck (60)
Cauldron Familiar
18 Swamp
Sanitarium Skeleton
Serrated Scorpion
Whisper Squad
Witch’s Oven
Burglar Rat
Lampad of Death’s Vigil
Priest of Forgotten Gods
Call of the Death-Dweller
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Witch’s Cottage
Castle Locthwain
Village Rites
Archfiend’s Vessel
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Duress
Mire’s Grasp
Spark Harvest
Pharika’s Libation

Oh look, it is me. I swear the fact that I am the organizer has nothing to do with my success in these events. Quite the contrary even, as anyone watching the stream will confirm. It is no coincidence ‘!punt’ is the most used command in my live stream.

The deck is a powerhouse, but it comes with a warning. If you do not get the unimpeded rush to 5/5 demons with you Archfiend’s Vessel, you are very much combating with a deck designed to just barely win that really punishes you for making small mistakes. In addition, it is very hard to play when you are behind if half your cards are silly one drop creatures meant to be good when editing. The deck still needs a little tweaking, but it is a very solid package already.

3-1 Renzo Verkooren
Mono-U Tempo

Deck (60)
Spectral Sailor
Narset’s Reversal
Faerie Vandal
Sea-Dasher Octopus
Opt
18 Island
Cloudkin Seer
Stern Dismissal
Lofty Denial
Quench
Mystic Sanctuary
Frantic Inventory
Pteramander
Brazen Borrower
Teferi, Master of Time
Radical Idea
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Keep Safe
Disdainful Stroke
Essence Scatter
Stern Dismissal
Cerulean Drake
Unsummon

The runner up in the event brought a take on a deck that borrows heavily from both Simic flash decks and Izzet Spells decks, taking the blue overlap and applying a tempo oriented strategy. The counter suite is currently clashing a little bit with Frantic Inventory for wanting the game to end soon and going long.

Being blue, it has a super flexible sideboard, so expect this deck, or blue-white versions of it, to be a part of the metagame going forward.

3-1 Robbe Schildermans
Temur Reclamation

Deck (60)
Wilderness Reclamation
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Growth Spiral
Negate
Chemister’s Insight
Essence Scatter
Mountain
Scorching Dragonfire
Island
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Flame Sweep
Expansion
Swiftwater Cliffs
God-Eternal Kefnet
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Quench
Thornwood Falls
Rugged Highlands
Evolving Wilds
Forest
Omen of the Sea
Narset, Parter of Veils
Sideboard (15)
Flame Sweep
Essence Scatter
Negate
Return to Nature
Cancel
Disdainful Stroke
Keep Safe
Fire Prophecy

When Volcanic Geyser was spoiled to be in M21, I immediately thought it was going to put Reclamation decks solidly on the map for Gentry. Robbe proves here that even without the addition, this deck has what it takes to take a 3-1 slot. After talking to him about it, he said he did not even know the card was available and should definitely put a few copies in the deck to have access to more finishing power and removal at the same time.

3-1 Kobe Keymeulen
Sultai Ramp

Deck (60)
Jungle Hollow
Arboreal Grazer
Forest
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Thornwood Falls
Dismal Backwater
Narset, Parter of Veils
Heartless Act
Tamiyo’s Epiphany
Deathsprout
Finishing Blow
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ugin, the Ineffable
Elspeth’s Nightmare
Cry of the Carnarium
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Meteor Golem
Agonizing Remorse
Essence Scatter
Duress
Eliminate
Drown in the Loch
Growth Spiral
Island
Swamp
Sideboard (15)
Wilt
Negate
Duress
Pharika’s Libation
Finishing Blow
Cancel
Dark Bargain
Arboreal Grazer
Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty

Kobe brought some spice to the event with this ramp-ey control deck. The play style is likely very much the same as Dimir Control but sacrifices off-turns by ramping out to bigger mana in order to make Ugin, the Spirit Dragon an actual stabilizer instead of “just” a finisher. Adding gree also allows the deck to deal with artifacts and enchantments, easign up one of the weaknesses Dimir Control decks still have.

3-1 Fran Olbrecht
Izzet Aggro

Deck (60)
Crackling Drake
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Sprite Dragon
Brazen Borrower
Island
Shock
Stormwing Entity
Thrill of Possibility
Improbable Alliance
Swiftwater Cliffs
Mountain
Steam Vents
Irencrag Pyromancer
Raking Claws
Crash Through
Frantic Inventory
Opt
Pteramander
Lofty Denial
Sideboard (15)
Burning Prophet
Flame Sweep
Shredded Sails
Negate
Scorching Dragonfire

Calling Izzet decks ‘aggro’ has been a near meme in the community lately, as the current iterations can barely even be called tempo decks. It seems Fran overheard some of these and decided to show people you really can aggro people with Izzet. He loaded up with Pteramander and Sprite Dragon, giving them the spell suit to put as much pressure on your opponent as possible. HE even dedicated a rare slot to Steam Vents!

The metagame

There was one other Izzet deck on 3-1 in the event, the 2nd draw version played by Andries Regniers that can be found in other articles that added Library Larcenist and Rousing Read to his deck. Other than that, this event was all about diversity with 17 different archetypes out of 20 players. And to be honest, that is rather freely putting significantly different decks under the same name. With a stricter eye, only Sultai Elementals had 2 players that had comparable decks.

In the end, the only companion deck of the pack won. A sign that companions are still problematic, or just a fluke? That is for you to helps us find out in the future.

Brew on!

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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