By Niels Viaene

21 players logged in for the 12th edition of the Gentry Weekly, the second of the M21 half of the season. One new player came in, welcome Matthew Lee to the community. As far as p[layers go, the big story was that the ‘other half’ of the competitive community joined in for this event, but we also had a bunch of people that were there for the first event not showing up. That means that those that did well in both took a sizable lead. Much like last split, we will see that lead diminish as we go into the 6th and 7th events, neutralizing the advantage these players had. It is still a good time to jump in the Leaderboard if you are interested, as there will be 11 events in total, and only your best 5 will count for your final score.

4-0 Peter Steenbeke
Orzhov Lurrus

Companion (1)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Deck (60)
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Swamp
Plains
Ajani’s Pridemate
Kaya’s Ghostform
Shadowspear
Lampad of Death’s Vigil
Dead Weight
Mire’s Grasp
Castle Locthwain
Archfiend’s Vessel
Scoured Barrens
Healer’s Hawk
Murder
Orzhov Guildgate
Omen of the Dead
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Hateful Eidolon
Call of the Death-Dweller
Memory Leak
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Duress
Revoke Existence
Light of Hope
Duress
Dead Weight
Suffocating Fumes
Murder
Mire’s Grasp
Spark Harvest
Pharika’s Libation

Peter brought his card advantage focused version of Lurrus. A very different deck from the one I brought last week in mono-black. In the above deck, the focus is very heavily on setting up a cycle around the ability of Lurrus, and protecting the nightmare kitty. The deck does not put up[ as much pressure as the mono-black version does, but has a lot more interaction and protection as a pay-off.

4-0 Kristof Van Holsbeeck
Azorius Control

Deck (60)
Essence Scatter
11 Island
The Birth of Meletis
Banishing Light
Swift Response
Tranquil Cove
Realm-Cloaked Giant
Mystic Sanctuary
Opt
Plains
Chemister’s Insight
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Didn’t Say Please
Omen of the Sea
Quench
Prison Realm
Thirst for Meaning
Dream Trawler
Time Wipe
Evolving Wilds
Devious Cover-Up
Neutralize
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Disdainful Stroke
Swift Response
Mystical Dispute
Disenchant
Devious Cover-Up
Whisper Agent

This is clearly a pet deck for Kristof, and one he has had great results with so far. Barring those Swift Responses, no updates with M21 have been made. It is interesting how little attention people have to this deck, and choose to focus on the Cry of the Carnarium sporting Dimir Control decks, when this deck has put up crazy results. Admittedly, it did so in the hands of a former Belgian champion, but still.

3-1 Renzo Verkooren
Sultai Ramp

Deck (60)
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Swamp
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ugin, the Ineffable
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Island
Narset, Parter of Veils
Forest
Arlinn, Voice of the Pack
Heartless Act
Eliminate
Deathsprout
Growth Spiral
Thornwood Falls
Dismal Backwater
Jungle Hollow
Frantic Inventory
Cry of the Carnarium
Essence Scatter
Meteor Golem
Finishing Blow
Negate
Grotesque Demise
Tyrant’s Scorn
Dimir Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Beanstalk Giant
Rain of Revelation
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Negate
Fierce Witchstalker
Return to Nature
Grotesque Demise

When looking at the 3-1 slot, it seems like finding the best Growth Spiral deck is the subtheme of this week’s event. Renzo went with a dedicated Ramp-Control Shell aiming to jam a big planeswalker with protection ahead of the curve as his path to victory.

3-1 Sander De Quick
Sultai Control

Deck (60)
Growth Spiral
Island
Swamp
Essence Scatter
Negate
Eliminate
Forest
Arboreal Grazer
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Gatebreaker Ram
Gate Colossus
Chemister’s Insight
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Mystical Dispute
Murder
Omen of the Sea
Dimir Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Sideboard (15)
Cry of the Carnarium
Duress
Return to Nature
Devious Cover-Up
Negate
Ranger’s Guile

Sander took Growth Spiral back to it’s Gentry core, pairing it up with Gatebreaker Ram as both protection and distraction from his planeswalkers. I am sure it “accidentally” won a game here and there as well. This really is not a ramp deck in the way Renzo designed his deck, even though a lot in the two decks aligns.

3-1 Niels Viaene
Temur Reclamation

Deck (60)
Wilderness Reclamation
Forest
Invert
Mountain
Island
Expansion
Volcanic Geyser
Growth Spiral
Flame Sweep
Chemister’s Insight
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Frantic Inventory
Scorching Dragonfire
Essence Scatter
Nightpack Ambusher
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Thornwood Falls
Swiftwater Cliffs
Rugged Highlands
Negate
Quench
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Sideboard (15)
Flame Sweep
Essence Scatter
Return to Nature
Negate
Disdainful Stroke
Cancel
Shock

It looks like reclamation decks are here to stay. Niels’ deck leans heaily on the design by Robbe Schildermans. Some changes were made but the deck needs a bunch of optimisations. For example, there is no Sorcery for Invert//Invest to find, a flearly suboptimal design choice.

3-1 Jens Goethals
Izzet Dragons

Deck (60)
Sprite Dragon
Mountain
Island
Steam Vents
Swiftwater Cliffs
Swiftwater Cliffs
Opt
Stormwing Entity
Crash Through
Crash Through
Infuriate
Infuriate
Shock
Raking Claws
Light Up the Stage
Frantic Inventory
Izzet Guildgate
Crackling Drake
The Royal Scions
Expansion
Riddleform
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Lofty Denial
Essence Scatter
Scorching Dragonfire
Stern Dismissal
Shock
Shredded Sails
Blazing Volley

Our final 3-1 player is on Izzet Dragons, an archetype that can be build in many different ways (we have an article coming up shortly to illustrate). This version, with Riddleform, Light up the Stage and Infuriate might be one of the most aggressive shells we have ever seen for the deck and is sure to bring a smile to the face of Thijs Weytens, our resident Izzet specialist.

The meta

Looking at top-performing decks can give you an idea of what to prepare for, but seeing how popular decks are doing can teach you what is going on. In that regard, the big story is Mono-black Lurrus being unable to give any of its 3 pilots more than 2 wins. I warned people the win-chance for this deck teeters on a very thin edge but even with the adjustments made, people struggled.
Temur Reclamation had 4 players choosing to play the deck, but they struggled even worse, as they were unable to secure 2 wins per player across the board.
Dimir Control decks have all disappeared and have been replaced by people adding green to the shell in a myriad of different ways.
My only conclusion is that the format is still very much in flux, new decks are rising to the top to contend with established archetypes. Who will come out the victor is yet to be seen.

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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