By Niels Viaene

Smack dab in the middle of a second wave, the twelfth season of Gentry has started on Arena. This is the longest season of the year, running all the way into January, good for 15 or 16 events! So far nothing has changed from how we ran the second split of the previous season and we intend to keep it that way all the way into the April edition of the Gentry Open.

We have had a prelude and the first two events so far. The prelude was just to try out some new things and did not count towards the leaderboard. The two events have been processed and is available in the usual place. Both leaderboard events had 15 players, with new players still coming in and discovering Gentry for themselves. A independent organizer has also picked up Gentry and seems to be interested in having a monthly event, so that might be a nice source of decklists and strategy as well.

Let’s have a look at some of the notable decklists…

Prelude 4-0 Izzet Control
Teddie Anderson

Deck (60)
Shock
Mountain
Island
The Royal Scions
Jace, Mirror Mage
Ominous Seas
Improbable Alliance
Lofty Denial
Teferi, Master of Time
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Frantic Inventory
Omen of the Sea
Thirst for Meaning
Fire Prophecy
Swiftwater Cliffs
Evolving Wilds
Essence Scatter
Negate
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Radiant Fountain
Sideboard (15)
Teferi’s Tutelage
Scorching Dragonfire
Mystical Dispute
Cancel
Negate
Shock
Cinderclasm
Molten Blast

Izzet Control looks like it is one of the strongest surviving archetypes. The combination of Improbable alliance and Ominous Seas offers difficult to answer threats and leaves a lot of room for the deck to play around a lot of different strategies. There are some new toys as well, but Teddie had not implemented these at this point. Cinderclasm is leading that charge and will surely find its way into these decklists if the metagame calls for sweepers.

Prelude 3-1 Omnath Ramp
Alan Schuer

Deck (60)
Didn’t Say Please
Bala Ged Recovery
Mountain
Omen of the Sea
Vastwood Surge
Genesis Ultimatum
Llanowar Visionary
Cultivate
Volcanic Geyser
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Phylath, World Sculptor
Fire Prophecy
Forest
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Beanstalk Giant
Plains
Reclaim the Wastes
Island
Cinderclasm
Swiftwater Cliffs
Thornwood Falls
Rugged Highlands
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Essence Scatter
Scorching Dragonfire
Return to Nature

Alan’s tested way of porting decks from Standard to Gentry made him bring ramp to the fray. Leaning on Elvish Visionary and Beanstalk Giant makes for a less explosive variant of the deck, but one with a lot more staying power than we have seen before.

Prelude 3-1 Mono-Red
Thanh Van

Deck (60)
Seven Dwarves
18 Mountain
Embercleave
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Raking Claws
Drannith Stinger
Footfall Crater
Song-Mad Treachery
Akoum Hellhound
Roil Eruption
Dwarven Mine
Chandra, Heart of Fire
Shadowspear
Fireblade Charger
Spikefield Hazard
Sideboard (15)
Blazing Volley
Embereth Paladin
Shredded Sails
Prickly Marmoset
Scorching Dragonfire
Iroas’s Blessing

If anything, Thanh showed us that Seven Dwarves is at a power level that is competitive in Gentry. Even finding just the second dwarf gets you a couple 3/3’s for 2 mana and leaves mane open for interaction with your opponents’ cheap threats. I am personally not sold on the cycling subtheme, but there is definitely still a place in Gentry for Anax, Hardened in the Forge supported by little friends. Which flavor of Mono-red will end up the best remains to be seen, because Chandra’s Pyreling is not something you should sleep on either.

Episode 1: 4-0 Dimir Rogues
Alan Schuer

Deck (60)
Merfolk Windrobber
Island
Zulaport Duelist
Brazen Borrower
Drown in the Loch
Swamp
Nighthawk Scavenger
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Soaring Thought-Thief
Zareth San, the Trickster
Heartless Act
Nimana Skydancer
Didn’t Say Please
Lofty Denial
Grasp of Darkness
Dismal Backwater
Sideboard (15)
Into the Roil
Negate
Pharika’s Libation
Duress
Essence Scatter

Porting another Standard deck, Alan brought Rogues to the first event that mattered to the leaderboard and easily swept it. It reminds us very strongly of the monoblue aggro deck that won a Gentry Open in the hands of Steven Naudts, albeit with a stronger flash angle to it.

Episode 1: 3-1 Mono-Black Aristocrats
Niels Viaene

Deck (60)
Serrated Scorpion
Witch’s Cauldron
Village Rites
Call of the Death-Dweller
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Discordant Piper
Lampad of Death’s Vigil
Taborax, Hope’s Demise
Archfiend’s Vessel
Bastion of Remembrance
23 Swamp
Whisper Squad
Fiend Artisan
Ayara, First of Locthwain
Sideboard (15)
Feed the Swarm
Duress
Omen of the Dead
Bake into a Pie
Liliana’s Steward

The Aristocrat deck did not lose that much in rotation, Mayhem Devil being the biggest loss, but Bastion of Remembrance does a good job of replacing it. The deck has become slower than it was and is missing some resilience since it is still missing the Cat + Oven Combo but it is definitely still viable. Whether this version, or a version adding red for Weaponise the monsters will end up on top is something that remains to be seen.

Episode 1: 3-1 Dimir Control
Sander De Quick

Deck (60)
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Dismal Backwater
Evolving Wilds
Lochmere Serpent
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Omen of the Sea
Shark Typhoon
Anticognition
Merfolk Secretkeeper
Swamp
Eliminate
Island
Didn’t Say Please
Frantic Inventory
Pestilent Haze
Into the Story
Drown in the Loch
Teferi’s Tutelage
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Finishing Blow
Zulaport Duelist
Negate
Into the Roil
Feed the Swarm

As the perpetual control player, everyone expected Sander to show up with a tuned and updated version of Dimir Control. He did not disappoint, and brought a light mill version of the deck that leans on Drown in the Loch and Into the Story to pull ahead in the fight. Milling is not so much a goal as a means to an end in this deck, having very little intention to win by depleting your entire graveyard.
Sander did say that the Secretkeepers have been underperforming for him, though, so look out for updated versions popping up.

Episode 1: 3-1 Rakdos Party Aggro
Thanh Van

Companion (1)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Deck (60)
Deadly Alliance
Archfiend’s Vessel
Malakir Blood-Priest
Bloodfell Caves
Call of the Death-Dweller
Robber of the Rich
Swamp
Village Rites
Fireblade Charger
Grotag Bug-Catcher
Fissure Wizard
Acquisitions Expert
Castle Locthwain
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Feed the Swarm
Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Shock
Feed the Swarm
Shredded Sails
Duress
Mind Drain
Scorching Dragonfire

The ‘party’ mechanic seems something tailormade for Gentry in many ways but it has not really found a home just yet. Thanh managed a 3-1 finish with this very aggressive take on the archetype while hiding some lategame surprises in Archfiend’s Vessel plus Call of the Death-Dweller. I wonder how many times that turned out to be relevant, as it is a rather big concession to you uncommon slots and he does not really have much in the way of enabling it. A more straight forward aggro approach might be more interesting. Time will tell!

Episode 2: 4-0 Dimir Mill
Teddie Anderson

Deck (60)
Teferi’s Tutelage
Ruin Crab
Drown in the Loch
Into the Story
Evolving Wilds
Opt
Frantic Inventory
Didn’t Say Please
Anticognition
Grasp of Darkness
Feed the Swarm
Island
Swamp
Dismal Backwater
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Lochmere Serpent
Jace, Mirror Mage
Teferi, Master of Time
Radiant Fountain
Sideboard (15)
Merfolk Secretkeeper
Feed the Swarm
Grasp of Darkness
Duress
Negate
Suffocating Fumes
Deadly Alliance

Where mill was a tool for Sander earlier, here it is the strategy and the weapon to go for the win. Teddie fully aims to reduce your deck to zero cards and win that way. Ruin Crab with Evolving Wilds supported with Teferi’s Tutelage and power draw in the form of Into the Story and Frantic Inventory will make sure that graveyard keeps growing. Dedicating extra slots to this means he has a less strong control suit but the game plan is just so much harder to deal with.

Episode 2: 3-1 Jund Ramp
Cyril Germain

Deck (60)
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Llanowar Visionary
Eliminate
Terror of the Peaks
Polukranos, Unchained
Beanstalk Giant
Cultivate
Migratory Greathorn
Fierce Witchstalker
Agonizing Remorse
Boneyard Lurker
Auspicious Starrix
Scorching Dragonfire
Mountain
Forest
Swamp
Bloodfell Caves
Rugged Highlands
Jungle Hollow
Roil Eruption
Adventurous Impulse
Murder
Feed the Swarm
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Scorching Dragonfire
Blazing Volley
Return to Nature
Trufflesnout
Pharika’s Libation

As a new player to the Gentry community, Cyril brought in a deck that might just end up being the template for Ramp decks to come. Adding in the Mutate package does expose him harder to something Ramp decks are naturally weak to, which is getting your big threats taken out by removal, making it a rough match-up against Black Control decks especially.

Episode 2: 3-1 Mono-White Aggro
Thomas Little

Deck (60)
Seasoned Hallowblade
Faerie Guidemother
Selfless Savior
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Dauntless Unity
Anointed Chorister
Farsight Adept
Maul of the Skyclaves
Glorious Anthem
Basri Ket
Skyclave Apparition
Garrison Cat
Daybreak Charger
Idyllic Grange
20 Plains
Basri’s Solidarity
Sideboard (15)
Pacifism
Revoke Existence
Nahiri’s Binding
Checkpoint Officer
Deafening Silence
Leonin of the Lost Pride

Going for something straightforward and simple can pay off greatly, and Thanh is the currently the king of showing that theorem off. He went from playing moo red to a feature to playing mono white to a feature in this article. Here he shows that small aggressive creatures with a bunch of interesting protective or evasive abilities supported by team-wide buffs is still an amazing way to pressure your opponents.

Seasoned Hallowblade, in particular, could become one very influential card in the metagame, as there is no marquee exiling or -x/-x removal spell currently played in the format, making this a near unkillable threat.

The Metagame

That is all we have for now. It seems like the metagame is exploring different options with dimir Rogues, Dimir Mill, Izzet Control, Ramp and straight aggro getting a slice of the action.
Things are far from solved, though, as we see a lot of people still trying fresh new things like Gruul Landfall, Simic kicker, Warrior aggro, Selesnya tokens, Grixis Control and Cleric Midrange just a win away from being featured here too. Let’s see what else the metagame brings!

Hoping to get to feature your brews in future news,
Niels Viaene

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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