By Niels Viaene
Throw together a delerious cocktail of returning players, former dethrone and scored champions, a re-emerging archetype and you get the 5th installment of the longest Gentry Arena season to date.
Before we dive into the talks about decklists and players, let’s focus on why the fifth event is interesting and important in the structure of the season.
Top 5 Matters
In a season, you get points for your 5 best performing events. Considering the current event will run into January, and will have over 20 episodes that means there is plenty of time to jump in and make a run for the leaderboard. This leaderboard, unlike previous ones, started off small and is picking up a little steam, so that means there is no bonus for early players to ride on as long as the numbers stay the sane or keep going up.
All of this also means that people that have not yet played in 5 events are poised to rush up the leaderboard very suddenly when they fill out their capped number of events, so don’t be surprised if you see the top 8 players get shaken up by a ‘newcomer’.
In that regard, Karl Lister is THE person to keep an eye out for, as he is currently sitting in 9th place and has 2 whole events to add to his score card before he can fairly measure up to the rest of the players!
4-0 Teddie Andersson
Teddie did not take kindly to being dethroned and brought an archetype to the fray many seemed to have forgotten about. I got paired against him in the first round a sorely missed my Blazing Volley in my sideboard, cut because there were not enough deck to bring it in against.
Izzet control never really lost that much power and can still rely on the most resilient threats in the form of Improbably Alliance and Ominous Seas. Here, Teddie chose to go for Sprite Dragon over the slower enchantment and adjusted hist spell package accordingly. Also note he is playing 7 removal spells that exile, responding to a trend in the metagame of working with recurring threats.
4-0 Karl Lister
If Teddie is the player and deck coming back with a vengence, then Karl is the fresh young hero bringing some toys that a lot of people deemed unfit for the job in Simic mutate. By adding black for removal, Karl added just enough interaction to get his multi-mutating monsters to go the distance. Is this result a fluke or a showcase of the new archetype to beat remains to be seen, but I am sure many players will be happy to see Big monsters take the big stage in this event.
3-1 Lars Meeussen
Multiple players are trying to break the golgari recurring value engines that are available at the moment. Lower in the rankings we find a dedicated food deck and a dedicated graveyard recursion deck but it was Lars with his hybrid build that took top honors in this party. There seems to be an optimal deck hiding in all those moving parts but for now it seems unclear if the final deck will be focused on Savvy Hunter or Silversmote Ghoul. The other option is getting a card in the future that breaks Deathless Knight but for now, that card is on support duty.
3-1 Robbe Schildermans
Robbe was the only Rogues player that managed to go above break even as we see other people testing out other waters with more interactive builds, often eschewing Into the Story. Of course all the small mills are helping decks with Frantic Inventory and aforementioned recursion engines so maybe the shift in metagame is causing this drop in performance. A fact, though, is that the previously called ‘best deck’ did not manage to win more than 50% of its’ games this event!
Teddie sits back on the throne with a modest lead of 5 points which would not be that much but you have to consider again that gaining points for people that already have 5 events is going to become increasingly hard from here on out. We still need to see how some of the chasers on 4 or even 3 events (looking at that Karl Lister guy again) will be doing as well as some of the 5 eveters that have started this season off pretty poor but have shown in the past they have what it takes.
Our last week’s leader dropped to 3rd place and suddenly has 9 points to catch up to in order to secure that top spot again. In the meantime Robbe is the lone Ghent representative in the tops slots with myself as the second one a whopping 21 points behind the leader. It is time to step up Ghent!
Want to join this event series on Magic Arena? Head over to MTGMelee, make a free account, and join the free events :D.
Looking forward to the future,