By Niels Viaene

Regardless of what happens, the 6th event in the tournament series is always a special one. Because only your best 5 events count, from here on out, things start settling and we see who is really positioned well to go deep in the season. Due to the other Arena seasons starting big and tempering down towards the end, the people in the early lead were heavily favored since the points won scales on attendance.

With 22 players, the 6th episode was to largest event in the season. This was thanks to some people returning to Arena Gentry but also to 3 new players trying their hand at our favorite budget format. One even took it upon themself to build a new deck since they had entered with a Standard deck.

4-0 Nathan Gotlib
Rakdos Control

Deck (60)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
11 Swamp
Mountain
Bloodfell Caves
Cling to Dust
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Dead Weight
Duress
Grasp of Darkness
Chandra, Heart of Fire
Pestilent Haze
Underworld Dreams
Massacre Wurm
Revenge of Ravens
Cinderclasm
Scorching Dragonfire
Roil Eruption
Thrill of Possibility
Sideboard (15)
Suffocating Fumes
Duress
Grasp of Darkness
Mire’s Grasp
Shock
Feed the Swarm
Mind Drain
Pharika’s Libation

Nathan has been a little treasure in the community, bringing a new and original deck to every single event he has participated in so far, and he is currently 6 for 6 in the season!

His deck, even though it does not feature blue, the ubiquitous control color, falls definitely under that moniker. He has answers to anything and packs a bunch of very hard to answer cards to finish his opponents. The maindeck Underworld Dreams and Revenge of Ravens does show an almost awkward concession though. Either of these cards is going to be mostly dead in any given match-up but he needs them to be there in game 1 to make sure they have their impact before the enchantment hate comes out of the sideboard.

This deck is for real, but requires a lot of insight in both the working of the deck and that of your opponent to pilot well and will have some very awkward game 1’s where a bunch of possibly dead cards and only a few Thrill of Possibility to filter through them might make you more frustrated than you are prepared to handle.

4-0 Robbe Schildermans
Dimir Rogues

Deck (60)
Soaring Thought-Thief
Omen of the Sea
Nimana Skydancer
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Slitherwisp
Zareth San, the Trickster
Zulaport Duelist
Didn’t Say Please
Brazen Borrower
Drown in the Loch
Into the Story
Dismal Backwater
10 Island
10 Swamp
Heartless Act
Feed the Swarm
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Duress
Starlit Mantle
Essence Scatter
Feed the Swarm

On te other side of the deck spectrum we have Robbe’s Dimir Rogues. An archetype that has firmly taken its seat in the metagame but is truggling with very inconsistent results, often both in the hands of people that do really well and those that do really poor.

The deck has one of the strongest God hands on the play but can struggle if it is forced to interact with decks that have better pressure or a stronger card advantage engine. Don’t sleep on this deck, however, it looks like there will always be a Rogues deck waiting for your 3-0 match in the current meta.

3-1 Jamal Arman
Izzet Control

Deck (60)
Scorching Dragonfire
Mountain
Island
The Royal Scions
Jace, Mirror Mage
Sprite Dragon
Improbable Alliance
Rain of Revelation
Teferi, Master of Time
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Frantic Inventory
Opt
Sanctum of Calm Waters
Fire Prophecy
Swiftwater Cliffs
Evolving Wilds
Essence Scatter
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Volcanic Geyser
Sideboard (15)
Into the Roil
Fire Prophecy
Lofty Denial
Negate
Blazing Volley
Bubble Snare

Jamal gets a highlight here for being the top 3-1 player and sporting another pillar of the metagame in Izzet Control. The deck has a clear battle plan and flexible answers, making it a solid choice for a metagame that is still very much up in the air. The ‘accidental’ exile clauses on both of their marquee removal spells is responsible for keeping a bunch of the recursion decks that are popping up in check.

Jamal is also one of three first time players we saw in this event and I hope to see him return for another taste of victory.

3-1 Thijs Weytens
Mono-White Aggro

Deck (60)
Idyllic Grange
Garrison Cat
Sunlit Hoplite
Selfless Savior
Daybreak Charger
Luminarch Aspirant
Seasoned Hallowblade
Skyclave Apparition
Kabira Takedown
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Basri’s Acolyte
Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis
Daybreak Chimera
18 Plains
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
Fearless Fledgling
Eidolon of Inspiration
Sentinel’s Eyes
Sideboard (15)
Light of Hope
Revoke Existence
Nahiri’s Binding
Outflank
Disenchant
Feat of Resistance

Thijs brought mono-white aggro, together with mono red, THE aggro deck of the current metagame. Its plan is straightforward and simple, especially in the hyper aggressive version Thijs chose to run here. Definitely a good choice if you want to get into gentry without worrying too much about what your opponent brings to the table, I just hope you do not run into too many Pestilent Hazes.

3-1 Thomas Conmy
Simic Mutate

Deck (60)
Dreamtail Heron
Forest
Pouncing Shoreshark
Pollywog Symbiote
Sea-Dasher Octopus
Essence Symbiote
Island
Gemrazer
Auspicious Starrix
Migratory Greathorn
Eliminate
Thornwood Falls
Brokkos, Apex of Forever
Garruk’s Harbinger
Reave Soul
Blood Curdle
Dismal Backwater
Jungle Hollow
Swamp
Llanowar Visionary
Sideboard (15)
Return to Nature
Negate
Reave Soul
Ranger’s Guile
Destiny Spinner
Forever Young

The deck just keeps putting up good results, it seems like the black splash for some removal is really all this deck needed to get pushed over the edge. This deck can be scary to play against unconditional removal heavy decks, but if you like building that huge stack of triggers and really push your advantage, then this is the deck for you.

3-1 Renzo Verkooren
Sultai Ramp

Deck (60)
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Swamp
Island
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Forest
Polukranos, Unchained
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Feed the Swarm
Llanowar Visionary
Beanstalk Giant
Drown in the Loch
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Fierce Witchstalker
Merfolk Secretkeeper
Agonizing Remorse
Frantic Inventory
Thornwood Falls
Dismal Backwater
Jungle Hollow
Destiny Spinner
Sideboard (15)
Feed the Swarm
Duress
Blood Curdle
Return to Nature
Negate
Pestilent Haze
Trufflesnout

People have been trying to find the perfect cocktail of ramp and ramp targets, to varying success. Here Renzo brings a new iteration to the table, accentuated by that Merfolk Secretkeeper and Drown in the Loch Combo. Renzo did say he is planning on reworking it away from that duo, though, so expect new things in the future.

The metagame

Out of 22 players, 8 players brought blue-based control, 3 players played purely linear aggro decks, and 11 players brought strategies focused on midrange advantages through ramp or card advantage engines. When looking at the 3-1 or better lists they are slightly skewed towards control but that is also usually paired with more experienced competitive players.

Nathan has shown there is still room for innovation, and I for one look forward to what else is coming out of the pipeline.

The Leaderboard

With events ramping up in attendance, things are staying very interesting in the leaderboard, people at the top right now risk falling behind if this trend keeps up as we went from a maximum of 18 points to be gained to 30 points. That also means some of the people that did well in this tournament threaten to make a run for those top slots if and when they fill their 5 events. So if Jamal, Thomas and Renzo continue to do well in similarly sized events, they will be overtaking the current top players easily.

As a reminder, this event is running until a new set comes out in January, and is the longest season we have had so far, so nothing is lost! Did you read this but have no idea what event we are talking about, go to MTGMelee.com and if you want to connect with the rest of the community, go to facebook or discord. There will always be people there waiting to help you.

See you next Tuesday,
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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.