By Niels Viaene

Episode & settled back into a more representative number of players, which, with 17 attendees, was still above average for the current season. We saw the return of one of the 3 new players of episode 6 and the introduction of a new archetype at 3-1. Let’s dive in.

4-0 Jelle Lauwers
Izzet Control

Deck (60)
Bubble Snare
12 Island
Opt
Roost of Drakes
Into the Roil
Frantic Inventory
Brazen Borrower
Lofty Denial
Jace, Mirror Mage
Thirst for Meaning
Teferi, Master of Time
Weaponize the Monsters
Mountain
Scorching Dragonfire
Roil Eruption
Improbable Alliance
The Royal Scions
Swiftwater Cliffs
Sideboard (15)
Blazing Volley
Scorching Dragonfire
Bubble Snare
Negate
Teferi’s Tutelage
Mystical Dispute

Jelle is an established competitive Magic player in Belgium, and has been very present in Gentry even though he is from a more isolated part of the country when it comes to our own little format. We often see him running well optimised versions of control decks and do very well with them.

Izzet is the wax and wane deck of the format it seems, it is always present but has breakout moments when the time is ripe. This week, two players managed a positive record with it, with another deck we will see later pretty heavily overlapping them. The deck is solid, is flexibel in how you can build and play it and has access to a lot of tools that are randomly important in the currect metagame (exile effects are suddenly pretty relevant again). This makes it a very grateful archetype to turn to and stick with as you can always adapt it to its needs by shifting around both your blue and red interaction spells.

That interaction is visible in multiples in Jelle’s deck that ignores many of the theorems that Izzet follows these days. His decision to go with Roost of Drakes pushed him to play many cards we rarely see in Izzet. Into the Roil is the one that has the biggest impact on how this changes what kind of deck it is as bouncing something is a kind of utility that many of the others are missing. He also decided to go with Weaponize the Monsters to gain more pressure and interaction. Right now this is more of a pet deck than an evolution, but a further shift in the metagame, or the printing of more interesting kicker cards could turn this into the base version of Izzet.

3-1 Alexander Silnichenko
Orzhov Humans

Deck (60)
Luminarch Aspirant
Plains
Seasoned Hallowblade
Sanctuary Lockdown
Bastion of Remembrance
11 Swamp
General’s Enforcer
Dire Tactics
General Kudro of Drannith
Luminous Broodmoth
Demonic Embrace
Whisper Squad
Village Rites
Lampad of Death’s Vigil
Nightsquad Commando
Blood Curdle
Lurking Deadeye
Grasp of Darkness
Evolving Wilds
Sideboard (15)
Checkpoint Officer
Disenchant
Feed the Swarm
Grasp of Darkness
Forever Young
Omen of the Dead
Omen of the Sun

Alexander is that returning new player from episode 6. Most likely he found the events through MTGMelee, gave it a go and decided to come back for more.

And oh boy did he come back with more. His Orzhov Humans deck combines hard to answer threats in Seasoned Hallowblad and Bastion of Rememberance with ‘accidental hatepieces’ like General’s Enforcer and General Kudro of Drannith, add in Dire Tactics as a super flexible answer and you have a recipe for domination.
The deck IS stretched on its uncommons, I am sure Alexander would have loved a third Sanctuary Lockdown (very in theme with the current happenings in real life) or a fourth Dire Tactics, but such is the deal in Gentry. It looks like there is some room for optimisation, a better rare than Luminarch Aspirant and finding room for Duress is my first instinct. In the end, I expect this deck to remain relevant for a while as it addresses something interesting happening in the metagame (more on that later).

3-1 Teddie Andersson
Grixis Control

Deck (60)
Scorching Dragonfire
Mountain
Island
The Royal Scions
Jace, Mirror Mage
Sprite Dragon
Improbable Alliance
Rain of Revelation
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Frantic Inventory
Opt
Sanctum of Calm Waters
Feed the Swarm
Swiftwater Cliffs
Lofty Denial
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Fire Prophecy
Dismal Backwater
Bloodfell Caves
Sideboard (15)
Fire Prophecy
Negate
Blazing Volley
Feed the Swarm
Revenge of Ravens
Essence Scatter

Teddie is one of our Swedish mainstays. He has been at the top of the Leaderbard since there has been a combined Arena circuit.

He comes with a deck that is essentially Izzet with a solution to enchantments, the one weakness that deck has. Considering it is good in the mirror, good against Bastion of Rememberance, and against other random decks that need Weaponize the Monsters to win against him it seems like a solid strategy. He chose black’s Feed the Swarm over White’s Disenchant or Green’s Return to nature in order to keep it maindeck and not be dead in many situations, which I find interesting and really showcases an advanced way of thinking about deckbuilding.

3-1 Niels Viaene
Mono-Red Sacrifice

Companion (1)
Obosh, the Preypiercer

Deck (60)
Goblin Arsonist
17 Mountain
Shock
Spikefield Hazard
Weaponize the Monsters
Weaselback Redcap
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Heraldic Banner
Akoum Hellhound
Satyr’s Cunning
Infuriate
Phoenix of Ash
Bonecrusher Giant
Castle Embereth
Dwarven Mine
Sideboard (15)
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Final Flare
Blazing Volley
Destructive Tampering
Satyr’s Cunning
Searing Barrage

Oh hi, it is me! It has been quite a while since I broke into the 3-1 club. I do try to keep bringing underplayed or new decks and with control being so strong out of the gates I have been struggling. I also do not tend to stick with a deck to optimize it in Arena, making it harder to perform well.

That said, this deck is not really of my own design. I pretty much copied Thanh Van’s deck from episode 3 and optimsed the list a little.
We currently have different ‘flavors’ of Mono-Red. One focused heavily on Chandra’s Pireling, another is a more straightforward aggro burn deck and then there is the sacrifice path with Weaponize the Mosters, which is the one that best uses Anax, Hardened in the Forge, a card played by all the different versions.

Of note, I made some mistakes in the sideboard, and I am not sure what an optimal red sideboard looks like right now so if you want to copy a list and go for this one, think about that.

3-1 Ben Belmans
Gruul Ramp

Deck (60)
Kazuul’s Fury
Mountain
Radha, Heart of Keld
Scute Swarm
Terror of the Peaks
Evolving Wilds
Llanowar Visionary
Ilysian Caryatid
Cultivate
Beanstalk Giant
Fierce Witchstalker
Migratory Greathorn
Roil Eruption
Scorching Dragonfire
Auspicious Starrix
12 Forest
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Ranger’s Guile
Chainweb Aracnir
Destiny Spinner
Sideboard (15)
Roil Eruption
Return to Nature
Kazandu Nectarpot
Ranger’s Guile
Blazing Volley
Snarespinner
Scorching Dragonfire

Ben is an interesting player, somewhat more on the casual side of magic, but really enjoying his time in GEntry with some pretty interesting decks. He is not the player to just copy a list and making a run with it, which makes him pretty interesting to follow in the circuit.

He brought Ramp, a deck that looks to find a balance between accelerating its mana and smacking down big painful threats with it. Currently, ramp sits in a weird place where its acceleration is not that fast – there is nothing on turn 1, and not really anything resilient on turn 2 – but it is very resilient once you get to turn 3 as they generate card advantage on their own. Beanstalk Giant is both ramp and threat, Llanowar Visionary and Cultivate add a card to your hand. Once this deck gets going, it keeps going. And where is it going? Well, there are some cool tricks hiding in here as well…
Terror of the Peaks[c] and [c]Kazuul’s Fury can turn a Beanstalk Giant that could be chump blocked into a kill spell and Scute swarm can single handedly explode into an infestation army to take over the board.
I am not very convinced by the Mutate package, especially because the [c]Migratory Greathorn
has too few 2-drops to be played optimally. I like the Auspicious Starrix, though, so maybe there is some twiddling that can be done here to push the deck in either direction.

The Metagame

The consensus seemed to be that Dimir Rogues is the best deck in Gentry right now. The metagame reacted and has pushed back in different ways, a succesfull one has been the introduction of Escape spells. Polukranos Unchained is the most effective tool in that match-up, but monored has adopted Phoenix of Ash as a auto-in as well and the sacrifice version you see above really REALLY likes to have their Satyr’s Cunning milled into a stocked graveyard by a Rogues player.

These deck have pushed Rogues down and have in turn given power to decks that can interact with the graveyard or straight up prevent things from getting to the graveyard, as we have seen here with Orhzhov Humans and Izzet control now taking Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor int heir main slots.

The leaderboard

Teddie and Jelle Leapfrog over Robbe, who had a bad evening in this episode. But their lead is hairthin at just 2 points. Karl Lister has now completed his 5th event and has seated himself firmly in the top 5, with a lot more margin to grow than the people around him.

Sander de Quick has stranded on 4 events due to medical reasons but he is popeling (that is a flemish joke) to get back into the fray with episode 8 and definetely has what it takes to challenge the top ranks. The same thing can be said for Lars Meeussen and Renzo verkooren, let’s hope they can find the time to contend for the top spots again.

But that is far from all. With the events at the beginning of the season being rather small, and the season still over 10 events to go, we could easily have a new rising star jump into the thick of things. That person just needs to head over to MTGMelee, make a free account and join every Tuesday at 19:00 CET (the site shows it in your own time zone) and they could be the next hotness!

See you for the 8th,
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.

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