By Niels Viaene

15 players tuned in for the 14th episode of the season, the last of 2020 but not the last in this split of the season, that ends when Kaldheim hits the last weekend of January. We saw some returning players, decks coming back with a vengeance and a few surprises doing well. But don’t take my word for it have a look!

4-0 Teddie Anderssen
Izzet Control

Deck (60)
Scorching Dragonfire
Mountain
10 Island
The Royal Scions
Jace, Mirror Mage
Cinderclasm
Improbable Alliance
Rain of Revelation
Teferi, Master of Time
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Frantic Inventory
Opt
Sanctum of Calm Waters
Fire Prophecy
Swiftwater Cliffs
Cancel
Essence Scatter
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Negate
Sideboard (15)
Into the Roil
Fire Prophecy
Negate
Blazing Volley
Cancel
Essence Scatter
Teferi’s Tutelage

Control decks have been taking a beating lately but I kept saying this was largely due to a lot of them focusing more on beating other control decks than beating the meta. At some point, that may have been the right decision but it is no longer, with people getting comfortable with their decks of choice and understanding the control match-up better.

Teddie showed his udnersanding in this mechanic and has gong back to turning control into a creature murdering machine with 9 single point removal spells plus 3 sweepers in Cinderclasm showing a lot of respect for opposing creature decks. Most of his Essence Scatter still live in the side, together with the remaining 2 Fire Prophecy. He also has 3 Blazing Volley there so he could go up to 6 sweepers against token strategies, making this a nightmare deck to play against in the mirror..

3-1 Arto De Graef
Mono-Black Aggro / Sacrifice

Companion (1)
Obosh, the Preypiercer

Deck (60)
Archfiend’s Vessel
Mutual Destruction
Serrated Scorpion
Village Rites
Whisper Squad
Witch’s Cauldron
Ayara, First of Locthwain
Bastion of Remembrance
Call of the Death-Dweller
Deathbloom Thallid
Marauding Blight-Priest
Woe Strider
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
18 Swamp
Witch’s Cottage
Sideboard (15)
Cling to Dust
Dead Weight
Duress
Pharika’s Libation
Suffocating Fumes
Obosh, the Preypiercer

We usually see this shell with Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Arto chose to go with Obosh. the Preypiercer, a more acutely impacting card on the board rather than the rebuild engine. By doing so he effectively trades in his 2 mana slot for a 3 mana slot, at least as far as permanents go. Most of all, this gives him access to better Rares and also allows him to play Lurrus in the deck. He seems to be focusing less on the sacrifice aspect of the deck, with no pro-active repeatable way of sacrificing his own creatures barring Ayara, First of Lochthwain andWoe Strider, his Rares, and 2 Witch’s Cauldron. That makes his Bastion of Remeberance more of a source for pushing damage through than a true engine, turning this in a far more aggro oriented approach to the deck.

3-1 Robbe Schildermans
Rakdos Sacrifice

Companion (1)
Obosh, the Preypiercer

Deck (60)
Dead Weight
Whisper Squad
Village Rites
Serrated Scorpion
Call of the Death-Dweller
Weaponize the Monsters
Satyr’s Cunning
Archfiend’s Vessel
Agadeem’s Awakening
Bastion of Remembrance
Bloodfell Caves
Goblin Arsonist
Mountain
10 Swamp
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Bonecrusher Giant
Sideboard (15)
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Duress
Cling to Dust
Pharika’s Libation
Blazing Volley
Mutual Destruction

Again we have a player choosing to go for an Obosh deck featuring Lurrus in the 75. With some aware sideboarding, that also means you have the option of switching them around. He goes for a red package, with Weaponize the Monsters, Goblin Arsonist, and Satyr’s Cunning. If anything, this shows that sacrifice, often with Weapoize the Monsters is definitely the second biggest player in the metagame, next to Izzet-based control, with many ways of building and adjusting the deck.

The rest of the 3-1’s

Ben Belmans on Gruul Mutate, and Thanh Van on his Monored combo deck, both featured last week, performed very well yet again and rounded out the 3-1 club.

The leaderboard

It took a bit of a perfect storm of Jelle skipping this event, and Tom having his biggest off-day running into Ugin in all three of his non-bye matches to have this result but currently I am sitting on top of the standings after being the highest placing 2-2 player in this event, our Scandinavian friends have started their trek up the leaderboard as well.

Point of note is that we have now reached that 5 event threshold. Since only your best 5 results count towards your points total, anyone not yet on 5 events is poised to jump up the standings in a big way, so look out for Jelle to reclaim his place at the top of the standings rather easily, and for Teddie Anderssen to get into the thick of things after a representative finish by him. Tom has a lot more room to grow his points total than me, as he scored very low on one of his 5 events and should have no problem adding around 10 points to his current total with a good finish.

I might be looking firmly in control, but without a strong finish in the first event of 2021, I am poised to lose that spot either of the 4 people following me.

The Metagame

As I said before, Control and Sacrifice are the two top dogs in the metagame right now, but that does not show very well when looking at what is represented. Most people are settling in and are optimizing their pet decks, learning how to play against the more commons decks and doing pretty well. It does look a little bit like the age of aggro is coming to an end with control decks grabbing back the anti-aggro tools in a big way, but that just means that grindy ‘big’ decks might have a spot again. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of accidental exiling going on, stopping a lot of fun interactions that are possible otherwise.

This marks the end of 2020 as far as Gentry is concerned. Thank you all for your dedication to our little format and I wish you all a great and healthy 2021. My wish is for Gentry to keep going, and to come back strong with real life Gentry in a big way. Thank you for all your support and enthusiasme!

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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