By Niels Viaene

The second split of Season XII has started for real now. This will end with a Gentry Open somewhere in April to crown another champion. In the split, we will give away a bye for every 32 players in the leaderboard, so starting 33 different names on the list, there will be a second bye given away. Winning multiple byes is not possible, in that case, the bye will go to the next in rank. Teddie Anderssen, Jelle Lauwers and myself have secured these byes this season.

18 players decided to join the fray this Tuesday for the kick-off, and there were a lot of new names trying our beloved format. 6 new names and 2 lost sons returning. Richard Moreau is one of them, and kicked things off with a very nice article in Swedish, so let’s hope our Nordic contingent grows again, and hopefully, one day, they will indeed rent a mini van and come crash a Gentry Open or Gentry BBQ.

Let’s see what did well…

4-0 Jens Alden
BG Self-mill

Deck (60)
Mire Triton
Narfi, Betrayer King
Snow-Covered Swamp
Acolyte of Affliction
Dead Weight
Binding the Old Gods
Cling to Dust
Elderfang Disciple
Priest of the Haunted Edge
Polukranos, Unchained
Ice Tunnel
Woodland Chasm
Rimewood Falls
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Forest
Excavation Mole
Llanowar Visionary
Blood on the Snow
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Elspeth’s Nightmare
Brokkos, Apex of Forever
Sideboard (15)
Masked Vandal
Suffocating Fumes
Dead Weight
Duress
Sarulf’s Packmate
Deadly Alliance

We talked about this deck in that hands of this player last week when he went undeafeted in the Kaldheim Prologue event. He did it again here with just minor adjustments to the deck. Go read the primer there and be warned: Narfi is here to stay!

3-1 Kobe Keymeulen
BR Control/Midrange

Deck (60)
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
Elderfang Disciple
Elspeth’s Nightmare
Tergrid, God of Fright
Skull Raid
Acquisitions Expert
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Kardur’s Vicious Return
Feed the Swarm
Feed the Serpent
Sulfurous Mire
Reaper of Night
Valki, God of Lies
Immersturm Skullcairn
Narfi, Betrayer King
Frost Bite
Snow-Covered Mountain
Evolving Wilds
Village Rites
Snow-Covered Swamp
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Suffocating Fumes
Pharika’s Libation
Reaper of Night
Frost Bite
Shackles of Treachery
Scorching Dragonfire

Yes, Kaldheim marks the glorious return of Kobe, but he is not playing blue, not even splashing blue sources like Jens did in his ‘Golgari’ deck above to cast Narfi once in a blue moon.

Peter Jönsson introduced us to this new archetype last week. Giving it better disruption by removing the Kaldheim card restriction lifted this deck up by just a little but marks this archetype’s entry into the Gentry big boy league. Another deck using Narfi, if less focused on it than the Golgari deck above. This game plan is more about winning the card advantage game by taking away resources rather than trying to out draw your opponent, and again Skull Raid deserves a shout-out for being a tool we never dared ask for. Its flexibility is carrying this archetype from the bottom up.

3-1 Richard Moreau
GR Elves

Deck (60)
Harald, King of Skemfar
10 Snow-Covered Swamp
Snow-Covered Forest
Binding the Old Gods
Elderfang Disciple
Sculptor of Winter
Llanowar Visionary
Boreal Outrider
Return Upon the Tide
Thornmantle Striker
Harald Unites the Elves
Masked Vandal
Wolfwillow Haven
Realmwalker
Grasp of Darkness
Skemfar Avenger
Woodland Chasm
Joraga Visionary
Greater Sandwurm
Polukranos, Unchained
Sideboard (15)
Dead Weight
Duress
Village Rites
Feed the Swarm
Subtle Strike
Masked Vandal
Snarespinner
Return to Nature

Turns out the deck eveyone expected can turn up results too, and in the hands of our new Swedish ambassador, even.

This deck is a value engine rather than an aggro deck, even though it can come out and overwhelm people with some swarming ad/or some ramping as well. Its main focus is just playing creatures with restless abadon, not caring much if they die because most of them replace themselves as they come into play. As such, counterspells, rather than removal spells, are its worst enemy, and that is why I would suggest a slightly heavier focus on discard in the deck. That said, Richard did beat the only blue player he was paired against, so I guess he has cracked a magical formula I am not partial to.

3-1 Sander De Quick
Sultai Control

Deck (60)
Snow-Covered Island
Sarulf, Realm Eater
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Snow-Covered Forest
Feed the Serpent
Feed the Swarm
Elspeth’s Nightmare
Chainweb Aracnir
Acolyte of Affliction
Thrashing Brontodon
Sculptor of Winter
Frantic Inventory
Woodland Chasm
Llanowar Visionary
Behold the Multiverse
Rimewood Falls
Ice Tunnel
Port of Karfell
Snow-Covered Swamp
Narfi, Betrayer King
Poison the Cup
Sarulf’s Packmate
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Suffocating Fumes
Negate
Disdainful Stroke
Ravenform

Sander’s deck aims to combine the Self Mill Golgari deck’s use of NArfi while keeping Blue in as a meaningful color. He especially cashes in on that extra dedication to blue with his sideboard, where all of the counterspells reside he likes so much. I am surprised by the lack of Essence Scatteras it seems creatures are becoming really important targets. Sander, much like other black players, has started to make his decks more graveyard-hate heavy, with cards like Elspeth’s Nightmare and Feed the Serpent in order to fight back against NArfi and other cards that like to migrate between the graveyard and the battlefield.

3-1 Noa Munther
UR Tempo

Deck (60)
Improbable Alliance
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Island
Irencrag Pyromancer
Rielle, the Everwise
Kinetic Augur
Faerie Vandal
Opt
Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor
Cathartic Reunion
Frantic Inventory
Thrill of Possibility
Neutralize
Experimental Overload
Brazen Borrower
Spellgorger Weird
Fire Prophecy
Swiftwater Cliffs
Volatile Fjord
The Royal Scions
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Lofty Denial
Frost Bite
Blazing Volley
Annul
Shredded Sails

No matter how much Gentry changes, one constant seems to have stood true from the beginning: Some for of Red-Blue spells deck will always be playable and at least decent. Noa is another one of our new players coming in hot with deck that has the lowest amount of Kaldheim cards in the entire tournament showing that good old raw power can hold itself in the world.

They chose to go with Faerie Vandal over Sprite Dragon which pushed their card choices more towards card drawing than interactive spells. This gives better access to high power cards but less options for interaction. Will this turn out to be the best version of the deck or will we see harder control variants pop back into the top of the standings soon? Time will tell.

Conclusion

That wraps up the 3-1 and better section of the event. Besides these, there were a lot of other decks that were tried out and this early setting it is hard to tell which ones were doomed to failand which just need a little more polishing. If you want to investigate more, here you can find all the lists in the event. I hope you find some inspiration here or, even better, think of a missing link to round off the metagame.

See you next Tuesday, for Episode 2 of the Gentry Arena Weekly.

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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