By Niels Viaene
Kaldheim seems to have shaken things up in ways we could not have expected, with aggro, midrange and control decks all going 3-1 or better things seems to be very open at the moment. But those are the expected changes. Less expected is to see a influx of Swedish players in Gentry. Whether that is due to Kaldheim being heavily influenced by Nordic Mythology or a nice article someone wrote, I will leave in the middle.
What is clear though, is that this makes for very interesting changes in the decks that are played and playable in Gentry. 18 players joined the fray, let’s look at the top performers.
4-0 Noa Munther
Noa is a fairly recent name in the little world of Gentry but is currently on top of the leaderboard after these two episodes. And interestingly, he did so with two drastically different decks.
This week he brought an army of little flying creatures to the event, supported with just a tad of interaction in Lofty Denial and some bounce.
There are two ways of building this archetype, with one going all in on Faerie Vandal and Staggering Insight (a deck I piloted in the past) and then there is this build that aims more to go wide and protect, using Tide Skimmer for extra card draw instead of Staggering Insight.
This flexibility makes it so you can tailor a plan based on the cards in your hand, especially in sideboarded games where a swath of protection and permission is waiting to make the opponent’s life a living hell to interact with. And due to the diversity in battle plas, you will never know if that Staggering Insight is something you must get off the table, or if it is a distraction. (though even as a distraction, it could take over games).
This deck is relatively forgiving to play but can be very hard to perfect. Understanding match-ups and card interactions is essential in making the best plays and sideboarding correctly. You will “oops – win” from time to time thanks to an unanswered Insight, or a swarm when they expected a single threat, but don’t count on it blindly.
3-1 Niels Viaene
Since Ikoria came out, I have had an unhealthy admiration for Vulpikeet. It seems like such an elegant card to me, and I have build many a deck testign it but never daring to bring it to an event. Kaldheim’s introduction of Snakeskin Veil made me revisit the deck and this time I went in deeper with Necropanther to make the Mutate theme more pronounced.
Iridiscent Hornbeetle has been another card I have been wanting to tinker with and I decided to add it to this shell. In hindsight, this was a mistake, as it drags the deck in two different directions, but boy was it fun to Escape Polukranus, Unchained and get 12 cute little tokens to fight my battles.
The decks is extremely straightforward to play and combines a fast threat in Fearless Fledgeling with rebuilding potential in Necropanther. Most play decisions are limited to keeping green open for protection or not and struggling with really tight mana requirements. Your three big rares are capable of taking over the game on their own while Luminarch Aspirant can both be an immense threat next to a Conclave Mentor and be rebought off a Necropanther.
I would suggest focusing more on either the aggro aspect OR the rebuilding aspect, but even if you keep both in you have that same quality as the deck above, you opponent will never know what to expect.
3-1 Thomas Conmy
We have talked about this archetype recently. It looked like the strongest contender out of the Kaldheim prologue and focuses on self replacing or returning creatures to keep up a steady stream of medium sized threats.
Opponents that try to trade fairly with you will find themselves struggling very fast as you keep presenting small threats to their life total. After sideboarding, you get to build a more interactive suit to battle the tools your opponent chooses to bring to the table. And if at any point in the lategame you get to drop a planeswalker on the table it is unlikely you will not be the one with the commanding board presence. Just be careful against a large number of fliers or large evasive creatures, as they are the biggest bane for this deck as it can’t interact with them very well.
3-1 Mathias Thorgren
Mathias is no slough in the Magic world, as we see here, and someone with a pedigree (mine does not count anymore, it seems) comes with interesting side effects… If you google his name and ‘magic’, you now find all sorts of websites with his decklist spreading the gospel of Gentry. So, thank you, Mathias!
In addition, he brought a sweet Sweet SWEET deck to this event with this three color blink deck. It plays, in many ways, much like the Sultai value deck, but has another trump card waiting at the end of the line to go completely over the top in his Companion to reset sagas, get draw triggers off creatures and all sorts of shenanigans off other enchantments. I can imagine the deck plays “survival mode” a little more desperate than the Sultai deck, but it has that guaranteed (against non-blue decks) plan at the end of the line.
Against this deck trading fairly will be a slightly better plan as it nullifies the impact of yorion when it does hit. The deck looks like a lot of fun to play and should prove to be hyper-flexible in how you want to run it. Here we see a Rampage of the Valkyries package to close games that could be a myriad of other options for your heart’s desire.
3-1 Peter Jönsson
Sure, there is blue mana in there, but unless the deck I played that should have had a swamp, this deck just plays it for some minor extra value of being able to hardcast Narfi, Betrayer King if you get one in hand.
This is very much a disruption-based control deck, with discard being the main plan. Skull Raid is back to play double duty as discard and card draw to either push your opponent out of the game or push you further ahead in the game. The goal is to take away resources from your opponent and then deploying your threats, hoping they do not top deck the answers.
I am a bit surprised to see Merchant of the Vale // Haggle in the deck, expecting a more interactive card there but I am willing to believe Peter actually wanted an extra effect to smooth out draws in the early game and something to keep being relevant in the really late game, since those are the most critical and the most problematic parts of the game for this deck. This list looks well tested and really interesting to play if you understand matches well, it is definitely not the type of deck you just want to pick up without some experience in Gentry.
The Swedish statement
3 out of 5 people in this article, and the top of the tournament are Swedes. 5 out of 8 Swedes in the top slots of the leaderboard right now. New names keep popping up and Sweden has almost two times as many visitors to this site as Belgium does. This reminds me of the first time we had a second community popping up in Sint Niklaas and the great atmosphere it created. I hope we will see that happen again, with many people rejoining the Gentry ranks.
Next event is special
As you can see here, the upcoming leaderboard event has deckbuilding restrictions: all Planeswalkers are banned!
That means no hard-to-interact-with high-powered finishers and I look forward to seeing what will come out of this event. The prologue, that had a deckbuilding restriction as well, pulled in a lot of new and returning players. This is your opportunity to shine in a fresh environment and I hope to see someone creative take a top slot!
See you soon,