By Niels Viaene

13 players ended up in the pairings for round 1 after dropping 3 people that brought standard decks to the event despite the warning in the title (yes, I am salty about it). In the end, we had a surprising leader in the top slot, but not a completely unfamiliar one.

4-0 Joseph Rygaard
WUG Ramp

Deck (60)
10 Snow-Covered Forest
Fierce Empath
Snow-Covered Plains
Vastwood Surge
Beanstalk Giant
Glacial Floodplain
Ilysian Caryatid
Snow-Covered Island
Behold the Multiverse
Sarulf’s Packmate
Realm-Cloaked Giant
Cragplate Baloth
Dream Trawler
Shepherd of the Flock
Llanowar Visionary
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Sculptor of Winter
Arctic Treeline
Rimewood Falls
Disdainful Stroke
Sideboard (15)
Stern Dismissal
Essence Scatter
Return to Nature
Banishing Light

In episode 5, Joseph surprised with an earlier version of this deck, he went 3-1 with the ramp/value strategy. I questioned whether this was to be a new player in the metagame or just a flash in the pan.
I tried a modified version of the deck in the tribal special episode and did abysmal with it, but that was a different version, pilot, and metagame. Joseph played it twice, to a combined 7-1 record.

The deck is definitely fun to play, gives you a lot of options and can bring enough beef without the ramp plan to put pressure on opponents sittoing on counter magic for your big threats. Lategame, it has the same issues as many ramp decks in that you become dependant from wildly varying topdecks to carry you through the game. It does need to be stressed that this deck’s lategame arrives later than in most ramp decks due to all the accidental card draw you get from Sarulf’s Packmate and Llanowar Visionary.

3-1 Peter Jönsson
Yorion UBG Midrange

Companion (1)
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Deck (80)
Snow-Covered Swamp
Llanowar Visionary
Snow-Covered Island
Sarulf’s Packmate
Elderfang Disciple
Snow-Covered Forest
Shipwreck Dowser
Behold the Multiverse
Thassa, Deep-Dwelling
Feed the Serpent
Skull Raid
Bala Ged Recovery
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Omen of the Sea
Ice Tunnel
Narfi, Betrayer King
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Woodland Chasm
Binding the Old Gods
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Evolving Wilds
Thwart the Grave
Port of Karfell
Golden Egg
Rimewood Falls
Sideboard (15)
Disdainful Stroke
Masked Vandal
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Peter brought this slightly creature heavier version of Sultai Midrange to the party and slapped on a Yorion as an excuse to play 80 cards. Besides offering the opportunity for me to make that joke, it gives him a lategame trump card his decks ynergizes well with and as such it will often be more than just an 8th card to start with.

The deck plays very much in the same way as a Sultai midrange deck, but has that extra latgame oomph to push you over the top which will be a great way to give yu a path to victory in grindy natch-ups, especially in the mirror match.

The rest of the decks

A WBG deck centered around mutate/counters by Niels Viaene and a classical UBG deck in the hands of Teddie Anderssen were the two other 3-1’s in a field of different UB decks, with Control and Rogues (with and without Lurrus) all represented. The bottom 3 decks were the creative choices for the event so it does look like the metagame has settled in a state where a bottom threshold for power is needed to play along. This is of course problematic for new and untested decks as they do not get the time and opportunity to come to their optimal configuration.

The Leaderboard and the Open

Not much has changed on the leaderboard besides Jens Alden reaching his 5th event and taking his rightful place. The Open, which will be announced soon, will take place in the weekend of April 10 or 11. That means the next episode, the one with special restrictions, will wrap up the leaderboard, with 2 people getting a bye for the Open.

Noa Munther seems locked in, barring over 20 people showing up and Noa doing not managing a top 50% finish. That story does not count for Karl, in second place currently. A moderately sized event where he struggles could still see him getting overtaken by any of the 6 people below him.

Next event

The next event is the season closer, and it has an extra restriction, allowing you to play cards from only 2 expansions, so people will really need to dig down and look for a deck to play. Hopefully it will also motivate a lot of our players to come back and give Gentry a try just before Strixhaven coomes in and promises to have quite the impact with some highly influential commons and uncommons.

See you on Tuesday!

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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