By Niels Viaene

This Tuesday, we ended the Arena Leaderboard with the 9th event. That also means it is time for the Gentry Open again, ad it will be held this Sunday, April 11th. You can find the event here if that is all you are here for. For the rest of us, I will go over the people that have earned a bye in this season, what the metagame looks like at the moment and finally, what the prize support for this free event will be 😉

The leaderboard and the byes

People have been battling it out for byes in this event since Zendikar Rising came out in september. There were 3 splits in the season, one halfway between Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim, and one at the time Kaldheim was introduced. In the first split, Jelle Lauwers and Teddien Anderssen made it. In the second split, it was me, and in the third split Noa Munther and Karl Lister floated to the top.

Some interesting other things to be learned from the leaderboard is that the first one was the shortest leaderboard since this series, but the following two each was bigger than their predecessor.

14 people played in all 3 splits, and deserve a special shout-out: Niels Viaene, Teddie Andersson, Peter Jönsson, Karl Lister, Robbe Schildermans, Sander De Quick, Lars Meeussen, Thijs Weytens, Tom De Wael, Thanh Van, Renzo Verkooren, Ward Beutels, Ben Belmans, chiara snoeckx. These are ordered by their average rank, which is completely irrelevant save for the first 6, that actually played the majority of the events and were always somewhat focused on performance. The highest average performance is held by Kobe Keymeulen, the only reason he did not have a bye was not playing enough events in a split.

The metagame

We are going to focus on the decks that you might see at the Gentry Open, meaning the decks that were seen as active in the last split.

UBG Midrange

Deck (60)
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
Llanowar Visionary
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Sarulf’s Packmate
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Acolyte of Affliction
Behold the Multiverse
Snow-Covered Forest
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Narfi, Betrayer King
Cling to Dust
Feed the Swarm
Binding the Old Gods
Poison the Cup
Woodland Chasm
Ice Tunnel
Rimewood Falls
Snow-Covered Swamp
Frantic Inventory
Snow-Covered Island
Duress
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Feed the Swarm
Disdainful Stroke
Pestilent Haze
Revenge of Ravens
Negate
Pharika’s Libation
Feed the Serpent

Sultai midrange popped up halfway through the last split and pretty much replaced Dimir Control as the marquee Control deck of the format. There are creature light version as well, but towards the end, the decks featuring Llanowar Visionary and Sarulf’s Packmate are the ones that seem to perform slightly better.

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
Negate
Revitalize
Return to Nature
Banishing Light

Only one player played the deck, but went 7-1 with it, and the one loss was to the only other undefeated player in the last round. The deck throws a lot of power at its opponent and has surprising flexibility thanks to its Fierce Empath search engine.

UB Control

Deck (60)
Omen of the Sea
Snow-Covered Swamp
Anticognition
Rain of Revelation
Narfi, Betrayer King
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Lochmere Serpent
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Snow-Covered Island
Grim Tutor
Behold the Multiverse
Pestilent Haze
Feed the Swarm
Drown in the Loch
Didn’t Say Please
Ice Tunnel
Teferi’s Tutelage
Dismal Backwater
Feed the Serpent
Cling to Dust
Negate
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Feed the Serpent
Teferi’s Tutelage
Negate
Disdainful Stroke
Dead Weight
Feed the Swarm
Cling to Dust
Suffocating Fumes

Even though it has been largely replaced by Sultai decks, the extra stability and more traditional Control style still lives in this deck. It is probably the deck that has the most impact with their commons, allowing them to play conditional uncommons in the sideboard. There is also a Snow creature focused version of the dimir deck, but that is a completely different archetype.

UR Tempo

Deck (60)
Sprite Dragon
Frantic Inventory
Behold the Multiverse
Improbable Alliance
Aegar, the Freezing Flame
Swiftwater Cliffs
Volatile Fjord
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Island
Faerie Vandal
Reconnaissance Mission
Frost Bite
Scorching Dragonfire
Fire Prophecy
Demon Bolt
Goblin Wizardry
Lofty Denial
Brazen Borrower
Stormwing Entity
Bonecrusher Giant
The Royal Scions
Windrider Wizard
Sideboard (15)
Lofty Denial
Frost Bite
Scorching Dragonfire
Demon Bolt
Negate
Disdainful Stroke
Blazing Volley
Satyr’s Cunning

It is the Gentry Open, an event where historically Izzet deck have been deemed a lost part of the metagame, only to resurface and win the event. Improbably Alliance and Sprite Dragon work together here to put pressure on your opponent. For most people that is enough, but Karl Lister added Faerie Vandal here in order to put even more pressure on his opponents. Playing as a tempo deck, it is really important to know when and how you need to interact with your opponents.

BR 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
Village Rites
Snow-Covered Swamp
Shimmerdrift Vale
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Suffocating Fumes
Pharika’s Libation
Reaper of Night
Frost Bite
Shackles of Treachery
Scorching Dragonfire
Underworld Charger

In many ways this is the anti control deck choice, aiming to disassemble the opponent’s hand and then dropping a big finisher. The deck was fringe played but did pretty well, though that was in the hands of the highest average performing player to ever touch Gentry in Kobe, so perhaps take these results with a grain of self-relativizing salt. 😉

W Bogles

Companion (1)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Deck (60)
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Gingerbrute
Beloved Princess
Karametra’s Blessing
Selfless Savior
Sentinel’s Eyes
All That Glitters
Hushbringer
Spectral Steel
Battlefield Raptor
19 Plains
Idyllic Grange
Luminarch Aspirant
Feat of Resistance
Speaker of the Heavens
Usher of the Fallen
Sideboard (15)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Disenchant
Pacifism
Light of Hope
Valor of the Worthy
Faerie Guidemother

The first aggro deck in the list, though even this one is sort of an aggro/combo Hybrid. It aims to abuse All that Glitters as hard as possible, turning Gingerbrute into a formidable finisher. The deck has been fringe playable to good for almost two years now and has consistently delivered decent results but was rarely played.

UW Tempo

Deck (60)
Watcher of the Spheres
10 Island
Plains
Skycat Sovereign
The Raven’s Warning
Jubilant Skybonder
Reidane, God of the Worthy
Battlefield Raptor
Lofty Denial
Brazen Borrower
Staggering Insight
Vexing Gull
Gust of Wind
Tide Skimmer
Stern Dismissal
Into the Roil
Tranquil Cove
Daybreak Chimera
Ardenvale Tactician
Sejiri Shelter
Sideboard (15)
Gust of Wind
Negate
Miscast
Feat of Resistance
Ravenform
Revoke Existence
Annul
Divine Arrow
Fortifying Provisions

THE deck of the beginning of the split when it won two consecutive events… and then the wheels fell off. Was it a fluke or did the metagame react to it? If it was the latter, that might mean the deck is poised for a strong showing at the Open, as it has completely disappeared from the metagame.

R Aggro

Deck (60)
Tormentor’s Helm
Fearless Pup
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Rimrock Knight
Fireblade Charger
Weaponize the Monsters
Embereth Paladin
Spikefield Hazard
Slaying Fire
Castle Embereth
Bonecrusher Giant
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Embercleave
Dwarven Mine
Infuriate
Frost Bite
20 Snow-Covered Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Frost Bite
Shredded Sails
Satyr’s Cunning
Run Amok
Fire Prophecy
Destructive Tampering
Irreverent Revelers

The combination of Anax, Hardened by the Forge and Weaponize the Monsters whether it is as a focus in split two, or as a side option in this split 3 version is one that is just good synergy. The deck struggled after the introduction of Kaldheim, but that does not mean it is in a bad place at the moment.

The rest

The decks above are the ones that started trends in the metagame, besides them there are a whole slew of other decks that performed from exceptional to unmentionable, but that, due to only been played once or by only a single player for 2 events, did not make this list. Honorable mentions goes to UB reanimator, WBG Mutate, BG Elves, UW Control, B aggro, BW Lifegain and differet versions of Yorion Control.

I personally still feel like there are some decks missing in this equation. Straight green ramp seems to have a lot of tools, Cycling is still nerfed through the rarity shift of Zenith Flare but still has an engine that was once powerful enough for standard. Who knows what else will pop out of the woodwork? I hope to see some surprises this weekend.

Prizes at the Gentry Open

Before I get to the prizes, allow me to remind you that this is a free event. 😀

Winner gets a €15 voucher for cardmarket and a custom made trophy in epoxy and oak

Runner up gets a €7,5 voucher for cardmarket

All participants get a free pack of sleeves and a deckbox, to be collected in my bar, De Vrolijke Viking, in Ghent. Shipping option can be discussed if desired.

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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