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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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 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.