By Niels Viaene
Gentry Open XII
Before we can talk about the new season starting, we need to talk about the last season ending and crowning a very deserving champion with a surprising deck. Please join me in congratulating long-time Gentry supporter and deck artisan Tom De Wael, winner of Gentry Open XII and 11th champion of our format! He took Mono Green poison through a field of 16 players to end up on top. You can see all information about the players and their decks here. (Note that this page shows standings that do not take single elimination into account and are incorrect)
Poison, or Infect as it is often called, is another one of those hyper linear aggro decks that Gentry has, together with multiple flavors of white aggro and mono-red. These kinds of decks have had good peak performances but tend to struggle when the metagame is ready for it. WU fliers was a great example of a deck that looked impossible to beat for 2 weeks and then disappeared. It seems like a lot of people expected the Gentry Open to be a control fest and adjusted accordingly. With 11 card advantage or control-oriented strategies, they might even have made the correct choice, but in the end, the 4 decks in single-elimination for the trophy were Tom on Mono-green poison, Karl lister on Mono-white aggro, Alan Schuer on Sultai Control and myself on Mono-white Glittering Steel. That is 3, three, THREE hyper-aggressive decks playing for the marbles and flies in the face of everything people took for granted about Gentry.
There were plenty of people bringing new tech to the party, so perusing the link above might definitely be interesting if you want some inspiration.
Strixhaven has entered the fray and with that, a new season has begun. Season XIII will run until the Gentry Open in September and will feature 2 splits. The first split will run as long as Strixhaven is the most recent Standard-legal set, the second split as long as the set after Strixhaven is most recent.
For this first event, 13 players showed up, bringing some people out of the woodwork but notably missing a few regulars. This might be due to the short notice as your dear organiser is currently renovating a bar and is experiencing troubles finding time for all the amazing things that need to happen. Lets hope we will see some of our regular players again soon!
4-0 Sander De Quick
A familiar archetype, the best deck according to many players, and the most popular deck choice for the Gentry Open. Sander is known for playing Control decks and optimizing and tweaking his lists as he goes. With 18 Stixhaven cards in his 75 he clearly took time the explore the new options and seems to have found some really interesting cards to add either versatility or power to his favorite deck. This version plays more like a classic instant speed control deck than the versions that were getting more popular lately. This shift in playstyle suits him very well and it is not a huge surprise to see him go undefeated.
There are some anti-control Strixhaven cards lying in wait to ruin his party, though, so there are definitely options to fight back.
3-1 Mathias Thorgren
A player that has been turning heads with fresh deck ideas in surprisingly succesful fashion is Mathias, and he does not disappoint in this eent. Not only did he bring back Companion in a barely played variant in Gentry so far, he also showcases one of the best ramp targets in Gentry right now in the mighty Bookwurm. Do not sleep on this card, it has the power to take away games much in the way we expect rares to do and will be another reason why exile effects are important in Gentry.
He also has a lesson package, giving him added flexibility in a way that almost feels like cheating…. IT lets him play cards with an odd casting cost in a Gyruda deck that only allows you to have even-costed cards… in your main deck! It is gimmicky and cute and I love it, but it also fixes a big issue Gyruda decks in particular had in Gentry. Something their counterpart, Obosh, has a lot less issues with. I could talk about this for a while but lets just say being able to cast 1 cost spells really helps you not waste mana.
The rest of the metagame
It is a shame the event was on the small side, because a lot of interesting things happened. Yens Goethals brought a UR Control deck that does not use the usual win conditions and goes much heavier in the spells direction. Two players tried to make Dragon’s Approach work but ran into Control and in particular Test of Talents. Mats Clays is back and brought BG Sacrifice, first shown by Lars Meeussen last week. It seems like there are some new options available, and new toys for the old boys.
Tune in next week for more Strixhaven goodness with XIII.1.2