By Niels Viaene

This article will address the past three events because I have not found the time to make these little articles in the past weeks. I am currently renovating and opening my own bar and it is taking a lot from me. In addition, interest in Arena Gentry seems to be at an all time low both for me personally and some of our regular players. I assume this is, like with me, due to outside factors, since the creative space in the metagame since that very surprising Gentry Open feels gigantic, but do not take my word for it, let’s look at some decks!

XIII.1.2 Ben Belmans 3-1

Deck (60)
Clever Lumimancer
Defiant Strike
Mavinda, Students’ Advocate
Leonin Lightscribe
Hero of the Pride
Guiding Voice
Study Break
Show of Confidence
Clarion Spirit
Faerie Guidemother
18 Plains
Basri Ket
Sparring Regimen
Make Your Mark
Sejiri Shelter
Seasoned Hallowblade
Feat of Resistance
Sideboard (15)
Inkling Summoning
Environmental Sciences
Introduction to Prophecy
Introduction to Annihilation
Expanded Anatomy
Beaming Defiance
Nahiri’s Binding
Disenchant
Defend the Campus

There was no undefeated player at the end of Episode 2, but Ben sat at the top with a straightforward White weenie deck. This is not the hyper-linear and near combo deck that I played at the Gentry Open, which was focused on All that Glitters. Ben’s deck takes a far more classic approach to White aggro and uses quite some Strixhaven cards. We will see him revisiting the archetype in the next 2 events, and he is still tweaking and optimizing his list.

XIII.1.2 Peter Jönsson 3-1

Deck (60)
Rootha, Mercurial Artist
Behold the Multiverse
Improbable Alliance
Opt
Igneous Inspiration
Pop Quiz
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
The Royal Scions
Frost Bite
Experimental Overload
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks
Volatile Fjord
Evolving Wilds
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Island
Heated Debate
Scorching Dragonfire
Sideboard (15)
Mascot Exhibition
Elemental Summoning
Environmental Sciences
Negate
Heated Debate
Disdainful Stroke
Introduction to Annihilation
Spirit Summoning
Fractal Summoning

As long as Gentry lives, UR decks will be playable, it is a mantra that has survived for 12 seasons and is not slowing down one bit. Peter attempts to brea parity with Rootha, Mercurial Artist in a very familiar shell that features, again, a lot of Strixhaven updates. Will these stick remains to be seen, as the core we had before was extremely well rounded.

XIII.1.2 Mathias Thorgren 3-1

Deck (60)
Field Trip
Sarulf’s Packmate
Beanstalk Giant
Quandrix Cultivator
Fierce Empath
Thassa, Deep-Dwelling
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Cragplate Baloth
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Bookwurm
Sculptor of Winter
Wolfwillow Haven
Rimewood Falls
Radiant Fountain
Snow-Covered Island
12 Snow-Covered Forest
Quandrix Campus
Llanowar Visionary
Sideboard (15)
Needlethorn Drake
Fractal Summoning
Environmental Sciences
Disdainful Stroke
Negate
Introduction to Annihilation
Masked Vandal
Expanded Anatomy
Dreamtail Heron

Our last 3-1 player brings a dedicated creature based ramp deck to the fray. Mathias jammed every value creature he could find into the deck and rounded it off with a Fierce Empath fueled toolbox of hard to deal with Rare creatures. The strategy has proven to be hard to deal with for control decks, largely due to how easy it is for this deck to find its Koma. Cosmos Serpent. But that may be cutting this deck that is surprisingly versatile, quite short. Mathias made waves last season when he stormed the metagame with a three colored version of this deck and it looks like he is not quite done with wrecking face.

XIII.1.3

Episode had special deckbuilding restrictions and as such the decks don’t really have much merit beyond that event. People had to play at least 10 cards featuring a Strixhaven watermark, which caused some confusion but in the end we had a nice event. You can go here to check out which decks were played.

XIII.1.4 Sander De Quick 3-0

Deck (60)
Snow-Covered Island
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Narfi, Betrayer King
Snow-Covered Forest
Negate
Eureka Moment
Frantic Inventory
Witherbloom Campus
Reject
Behold the Multiverse
Quandrix Campus
Snow-Covered Swamp
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
Poison the Cup
Sarulf’s Packmate
Mortality Spear
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Pestilent Haze
Professor Onyx
Jungle Hollow
Thornwood Falls
Dismal Backwater
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Negate
Lash of Malice
Feed the Serpent
Teferi’s Tutelage
Feed the Swarm
Suffocating Fumes
Cling to Dust

Despite showing weakness to hyper-aggressive strategies in the Gentry Open and having some troubles adjusting to Strixhaven Standard, the “best deck” of the format is still very much alive. It has found a lot of extra flexibility and interaction in its spells to keep playing a competitive game and still relies on the three big clusters in what currently might be the best colors in Gentry with Blue draw and permission, Black removal and disruption and a splash of Green value creatures to gum up the board.

The Metagame

As you can see from the top performing decks, there is still a lot happening and possible in the metagame, and with a relatively low amount of players currently active it will likely be a while before Gentry gets ‘solved’. In the meantime, user Crypehead is enjoying some number crunching in the discord server with the below overview as a result after 3 events:

This list, especially the rares is heavily influenced by small groups of people showing up with the same deck, warping the numbers, but it does illustrate a few things: Sultai Ramp/control is the most played archetype, people are looking for a new sacrifice engine deck, and mono white aggro is holding out somewhere in there, too. Of note is that red is completely missing from these lists, so maybe it is time I smash some Weaponise the Monsters update into the metagame to see what will happen… 😉

Tune in next week for the 5th installment of this season or join me in hyping up my future bar, but keep going, have fun, and see you soon!

Niels

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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