By Niels Viaene

Gentry has been going through very tumultuous times the last couple of years but through everything one thing has remained a constant: The Gentry Open, a celebration of the format and its community every April and September. This event takes place shortly before a new set is introduced and, in the case of the September one, even a rotation happens. People have had time to try out new things and optimize their strategies meaning the Gentry Open really rewards those players that really get to know the format. Through the digital era that was forced upon us by that-which-is-not-mentioned we saw a decline in people actively engaged in the format. That is over now, and we are returning to real-life events with real-life magic cards, which sadly means card availability, even for a budget format like Gentry is an issue. But that did not stop 26 players from joining the 14th edition of the Gentry Open!

In this article we will go over the top 8 players, followed by the metagame in general right before Streets of New Capenna is added to the format.

The top 8

The top 8 contenders and their very proud head judge.

Renzo Verkooren, quarterfinalist

Renzo is the winner of the previous edition and the only person in the history of Gentry to win the Gentry Open on two different occasions, or, at least, he was. He came into the tournament with what most recently has cemented itself as ‘the strongest deck’ in the format: BR Artifacts. The core of the deck uses Oni-Cult Anvil and Sokenzan Smelter to churn through random artifacts producing an ever-increasing amount of fodder for your opponent to deal with. While there is not a single clear powerful thing it is trying to do, the constant pressure and surprising flexibility of the deck have taken the Gentry metagame by storm.

Main (60)
Voldaren Epicure
Bloodtithe Harvester
Sokenzan Smelter
Blood Fountain
Experimental Synthesizer
Sanguine Statuette
Oni-Cult Anvil
Voltage Surge
Feed the Swarm
Deadly Dispute
Roiling Vortex
The Meathook Massacre
Sorin the Mirthless
Lolth, Spider Queen
Bloodfell Caves
Sulfurous Mire
10 Mountain
Swamp

sideboard (15)
Duress
Eaten Alive
Feed the Swarm
Abrade
Virus Beetle

Tom De Wael, quarterfinalist

I would be surprised if Gentry playing people are unfamiliar with this name. Tom has been a cornerstone of the Gentry community for years and has been especially prolific lately in rebooting the efforts in Bredene and hooking up tonnes of people with cards or straight up decks, with another player in the top 8 securing a slot with Tom’s Creation. He chose to play mono green infect for this event, the same deck he won with a year ago. The basic starategy of the deck centers around Fynn, the Fangbearer and hordes of Deathtouch creatures. It probably has the strongest early game strategy in all of Gentry but can struggle heavily against opponents that can push him to mid game and beyond, or its own draws causing the same scenario. The deck relies in great part on the interaction between trample and deathtouch, allowing you to kill a blocker with one damage and trampling through for the rest, which only needs to be 1 thanks to Fynn. That turns every 1/1 into a potential threat with a single Rune of Might.

Main (60)
Snakeskin Veil
Blizzard Brawl
Tajuru Blightblade
Fynn, the Fangbearer
Kura, the Boundless Sky
Master’s Rebuke
Rune of Might
21 Snow-Covered Forest
Saryth, the Viper’s Fang
Unnatural Growth
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
Runed Crown
Fang of Shigeki
Kappa Tech-Wrecker

sideboard (15)
Underdark Basilisk
Tamiyo’s Safekeeping
Fade into Antiquity
Return to Nature

Laurens Brusselmans, quartfinalist

Laurens came in last minute and decided to pick up one of Tom’s creations for a spin. He ended up with mono blue Mill, a deck that attacks its opponents in a way that most decks are not used to. Tom made a comment that the deck was very much still in an experimental state and probably needs a red Splash to make room for Crush the Weak to improve its game against other decks that have a strong early game.

That is not to take away anything from Laurens as a player. He took an unfinished deck and piloted it into the top 8, which is an impressive feat very much in line with his performance in previous Gentry Opens up to now. IT would not come as a surprise to crown him as a champion for a future edition in which he decides to devote some time to deckbuilding and getting to know the format.

Main (60)
Ruin Crab
Maddening Cacophony
Syncopate
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned
Teach by Example
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
Solve the Equation
Behold the Multiverse
Devious Cover-up
Into the Roil
Evolving Wilds
21 Island
Fading Hope
Consuming Tide
Consider
Sideboard (15)
You find the Villain’s Lair
Negate
Anticognition
Annul

Ben Belmans, quarterfinalist

Ben was one of those people that came into contact to Gentry through the digital medium more than any other player, really taking the online events to heart at some point. It makes him look like a new player to some but he has a surprising amount of experience with Gentry and came in with a deck custom built for the Gentry Open that he had a lot of faith in.

Main (60)
Valki, God of Lies
Swamp
Kaito Shizuki
Island
Sorin the Mirthless
Seawater Cliffs
Expressive Iteration
Mountain
Prismari Campus
Dismal Backwater
Bloodfell Caves
Behold the Multiverse
Feed the Swarm
Hero’s Downfall
Abrade
Flame-blessed Bolt
Saw it Coming
Consider
Crush the Weak
Wandering Mind
Hullbreaker Horror
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Abrade
Crush the Weak
Negate
Feed the Serpent
Lash of Malice
Skull Raid

Aron Fonteyne, semifinalist

Aron is not only a Gentry Open Champion, but also one of the people behind Cardwallet, one of the sponsors for the Gentry Open. He came to the event with a RB Reanimator deck that ains to squeeze as much benefit out of Kardur’s Vicious Return and convert that lead into a win, if it does not win straight away, that is… The deck’s greatest nemesis might be Return to Nature, which also happens to be excellent against the other BR deck mentioned before, so this strategy might face some difficulties if we see more of those cards.

Main (60)
Burn down the House
Kardur’s Vicious Return
Hero’s Downfall
Abrade
Blood Fountain
Deadly Dispute
Eaten Alive
Ardent Elementalist
Junji, the Midnight Sky
Dreadhound
Sisters of the Undead
Dreadfast Demon
Undead Butler
Doomed Dissenter
Morbid Opportunist
Mountain
11 Swamp
Bloodfell Caves

sideboard (15)
Ardent Elementalist
Feed the Swarm
Duress
Plundering Barbarian
Vampire Spawn
Blood Fountain
Abrade
Lash of Malice

Joeri Claes, semifinalist

Joeri is the champion of the Merksem community, a title he has held on and off for quite a while now. He also found the Oni-cult Anvil deck. Where other versions of this deck were heavily influenced by a version Renzo played a few weeks ago, Joeri was isolated in his design process and came up with a slightly different version of the deck.

Main (60)
Eaten Alive
Blood Fountain
Voldaren Epicure
Voltage Surge
Experimental Synthesizer
Abrade
Deadly Dispute
Dragonspark Reactor
Oni-Cult Anvil
Sokenzan Smelter
Bloodtithe Harvester
Sorin the Mirthless
Goldspan Dragon
Lolth, Spider Queen
The Meathook Massacre
Bloodfell Caves
Swamp
Mountain

sideboard (15)
Eaten Alive
Rotten Reunion
End the Festivities
Duress
Feed the Swarm
Abrade

Dylan Botten, Finalist

Dylan has a pro point as a competitive Magic player and occasionally gets dragged into Gentry By Sander De Quick with such a frequency that it because almost an inside joke to call him an ‘occasional Gentry Player’. With Sander, he tried to find an answer to the RB artifact threat but decided in the end that it was a better idea to join the foe rather than defeating it.

Sideboard (0)

Alan Schuer, Champion

Alan was introduced to Magic through the community that gave life to Gentry and has been an avid player since. He is the champion of one of the earliest Gentry Opens and by winning this edition becomes the second person ever to win two Gentry Opens. He did so with the deck dessigned by Renzo, which must come a little bittersweet to him.

Main (60)
Oni-Cult Anvil
Voldaren Epicure
Bloodtithe Harvester
Experimental Synthesizer
Deadly Dispute
Voltage Surge
Sokenzan Smelter
Blood Fountain
Sanguine Statuette
The Meathook Massacre
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
Immersturm Predator
Lolth, Spider Queen
Bloodfell Caves
10 Mountain
Swamp
Sideboard (15)
Eaten Alive
Duress
Abrade
Lash of Malice
Feed the Swarm

The Metagame

The conclusion? RB artifacts dominated the top 8, with 4 copies making it to the play-offs out of 5 played, making it not only the most played deck, but also the most succesful deck in the event. But is it ‘too’ good or did it take advantage of a metagame and lack of people’s preparation for the event because Gentry is not that commonly played and, well, there is just not that much coverage as there has been before? Looking through sideboards it seems like the deck got a bit of a free pass in this event, with most sideboards only dedicating 2-3 slots to the essential artifact removal. Black decks tend to have 4 Duress available but the window to fire it off is extremely thin and the green decks are not playing the full 4 Return to Nature or comparable cards for now.

Oni-Cult Anvil is a card from the most recent set, which means people did not have a lot of time to discover the card and how good it is, but the same goes for GW Enchantments, an archetype that had only 2 players in the event, both were running unpolished versions and for at least one of them, they received the deck the day itself and got into a positive record and prizes with it. The powerlevel seems to be there for the deck and it is in colors that can briung in a lot from the sideboard to fight back.

GW Enchantments

Main (60)
Blossoming Sands
10 Forest
Plains
Fang of Shigeki
Generous Visitor
Spirited Companion
Jukai Naturalist
Bearer of Memory
Snakeskin Veil
Commune With Spirits
Michiko’s Reign of Truth
Rune of Might
Rune of Sustenance
Minimus Containment
Yasharn, Implacable Earth
Weaver of Harmony
Runeforge Champion
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
Sideboard (15)
Minimus Containment
Return to Nature
Tamiyo’s Safekeeping
Season of Renewal
Fierce Retribution
You Find a Cursed Idol

The list above is an updated version based on both decks that appeared in the Gentry Open. The main issue the list still has is the stress between your rares and Commune with Spirits not being able to take non-enchantment creatures. I would need to test more to see if dropping Commune is better or keeping it in and selecting rares that can be hit by them. And there is a list of interesting targets: Hallowed Haunting, Paladin Class, Ranger Class, Jugan Defends the Temple, Shigeki, Jugai Visionary, Sigarda’s Summons, Sparring Regimen, The Restauration of Eiganjo, Wedding Announcement. Your choices here will influence how the deck plays and what kind of synergies you want to optimise. I think this is the direction I am going to take the deck for now, but I am really really going to miss the interaction between Runeforge Champion and Jukai Naturalist.

Conclusion

Gentry is alilve and well, the Open rewarded those that took time to find the best decks in the format and looks like there is a clear challenge (beat BR Artifacts) going into Streets of New Capenna. Let me know if you would like another article looking at other archetypes we have currently represented.

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.