By Niels Viaene
A year ago, Sander De Quick was already known as one of the cornerstones of the Gentry, a role he has filled since the most humble beginning of our dear format. He had won Gentry Open VII and has numerous appearances in Invitationals and on streams, making him one of the most prolific and visible Gentry players.
And then he decided it was not enough and started a storm, winning Gentry Open XV and now Gentry Open XVI, securing back-to-back wins and becoming the first player to hold three titles, an achievement he kept from Alan Schuer in the finals of Gentry Open XV…
Let’s have a look at the decks played at the event.
Sander De Quick
Sander’s deck is heavily influenced by the WB core of the Rite of Oblivion deck Alan has championed and won the Invitational with. The addition of Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart brings with it a destabilization of the mana base but that also allows the deck to play Negate, a card that has been tremendously influential in Gentry as one of the best answers to a lot of the most impactful Mythic Rares in Planeswalkers. Add to that Sander’s tendency to extensively test his decks and formats and you have a recipe for disaster for people hoping to face him.
This deck is a good example of why Rite of Oblivion is considered a pillar in the current metagame as the deck emerged as a design exercise to optimize the power of the card. Once the sacrificial fodder for the card is taken care of by cards that replace themselves, this deck becomes a never-ending stream of smallish threats and flexible interaction. Recommission plays second fiddle in that story, giving added flexibility in whether you are setting up more threats, draws, or looking for some more finishing power.
Joeri went with another cornerstone of the Gentry metagame in Tolarian Terror. We often see this card paired with the Colossal Skyturtle/Urborg Repossession synergy for a super lategame oriented build. Aron showed in the Invitational that an alternative approach that relies more on creatures and Skyfisher Spider is an option as well for the big turtle.
Here the terror gets to play clean-up duty after Delver of Secrest softens up the opponent, a softening that might just lead to elimination of its own, as this is basically the premise of the blue-based aggro decks we see around but those tend to look more to win before the lategame hits and rely more on tempo plays and bounce effects, making Joeri’s deck a curious beast that resides somewhere in the middle. This property makes it a lot harder to play since there is not a clear plan to victory but that also goes for its opponents not knowing what to expect in any given game.
Mono-Red will always be an archetype people look at for playability in Gentry. The design of Magic tends to make this playable by default in a budget format. In the current iteration, the deck is tremendously Uncommon handicapped due to needed cards like Play with Fire being uncommon. There is also a lot less good Burn available, making this a more Creature-heavy variant than we have seen before, including even Reckless Impulse as a way to smooth out their options in the midgame.
This version of Mono-Red is definitely a lot harder to play correctly than some older iterations but that did not stop Ward from punching all the way through into the Semi-finals as one of only a handful of dedicated aggro decks.
If I was informed correctly, this deck was Supplied by Sander as he was championing this deck until he transitioned over to the deck he won this event with. It fills out our metagame with a fourth pillar, the Skyturle recursion loop with Urborg Repossession. This same loop can be achieved with Gix’s Command but does it on steroids capable of taking over games on its own. This innovation comes from Aron, as far as I know, and really pushed the power level of this deck up a notch. Throughout the event I head several people lamenting their loss from Emma casting the command up to 7 times in a single game.
This deck was the de facto ‘best deck’ of the format until the Invitation showcased there was more to fight for than people thought, a recurring thought leading into events for Gentry. It finds its power in the most unending lategame pressure any deck can produce and is single-handedly responsible for the Rotten Reunions you see in every successful Black deck’s sideboard.
All other decks
Considering we had 8 people in the running for top 4 in the last round, and we had a 4-way tie for the last slot in the top 4, there must be some hidden gems left in the rest of the field. These decks did not make it to the play-off rounds, but that could mean anything. They are presented in no particular order.