By Niels Viaene
Time flew by and suddenly we find ourselves on the last days before another edition of the Gentry Open. We had a monthly that drew 13 players to ‘De Vrolijke Viking’, which was more people than attended the previous edition of the Gentry Open so it seems there is a growing interest in our little format. Seems like the opportune time to have another look at what we have seen played in Gentry and do a quick brainstorming for what we might see this weekend.
What we saw half a year ago
Half a year ago, graveyard interaction was all the talk in Gentry, with both Rite of Oblivion decks featuring cantrip creatures and reanimation in the form of Recommission and Phyrexian Missionary, and Colossal Skyturtle decks with Urborg Repossession breaking through in a big way. In the end, it was an Esper shell with Rite of Oblivion in the hands of Sander that took home the title, with Skyturtles being near completely absent from the metagame.
The other big player in the Metagame is Tolarian Terror getting featured in both the Control deck that made it to the finals, and in heavy blue tempo lists using it as a finisher next to game opener Delver of Secrets.
The rest of the field was mostly linear aggro decks in mono red and mono green form but those definitely have the base for upset wins against some of the top decks.
What we can expect today
Rite of Oblivion is very much around kicking up dust as both a card and a strategy with many different shells build around it, with straight-up WB versions competing with versions splashing for blue or even versions going for a more sacrifice-heavy Red component rearing their heads.
Colossal Skyturtle seems to have completely disappeared from the meta, with most players feeling the strategy is just too slow to compete and too fragile in the face of graveyard hate.
Green-based aggro in many different shapes has become a formidable opponent, largely due to its resilience in Gaea’s Gift and Tamiyo’s Safekeeping allowing it to play in ways that resemble very much the low to the ground interaction that is usually reserved for mono blue tempo decks.
That brings us to that shell, which has received little extra support but was quite fleshed out already. Unfortunately, these decks are extremely unforgiving to play. A single mistake can literally cost you the game and match for these strategies.
And then there are the new Toxic strategies that have been introduced with Phyrexia: All is one. Get 10 poison counters and you die! In the beginning, it seemed like aggro strategies heavily leaning on White and Green were going to be the troublemakers but in the end, it turned out that the big nemesis is a very innocuous-looking card: Prologue to Phyresis.
What this card, and its brethren allow, is for a deck to give a first poison counter that it can then start proliferating, a process most decks do not have a way of interacting with. It turns the game into a race in which the Control gets to pull ahead by casting draw and interaction spells. Usually, these would keep the game in a status quo, but now suddenly a card like Experimental Augury is also helping to kill you slowly. Two decklists are floating to the top featuring this strategy, a blue-white deck featuring lifegain and sweepers to control the game and a blue-black one that has more removal and Voidwing Hybrid.
Phyrexia: all is one had a lot of other tools to offer to players as well, but it seems like they are currently missing an enthusiastic player looking to optimize a strategy with them. The same goes for March of the Machine, Alan came in with a RG Battle deck one day and swept the room, proving there is still plenty of untapped design space available to people.
And finally, we have some decklists by Tom to highlight some very strong linear strategies and to serve as inspiration.
That is it for now. I wish I had more decklists and deckbuilding tips for you but sometimes life gets in the way of things. I look forward to seeing the Gentry community represented at the next Open. See you all on Sunday July 9th at 13h00.