By Niels Viaene
A lot of interesting things are happening around our little format, and the time has come to put everything we are doing in one neat article for you to reference.
Where and when is Gentry played?
Gentry started in Ghent, and has had most of its success there so far. ‘The league of new and beginning Magic players’ was the cradle for our fledgling format and continues hosting the biggest Gentry events there are to find on each second and fourth Thursday of the month.
From the people in Ghent a project was started in Bredene, on the coast. Every first Saturday of the month you can play Sealed or Gentry there. This community is still in its infancy and very much carried by very enthusiastic people that make the trip down from Ghent. A point of attention is that there is a dinner break between round 1 and 2 where fries are ordered and shared.
There have been other locations where people started playing Gentry but without a core community those seem to have died out. Brughes and Frankfurt are examples that started but are not reporting any events anymore.
Important in that description is “without a core community” because another location has emerged rather recently that did well on the last Finale (I am sure winning the whole thing qualifies as ‘doing quite well’) and has a group of dedicated players and even a shop keeper. That community is located in Sint-Niklaas. They have managed to officially host their last Game Day in Gentry, have regular FNM events and a separate monthly Gentry event on every third Saturday of the month.
And last but definitely not least is the community in Izmir, Turkey. Level 2 judge Yakup started introducing the community there a few years ago, hoping it would be the solution to letting people play constructed without sacrificing their wallets. He mentioned a booster can easily cost around 1,5% of a salary in Turkey, so having a budget option with recent cards is welcome. They have around 40 players invested in the format, with around 16 showing up weekly to play Gentry. I would love to have a more in-depth view into this community and hope to put that in an article soon.
There might be other locations where Gentry is played, and if there are I would love to hear about it in the comments or by mail. I have heard the French wing of the Lady Planeswalker Society has expressed an interest as well and that the Organised Play representative that allowed Gentry as a Game Day format in Sint-Niklaas might be suggesting it as an alternative to Standard to French stores that are having a hard time getting people interested in Constructed events.
You may have seen that there is a menu tab on the home screen that has three leaderboards, a list of names, points and rank.
Every month, but only once per month and only if announced at least a week beforehand, any location may host a Gentry Ladder event. When the event is over, the organizer sends the final standings to me and a leaderboard is made.
The points are simple, you get 6 points for participating in the event, 3 points for a won match and 1 point for a draw. This points system has been constructed in order to promote participation first and skill second since in its core Gentry is a community building tool aimed at giving people a taste of Constructed Magic events without making huge investments into cards.
What good does being high on the ranking do, you ask? Take a look at the next two titles, they are what we guarantee at this time but we might do more…
Formerly named ‘Gentry Finale’, these events were hosted the week before the Prerelease that would cause Standard, and therefor Gentry, to rotate. These would take place in September and March and are the only events that use a Competitive Rules Enforcement Level, also serving as a teaching tool for players to see what they can expect in other events.
With Wizards of the Coast announcing they are going back to a system that only rotates once a year, in September, we were faced with the question “Will we also delete one of our events or keep up with the calendar we have?”
The decision was quick and easy: We are sticking to our 2 events per year.
The name was changed to ‘Gentry Open’ because a lot of people assumed they weren’t allowed to play in them unless they made a certain rank on the leaderboards. That is not what the leaderboards are about, though, all they do is award a bye to the one person leading each individual leader board. Besides the name, all the rest remains the same:
- Swiss based on number of players + Top 8 Single elimination
- Prizes to top 8 or top 25% (whichever is more players)
- Winner gets boosters equal to the number of players in the event
- Other winnings are 2/3 of the rank above you (ranks are 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 5-8th, lower)
In Ghent we have a streaming setup and we try to stream at least every Ladder event on our very own twitch channel. After that clips are exported and made available on our Youtube channel. Both of these are still very much under construction and we are aiming to improve the look of the sites as well as their content. If anyone can help us with this you are always welcome to leave a comment or contact us privately.
The Gentry Invitational
We hosted a small precursor of this event already but now we are now making it official.
The Gentry invitational is an 8 player single elimination event, so like a top 8. It will take place around a month and a half before each Open. The people in it play for free and get a booster per win. The eventual winner also gets a bye for the Open it feeds into.
So how are the players in this event chosen? If only we had a handy-dandy chart of who is doing well in the format… Something like a board that shows who is leading in a particular area…? That’s right, being on top of a leaderboard after the fourth update (should be the January update) locks you in for the Invitational. Because of different sizes, the leaderboard will select a different number of players:
Ghent Leaderboard – Top 3
Sint-Niklaas Leaderboard – Top 2
Bredene Leaderboard – Leader only
That makes 6 people, isn’t it an 8 player event…? Wow, nothing seems to get by you today, dear reader. You are right, the remaining 2 spots are reserved for wild cards, people that are selected because they have shown interesting deck building and great playing skills.
Every match in the Invitational will be featured on camera and will be live-streamed with commentary. That is 7 matches between some of the best players and decks this format has to offer giving you a taste of what the metagame will be like in the Open to come.
The Gentry Facebook Page
All Gentry news has so far been channeled through related Facebook groups. We are moving all of this information to a central fan page. This will feature a calendar and announcements as well as the basic information about the format for easier sharing with your friends.
We are still streamlining and working on making all information about Gentry centralized and clear and making sure you can find a place to play. If you are reading and you feel like you are missing out, just build a few decks and introduce the format to your friends, if they are anything like us, you’ll have a budding community growing before you know it and if you are within travel distance of the Open, which will be hosted in Ghent, you can have your very own leaderboard with all the perks that come with it.
May you always topdeck the card you need,
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.