Gentry Open Analysis

By Niels Viaene

As most of you hopefully know, we had the Gentry Open last weekend. 45 people showed up to throw down and it was a doozy. For those of you that weren’t there, did not watch live and don’t want spoilers, go look at it first. After that, we will take a look at the metagame and I will share the top 8 decklists.

Now that you’ve seen some of the matches you might want to know what else was played in the event:

BG Counters 8
GRx Energy 6
WUR Blink/Revolt 2
BUR Improvise 2
BUR Control 2
UR Tides 2
UR Artificers 2
WUR Control 2
BR Vampires 2
BR Vehicles 1
WR Vehicles 1
BRG Ramp 1
Ug Ramp 1
Red Deck Wins 1
WUB Blink 1
WURG Blink 1
WUBR Blink 1
UR Control 1
UB Aggro 1
UR Eldrazi 1
WB Tokens 1
WBG Revolt/Delirium 1
WBG Revolt/Counters 1
WBG Revolt 1
UR Intruder 1
URG Emerge 1

The demise of BG Counters?

Image.jpegLeading up to the event the consensus had become that Black Green Counters, a deck centered around Winding Constrictor, is the best all-round deck that is currently available. It has decent early game, an amazing mid and late game, great mana with Attune with Aether, and a lot of possibilities to interact with and disrupt other decks.

It seems a lot of people agreed with this as 8 people showed up with Scrounging Bandar, Ridgescale Tusker and Longtusk Cub up their sleeve. Taking a look a little deeper we saw both players that have been playing the deck for a while and band-wagoners, people that did not find a deck to play and decided to play “the best deck”.

Turns out that playing a deck, even a deck they call the best, in an event where everybody has prepared for weeks in order to beat you was not a good idea. None of the BG Counters players made it into the top 8.

The Third Dog

image-7There is a belgian saying that goes : “When two dogs are fighting for a bone, the third one runs off with it.” That dog is RG Energy, a deck that ruled Gentry for months until Aether Revolt came into the fray and pushed it out of the lime light. It struck back with a vengeance, though, with a game plan that can beat BG Counters with speed and a possible explosiveness using Uncaged Fury that can finish off an unsuspecting opponent out of seemingly nowhere.

6 players brought the deck, 2 of them got to top 8 and one of them went all the way in the hands of Alan Schuer, the player who undoubtedly has more experience with this deck than any 3 other players combined.

In the end the deck has a lot of the qualities mentioned in the BG Counters description while packing a mean punch to finish games, a quality that definitely caused some unexpected autographs on result slips. The deck forces you to return pressure, otherwise you just lose when they amass Blossoming Defense, Uncaged Fury and another pump spell. On the other hand, by doing so you generally are leaving yourself vulnerable to a more conventional aggro plan. Playing against this deck can feel a lot like trying to defuse a bomb without knowing if it is a timer that you need to rush or a tripwire you need to tiptoe around.

Blinking to the top

image-5Blink decks are centered around Felidar Guardian and various creatures with good “enters the battlefield” triggers like Cloudblazer, Vengeful Rebel and Maverick Thopterist. They aim to reuse abilities again and again in order to either grind out a win with incremental advantages (which the black and green versions are very good at) or a (near) infinite combo creating tons of thopter tokesn with Whirler virtuoso that throw in Saheeli Rai and Decoction Module.

These are probably the subjectively most fun decks to play as you constantly have something to do and can try to trick your opponent at every point in the game. That is, if you like dealing with convoluted and difficult board states.

Quite a few Blink players snuck into the top 8, and with it sneakily being the third most played type of deck (once you combine all the sub categories) this is one you will need to keep in the back of your head in months to come. It is also the type of deck that tends to improve as sets get added in a way that is a lot more drastic than other decks. It just takes one crazy card with an insane “enters the battlefield” ability to allow this deck type to break through and dominate Gentry.

I typed the previous paragraph before the Cat was banned but I am still leaving it in as Michael Milis proved you can play a Blink deck without Felidar Guardian and do well. The deck becomes more a control deck as it can no longer threaten wins out of nowhere.

That diversity, though!

I am only taking time to look at the three most played decks in the event. But those only make up around 40% of the metagame. Other than these there are 21 decks I felt deserved to be separately mentioned. We call Gentry a deckbuilder’s paradise and these numbers fortify that notion yet again.

image-2There is one sneaky card that deserves special mention, though, and that is Hidden Stockpile. This card, which is played almost exclusively in Gentry, has spawned a lot of decks already. All decks that play white and black and have a Revolt or token focus tend to play the full 4 cards and I am looking forward to seeing what else the card can support, so far almost all the decks a extremely grindy (decks that win very slowly by piling up tiny little advantages overmultiple turns) but I spotted a card in Amonkhet that might speed up what Stockpile can do considerably. Look forward to seeing it in action at an event near you really soon or have it featured in a deck tech type article.

Rise of the pro player

It was hard not to notice there were quite a few people in the event that are rather new to the format. On one hand, those were new players actually getting into the game fresh, on the other, Gentry has attracted quite a few players that one can consider Magic pro players. At least one National Champion, one Grand Prix top 8 competitor and one Pro Tour top 8 competitor were in the event and brought interesting decks.

As you now know, however, in the end it was a regular of “the League of new and beginning Magic players” that took home the title and 36 boosters of cards, proving once and for all that familiarity with the format should not be overlooked.

Decklists of the top 8 players

Quarter finalist Chovan Jaroslav

UBR Control
Lands
2 Cinder Barrens
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Island
6 Mountain
8 Swamp

Creatures
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Self-Assembler
2 Dukhara Peafowl
2 Consulate Skygate

Other Spells
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
4 Fatal Push
4 Unlicensed Disintegration
2 Incendiary Sabotage
1 Diabolic Tutor
4 Renegade Map
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Shock
1 Universal Solvent

Sideboard
4 Succumb to Temptation
2 Fortuitous Find
2 Fen Hauler
3 Negate
1 Plains
3 Fragmentize

Quarter Finalist Chistophe Grégoir

WBG Revolt/Delirium
Lands
4 Evolving Wilds
7 Swamp
6 Forest
2 Plains

Creatures
1 Grim Flayer
2 Moldgraf Scavenger
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Renegade Rallier

Other Spells
3 Renegade Map
3 Terrarion
3 Angelic Purge
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
3 Fatal Push
3 Unbridled Growth 
4 Dead Weight
4 Hidden Stockpile
4 Vessel of Nascency

Sideboard
1 Forest
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Oblivion Strike
2 Metalspinner’s Puzzleknot
4 Self-Assembler
1 Vessel of Malignity
1 Commencement of Festivities
1 Mire’s Malice
2 Natural State

Quarter Finalist Mats Clays

RGu Energy
Lands
15 Forest
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Mountain

Creatures
4 Longtusk Cub
4 Voltaic Brawler
3 Servant of the Conduit
3 Thriving Rhino
3 Aetherstream Leopard
3 Spontaneous Artist
1 Bristling Hydra
1 Walking Ballista
2 Riparian Tiger
1 Verdurous Gearhulk

Other Spells
3 Attune with Aether
4 Harnessed Lightning
3 Vines of the Recluse
2 Highspire Infusion
1 Arlinn Kord

Sideboard
4 Negate
3 Chandra’s Pyrohelix
3 Natural State
2 Destructive Tampering
2 Plummet
1 Island

Quarter Finalist Tom Vandevelde

UBR Improvise
Lands
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Mountain
8 Island
4 Swamp
3 Cinder Barrens
1 Submerged Boneyard
1 Plains

Creatures
4 Maverick Thopterist

Other Spells
4 Renegade Map
4 Terrarion
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Metallic Rebuke
2 Reverse Engineer
2 Dead Weight
4 Fatal Push
2 Murderous Compulsion
4 Tezzeret’s Touch
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis

Sideboard
2 Dead Weight
3 Negate
1 Dispel
3 Dhund Operative
1 Reverse Engineer
2 Fragmentize
2 Boiling Earth
1 Murderous Compulsion

Semi Finalist Jelle Gyselinck

WUR Blink
Lands
5 Mountain
5 Island
7 Plains
2 Highland Lake

Creatures
2 Maverick Thopterist
4 Cloudblazer
4 Felidar Guardian
3 Whirler Virtuoso
4 Thraben Inspector

Other Spells
4 Renegade Map
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Panharmonicon
1 Oath of Chandra
3 Angelic Purge
2 Metallic Rebuke
2 Harnessed Lightning
2 Terrarion
3 Shock

Sideboard
2 Fragmentize
1 Decommission
1 Select for Inspection
4 Fortified Rampart
2 Dispelt
2 Negate
2 Revoke Privileges
1 Shock

Semi Finalist Michael Milis

WUB Blink
Lands
4 Forsaken Sanctuary
Swamp
3 Island
4 Evolving Wilds
6 Plains

Creatures
1 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Linvala, the Preserver
1 Spell Queller
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Deadeye Harpooner
3 Cloudblazer
4 Vengeful Rebel

Other Spells
1 Dead Weight
3 Displace
3 Prophetic Prism
4 Acrobatic Maneuver
4 Renegade Map
4 Fatal Push

Sideboard
2 Dead Weight
2 Tightening Coils
3 Decommission
3 Negate
3 Wretched Gryff
2 Fourth Bridge Prowler

Finalist Sander De Canck

BR Vehicles
Lands
2 Cinder Barrens
8 Mountain
9 Swamp

Creatures
2 Inventor’s Apprentice
4 Night Market Lookout
4 Aether Chaser
4 Forerunner of Slaughter
4 Weldfast Engineer
1 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 Pia Nalaar
1 Bomat Courier

Other Spells
1 Heart of Kiran
4 Shock
4 Renegade Map
3 Sky Skiff
1 Incendiary Flow
4 Renegade Freighter
4 Unlicensed Disintegration

Sideboard
4 Self-Assembler
4 Dhund Operative
2 Welding Sparks
2 Grotesque Mutation
1 Oblivion Strike
1 Swamp
1 Mountain

Champion Alan Schuer

RG Energy
Lands
15 Forest
7 Mountain

Creatures
3 Longtusk Cub
4 Voltaic Brawler
2 Servant of the Conduit
3 Aetherstream Leopard
3 Thriving Rhino
3 Spontaneous Artist
1 Bristling Hydra
1 Verdurous Gearhulk

Other Spells
4 Attune with Aether
3 Blossoming Defense
3 Harnessed Lightning
3 Highspire Infusion
3 Uncaged Fury
1 Arlinn Kord
1 Nissa, Vital Force

Sideboard
2 Riparian Tiger
3 Shock
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
3 Rabid Bite
3 Larger Than Life
2 Destructive Tampering

Conclusion and looking onward

The Gentry Open was a smashing success in many ways. We almost had a record attendance at 45 players, players were having fun, the stream has been improved yet again and the format seems as healthy as ever. We had a few highly anticipated guest trying their hand at Gentry but in the end it was Alan Schuer, our very own Gentry enthusiast that rose to the top and placed his name in the pantheon of Open winners alongside Jelle Gyselinck and Michiel van den Bussche.

With this event, the leaderboard will be reset, another Invitational is being planned as we race towards the next Open to take place when Ixalan is looming on the horizon. Before that, we have Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation to throw a massive wrench into the fine machinery that is Kaladesh Gentry.

There is also a Gentry side event taking place on Sunday June 4th at GP Amsterdam that will award a bye for the next Gentry Open. It is a big chance for every Gentry enthusiast to show a larger audience just how cool our format is. Expect posts and reminders as this event closes in.

On August 14th we have the GentryBQ, expect more details for this event as the date closes in as well.

And last but definitely not least: We are moving the site over to Gentrymagic.com in order to have more flexibility and features in the future. For now the sites will mirror eachother but in the near future the .wordpress will be removed.

But that is not all, there is plenty more exciting stuff going on behind the scenes that we can’t talk about yet. Just know things are going to get a whole lot more awesome in the months to come. 😉

I hope you are just as stoked as I am,
Niels

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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 a 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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