Description

Lantern Control Primer

Lantern Control is one of Modern's best prison decks. The goal of the deck is to establish a lock between several pieces that prevent the opponent from drawing any relevant cards and to prevent their creatures that are already on the field from attacking you. The deck can assemble its lock relatively fast, so it is capable of keeping up with Modern's fast paced format despite not actually winning till massively late game.
Ensnaring Bridge: This is the most important card in the deck, despite it being named after Lantern of Insight. Finding this card is often the determiner of almost every game and the reason the deck is so tailored to emptying its hand as fast as possible. Preventing creatures from attacking you lowers the number of cards that matter in your opponent's deck and thus lightens the load on the other lock pieces.

Lantern of Insight: This is the namesake of the deck and the reason everything else works so well. This card enables the entire rest of the deck and allows near-complete control over our opponent's draw step. Lantern of insight and even two mill-rocks are usually enough to make sure your opponent never draws anything relevant throughout the rest of the game.

Mill-Rocks: This list includes Codex Shredder, Ghoulcaller's Bell , and Pyxis of Pandemonium . These cards, along with Lantern of Insight, allow us control over both our own and our opponent's draw step. These are very skill-intensive, being able to know your opponent's outs to the lock and counteract them is absolutely critical to piloting the deck successfully. Once the full lock is established, the majority of cards you care about are artifact destruction cards, player burn cards and ways to make a 0-Powered creature stronger after attacking.

Abrupt Decay: Despite this being very good removal it is one of the worst cards in the deck. Due to the nature of Ensnaring Bridge, holding cards in our hand isn't something we want to do. This is best suited to take care of cards that can get around our lock, Eidolon of the Great Revel, Noble Hierarch, and Cranial Plating are popular cards that come to mind to target if available. After sideboarding, this card gets a lot better by hitting Stony Silence for us.

Academy Ruins: This card makes the whole deck run so smoothly. The ability to bring back artifacts we mill or get destroyed is so huge. It also enables an alternate win-con through Pyrite Spellbomb if the mill plan is going too slow.

Ancient Stirrings: One mana, search for a colorless card is amazing in the deck. These search effects, combined with our control of the draw steps mitigate the empty hand we are forced to play with. Stirrings helps us in the early game to find the lock pieces and in the late game they cement our lock even further.

Codex Shredder: Primarily, this is just a mill rock. However, the Shredder has a second ability that is extremely relevant and allows a lot of versatility in fetching any card out of our graveyard. Due to the slow nature of our deck we can loop non-artifact cards through Shredder and the Academy Ruins to an extremely debilitating effect.

Ghost Quarter: Land hate, pretty self-explanatory usually, but this deck is anything but usual. There's a lot of really interesting decisions for your opponent with this card. Not only does it take away a land, but it also provides them with the option of shuffling. The option to lose a land or the top card of their deck can be really devastating in a lot of scenarios.

Glint-Nest Crane : The second search effect, this one can't hit lands but it still digs for lock pieces which is awesome. Furthermore, once it's no longer needed to block, you can draw your card for turn, attack under your bridge and play your card in the second main phase once it's safe.

Grafdigger's Cage: This is the graveyard hate card that I picked but there are definitely alternatives which I will explain below. The reason to run Cage is it successfully stops reanimation, dredge, and flashback. In addition, it stops creatures from entering the library as well. Collected Company and Chord of Calling don't function under a cage. The important thing to remember is that Cage doesn't stop Living End.

Infernal Tutor : Hellbent is what our deck was designed to do so this card is search our deck for any card we want. Having more than one copy in hand is dangerous though so I wouldn't run more than one.

Inquisition of Kozilek: Hand disruption is really important in the early turns. It gives us perfect information with a Lantern of Insight out and is efficiently costed.

Inventors' Fair: A land that can search our deck and gain us life is incredible. My only complaint is that it's legendary and I can't run more. This card is often the difference between life and death when you're up against Burn.

Lantern of Insight: In addition to the valuable information that it provides, the secondary shuffle effect can act as a psuedo-mill effect by getting rid of the worst card on top of their library.

Leyline of Sanctity: This is an all-star sideboard card. It improves our abysmal Burn Matchup, stops hand disruption, and if you're ever cursed to play in the mirror it turns off their Codex Shredder.

Mox Opal: This is a zero costing artifact that smooths out our mana and can help protect the risky turn 1 plays where your only land is a Glimmervoid.

Nature's Claim: One mana to destroy any artifact or enchantment is a really good deal. I bring this in whenever I think Leyline of Sanctity will be a problem along with any problematic card that Abrupt Decay can't hit. I've also found that cycling this card with Codex Shredder and Academy Ruins is extremely good against decks like Affinity and most Blood Moon decks.

Pithing Needle: This card stops pretty much anything else that can operate under the lock. The two primary targets for it are usually Planeswalkers and Fetch lands but it can hit a number of creatures and cards. The important thing is to remember that it doesn't work on mana abilities and is thus mostly useless against decks like eggs.

Sea Gate Wreckage: The hellbent draw is rarely relevant, so I wouldn't run more than a single copy, but when you need that extra card and have to do a symmetrical mill, it's super good.

Spellskite: This is a super good sideboard guard. It functions as a great blocker, can fog some burn damage, and can redirect those pesky artifact destruction spells to save the pieces that are actually winning the game.

Surgical Extraction: This card is a complete all-star. There are so many devastating plays with this card. Thoughtseize, Inquition of Kozilek, or blind mill an important card on turn one then pay 2 life to remove every copy of it from the game and watch them fumble about. This card is the hardest card in the deck to use correctly and mastering it requires a deep knowledge of the meta and the patience to wait for an opportune card to hit with it. The Codex Shredder and Academy Ruins loop also grabs this card and makes players cry and the salt rain.

Thoughtseize: The best discard spell in all of Modern. It can grab anything out of our opponent's hand on T1 for only one mana and 2 life.

Now, while the deck seems fairly linear at what it wants to do there are a lot of little tricks that can mean the difference in a game loss and a game win. The first, and my personal favorite, I've already hinted at in the cards section.

Academy Ruins + Codex Shredder + Any other card: This combo works by using Codex Shredder's second ability to pay 5 and return any nonland card to your hand. You then use Academy Ruins extra ability to loop your Codex Shredder back to the top of your library where you can draw it and recast the Codex Shredder. This loop will typically take 2-3 turns due to the mana intensivity and thus should only be performed once you have a firm lock and need to take care of 1 or 2 problematic cards.

Discard Spell + Surgical Extraction: This is by far my favorite opening. Oftentimes your opponent won't keep a hand unless it has something good in it. So through this line you can take away their most important piece in their opener forever. Another good substitute is when they scry something to the top and you blind mill the card trusting it is something they needed.

Ancient Stirrings: One really important thing to remember is that lands are colorless. So if you have a land light hand, but access to green mana this will probably find you a land.

Ghoulcaller's Bell + Pyxis of Pandemonium : These cards don't target when you mill with them and they allow us to still win under a Leyline of Sanctity. We do need to be mindful of our own deck size of course, but with Academy Ruins + Codex Shredder we will rarely deck ourselves because we don't need to draw new cards if we don't want to.

Pyrite Spellbomb: This card can often present a faster clock than milling due to the prevalence of Death's Shadow decks. They lower their life total indiscriminately against us because of how few damaging effects we run and this can often present a 2-3 turn clock when coupled with an Academy Ruins. Its also very useful for picking off Noble Heirarchs and other 0-powered creatures that attack under a bridge.

Mox Opal + Glimmervoid: Running out a Glimmervoid on T1 is always dangerous, but in game 1 I am far more likely to do it even with only a single Mox Opal because of how rare maindeck artifact hate is. After boarding this becomes far riskier but is still a line of play especially when you have a 1 drop artifact alongside the opal.

This deck is the top of the modern metagame for a reason and it's definitely a tough matchup. I have about a 50/50 match rate with them in my own online testing. They have Stubborn Denial to counter our Ensnaring Bridge and a couple lists run maindeck artifact hate in the form of Kolaghan's Command. The struggle then becomes getting a bridge down through their counterspells and protecting it. This is a matchup where an early bridge is absolutely critical since we only run 2 main deck Abrupt Decay. To play against them one of the more effective ways is to stop their life loss. I've definitely Pithing Needled a fetch land and surgical extracted lands to slow down the life loss and give me a couple more turns. The next Pithing Needle usually names Tasigur, the Golden Fang. However, once the Bridge is up, the most important card to get rid of is their Snapcaster Mage to cut off their access to the graveyard.

Sideboarding:

+3 Grafdigger's Cage

+3 Spellskite

-2 Glint-Nest Crane

-2 Pyxis of Pandemonium

-2 Abrupt Decay

This matchup can be a nightmare and we are not very favored. They have a lot of ways to pump 0-powered creatures and attack under our bridges to kill us. The key cards we want to take from them are Cranial Plating and Signal Pest. If we can keep them off of those 2 cards our chances of victory go up significantly. In addition to keeping them off of those two cards we also need to find a bridge by T3 or they'll usually kill us before we get a chance to untap. Fortunately, if we survive those first few turns Affinity lacks the draw power to restock their hand and the rest of the game becomes really easy to control with a few mill rocks and a Lantern of Insight out. Abrupt Decay is an all-star here and can be very helpful in removing their repeatable pump cards. Pithing Needle on Cranial Plating can also be a huge life saver.

Sideboarding:

+1 Abrupt Decay

+1 Pithing Needle

+2 Spellskite

+3 Nature's Claim

-2 Thoughtseize

-2 Surgical Extraction

-2 Glint-Nest Crane

-1 Ghoulcaller's Bell

Four maindeck Chalice of the Void make this deck pretty tough to beat. Our only out to a Chalice on 1 is Abrupt Decay. The rest of the deck is fairly manageable. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Walking Ballista and Karn Liberated should be milled away or Pithing Needle as fast as possible and the rest comes down to finding our Ensnaring Bridge. This version of Tron just has so many alternate ways to kill us that it can difficult to navigate. This matchup is probably the most reliant on Pithing Needle and so I would definitely take it over all other lock pieces with the exception of Ensnaring Bridge if I don't already have one. One last thing worth noting, Chalice of the Void counters, so if they get cute and set up one on 1 and one on 2, Abrupt Decay does not care at all and can still destroy one of them.

Sideboarding

+1 Pithing Needle

+1 Abrupt Decay

-1 inquistion of kozilek

-1 Pyrite Spellbomb

Burn is the matchup that everyone asks: "Don't you just lose to burn?" And the answer is 'not as often as you'd think'. Game 1 is typically abysmal, they have so many burn spells and if they get a fast start with Goblin Guide then we'll lose hard. Occasionally, I can sneak through in game 1 by finding an early Inventors' Fair and an early Ensnaring Bridge (See the pattern here? Bridge is the most important card). From there its a matter of finding the right groove and hoping you can keep them off of Burn spells. After boarding, our chances get a lot better. Leyline of Sanctity is, and always will be, amazing against Burn. Mulliganing to one of them sucks, but it is absolutely critical to our survival. Once we have the Leyline, half of their deck is turned off and we can land a bridge and mill them out in relative peace. The only remaining problem cards are Eidolon of the Great Revel and Destructive Revelry after boarding. Revelry is relatively easy to keep them off of and Eidolon just just be killed with extreme prejudice as fast as possible because everything we play gets hit by that.

Sideboard

+1 Abrupt Decay

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

+2 Spellskite

-2 Thoughtseize

-2 Pithing Needle

-2 Pyxis of Pandemonium

I haven't played more than a couple games against Storm, it isn't very present near me, but Storm is an interesting Matchup. They have a lot of very problematic 1-ofs in the board and a single copy of Repeal in the main deck. Game 1 we're unfavored to win although it is still very possible. In Game 2 we bring in Grafdigger's Cage and if we can land an early one and protect it we're pretty well off. Leyline of Sanctity stops Grapeshot and then it becomes a game of keep away to stop their problem cards. This is one of the few games where Ensnaring Bridge isn't as relevant but we definitely want to keep most of them in because of Empty the Warrens

Sideboarding

+3 Grafdigger's Cage

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

+1 Surgical Extraction

-2 Pithing Needle

-1 Pyrite Spellbomb

-2 Abrupt Decay

-1 Ensnaring Bridge

-1 Glint-Nest Crane

Titanshift is pretty luck dependent, I've had games where I won on T1 by blind milling a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Surgical Extractioning it and I've also had games where I lost on T47 because they would draw 10 mountains or mountain fetching pieces in a row. Getting rid of Valakut and Primeval Titan, whether through extracting, milling, or landing a bridge is what you're trying to work for. Game 2 gets easier with Leyline of Sanctity but be prepared for their answers to it. Its also worth noting that Pithing Needle does stop Sakura-Tribe Elder.

Sideboarding

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

+3 Spellskite

-3 Inquisition of Kozilek

-2 Glint-Nest Crane

-1 Pyxis of Pandemonium

This is one of our best matchups. We're favored to win about 4 out of every 5 times. An Ensnaring Bridge is often all it takes to win because we don't win through damage. The deck gains infinite life and infinite damage rather quickly but neither of those things matter to us. The goal is to find the bridge and then mill with impunity. After sideboarding it gets even better because we can actively turn off their Collected Company and Chord of Callings with Grafdigger's Cage.

Sideboarding

+3 Grafdigger's Cage

+3 Spellskite

-2 Pithing Needle

-2 Pyxis of Pandemonium

-2 Thoughtseize

This is a very bad matchup for my version of Lantern Control. Grafdigger's Cage doesn't stop what they do because it comes in from exile. If your meta is Living End saturated, then I'd run Relic of Progenitus or Leyline of the Void in Cage's slot to vastly improve the matchup. Winning without that yard hate requires a very careful playing around of Ingot Chewer and a fast Ensnaring Bridge.

Sideboarding

+1 Surgical Extraction

+3 Spellskite

-2 Pithing Needle

-2 Ghoulcaller's Bell

Updates

Comments

landofMordor says... #2

Excellent primer! The best I've seen on Lantern on this site.

July 9, 2017 8:13 a.m.

Zaueski says... #3

Thanks :)

July 9, 2017 10:39 a.m.

Plumbert says... #4

This list seems to be outdated a bit. I know its a personal choice that depends on your meta, but if you follow the mtgsalvation thread and any lists that did well recently you'll see some differences.

Lists are pretty much straight GB now, with splashes for cards like aether grid or mechanized production in the side. There's a general consensus that Glint-Nest Crane just isn't worth it, and neither is Pyrite Spellbomb. They've been replaced by other utility cards such as Collective Brutality or Crucible of Worlds. You should also be playing at least 18 lands.

The other major differences are Leyline of Sanctity mainboard as well as Mishra's Bauble. Leyline gives us a better burn and GDS matchup but can also be very clunky, if you play these, you definitely need brutality in the main so you can discard the extra ones you draw.The builds with Mishra's Bauble are far more consistent. Bauble can allow for Mox Opal activation turn 1 and act as a pseudo Lantern when you don't have an actual one. I personally don't use Bauble, but it's something to look into.

I don't want to be hating on your list or anything, I played something very similar back in January, but I just wanted to point out that there's some better card choices out there now.

July 20, 2017 11:27 a.m.

Zaueski says... #5

Im not a fan of Leyline of Sanctity mainboard. There's too many dead matchups for my taste. Mishra's Bauble might be a tad better than Glint-Nest Crane but I cant afford a playset right now. I'll start testing online to see if that's better though. And Collective Brutality always seemed a tad slow to me.

July 20, 2017 12:16 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 5 months
Last updated 1 week
Legality

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.26
Top rank #24 on 2017-07-18
Views 513

Revision 3 (1 month ago)

+2 Swamp main
-2 Infernal Tutor main
+4 Spire of Industry main
-8 Mox Opal main
+2 Pyrite Spellbomb main
-8 Ancient Stirrings main
+8 Ensnaring Bridge main
+8 Glimmervoid main
+4 Pithing Needle main
-2 Darkslick Shores main
+4 Ghost Quarter main
-4 Glint-Nest Crane main
+6 Inquisition of Kozilek main
-5 Ghost Quarter main
-6 Inquisition of Kozilek main
-6 Blooming Marsh main
+4 Academy Ruins main
-8 Ghoulcaller's Bell main
+8 Glint-Nest Crane main
+8 Lantern of Insight main
and 62 other change(s)

See all