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Much Abrew: Lantern Control (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Two weeks ago, we played one of the all-time worst Much Abrew decks in Mono-Blue Mill. Well, this week we are heading to Modern to play a mill deck that's actually competitive: Lantern Control! The funny thing is that Lantern Control looks like a really horrible deck full of weird, underpowered cards, but when all of these underpowered cards are combined. the deck is actually incredibly strong and very difficult for opponents to play against. On the other hand, Lantern Control has a reputation as being a difficult deck to play, and the league we're playing today will be my very first every games with Lantern Control. Will a lack of experience hold us back, or can we lock our opponent out of the game with Ensnaring Bridge and then mill our way to victory? We're about to see!

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Lantern Control Instant Deck Tech

Lantern Control vs. 8 Whack (Match 1)

Lantern Control vs. Scapeshift (Match 2)

Lantern Control vs. Grixis Death's Shadow (Match 3)

Lantern Control vs. Infect (Match 4)

Lantern Control vs. UR Prowess (Match 5)

Lantern Control (Wrap Up)

Discussion

  • First off, we absolutely crushed the league, finishing with a relatively easy 5-0. While we lost some games here and there, often to ourselves (for instance, our very first game, where we simply couldn't find an Ensnaring Bridge), the deck was amazingly good at keeping the opponent from doing anything relevant, even after our opponents brought in all of their sideboard hate cards in games two and three. 
  • Unlike most weeks, Lantern Control isn't really a brew, and especially on the back of a 5-0, I don't really have any major changes to suggest. The deck ran great. So, instead, let's focus on what I learned about playing Lantern Control—lessons that will hopefully be helpful if you decide to play the deck yourself. 
  • While this probably sounds weird, Lantern Control is a lot like Free Win Red. While the game plan is different (Lantern Control is a control deck, Free Win Red is very aggressive), the theories behind both are similar: you're basically looking to cut your opponent off of all their possible outs. Free Win Red does this with Chalice of the Void, Blood Moon, and Ensnaring Bridge; Lantern Control uses Ensnaring Bridge and a bunch of weird mill artifacts to control the opponent's draws. As a result, if you decide to pick up Lantern Control, the most important thing is to know your opponent's deck inside and out. 
  • The trick of Lantern Control is knowing what matters in your opponent's deck, because for the deck to work, you need to be able to mill every single card that matters. Even letting just one meaningful card slip through the lock can end up losing you the game. As a result, instead of rewarding play skill, Lantern Control seems to reward an encyclopedic knowledge of the Modern format and what cards are likely in each deck. 
  • As a result, if you want to learn Lantern Control, my advice would be to play some matches on Magic Online, and as you are playing, look up your opponent's deck on the metagame page and look for the outs. What cards can kill your artifacts? In which ways can your opponent win through an Ensnaring Bridge? What will they bring in from their sideboard? This had the added benefit of helping you learn the Modern format in general, because these questions are relevant (at least, to some extent) no matter what deck you are playing, but to play Lantern Control successfully, this knowledge is essential. 
  • As far as the game play, the sequencing isn't especially hard, but figuring out which mill card to use first can be tricky. While it might seem like they all do the same thing, there are some slight differences. Here are some things to consider. First, and most importantly, if you have an meaningful artifact on the top of your deck, try to mill it rather than exile it, because you can always get it back with Academy Ruins. Second, in the early game, it's often better to target yourself with Codex Shredder (which only targets a single player) to try to stock your graveyard with artifacts. Third, use Pyxis of Pandemonium to get rid of cards you know you don't want to get back (like excess lands). Pyxis of Pandemonium is also key against cards like Ancient Grudge since it exiles, which means if you are activating a bunch of mill artifacts in the same turn, it's often better to save your Pyxis of Pandemonium in case you find something you need to exile on the top of your opponent's deck. 
  • Now, all of these suggestions might seem like really small things, and in all honesty they are, but they are also extremely important to being successful with Lantern Control. Lantern Control is not a deck that blows people out, which means you're going to be in a lot of close games, which in turn means losing even slight edges with the order of milling can be devastating. 
  • As far as planning ahead, the biggest thing is figuring out how to get empty-handed as quickly as possible for Ensnaring Bridge. Over the first three or four turns of the game, these are often this most important sequencing decisions you'll make. As such, when in doubt, err on the side of the plan that will leave you empty-handed.
  • So, should you play Lantern Control in Modern? The answer is yes and no. As far as being competitive, the deck felt incredibly good (which probably isn't surprising, considering it's pretty close to tier one in Modern at the moment), so if your goal is to win tournaments, Lantern Control is a fine choice. On the other hand, make sure you actually enjoy playing the deck. Personally, I had a blast with it, but I know other people really dislike the slow, grindy, prison-esque strategy, and if you're not having fun while you're playing the deck, I doubt you'll be successful with the archetype. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, subscribing to, and commenting on Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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