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Modern Brews with Aether Revolt: Lantern with Spire, Eggs with Whir

Spire of Industry

Spire is another card that has the potential to see play in Modern. Right now, there are two main candidates I’d consider playing it in: Affinity and Lantern. Both decks have enough cheap artifacts to turn it on at basically any time, both can make use of the colorless mana, and both have more than two colors, which justify playing Spire of Industry over a painland. It would, indeed, be perfect for those two decks, if there wasn’t the matter of not having enough room.

If Affinity was a 21-land deck, I’d be positive that we’d be seen some Spire of Industries in there, perhaps even 4. Right now, however, you have Glimmervoids, then 8 creaturelands, then 4 artifact lands, then 1 basic for Path to Exile—there’s no room for any extra lands, no matter how good they are. If you want to play Spire, then you have to either cut Glimmervoid or a basic land. In a format without many Paths (which this might just be, because of Fatal Push), perhaps Spire is better than a basic, but that’s only 1 slot anyway. So, the question becomes:

Is Spire of Industry better than Glimmervoid?

It just might be, at least in some numbers. Most Affinity decks run very few colored cards in the main (Galvanic Blasts and Masters is the usual configuration, so about 6), so the amount of damage you’re taking is very small—it’s certainly less than 1 a game, considering you also have Drum and Mox. You have a lot more colored cards in the sideboard, but some of them (Thoughtseizes, Spell Pierces) don’t care that you’re taking damage because they only come in against control and combo decks (though some, like Aether Grid and Ancient Grudge, do). If it weren’t for the sideboard, I’d think that Spire was better than Glimmervoid.

The downside isn’t that big, but it exists. Is it bigger than the downside for Glimmervoid? It’s hard to say, because they’re so different. Spire offers a minuscule downside that will happen frequently, whereas Glimmervoid offers a game-losing downside that happens rarely. The main problem with Glimmervoid is not actually the times that it kills you—it’s the hands you can’t keep because if they Bolt your creature, you’re dead. This usually happens when Glimmervoid is your only land or when you have double Glimmervoid.

For this reason, I think you want a mix to minimize the double Glimmervoid hands. I’d start out with 2-2 or 2-1 and then adjust accordingly.

Lantern is a different matter. I think Glimmervoid is a better Lantern land for two reasons: First, you have a lot more colored spells, and they are spells you often have to cast (because of Bridge), so you’d end up taking a lot more damage. Second, it’s harder for them to punish your Glimmervoids because your cheap artifacts are not creatures. A turn-1 Signal Pest or Vault Skirge can get hit by a removal spell, but a turn-1 Lantern is basically guaranteed to live in game 1 unless they have exactly Abrupt Decay.

You could still replace Llanowar Wastes with Spire of Industry, though. The main downside for this is that you cannot go turn-1 discard or Stirrings if you don’t have Mox or Bauble, and the main upside is that it adds blue for Academy Ruins and red for your sideboard. I don’t think you should play 4 Spires since sometimes it’s important to disrupt turn 1, but I always felt like the deck could do with a couple more colored sources for my Academy/Pyroclasm/Ancient Grudge needs, so I’ll definitely be trying out a couple copies.

Battle at the Bridge

With a name like this, it would be irresponsible if no one tried this card in a Lantern deck. Lantern is normally not interested in spot removal, but I think it can make an exception for this card like it did for Abrupt Decay and Collective Brutality, as it’s very powerful when it works. Lantern has plenty of artifacts that are very cheap, so this serves the triple function of killing pesky creatures that attack through Bridge, like Noble Hierarch and Signal Pest, buying you time to draw your combo pieces, and of getting you out of burn range. It’s common to play against a deck with burn and stabilize, but not be able to stop them from drawing a burn spell to finish you off since they have so many. With Battle at the Bridge, you can suddenly gain 6+ life and then there’s no way you can lose.

Collective Brutality sort of does that as well, on a smaller scale, but I don’t think the deck is very good at discarding cards. You need multiple pieces, so having a card that can do it on its own, with no extra costs, is quite nice. This is also cheaper than Brutality most of the time (can be cast turn 1 with Mox or Bauble), and you can kill something on turn 2 while also developing your board.

I’d start with 1 in the main, with possibly another in the board for Burn. One is not a lot, but Lantern sees a lot of cards, so you will topdeck this when you need it a lot more than other decks would. As a bonus, you can play Spire of Industry if you’re playing more red in your sideboard or Glint-Nest Crane, but I don’t like those cards very much, so no Spire for me.

Lantern Control

Whir of Invention

Whir of Invention is often dubbed as the “Chord of Calling for artifacts,” but it’s fundamentally different in that it always costs at least 3—Chord of Calling can, in theory, cost 0. But there’s also a big difference in favor of Whir of Invention, which is that there are some very cheap artifacts with very powerful abilities. If you cast Whir of Invention for 0, you can get Lotus Bloom, whereas, if you cast Chord of Calling for 0, you can get, uh, Memnite?

The obvious “Lotus Bloom deck” is Eggs, which is a deck that really wants to get Lotus Bloom into play. The deck could have played Wargate before and usually didn’t, but Whirl is instant speed, easier to cast, and can be “convoked” by your other many artifacts to find something like a Krark-Clan Ironworks for much cheaper than Wargate could, so I think it’s a decent enough improvement.

I’d try something like this:

Eggs

For those who don’t know how this deck works, it involves playing a bunch of artifacts that can sacrifice themselves to draw extra cards, sacrificing all of them, and then casting Faith’s Reward to bring them all back. If you have Ironworks in play then the combo fuels itself, and if you don’t you need Lotus Bloom, which is why you play Reshape and Whir. For more mana, you can also Ghost Quarter yourself or use a fetchland the turn you’re going off. Eventually you get to a point where you have a lot of mana and a lot of cards, and you can start recycling Faith’s Rewards with Conjurer’s Bauble, at which point you can get Pyrite Spellbomb and sacrifice it every time you loop. Alternatively you can play any X spell as a 1-of and that will kill people much faster, but I like Conjurer’s Bauble in the deck. It’s usually a turn-4 deck, but can kill turn 3 with a good hand (usually involving Reshape).

It might seem hard to get to the required UUU for Whir of Invention, but you have a lot of artifacts that can switch colorless into blue, and Terrarion can do it twice. Terrarion is normally not the best with Faith’s Reward, as it enters play tapped, but it works very well with Ironworks and Reshape.

Whir can also be good to find some specific bullets after sideboarding, such as an instant-speed Tormod’s Crypt or Pithing Needle, or perhaps an end-of-turn Defense Grid.

 

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