Lantern can be one of the most frustrating decks to play against in all of Modern. Watching a deck slowly take control as it removes your ability to win and just waits for your deck to run out of cards isn’t the most exciting strategy, but it’s one of the most effective. Making that deck even more consistent can be an incredible weapon.
Lantern of Insight looks like it should be horribly unplayable. It sits on the battlefield, gives both players perfect information about what each will draw, and you can eventually cash it in to force a shuffle. This is the key to locking your opponent out, however, by knowing when to mill them and deny their ability to draw important cards lurking on top of their library.
Codex Shredder will send the most dangerous cards from the top of your opponent’s library to the graveyard. Lantern gives you the info, and the Shredder can dispose of the problems. Pyxis of Pandemonium has a similar effect, except that it will exile the top card. This is useful when it comes to cards with flashback or Snapcaster Mage, but exiling your own top card can have a negative impact as well. This deck completely foregoes all copies of Ghoulcaller’s Bell and only utilizes these artifacts for milling.
You can skimp on these mill effects thanks to Whir of Invention. With so many artifacts in the deck, Whir can be cast for cheap early in the game. Being able to find so many powerful 1-mana artifacts (at least, relative to the deck at hand), makes Whir an excellent addition. Codex Shredder and Lantern are both 1-mana spells that can lock your opponent out of the game.
Ensnaring Bridge is your best method of survival. This deck can empty its hand early as there are many 0-casting-cost spells and the rest cost a single mana. Even if you can only get down to 1-2 cards in the early stages of the game, you’re still rendering the most threatening creatures in the format unable to attack.
Mox Opal is vital to this strategy. Not only are you playing many different colors, but you want to be able to accelerate out your key spells early. Metalcraft gets turned on by turn 2 far more often than not (and can be on turn 1 quite often), and from there you can press your mana advantage by exploding onto the board.
Mishra’s Bauble is a 0-mana artifact that replaces itself with a new card, letting you empty your hand for Bridge and turning on Mox Opal. Seeing the top card of your opponent’s deck or your own deck helps your mill effects stay relevant before you have a Lantern in play.
Ancient Stirrings offers incredible card selection for a single mana. 50 of the 60 cards in this main deck are hits for Stirrings, giving Lantern some unparalleled consistency.
Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek can clear the path for many of the format’s hardest to deal with cards. Whether this is some sort of Shatterstorm effect, Stony Silence, or simply Eidolon of the Great Revels, removing these cards from the opponent’s hand covers your biggest vulnerability. The discard spells give you access to perfect information combined with Lantern, and let you play optimally once you know what the opponent is holding. Collective Brutality can take a problematic card, kill a tough creature, or even gain some life.
With access to Whir of Invention and Inventors’ Fair, this version can play some more silver bullet artifacts. Grafdigger’s Cage can shut down entire strategies, and flashback cards that you may have wanted to mill. Engineered Explosives can clear up a big mess on the battlefield or an early rush of creatures and tokens. Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass stop some tough abilities from opposing permanents while Witchbane Orb protects you from burn or combo. Pyrite Spellbomb can cash in for a new card or kill creatures like Eidolon.
Lantern is one of the strongest strategies in Modern. Adding Whir of Invention makes the mana more problematic, but the payoff is huge.