At the 2016 World Magic Cup, Team Italy played Lantern Control after a great deal of testing, because we felt it had a strong matchup against the two most played decks: Infect and Dredge. The deck indeed performed well, going 8-1 in the Swiss and 1-0 in the Top 8 in the hands of Alessandro Portaro. We faced many favorable matchups, but I thought that the deck was very capable of competing in a regular tournament.
After the World Magic Cup, I started testing Lantern in order to play it at the upcoming Sunday Super Series in January. It turned out there were way more negative matchups in a live tournament than there were at the WMC—Jund and Burn are two of the most popular decks, and the matchup against them is poor. I would often win game 1 and then fold to sideboard cards. I still think this deck is a solid choice, and an excellent choice if your metagame is not full of interactive and fair decks.
Glint-Nest Crane vs. Collective Brutality
Glint-Nest Crane has seen lot of play in this archetype recently, because it helps you find the lock pieces you need, but it is sometimes clunky and doesn’t help empty your hand for Ensaring Bridge. It’s for this reason that we loved Collective Brutality, which is insane versus Infect, Burn, and U/R Kiln Fiend, and it helps you empty your hand as quickly as possible.
Against those very explosive decks, you can die on turn 3 or 4 after playing an Ensnaring Bridge, but before you’ve had the chance to play the rest of your hand.
Pyxis of Pandemonium vs. Ghoulcaller’s Bell
You often see 1 to 2 Pyxis and 2 to 3 Bells because Pyxis is good against Ancient Grudge and Dredge, but I feel that this is way more of a corner-case, and there aren’t many decks that play Grudge nowadays.
You do play 2+1 Surgical Extraction, and you want to have a mill piece in play to make them better. It’s important to actually put cards into the graveyard in order to strip a card from your opponent’s hand if you know they have it, or against decks like Ad Nauseam or Valakut.
Many people think that this card is just a win-more because you go for the Spellbomb+Academy Ruins combo once you’ve established your Lantern lock, but it’s also useful against 0-power creatures that can attack through Bridge, like Ornithopter, Signal Pest, and Noble Hierarch. You can tutor it up with Inventors’ Fair and build your own removal. It’s a versatile card since it can even replace itself, so I always play it.
Crucible of Worlds
Crucible is a great card to go from an even position to a winning position. It helps you combo off with Inventors’ Fair since you can crack the Fair for Crucible, then replay the Fair and crack it for Lantern/more mill rocks and get down to business.
It also combos off with Ghost Quarter nicely. It’s another 1-of that I would always play.
Leyline of Sanctity
At the World Magic Cup we couldn’t play Leyline because we had it in Ad Nauseam’s sideboard, though it’s pretty versatile and it helps against Jund and Burn, so I like it, though I’m not 100% sure.
Grafdigger’s Cage vs. Tormod’s Crypt
At the WMC we played 0 Cage and 2 Crypts, though I think that Cage is not only good against Dredge, but also against Snapcaster Mage and Ancient Grudge, which puts it over the Crypt. I still think that you need 1 Crypt because you want to be able to tutor for it with Fair and play it when you have no mana left.
The matchup is good. Game 1 you are heavily favored since they can’t kill you with poison if you have Bridge and 0 cards in hand, though they can kill you with Noble Hierarch + pump spells, so you have to be aware of that.
Post-sideboard they bring in 3-4 answers for the Bridge but you board in protection, so the pace of the game doesn’t change that much.
This is a poor matchup as they have removal for Bridge in their main deck and other disruptive pieces. In the sideboard, they even go bigger with more hate for artifacts, making this a nightmare matchup.
Another bad matchup. They have many annoying cards to disrupt you like World Breaker, Karn Liberated, and Oblivion Stone. You have Ghost Quarter + Surgical to stop them from hitting Tron, but this likely won’t stop them from casting their cards eventually. Luckily, they don’t play Emrakul, the Aeons Torn anymore, so you can actually mill out in the event that you completely shut them down with Pithing Needle and Lantern lock.
Just as with Infect, you need to land a fast Bridge, though they have many ways to beat you even through that: Signal Pest and Ornithopter can still attack and carry a Cranial Plating at instant speed or grab counters from Arcbound Ravager. It’s a pretty tricky matchup to play, and close to even.
My favorite matchup. You only have to be aware of Stony Silence and possibly Natural State—they can hardly ignore Bridge—though they can kill you with Eldrazi Displacer + Thought-Knot Seer, so once you’ve established the Lantern lock you’ll have secured the game.
Inventors’ Fair helped a lot in making this matchup more playable. This land is often the difference between a loss and a win. Post-sideboard, they get much better with Destructive Revelry or Smash to Smithereens. It’s still a winnable matchup if you lock them early.
I think I’ve covered the most played decks, but if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to comment!