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Lantern Control doesn't seem to have gotten a lot of attention in Modern lately, but it's alive and well, and honestly, it's probably gotten a lot better recently.
There's an amazing thing about Modern that doesn't get acknowledged much. Because the format changes so slowly and there are so many decks, it seems every archetype has a community built around it somewhere on the internet, and that's pretty incredible.
There's kind of a running joke among content creators that if you say something bad about Merfolk, angry fans will blow up your comments. I don't know how all this works. I assume there's just a particularly healthy Merfolk community, and maybe whenever someone writes something bad about it, someone there posts to the group, "Look, someone said Merfolk is bad, but we all know it's great, so this is pretty funny, right?" I don't think they're an organized mob or anything. I just think they probably share things they think other Merfolk fans would find interesting, like, I don't know, literally any mention of Merfolk anywhere, and then they all go check it out.
Forum admin pictured here.
I don't think this is a weird thing that is special to Merfolk. I think this is just how Modern works. I'm not sure, okay? I'm not a Jeskai Control guy, so I haven't looked for the Jeskai Control community. I just kind of assume it's probably out there somewhere. For the most part, I'm not really invested in any single deck to be part of that deck's community. I'll play whatever, or whatever I play, I'll just work on with a team I already have, but for people who don't have a team of pros they work with, working with a group of people around the world who care about the same deck they do is an incredible resource.
Some of these communities may be stronger than others. Lantern, I would guess, likely has one of the stronger communities around it. This might be a bold prediction, since it's kind of a fringe deck, but community-wise, it has a lot going for it. To start with, it was famously originally built and tuned to the point of being competitive on an open forum, and played to a Grand Prix win by Zac Elsik, a prominent member of that forum (as I understand it).
Possibly more importantly, I would guess communities grow a lot based on having solid public community leaders, and I think Kanister on Magic Online/Twitch (Piotr Glogowski) is a big part of that. He streams regularly, and almost always streams Lantern. His viewers are mostly Lantern players, and he discusses plays and card choices with his chat regularly. He also promotes a Facebook group for talking about the deck, and those Lantern players have collected incredible amounts of data about their composite win percentages against different decks, and broken it down into things like play versus draw or winning as a function of drawing certain cards so that their card selection can be data-driven. It's all very impressive.
Anyway, the point is, if there's a Modern deck you're into, and you haven't looked for a community that's dedicated to the deck, you could likely get a lot more out of that than you could by trying to find an article that goes over it.
That said, for those of you who may have an idle curiosity about Lantern but aren't looking to join the secret Lantern cabal, I figured I'd update you on what's going on with the deck and why.
The big development is Whir of Invention, which has caused a split in the Lantern archetype. Some players play Whir and some don't, as there are considerable costs and benefits associated with the card.
The major drawback is obviously the fact that it costs UUU, which is tough for what was essentially a B/G deck with a lot of colorless lands. This requires some concessions to the mana. Given the manabase of the deck, this doesn't make it any harder to cast Ancient Stirrings or Inquisition of Kozilek, but it comes at the cost of utility lands like Ghost Quarter, Academy Ruins, and Inventors' Fair, as you really need to prioritize colored mana sources.
This basically streamlines the deck, making it more consistent, but removing a little of the utility. I'm pretty sure this is a fairly large upgrade, as the deck is very hard to beat if it has Lantern of Insight, Codex Shredder, and Ensnaring Bridge on the battlefield by Turn 3, and between Whir of Invention and Ancient Stirrings, it becomes very easy to find all of that.