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For everyone playing Modern at #SCGMKE, I would advise you to play Lantern Control with some minor plan for KCI. Good luck to the five people who can and want to do this.— Ari Lax (@armlx) April 2, 2018
While I didn't attend a Modern event last weekend, my advice to play Lantern Control still stood.
Exhibit B: Nice Hollow One deck.
But I wasn't playing, so I got to spend my time doing things that weren't clicking Codex Shredder 37 times a game. Even if every other aspect of the deck is precisely my jam, I do value my sanity and time.
On The GAM Podcast last week* Gerry Thompson and Bryan Gottlieb both brought up Lantern as a deck they were interested in, but Gerry went a level deeper and brought up a Tezzeret Prison list that has been floating around lately. I knew it existed, and I knew Jody Keith had been trying it out because obviously he would, but the data Gerry cited shocked me.
* If you haven't listened to The GAM Podcast, you should. It was the best Constructed podcast at literally every point of its existence and still is. I have a much longer rant about good and bad Magic content and what actually is informative to me (that likely ends in lots of people mad at me), but this is far beyond the bar.
A copy of Tezzeret Prison has 5-0'ed a Magic Online League in eight of the thirteen bi-weekly decklist dumps since March. Literally the same person was playing the deck in seven of them, which implies basically no one else is. Jody Keith showed up in the 5-0s once and in the SCG Dallas Modern Classic Top 8**.
** In retrospect, I should have applied my rule of thumb that Texas tournaments make no sense. Skred Red won a GP there, and a deck that wasn't Caw-Blade made the finals of GP Caw-Blade there.
At some point you literally can't argue with the numbers. I had to give this a try.
First Glance Tips and Tricks
- 1 Bottled Cloister
- 4 Chalice of the Void
- 1 Crucible of Worlds
- 2 Engineered Explosives
- 4 Ensnaring Bridge
- 3 Expedition Map
- 1 Grafdigger's Cage
- 4 Mishra's Bauble
- 1 Pithing Needle
- 2 Sorcerous Spyglass
- 1 Tormod's Crypt
- 1 Welding Jar
- 1 Witchbane Orb
- 1 Artificer's Intuition
- 1 Ghirapur Aether Grid
- 4 Whir of Invention
- 4 Mox Opal
It seems like the big picture here is that this deck is leaning on what Lantern Control views almost as the backup locks. Rather than control their draw steps to handle answers, U/R Prison is about layering extra pieces more quickly than they find answers.
The other plan in this deck appears to be eventually constraining their mana. I'm super-skeptical of this plan, given my experiences with G/W Company, but it does imply Crucible of Worlds is your most important tutor target. Exposing it too early and losing it to a Scavenging Ooze seems really bad.
One huge draw to this deck over Lantern Control is the ability to cast Turn 1 Chalice of the Void for one. Over a third of your deck is made up of artifacts with a converted mana cost of zero, which even Affinity can't match.