[Deck] Lantern

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thnkr
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Post by thnkr » 7 months ago



What is Lantern?

Lantern is a prison deck that works to limit an opponent's access to cards with quality in regards to the game being played. While many control decks prevent spells from being resolved (permission magic, like Counterspell) or from being played (taxing magic, like Trinisphere), this deck aims to restrict access to cards. By working this way, the opponent is no longer playing their deck – They are playing a version of his or her deck that requires that you approve of what cards they have added.



The core concept has developed based on the idea that a competitive deck is designed to do four things:
  • Minimize (reduce) the number of significant game actions that the opponent can make, or the significance of action they have available.
  • Maximize (increase) the number of significant actions, or significance or actions, available to the pilot.
  • Perform #1 and #2 as efficiently as possible, resource-wise. This means using cards that have the best mana-to effect/choice ratio. Remember, time (turns), life, cards themselves, etc., are all also resources.
  • Perform #1, #2, and #3 as consistently as possible. The designer wants to try to make it so nearly every game plays out a specific way, if possible, and always winning.
Lantern is designed to complete #1 by using cards like Ensnaring Bridge, Pithing Needle, Surgical Extraction, various discard spells, and other similar cards to "prune" the maximum amount of branches off of an opponent's decision tree (the current choices they have, and all following choices). Ensnaring Bridge does this by making most creature combat irrelevant. Pithing Needle prevents the activation of possible key cards in an opponent's deck. Each card is selected based on this criteria. Once an adequate portion of the opponent's deck is made irrelevent, the combo of Lantern of Insight and either Codex Shredder, Pyxis of Pandemonium, or Ghoulcaller's Bell allows the Lantern pilot to prevent the opponent from drawing what few relevant cards the opponent has left in their deck.

Lantern completes #2 by using combo to allow the Lantern pilot to filter through their own deck when convenient to increase the chances of drawing cards that either further neutralize an opponent's deck or that will end the game quicker.

Lantern completes #3 by typically running spells that accomplish #1 and #2 with the lowest mana cost or investment possible.

Objective #4 is completed using cards like Ancient Stirrings, the Lantern lock itself (to filter through our own deck), and cards like Scheming Symmetry, Whir of Invention, Glint-Nest Crane, and even Mishra's Bauble. It should be noted that the inclusion of some of these cards have changed depending on the meta and what other cards are printed or banned. It is better to observe data trends and test thoroughly to see what combinations of cards work best.



Why Play Lantern?

Complexity: There are some who enjoy playing this deck because each game works out like a puzzle. Sometimes the correct line of play is to restrict the opponent from drawing lands. Sometimes it is to force the opponent to draw nothing but lands. Decision trees for this deck are vastly different, in size and complexity, than nearly every other deck.

With that said, a word of warning: This is one of the most skill intensive decks to pilot, let alone adjust for metagame. Compounding with that, decisions often must be made extremely quickly in order to avoid losing to the clock on MTGO and drawing during a tournament.

Personalization: Many decks in the modern meta have very little room for personal touches. This deck, however, has seen many personalized builds. The range of colors available to include, win conditions to use, and preferred answers to other decks in a meta is extraordinary. The key cards in the deck are colorless and low in converted mana cost, allowing for a wide selection of card choices that may be considered.



But Doesn't It Just Lose to (Cardname Here)?

This is a common misconception about the deck. Many people will glance at the deck and see the cards and not the mechanics of the core engine. Lantern is typically designed to allow the pilot to quickly discard cards that the opponent might have that might minimize the Lantern pilot's own significant interaction, and the Lantern combo itself (which assembles for very little mana investment) works to prevent the opponent from drawing more. Many games have been played in which the opponents included cards in their decks to deal with Lantern - They just never got to play them. They just got discarded or were milled away, never to be drawn and played.

The way the deck is designed, it's not entirely about the Lantern pilot assembling some "perfect" boardstate. It doesn't matter if the Lantern pilot has zero significant interaction with the gamestate if the opponent also has zero significant interaction with the gamestate as well. The game action of just drawing a card each turn further contribute to the deck's winning objective. If the opponent has no further significant interaction to draw in their deck, and they have fewer cards in their deck (which is often the case), then the win is inevitable. A perfect example of this is observed in the Lantern vs. Bogles matchup, in which the Bogles player may be able to resolve a Stony Silence, but is still unable to win because there is an Ensnaring Bridge and a Pithing Needle naming "Seal of Primordium" in play.

The positive of this is that the players who make this assumption will end up losing due to their lack of comprehension of the engine, only to be upset because they lost to a "troll deck".



The Deck

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The deck doesn't restrict access to all cards in an opponent's deck. If the opponent has more threats in their deck than the Lantern pilot has "mill rocks" out, then the opponent still has inevitability. Eventually, enough threats will slip through that they'll be able to piece together a win. This is where the long evolution of the deck comes in. Many variations have been tried in order to patch up this weakness, dealing with threats, including miracles, many forms of spot removal, and a number of other forms of threat disruption, even some very creative ones. What ended up proving to be the most effective was Ensnaring Bridge. It works perfectly with the low converted mana cost of the core combo cards, isn't reliant on playing specific colors, and essentially plays like a Moat – but better.

This card brings us to another stage in the evolution of the deck. The realization came about that, essentially, we just need to reduce the number of active cards in an opponent's deck to be less than or equal to the number of mill rocks available. The more threats we could simply neutralize with each single card in our deck, the less likely the opponent is going to have those cards in consecutive order in his or her deck. This brought about additions like Pithing Needle. A single Needle resolves all issues of, say, a Grim Lavamancer or Cranial Plating (attached to an Ornithopter at instant speed to attack under a Bridge), stealing the game away. In addition, it shuts off any attempt to struggle out of the prison with cards like Liliana of the Veil or Oblivion Stone.

It was also found that discard spells were of great use in further impeding the speed and effectiveness of an opponent's deck while the prison was constructed. The information gained from seeing an opponent's hand is also a great resource in order to make the best decisions in what cards the opponent is most reliant on in order to make progress.

The main win condition can be to simply "mill" an opponent out using the mill rocks. It may seem slow at first, the occasional single card at a time, slowly and steadily controlling the opponent. But as the game goes on, more mill pieces are drawn, and three, then four, then five, and so on, cards are being milled for every turn the opponent takes. And remember, since the opponent is drawing nothing but dead cards, the card that they are drawing for their turn is another card "milled". In the right hands, the game progresses rather quickly after the initial lock is set.

Some decks, however, have outs to that. Many Lantern builds run some number of Pyxis of Pandemonium which helps against cards like Ancient Grudge and possible Snapcaster Mage targets.

Support cards that proved efficient with this now solid plan were fleshed out during early development, and even some new cards can make an impact on how well the deck performs.

Due to the nature of the core prison being colorless, someone designing their own flavor of Lantern has quite a few options. There are few, but some budget options and plans exist, usually revolving around what mana sources can be afforded.

Sideboard cards for the deck are typically cards that simply aim to redesign the prison according to the opponent's deck. Sometimes that means adding more speedbumps against matchups using swarms of creatures (more removal, like Collective Brutality, for early swarm creatures), more lifegain effects or effects that give the pilot hexproof, cards that ensure that the lock stays in place when facing an opponent who has more cards than normal that could break free (Welding Jar), and cards that answer cards that an opponent may side in against us to shut down our deck (Nature's Claim or Seal of Primordium).

Deck Lists

Most recent decklists can be found on sites like this one, MTGTop8, or on the community spreadsheet.



Card Choices: Maindeck

A short note on card choices for this deck: If a nonland card does not specifically contribute to constructing the prison lock, neutralizing as many cards in an opponent's deck as possible, or works to obtain one of those two types of cards, then it is likely not a good candidate for the deck. Many lackluster cards have been suggested in the years that major contributing members of the thread have been working on this deck. Some of these cards are specifically mentioned in the Recurring Suggestions section of this primer. If you feel that a suggestion is worthy, please test that suggestion yourself and provide results of games with that suggestion rather than posting it and expecting others to test it for you.

Prison Pieces

Lantern of Insight - A key piece for the deck. This is what provides the information required to know when to pull the trigger on a mill rock, ensuring that the opponent draws few, if any, cards relevant to the gamestate. The second ability is icing on the cake. Can be used with Academy Ruins as a soft-lock in a pinch. Recommend 4.

Codex Shredder - One of the available mill rocks at our disposal. Again, with a second ability that is just icing on the cake. Recommend 3-4.

Ghoulcaller's Bell - Another useful mill rock. Has the added benefit of not targeting, and can be used to self-mill while simultaneously fate-sealing an opponent.

Pyxis of Pandemonium - Much like Ghoulcaller's Bell. The exile effect may come in handy against cards like Ancient Grudge or Shenanigans. The second ability has even proved useful, allowing the Lantern pilot to slip cards onto the battlefield by avoiding a counterspell.

The specific numbers of each mill rock you decide to include into your list should largely be determined by your expected metagame. If you expect a large amount of cards like Ancient Grudge or Snapcaster Mage, Pyxis of Pandemonium might be the better choice over Ghoulcaller's Bell.

Neutralizing Options

Ensnaring Bridge - Neutralizes a majority of the creatures playing in the Modern format. Recommend 4, 3 is probably fine if running a Whir of Invention build.

Pithing Needle - Excellent at taking care of a variety of threats an opponent might have, such as Liliana of the Veil, Engineered Explosives, Lightning Storm, Borborygmos Enraged, Griselbrand, Inkmoth Nexus, and so on. This card is one of the reasons why the deck requires a deep knowledge of the metagame to play correctly. Recommend 2-4.

Surgical Extraction/Extirpate - Assists in shutting off many of the graveyard based strategies that exists in Modern, in addition to reducing the overall number of live cards an opponent might have in their deck and providing information about what we need to watch out for. Recommend 0-4. The more combo decks you expect to face, the better these cards are for crippling those decks. They are also particularly good against decks that run very few threats, taking out a large percentage of those threats with a single card. Not as useful against decks with a lot of diversity of threats.

Cantrips/Search/Utility

Ancient Stirrings - Digs for prison pieces, neutralizers, or even lands. When combined with a lack of shuffle effects, it effectively allows the pilot to stack his or her deck. This is particularly the case in versions that run a large number of cantrips and/or plays in such a way that self-mill is used as a resource. Recommend 4.


Scheming Symmetry - The nature of this deck makes Scheming Symmetry much less "symmetrical" in effect. The Lantern pilot can cast it, get the card they want on top, and then perform one of many actions that prevent the opponent from drawing the card they searched for. Examples of this are using Codex Shredder to mill the opponent's searched card, or sacrificing Mishra's Bauble to draw our card during the opponent's upkeep and then using either Ghoulcaller's Bell or Pyxis of Pandemonium to mill or exile the opponent's card, or even using something like Lantern of Insight or Surgical Extraction to force the opponent to reshuffle. The card is currently being tested as a 3 or 4-of.

Whir of Invention - An excellent card for digging for the exact artifact required in a given situation, at instant speed. It does require a retooling of the manabase, and forsaking some number of utility lands that don't produce blue mana. There seem to be two variants on Lantern - One in which the manabase is restructured to use Whir of Invention and the more traditional GBx build. The banning of Mox Opal caused the Whir version to take a significant hit, but it may still be viable. If you decide to build the Whir version, it is highly suggested to run 4.

Mishra's Bauble - It digs further into the deck, allowing us to psuedo-simulate running a 56 card deck. It can also be combined with a Codex Shredder, Ghoulcaller's Bell, or Pyxis of Pandemonium in order to dig further, faster. In Whir builds, it can be used to "pay" for the Improvise cost of Whir of Invention, acting as a Mox Opal. Recommend 2-4.

Inventors' Fair - In addition to acting as a maindeck Sun Droplet, this card provides the deck with the ability to search up a final locking piece to secure the win. Doesn't hurt that it acts as a simple land early on. A must-have for the deck. Recommend 1-3, depending on if you choose to build the Whir version.

Glint-Nest Crane - An option that was popular for a time, and may still be viable in some budget builds.

Noxious Revival - Reclaims a discarded/destroyed/self-mill card at instant speed. May also be used to put a dead card back on top of an opponent's library in a pinch. More often used in budget lists. Fills in extra spots as necessary.

Discard Options

Inquisition of Kozilek - Grabs most cards that we care about in the early game. Slows down an opponent's deck and provides information on what cards are safe for the opponent to draw and what cards we need to worry about. Recommend 2-4.

Thoughtseize - Can get anything (other than lands) that Inquisition of Kozilek cannot. Does cost two life, but usually is negligible, especially with the printing of Inventors' Fair. Recommend 1-4.

Collective Brutality - Provides the most options among the discard spells, at the cost of an additional mana. Especially useful in matchups that rely on small creatures or burn spells. Slightly more versatile than Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize because it can be used to take out worrisome creatures that make it to the battlefield before we have a chance to draw a discard spell. Recommend 1-4.

Duress - Often used as a budget substitution, but has been used to some success.

Manabase Options

Glimmervoid - Is probably the most popular choice among members. This card is great for the deck, in that it allows the builder/pilot access to every color's options. Recommend 4.

Fastlands - Another favorite, provides the colored mana on the turns that are most important for this deck. The recent printing of the enemy color fastlands is a boon for the deck.

Spire of Industry - Excellent supplements to the lands above. The painlands were once used to supplement the fastlands, but this card has essentially made the painlands nearly obsolete.

Academy Ruins - A superb utility land for recurring destroyed, discarded, sacrificed, or self-milled artifacts. Recommend 1-2.

Ghost Quarter - Provides manabase disruption options as well as the shuffle effect. Allows a pilot to force an opponent to choose between being Strip Mined or shuffling away a card on top that s/he may need or want. Some lists even used it alongside Darksteel Citadel as a fetch for a basic land as well. Useful at combating Tron decks, especially when combined with Surgical Extraction.

Llanowar Wastes - Acts much like a Spire of Industry, but allows for more consistent turn one discard without requiring a Mishra's Bauble to tap for black.

Alternate Win Conditions

Ghirapur AEther Grid - Higher initial mana cost than Pyrite Spellbomb, but cheaper in the long run per point of damage. Can also provide a faster clock and can take out more creatures per turn.

Pyrite Spellbomb - Like Galvanic Blast, but can be nabbed with Ancient Stirrings. Costs less to set up the recurring engine, but deals less damage than Blast, too.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas - One of the more popular choices for an alternate win condition. He helps to dig for prison and neutralizing pieces and allows for a win via creature damage or his ultimate.

Galvanic Blast - A win through recurring Galvanic Blast is another option. It does have the added bonus of clearing out creature threats an opponent may have played as well.

Ashiok, the Nightmare Weaver - May act as an additional mill rock, speeding up the mill process. She can also use an opponent's creatures against him/her.

Mechanized Production - Some pilots have found success with this card, putting a clock on the opponent while solidifying the lock by making copies of essential artifacts.



Card Choices: Sideboard

Welding Jar - Great option to defend our prison pieces, Ensnaring Bridge, Sun Droplets, etc., against Abrupt Decay, Kolaghan's Command, and any other artifact removal. Less useful in metagames where Collector Ouphe and Stony Silence are expected in significant numbers.

Sun Droplet - A "set it and remember it during every upkeep" artifact. It essentially sets our life total, and if the opponent cannot consistently deal damage, then we are likely to gain life right back. Once the lock is set, this allows us to gain life all the way back up to our total when it entered the battlefield. Is also great as a mini-Ensnaring Bridge against 2/x creatures. While useful, many pilots prefer Leyline of Sanctity to combat direct damage.

Nature's Claim - Mana-efficient way to deal with cards that we expect to be sided against us, particularly Stony Silence, Leyline of Sanctity, etc. Also great against Affinity/Robots, Pyromancer's Ascension, Amulet of Vigor, and a plethora of other targets.

Seal of Primordium - An excellent supplement to Nature's Claim, as it gets around Chalice of the Void and doesn't require us to hold it until we have a good target.

Quiet Disrepair - Gives us an answer to nearly all of the cards that Seal of Primordium does, but can also act as an additional source of life gain against Burn decks.

Ancient Grudge - Another answer for Chalice of the Void, with the added benefit of having plenty of targets against Affinity/Robots, Tron variants, and can take out Amulet of Vigor.

Grafdigger's Cage - Neuters Snapcaster Mage and completely nullifies every copy of Chord of Calling and Collected Company an opponent has in his/her deck. Also helps us against Ancient Grudge.

Damping Sphere - Works great against decks that attempt to chain multiple spells in the same turn (Storm) and decks like Tron that attempt to produce more than one mana from their lands.

Leyline of Sanctity - Is great against Burn and discard-heavy decks. There is the downside that it loses a lot of usefulness if it isn't in our opener, and we would need 3-4 in order to make that happen. The mana cost could cause it to clog our hands. Some number of Collective Brutality help alleviate that problem.

Magus of the Moat - Excellent at stopping the large ground creatures in Eldrazi Tron and Grixis Shadow. Also avoids artifact removal/disruption, and the opponent usually sides out creature removal anyways.

Tormod's Crypt/Nihil Spellbomb - Another answer for decks that like to make use of their graveyard. Crypt is great for metalcraft and getting cards out of our hand quickly, but Spellbomb is useful in more situations being a possible cantrip.

Torpor Orb - Useful for shutting off cards like Snapcaster Mage, Reclamation Sage, Primeval Titan, Flickerwisp, and quite a few Humans.

Witchbane Orb - Acts as a Leyline of Sanctity that can be grabbed with Ancient Stirrings and Whir of Invention, regenerated with Welding Jar, and recurred with Academy Ruins. Often run as a singleton in the main deck in Whir builds.



Deck Performance Spreadsheet

There is a community data collection effort that can be viewed here. There you can view how the deck performs against various other decks in the metagame, along with how specific cards perform when they are in the opening hand. This provides information on mulligan decisions. There is quite a bit of data to go through, so feel free to take a look!



Videos

Zac Elsik's deck tech from GP Charlotte can be seen here.

Gameplay videos can be found at: There are plenty of other videos of players like Sam Black, Paul Cheon, LSV, and others piloting the deck, too.



Gameplay Tips

There are a few basic rules for playing this deck that are typically true. They may not always be true, but it is up to the pilot to figure out when they apply and when they do not. Piotr Glogowski (kanister on MTGO) has a great write-up here as well, so please check it out :)
Gameplay Tips
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- The one gameplay nuance that is important at all times is to play at a quick pace. Some good examples of this are videos on Zac Elsik. Once the prison is set, he knows what cards are on top, and knows exactly how he's going to tap his mana to play those cards (unless it's a land) during his next turn. In paper Magic, opponents will often "tank" over plays that are irrelevant to the boardstate, looking for a way to break out of the prison. There are some opponents who will purposefully take a while to do this, hoping to push the game into a draw, and then blame the Lantern pilot. In either case, we do not want this. Quick and precise play requires an in-depth knowledge of an opponent's deck and what outs he or she may have. If they do not have an out, then play as normal, but at a quick pace. On MTGO it is usually correct to put "stops" at only the phases of the game that matter. These are typically at each upkeep, the my 2nd main phase, and at each end step. You will occasionally want to put a stop at a draw step or begin combat step if a specific play is coming up in which it is required, but otherwise, having an unnecessary stop there will cost time that is better spent thinking about what to do in complex situations.

- It is usually correct to play a Lantern of Insight if you know it will not get countered or discarded by an opponent before playing a Codex Shredder or Ghoulcaller's Bell. There are fewer Lantern effects in the deck than there are mill rocks, so it's less painful to have a mill rock countered or discarded, as you are more likely to draw another one.

-A good Lantern pilot is intimately familiar with the metagame. For example, if an opponent reveals a Chancellor of the Tangle as a pregame effect and then plays a Botanical Sanctum, you should immediately know that this player is playing the Neoform/Griselbrand deck. Subsequently played a Pithing Needle, naming Griselbrand, which will likely prevent you from losing the game the very next turn (in addition to virtually winning the game on the spot). The pilot should be able to confidently figure out what the opponent is playing within the first turn or two based on studying lists of decks, without needing to rely on information garnered from discard effects.

- You typically want to always mill at the end of the opponent's turn. This allows the opponent less interaction with the top of their library, as they will not be able to use effects to set up their top card and then use sorcery speed spells to access the top card.

- This is a math-intensive deck. It is important to be able to count how many turns it will take to mill out an opponent and compare that with whether an opponent can deal the necessary damage to win the game before that time. This is particularly relevant with cards like Noble Heirarch and Signal Pest that can attack under an Ensnaring Bridge. When calculating this, remember to calculate the likelihood of drawing more mill rocks in the process, as doing so increases the speed of this deck.

- Do not forget to use Academy Ruins at the end of an opponent's turn.

- Be aware of all outs an opponent may have in play or in their deck. A pilot must be able to correctly count them. For example, if you plan on using Pyrite Spellbomb to answer a Noble Heirarch that's been giving a Birds of Paradise exalted effects, pay attention to whether they have another card in their hand or in play that can save that Heirarch. Otherwise, you are wasting that mana and card to accomplish nothing, and wasting precious time on the clock.

- When using Surgical Extraction, count the number of outs an opponent has in his or her deck, and what outs those are. You are getting precious information from this, and this information should be used when calculating when you should or should not mill. Sometimes it is safer to just let the opponent keep a dead card on top rather than mill another three cards. Also, do not forget that Surgical Extraction can be used as instant speed discard, can shuffle away a threat that is on top, and can provide information on what cards the opponent has in hand. For example, if there is a Maelstrom Pulse or Noble Heirarch on top of an opponent's library and another copy in his or her graveyard, let the opponent draw it and then use Surgical Extraction during his or her draw step. This not only removes the threat, but blanks their draw for the turn. We can also hold Extraction until the opponent's draw step when we know they have a dead card on top. They will draw the dead card, and we still get to exile the targets, rather than exiling targets and risking reshuffling an opponent's deck so that a threat is on top.

- Do not forget the second ability of Lantern of Insight. If you think the opponent has sided in Ancient Grudges, drawing extra Lanterns is extremely beneficial. These extra Lanterns will allow you to shuffle away an Ancient Grudge, giving you more time to prepare for it by laying duplicate copies of cards.

- Likewise, do not forget about the second ability of Codex Shredder. This may allow the pilot to recur cards at instant speed, like Surgical Extraction.

- Concerning Eldrazi effects that let an opponent shuffle their graveyard back into their library, remember that you do not necessarily have to mill them. Often times it is just fine to let the opponent draw them, and then they have to just hold cards in order to discard the Eldrazi and get the shuffle effect. This buys us time to mill them out, go for an alternate wincon plan, or prepare for Surgical Extraction tactics. For example, it is entirely possible to use a constant recurring of Codex Shredder to use Surgical Extraction every turn to extract cards that the opponent may be holding in their hand while they work to build up cards to discard the Eldrazi. This delays their ability to discard it, while "milling" them.

- Surgical Extraction may also be used to extract cards out of our own hand. For example, there was an instance at GP Charlotte 2015 in which one of the Lantern players had the prison set with Ensnaring Bridge in play, but had Ghost Quarter and Glimmervoid in hand and was about to draw a Surgical Extraction. The opponent was going to be able to swing with lethal with 1-power creatures. The pilot had a Glimmervoid in play, and the play that would have won him the game was to draw the Extraction, play Ghost Quarter, tap Glimmervoid for a black, destroy his own Glimmervoid with Ghost Quarter, then use the black mana to use Surgical Extraction on the Glimmervoid and exile the Glimmervoid in his hand. Plays like these are extremely complicated, and aren't always the easiest to see, but are important for winning what look to be unwinnable games.

- Cards that draw at sorcery speed are typically alright for the opponent to draw. For example, I have seen many, many times where a player will mill a Serum Visions on their own turn. This is incorrect. Serum Visions in this instance does nothing but force the opponent to pay a blue mana to draw another card. The scry effect does next to nothing for them when we have the prison set: If they keep cards on top, we can mill them, and if they put cards to the bottom in order to try to dig to an answer, then that we can still mill those answers. If, after they've drawn the Visions, they have a threat on top, we simply mill in response to the Visions resolving. At best, the opponent may try to hold many copies of Serum Visions and other sorcery speed cantrips in order to chain them, but that also allows us more time to get to more mill effects, which in turn directly negates their gameplan. In addition, their use of these cards increases our clock, as they are "milling" themselves yet another card for each of these used.

- When resolving an Ancient Stirrings or Glint-Nest Crane, it can matter what order the cards are put on the bottom of your library. This is especially so for decks that run no other shuffle effects than Lantern of Insight. Ancient Stirrings and Glint-Nest Crane essentially lets the pilot stack his or her deck! Note that this isn't quite as effective in Scheming Symmetry and Whir builds due to the required shuffle afterwards.

- When we have the choice between an early Inquisition of Kozilek or an early Duress or Thoughtseize, it is almost always correct to play the IoK first. The limit on the converted mana cost that IoK can get makes this true, along with the fact that IoK can take out creatures that might put us on a clock while we try to land a Bridge.

- It's important to play the lands in the correct order. We often want to get Academy Ruins online as soon as possible. This means that, if possible, we want to play Academy Ruins and Glimmervoid/Spire of Industry within the first few turns. Or, if we are playing the Whir version, we want to ensure that we get three blue mana as early as possible, so we must prioritize our lands drops accordingly.

- If we know that the opponent will have no relevant plays in the first two or three turns, we can wait to pull the trigger on playing an IoK, Thoughtseize, or Duress. With this in mind, it's also often a good idea to hold a Thoughtseize or Duress until just before we want to force through a card that's going to cripple the opponent's deck (Ensnaring Bridge, Pithing Needle, etc.).

- It's usually correct to play Spellskite or Welding Jar before Bridge, when we have that choice. We may take a little more damage, but Spellskite will help ensure that Bridge stays out, allowing us to prevent taking lethal damage. Playing the Welding Jar first ensures that the opponent cannot destroy the Bridge with before Welding Jar can be used.

- If we have a Lantern out and an Ancient Stirrings, Whir of Invention, or Glint-Nest Crane in hand and a card that we want on top (another Ancient Stirrings or Crane, a discard spell to force a card through, an Ensnaring Bridge, etc.), it's often better to just hold the Stirrings/Whir/Crane and draw that card rather than pull the trigger immediately. The exception is if we absolutely need an answer (Bridge, Pithing Needle, etc.) immediately and we have the mana to play that answer if we grab it.

- Note that Whir of Invention puts the artifact directly into play. What this means is that if an opponent has an activated ability available that Pithing Needle should stop, and they don't activate it before Whir resolves, we can use Whir to put Needle directly into play. The opponent will then not be able to use the ability at all. They must respond to the Whir if they want to use the effect. If they do respond, then this gives us the option to grab something other than Needle.

- If we have a Stirrings/Crane in hand and the mana to play it, but not the mana to play the card we are looking to Stirrings/Crane for, then it's better to hold off on playing the spell. Otherwise, we risk getting our card discarded and/or giving the opponent information.

- If we are in serious trouble and need to Stirrings/Crane, and we have the Lantern combo out, we can use our mill rocks to dig further down before playing the spell, giving us more depth to it.

- If we plan on playing a Surgical Extraction and no Lantern out, it's usually correct to wait until the opponent's draw phase to use it. This gives us more information, and provides the slight chance that Extraction also acts as a discard spell. The exception is in the case that the opponent is playing with lots of instants, or has some means of removing the Extraction target at instant speed at the cost of mana (Scavenging Ooze). In those cases, it's often best to play the Extraction when the opponent doesn't have the mana to respond.

- Allow the opponent to make mistakes when the situation provides it. For example, another exception to the point above about Surgical Extraction, it's sometimes better to hold an Extraction and let the opponent move to declare attackers when we have a Bridge out. Then, we can instant-speed Extraction, reducing the number of cards in our hand. This may often throw off their plans and their calculations when they've "figured out" what they're going to attack with and for how much, and does have the side effect of putting an opponent on tilt occasionally. A tilted opponent will not perform well against this deck.

In addition to these, there are some nuances that are important to know that is specific to a matchup. The greatest example of this is probably best understood when analyzing the Burn matchup. The reason why Burn was a tough matchup is because they had inevitability. Even if we got the lock, they could often just draw enough burn that slipped through to deal lethal, and because the amount of burn necessary to finish us off in their deck was higher than the amount of mill effects we had, they had inevitability.



Specific Matchup Tips & Sideboard Recommendations
Grixis Shadow
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Grixis Shadow - A race against our Bridge. Once we have Bridge in play, it is very difficult for them to win. They then need to get their Kolaghan's Command to remove Bridge. If you're running them, Glint-Nest Cranes provide plenty of blocking power while we dig as well. Thoughtseize is much better than Collective Brutality here, and maindeck Leyline of Sanctity helps preserve our Bridges from early discard spells. While it may seem that our Pithing Needles and Surgical Extractions are mostly dead in this matchup, they are actually useful in shutting down the opponent's manabase. GDS typically runs a single Swamp and single Island, and seven lands that produce mana in total, so combined with Ghost Quarter, exile all copies of one of their primary fetchlands that they've already used and name the others with Pithing Needle. This serves to not only disrupt their manabase, but their fetchlands and shocklands are one of their primary means of growing a Death's Shadow and utilize the delve mechanic effectively, so it slows down their clock as well. A strategy was tested in which all Needles and Surgicals were sided in in order to attempt to shut down the manabase entirely, but it did not perform as well as hoped. Thus, it is a fine attempt in game one, but it is likely best to side these cards out for more useful cards in game two or three.

Post-board they usually bring in Ceremonious Rejection, some number of Kolaghan's Command (or some other artifact destruction) and more Stubborn Denials. Magus of the Moat seem to perform very well since they usually side out their creature removal and Magus is affected by Stubborn Denial or Rejection. They can't Kolaghan-Snap-Kolaghan to kill it because they don't have the eight mana producing lands to do so. It also can't be nabbed by an Inquisition of Kozilek. Leyline of Sanctity has shown to be a decent card, and Whir of Invention is useful in allowing Bridges to enter the battlefield and avoid Ceremonious Rejections. Some pilots have found success using Search for Azcanta and/or Bitterblossom. Search allows us to try to race them in the topdeck war, while Bitterblossom provides blockers and can swing for lethal in the air if the GDS isn't careful with their life total.
Altogether, this is a very difficult matchup.

Do not mill a GDS player early unless absolutely necessary, as they do run Gurmag Angler. We don't want to allow them to play those too quickly. An argument could be made to freely mill them if they already have an Angler in play, as it probably won't matter as much at that point and it might be beneficial to try to clock them, however unlikely it might happen.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Scalding Tarn
Street Wraith
The Royal Scions
Dredge
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Dredge - Surgical Extraction goes a long way here for those playing the Bgx builds. A typical Dredge game will begin with them trying to race damage before we land a Bridge, and then try to finish us off with Conflagrate. Using Surgical Extraction on Conflagrate is preferable to prevent this, but grabbing Life from the Loam forces them to slowly build up cards in hand for the lethal burn. That buys us time to mill them out as quickly as possible. We will occasionally need to use an early Surgical just to slow them down so that we can grab a Bridge, but the more Bridges, Glint-Nest Cranes, and Ancient Stirrings you are running, the more likely you will find one and take minimal damage before shutting down their creatures. For the Whir builds, maindeck Grafdigger's Cage and Witchbane Orb are very difficult for Dredge to deal with in game one.

Post-board becomes a battle of our Surgical Extractions, Grafdigger's Cage, and Welding Jars versus their Nature's Claims, Ancient Grudges, Shenanigans, and Abrupt Decays. It's probably safe to side out Assassin's Trophy, Abrupt Decay, and some number of mill rocks to make room. Torpor Orb is helpful in keeping the Prized Amalgams in the graveyard.

It is usually correct to NOT mill the dredge opponent early and/or needlessly unless you have a Grafdigger's Cage with protection for it. Otherwise, you are just fueling their deck.

Primary Names for Pithing Needle:
Shriekhorn
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Infect
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Infect - This is a matchup where Collective Brutality shines. Glint-Nest Crane can help out greatly as well, allowing us to dig to Needles (to shut off Inkmoth Nexus or Pendelhaven) and a Bridge while providing a body that can block all but one of their creatures. Spellskites are great at shutting down all pump spells the opponent might have, but some Infect opponents are ready for them with Twisted Image.

Post-board, an Infect opponent will typically bring in some number of Nature's Claim, Spell Pierce, Dismember, and/or Twisted Image. We usually bring in Collective Brutality, more Needles, and Welding Jars.

Primary Names for Pithing Needle:
Inkmoth Nexus
Pendelhaven
Windswept Heath (some versions prefer Misty Rainforest or Wooded Foothills)
Jund
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Jund - A very difficult matchup. Correct line of play in game one relies on early information on what the opponent has and what they need to supplement it. Sometimes it is correct to hold an extra card in hand to prevent the opponent from being able to use Kolaghan's Command to make us discard a card that we may need at instant speed. The main gameplan is to just chump-block as best we can with Cranes if you run them while digging for any and every answer we can muster. Putting a Needle on Liliana of the Veil as early as possible is often the correct choice.

Post-board, mikemaz suggested sideboarding out some number of discard for sideboard cards that would make for better topdecks. I've tried this with success. The reason is that we will usually use our discard spells to grab their discard spells anyways, so why not just play what we want to protect as fast as we can and make them use their early turns to try and stop us. This also makes sense considering that both decks typically go hell-bent very quickly, at which point the player who gets the better topdecks is more likely to win. This buys us time while they aren't playing a threat to keep their threats to a minimum and to begin digging to more answers. They usually have access to Kolaghan's Command, Assassin's Trophy, Abrupt Decay, Ancient Grudge, Maelstrom Pulse, Engineered Explosives, and Liliana of the Veil to answer our answers. I usually side in Collective Brutality (to remove Bloodbraid Elf, Collector Ouphe, and Dark Confidant, or discard their artifact removal), Pithing Needle, Leyline of Sanctity, and some number of Surgical Extraction if I'm on the BGx build. . Padeem, Consul of Innovation is highly effective against all of their artifact removal and acts as our own Dark Confidant in the matchup.

Do not mill Jund early if not absolutely necessary to keep them off of a spell. Doing so only fuels their Tarmogoyfs, Grim Flayers (if they play them), and Scavenging Ooze quicker. Blindly milling ourselves also feeds their Tarmogoyfs, and they are likely to get their Scavenging Ooze online to neutralize this gameplan than we are to get Academy Ruins and/or Codex Shredder.

Primary names of Pithing Needle:
Liliana of the Veil
Wrenn and Six
Scavenging Ooze
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills
Raging Ravine
Eldrazi Tron
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Eldrazi Tron - This matchup often depends on how quickly they can cast a Chalice of the Void set to one counter. They will still have trouble answering an Ensnaring Bridge, but they usually have Blast Zone, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, or some other answer somewhere in their list. Access to cards like Assassin's Trophy helps to remove a Chalice, a creature, or even disrupt their manabase to buy us time. They also have Walking Ballista and Endbringer to be able to deal damage despite a Bridge being in play. Karn, the Great Creator is also extremely dangerous to us.

It is safe to mill an Eldrazi Tron player early in order to speed up the match.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Blast Zone
Karn, the Great Creator
Walking Ballista
Endbringer
Valakut
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Valakut - There are a few versions of Valakut-based decks, but I'll primarily be focusing on the RG Valakut. RG Valakut's two biggest threats are the Valakut itself and Primeval Titan. If the BGx builds can Surgical either of those then we stand a much better chance at taking the game. The RG Valakut is typically more difficult than the classic version that ran blue because it runs many more mountains. It is still probably best to try to begin milling a Valakut opponent as early and often as possible with Shredder in order to reduce the number of available mountains in the deck to trigger Valakut, while providing targets for Surgical.

Postboard we might see Shatterstorm, Ancient Grudge, Nature's Claim, Reclamation Sage, Collector Ouphe, and Engineered Explosives in the RG versions. The sideboard options that work for Valakut are quite varied, so it's significantly more difficult to predict what we can expect to see. This makes Surgical Extraction much more useful for information if for nothing else. Leyline of Sanctity is great against them, shutting off one of their main wincons. Grafdigger's Cage helps against the Ancient Grudge, as do Welding Jars, though Collector Ouphe makes Welding Jars much less effective. Unfortunately the threats we face in their sideboard is so varied that it is difficult to know what to sideboard against each opponent. Pithing Needle is likely one of our weakest cards in this matchup, despite it shutting off Engineered Explosives. Torpor Orb is also great at shutting down Primeval Titan and Reclamation Sage triggers.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Wooded Foothills
Windswept Heath
Sakura Tribe-Elder
Burn
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Burn - It's important to get Fair activations going as early as possible here to create a life buffer. Be careful that they may have a single Grim Lavamancer in the main. We usually don't have any great choices for Pithing Needle, but naming fetches can help shut off their ability to use Searing Blaze as effectively as they'd like if we're running Cranes. A single Witchbane Orb is often run in Whir builds, allowing for a timely Whir to "counter" burn spells or effects on the stack.

Post-board a Burn opponent will bring in Cindervines, Smash to Smithereens, and some number of Skullcracks, Ancient Grudge, and Grim Lavamancer. We usually bring in some number of Sun Droplet, Leyline of Sanctity, Welding Jar, and Collective Brutality. Quiet Disrepair can help as well, both as early life gain and an answer to Eidolon of the Great Revel. Witchbane Orb is also an option if it isn't already in the main deck, as it can be grabbed with an Ancient Stirrings, Whir of Invention, Glint Nest Crane, and Inventors' Fair, can be saved by a Welding Jar, and can be recurred using an Academy Ruins.

It is usually safe to blind-mill a Burn player early to help speed up the match.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Sunbaked Canyon
Wooded Foothills
Arid Mesa (Some players often use Bloodstained Mire as budget substitutes)
Grim Lavamancer
Affinity/Hardened Scales
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Affinity/Hardened Scales - Historically an easier matchup. Our maindeck Pithing Needles do great things. Glint-Nest Crane also helps to provide a blocker while digging for our Needles and Bridges. Collective Brutality allows us to remove creatures early on after they've made it to the battlefield. Against Hardened Scales builds, we need to be aware of Scrapyard Recombiner and Throne of Geth.

Post-board we face Nature's Claim, Ghirapur AEther Grid, Ancient Grudge, Thoughtseize, Spell Pierce, and Wear//Tear. We'll usually want to side in Pyroclasm, more Collective Brutality, Welding Jar, Nature's Claim, more Pithing Needles, Seal of Primordium, Ancient Grudge, and Quiet Disrepair. Be careful with the Welding Jars. If an opponent has a Spellskite out, they can redirect the regenerate to the Spellskite to be able to take out their original target.

In game one it is safe to blind-mill an Affinity player early to speed up the match. Be very cautious doing this post-board games, however, as you may mill them into an Ancient Grudge. Do not mill needlessly at all if you think they have brought in Ancient Grudge against you, as that increases the chances that they're going to draw it at some point. Wait until you have protection against it first.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Cranial Plating
Arcbound Ravager
Inkmoth Nexus
Blinkmoth Nexus
Steel Overseer
Scrapyard Recombiner
Throne of Geth
Ghirapur AEther Grid
Bogles
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Bogles - This is one of our easiest matchups. Game one comes down to a race of landing a Bridge, using Spellskite (if we choose to run them) to make their auras dead in the meantime. Be careful of the opponents' Path to Exiles, as those will answer our Spellskite(s) and allow them to put the clock back on us.

Cards we can expect to see sided in against us are Collector Ouphe, Seal of Primordium and Stony Silence. Historically Bogles would run some number of Suppression Field in their 75. Some lists get interesting and run Leyline of Sanctity, Disenchant, Pithing Needle, Nature's Claim, and Natural State. The funny thing about this matchup is that Stony Silence, Leyline of Sanctity, Suppression Field, and Pithing Needle don't stop us from completely shutting down their deck with an Ensnaring Bridge. This means that they have to also have a Seal of Primordium, Disenchant, Nature's Claim, or Natural State to do anything. Pithing Needle works well shutting off Seal of Primordium. Altogether, we're still favored to win, and their only hope is to have a great hand and to have large quantities of cards devoted to beating us. Our Collective Brutality and Surgical Extraction are likely our weakest cards in this matchup, so siding those out for more Abrupt Decay, Quiet Disrepair, Nature's Claim, or our own Seal of Primordium often works well. We may shut off our own Seal with Needle sometimes, but if their only answer to our Bridge is Seal then it doesn't matter. It could serve well to keep in maybe one Surgical so that we can take a good look at what to be aware of if it comes to a game three.

It's safe to blind-mill a Bogles player early to speed up the match.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Seal of Primordium
Horizon Canopy
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Gx Tron
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Gx Tron - This used to be one of our easiest matchups, only to get more difficult with the printing of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Walking Ballista, Karn, the Great Creator, and World Breaker.

The strategy with this matchup is heavily dependent on what kind of hand the opponent keeps. If they keep a quick Tron hand that only has a few threats, then being able to pull the threat(s) with Thoughtseize can be crippling to them, then we use the Lantern lock to not allow them to draw Chromatic Sphere, Ugin, Ancient Stirrings, or World Breaker. The reason why we can't let them draw Sphere is because it's a mana ability, meaning we can't respond to the draw off of it by milling their top card. Ugin may seem like he does nothing at first, but his ultimate allows the opponent to draw into threats, circumventing our control. World Breaker is a card that we may need to use a Needle on to prevent the opponent from being able to recur it from the graveyard after we mill it. Karn is typically our first Needle choice, as that is the one that they run four of and is most likely the first threat they're going to land after assembling tron. Oblivion Stone is often our second choice with Needle. If the opponent keeps a hand that doesn't have a fast Tron plan, then it may be better for us to just keep them off of lands, using our first Needle on Expedition Map. This is all very situational, so having the information on which plan to take relies on us getting a good look at their hand with our discard spells.

In either case, our Surgical Extractions and/or Extirpates are going to be useful in BGx builds. If we can Extract whatever threats we can't or haven't Needled, then we've severely crippled their deck. If we go the mana-denial route, then Extracting a Tron piece before they assemble Tron can buy use loads of time. Ghost Quarters in our main (or sideboard) can help shut off Tron mana and contribute to this plan as well.

Post-board we can expect to see Nature's Claim. Some decks also run Pithing Needle and Spellskite. Relic doesn't normally do much to us, but the instant-speed card draw is something to worry about. Pithing Needle can be troublesome, but Spellskite is dangerous because it shuts off all of the Welding Jars that we want to bring in. Bringing in more Surgical Extractions, Extirpates, any artifact destruction, more Needles, more Ghost Quarters, Crucible of Worlds (depending on how many Ghost Quarters are in your deck) and/or more Thoughtseize can help greatly with this matchup. Our weakest cards are usually Collective Brutality. There are some very interesting sideboard options that help with this matchup. For example, Jester's Cap, Padeem, Consul of Innovation, and Phyrexian Revoker can help a good deal. Cap helps remove the total number of threats they have, making it easier to just keep them off of threats. Padeem protects our artifacts from Nature's Claims and the cast triggers from Ulamog and World Breaker. Phyrexian Revoker can name most of the same cards that Needle can, but can also shut off Chromatic Spheres and Chromatic Stars.

This is likely one of our most skill-intensive matchups, so having practice against this deck is extremely important if you're expecting to face it in your meta.

Blind-milling a Tron player early is probably very safe and correct. We want to try to Surgical as many keep pieces as possible, as quickly as possible.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Karn Liberated
Oblivion Stone
Karn, the Great Creator
Expedition Map
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Walking Ballista
Spellskite
Relic of Progenitus
Ad Nauseum
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Ad Nauseum - Not a matchup that has given us much difficulty in the past. We have quite a few routes to ensuring an easy win that includes some combination of one or more of:
  • Naming Lightning Storm with Pithing Needle
  • Holding an Assassin's Trophy or Abrupt Decay to destroy Laboratory Maniac with their winning draw spell on the stack
  • Holding an Assassin's Trophy or Abrupt Decay to destroy Phyrexian Unlife with their winning spell on the stack
  • Milling their Lightning Storm
  • Milling their Laboratory Maniac/Thassa's Oracle
  • Discarding their Lightning Storm
  • Discarding their Laboratory Maniac/Thassa's Oracle
  • Surgical Extraction targeting Ad Nauseum before they go off
It is important to remember that Pithing Needle does not stop mana abilities, so it does nothing to Lotus Bloom, Pentad Prism, etc.

Post-board we can expect Leyline of Sanctity, Hurkyl's Recall, and Thoughtseize. Some pilots also play Patrician's Scorn and Grave Titan. It's probably best to not side out all of our Ensnaring Bridges, but they are likely one of our least useful cards. Surgical Extraction is probably one of our best cards in this matchup post board. It's probably correct to keep our discard in, despite their Leylines, as then they are pretty much forced to mulligan into one or suffer, and if they mulligan into one then that's often less material for them to combo off, buying us time. Artifact and enchantment destruction is fine here, since it removes their Leylines, Phrexian Unlife, and their mana sources to combo off early. If you run Ray of Revelation in the sideboard, then this is a great match to bring it in.

It is very good for us to begin milling an Ad Nauseum player as early as possible.

Primary names for Pithing Needle:
Lightning Storm
Humans
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Humans - This matchup seems to heavily depend on the number of Collective Brutality are run in the maindeck, and whether we are on the Whir of Invention build. If no Brutality are run in the main of the BGx build, then a single resolved Meddling Mage can finish the game. Noble Hierarchs are extremely dangerous as well. Kitesail Freebooter is also more effective against the BGx builds than the Whir builds, as Freebooter can take out for "Bridges", since the Whir builds are essentially running 7-8 Bridges. This is, for the most part, a race to land Bridge. To help with the Noble Hierarch problem, it can help to use Pyxis of Pandemonium to get a Thalia's Lieutenant or Mayor of Avabruck into play to make it too big to swing under Bridge. This does take some setting up, however.

Postboard we can expect Knight of Autumn, Deputy of Detention, Collector Ouphe, and Kambal, Consul of Allocation. Again, Collective Brutality is rather important. This is another matchup where Torpor Orb is great, as it usually shuts down all answers they have for Ensnaring Bridge (though Kambal does still get around Bridge).

It's safe to blind-mill the opponent to speed up the game, but not so much in game two when we have select few answers to Collector Ouphe and Kambal. If we do, and they land an Ouphe or Kambal, then it becomes a waiting game to just die to their Kambal.

Primary names for Needle:
Aether Vial
Horizon Canopy
UR Gifts Storm
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UR Gifts Storm - Having sufficient discard and a very early lock is extremely important here. For the BGx builds, Surgical Extraction goes a long way. For the Whir builds, getting Witchbane Orb and/or Grafdigger's Cage is also extremely helpful. Much like the Gx Tron matchup, choosing what to discard from their hand is going to be very situational.

Postboard we can expect to see Abrade, Aria of Flame, and Shenanigans. We're going to want more discard, Assassin's Trophy/Abrupt Decay, Surgicals, and Grafdigger's Cage. This is another matchup where Jester's Cap can be extremely helpful.

There are no significant cards to name with Needle in this matchup, usually just Fiery Inlet or Scalding Tarn.
More to come!

Frequent Suggestions

Quite a few people have suggested trying out options like miracle cards and Counterbalance. Zerodown tested Terminus (shown in his list in the first few pages of the MTGSalvation primer thread). It appears that he was not impressed with the results. If you would like to test further, please do, and then presenting the results of that testing to the thread would be great. The general opinion, if I'm not mistaken, is that it isn't worth it.

Another common suggestion is Artificer's Intuition. Let's think about it real quick. To get an artifact, we must first pay 1u, and then u for the ability. We must also discard an artifact. How many artifacts do we run that are dead enough that they're worth discarding to go search for another artifact? And what artifact would we be searching for? A Lantern? Pyrite Spellbomb? One of the mill rocks? So, we are paying the same amount for this card to do the same effect as Trinket Mage (but paying the 1UU instead of 2U, and discarding a card instead of gaining a 2/2 body). A duplicate Intuition is absolutely dead, whereas a second Trinket Mage can fetch yet another card, plus provide another body.

Lastly, a note on "win-more" cards. There are plenty of cards and combos in existence that seem overpowered when added to this deck. For example, Bloodchief Ascension. An active Ascension is superb in a deck like this. The problem arises when we consider what must occur to ensure that the Ascension is active, rather than paying B for a card that will do nothing for us. To get Ascension active, we must deal at least six damage over the course of three turns. That is a tall order for a deck that typically only runs one or two Pyrite Spellbombs, if any. When we plan it all out, it would take four mana sources, one of them providing u and one providing r, an Academy Ruins, a Pyrite Spellbomb, the Bloodchief Ascension, and three turns. Then, it requires that the opponent isn't killing us in the meantime, so that means that we would also require that the prison be constructed, and most likely an Ensnaring Bridge in play as well. That's seven cards, not including prison pieces and an Ensnaring Bridge, and three turns used in order to enable yet another win condition to the deck. If the prison is set up with an Ensnaring Bridge, and we have those mana sources and Ruins in play and access to a Pyrite Spellbomb, we could just as easily just continue on the tried and proven main win condition, without risking adding a weakness of a what would usually be a dead card to the construction of the deck. That precious card slot would be much better served by a card that contributes to ensuring that the main engine of the deck is assembled and running smoothly.



Other Primers
Modern Nexus Primer

The Original MTGSalvation Primer - Also has nearly the full history of the development of the deck!

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