Legacy Lantern with Zac Elsik

Posted in Event Coverage on June 12, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Zac Elsik made the world of Magic go crazy last year when he won Grand Prix Oklahoma City with a Modern deck built around Lantern of Insight. The deck milled opponents' relevant cards while controlling the board with broad brush answers like Ensnaring Bridge.

This weekend, Elsik decided to build a Legacy version of the Lantern Control deck. With the massive available cardpool in Legacy, there were a lot of new toys for Elsik to play with.

I found Elsik about to go to time against a Jund opponent that had disrupted him with discard, Abrupt Decay, and Ancient Grudge. Things were looking grim. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Elsik cast Enlightened Tutor in response to Thoughtseize to find Helm of Obedience which, in conjunction with the Rest in Peace he had in play, meant that he was able to immediately exile his opponent's library and win the match.

Afterward, I asked Elsik how he went about building this new version of the Lantern Control deck.

Zac Elsik

“There are a lot of powerful Modern decks that end up leaking into Legacy like Jund and Eldrazi. I felt like Lantern Control got enough from the bigger cardpool that it could compete in this format. I started with a Blue-Black-Green version of the deck, but I wasn't impressed. Soon after, I changed to White-Blue and shifted the focus of the deck to Energy Field and Rest in Peace. Unexpectedly Absent essentially functions as a two mana Vindicate; I put the card on top of my opponent's library and mill it away.”

Elsik mentioned one particularly awesome interaction that came up.

“Sometimes I know what I'm exiling with Pyxis of Pandemonium. Sometimes everything is face down. I've had games where I fetched for my seventh land and realized that I was missing some unexpected number of Rest in Peace and Energy Field from my deck. This meant that I was able to activate the big ability on Pyxis of Pandemonium and ensure survival.

The deck still plays Ensnaring Bridge, and with Enlightened Tutor it's easy to find whatever you're missing for a given situation.

I wanted to know what Elsik was hoping to play against this weekend.

“I thought Eldrazi would be a good matchup, but they keep playing Thorn of Amethyst on the first turn. In general, fair decks seem like pretty good matchups for the deck.”

It's also worth noting that the combination of Enlightened Tutor and four copies of Rest in Peace mean that Elsik is a big favorite against graveyard focused decks like Dredge.

I asked which decks seemed like difficult matchups.

“Storm was really bad; my only chance against them is to use Enlightened Tutor to find Nevermore. Jund has a lot of interaction; Abrupt Decay decks are usually tough,” he smiled, having just beaten a Jund opponent.

I wanted to know if there was anything particularly excited about the sideboard.

“Peacekeeper has been incredible. Opponents are sideboarding out all of their removal and I can just stick a Peacekeeper and ride it to victory.”

Elsik is currently 8-3 as we enter the 12th round of swiss here at Grand Prix Columbus. Is Legacy Lantern a deck we should be examining more closely? It seems very powerful and versatile while gaining a lot of consistency with cards like Field of Dreams to make draws more consistent.

Zac Elsik's Legacy Lantern - Grand Prix Columbus

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