Originally printed in Alpha as a common, Lightning Bolt from Modern Masters 2015 is arguably the most iconic red Magic: The Gathering card ever printed. For decades Lightning Bolt has defined every format it has been legal in. When evaluating creatures for their decks, one of the first questions players may have asked themselves is if it survives “the Bolt test.”
Lightning Bolt – R
Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Three damage for just one red mana, along with the ability to cast this spell during your opponent’s turn, makes Lightning Bolt the most efficient red burn spell available. There’s been a plethora of Lightning Bolt variants over the years, most recently with Searing Spear and Lightning Strike. These days for one mana the best you’ll get is Pillar of Flame.
Lightning Bolt currently sees play in a wide variety of decks in Modern. Izzet players can recast Lightning Bolt with Snapcaster Mage and cast powerful counterspells like Cryptic Command. Adding white allows you to run Path to Exile. Jund always plays Lightning Bolt, typically alongside Abrupt Decay and Thoughtseize. Naya, which runs quick threats like Tarmogoyf and Wild Nacatl, also makes excellent use of Lightning Bolt. We can’t forget about straight up mono-red burn decks either, a fast strategy which focuses casting burn spells directly at its opponent.
Lightning Bolt’s efficiency is so great that its play extends beyond just Modern. You’ll find Lightning Bolt in Legacy, where players can cast other powerful spells such as Force of Will, Swords to Plowshares, and Terminus in Miracles decks. Even in Vintage with access to Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, and Time Walk you’ll see Lightning Bolt in decks alongside Dack Fayden. Let’s not forget about Commander, where Lightning Bolt goes into virtually any deck running red. How will you use Lightning Bolt? Please let us know in the comment section down below.
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