Lightning Bolt and its impact on the metagame

Lightning Bolt and its impact on the metagame:

Lightning Bolt has been around from the very beginning, it was printed in a time during which creatures were weak and spells reigned supreme. But, soon it seemed that this R burn spell was just causing way to much restriction on what people played, Cards deemed “Bolt-able” were soon forgotten about in favor of 4-toughness cards. In order to curb this trend, Wizards effectively phased out Lightning Bolt and replaced it with Shock and Incinerate. Shock was printed to set a standard for R burn spells and now only did two damage instead of three. Incinerate allowed for the original three damage and the inclusion of anti-regeneration for 1R, which was fairer for the current metagame.

How long did this last?

For a while actually. After its printing in 4th edition, It wasn’t from again until 7 core sets later in Magic: 2010. It had been so long that people just didn’t know what to do when it was reprinted. The first thing that it did was limiting the power of Planeswalkers, which now had to watch for a Lightning Bolt at any second. It also increased the power of burn, which used to rely on shock for R burn and made it a formidable threat in Red Deck Wins (RDW).

Why no reprint in M12?

Perhaps it was just too good. The three damage really could swing a game and led to games that were decided too quickly. In the end, Wizards wanted to see how the metagame would differ without a reprint of Lightning Bolt. If all goes well it may stay this way or if things go wrong, than it can always be reprinted in a later set.

Sorry, Red mages!

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