Lightning Bolt MTG Card

Instant speed allows Lightning Bolt to disrupt opponents and dictate the pace of the game effectively. The cost-efficient card is versatile, targeting creatures, planeswalkers, or players with direct damage. Despite its strengths, the spell’s single red mana cost may limit its use in multi-colored strategies.
Card setsReleased in 54 setsSee all
Mana cost
Converted mana cost1

Text of card

Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.

Cards like Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt is an iconic spell in Magic: The Gathering, renowned for its efficiency and raw power. It delivers a substantial punch by dealing 3 damage to any target for a mere one red mana. When looking at spells with a similar impact, Shock comes to mind. It’s also a quick and low-cost spell, dishing out 2 damage for the same cost. However, Lightning Bolt’s extra damage can be crucial for removing larger creatures or closing out games.

Another comparable card is Lava Spike, dealing 3 damage like Lightning Bolt, but with a limitation—it can only target players. This reduces its flexibility as it cannot remove creatures from the board. Rift Bolt too harnesses similar damage output, with the difference lying in its suspend mechanic. While it can deal the same amount of damage, the delay caused by suspend means that the effect isn’t immediate like Lightning Bolt’s reliable and instant burst.

Ultimately, Lightning Bolt’s minimal mana cost coupled with its versatility in targeting any creature or player makes it an enduring favorite among damage spells in Magic: The Gathering, often setting the standard for efficiency and flexibility in red aggressive strategies.

Shock - MTG Card versions
Lava Spike - MTG Card versions
Rift Bolt - MTG Card versions
Shock - MTG Card versions
Lava Spike - MTG Card versions
Rift Bolt - MTG Card versions

Cards similar to Lightning Bolt by color, type and mana cost

False Orders - MTG Card versions
Chaoslace - MTG Card versions
Red Elemental Blast - MTG Card versions
Tunnel - MTG Card versions
Artifact Blast - MTG Card versions
Active Volcano - MTG Card versions
Shock - MTG Card versions
Panic - MTG Card versions
Vertigo - MTG Card versions
Telim'Tor's Edict - MTG Card versions
Hearth Charm - MTG Card versions
Pyroblast - MTG Card versions
Fighting Chance - MTG Card versions
Shower of Sparks - MTG Card versions
Heat Ray - MTG Card versions
Overload - MTG Card versions
Engulfing Flames - MTG Card versions
Sonic Seizure - MTG Card versions
March of Reckless Joy - MTG Card versions
Burst Lightning - MTG Card versions
False Orders - MTG Card versions
Chaoslace - MTG Card versions
Red Elemental Blast - MTG Card versions
Tunnel - MTG Card versions
Artifact Blast - MTG Card versions
Active Volcano - MTG Card versions
Shock - MTG Card versions
Panic - MTG Card versions
Vertigo - MTG Card versions
Telim'Tor's Edict - MTG Card versions
Hearth Charm - MTG Card versions
Pyroblast - MTG Card versions
Fighting Chance - MTG Card versions
Shower of Sparks - MTG Card versions
Heat Ray - MTG Card versions
Overload - MTG Card versions
Engulfing Flames - MTG Card versions
Sonic Seizure - MTG Card versions
March of Reckless Joy - MTG Card versions
Burst Lightning - MTG Card versions

Decks using this card

MTG decks using Lightning Bolt. Dig deeper into the strategy of decks, sideboard cards, list ideas and export to play in ARENA or MOL.

Temur DelverTemur Delver LegacyTemur DelverLegacy Challenge 32 2024-04-28
Izzet DelverIzzet Delver LegacyTemur DelverLegacy Challenge 32 2024-04-28
BurnBurn PauperBurnPauper League 2024-04-28
Rakdos ScamRakdos Scam ModernRakdos ScamModern Challenge 64 2024-04-28
Rakdos BreachRakdos Breach ModernRakdos BreachModern League 2024-04-28
Naya ScapeshiftNaya Scapeshift ModernNaya ScapeshiftModern Challenge 64 2024-04-28
Temur ProwessTemur Prowess ModernTemur ProwessModern Challenge 64 2024-04-28
Indomitable CreativityIndomitable Creativity ModernIndomitable CreativityModern Challenge 64 2024-04-28
Domain ZooDomain Zoo ModernDomain ZooModern League 2024-04-28
Murktide RegentMurktide Regent ModernMurktide RegentModern League 2024-04-28

Card Pros

Card Advantage: Lightning Bolt stands out as a powerhouse spell by effectively removing the opponent’s key creatures or planeswalkers. With its capacity to eliminate a critical threat, this one mana spell ensures that you maintain a superior board position, contributing to the overall card advantage in a duel.

Resource Acceleration: Not directly tied to resource acceleration, Lightning Bolt can indirectly contribute to a faster game pace. By dispatching mana dorks or early threats, you pave the way for a smoother progression to your game plan, clearing the path for your own creatures and spells to take the stage unimpeded.

Instant Speed: Lightning Bolt’s instant speed delivers flexibility and surprise, a key strategic advantage in MTG. This allows you to make decisive plays during your opponent’s turn, disrupting their strategy, or in response to actions that might otherwise leave you at a disadvantage. The speed at which this card operates makes it a staple in any deck that seeks to maintain momentum and control.

Card Cons

Discard Requirement: While Lightning Bolt doesn’t have a discard requirement, many powerful spells do. This can often set a precedent when evaluating similar burn spells, as they might force you to lose card advantage to deal damage.

Specific Mana Cost: Lightning Bolt costs a single red mana, which is great for red-focused decks but can be less flexible in multi-colored decks where mana bases are carefully balanced. It can potentially disrupt the mana curve when not playing with an abundance of red sources.

Comparatively High Mana Cost: Despite being a low-cost spell, when considering the broader spectrum of MTG cards, there are alternative burn spells offering additional effects or flexible casting costs. This fact may place Lightning Bolt at a comparative disadvantage in certain metagames where versatility is key.

Reasons to Include Lightning Bolt in Your Collection

Versatility: Lightning Bolt shines in various decks due to its ability to deliver a quick 3 damage at a low cost. This can target creatures, planeswalkers, or players, making it incredibly adaptable to different game situations.

Combo Potential: The instant speed of Lightning Bolt allows it to create powerful interactions with cards that benefit from spells being cast or direct damage being dealt. It’s an enabler for combos, often closing games when combined with damage amplifiers.

Meta-Relevance: As one of the most enduring cards in competitive play, Lightning Bolt frequently impacts game formats by its mere presence. In a meta where small to medium creatures rule or life totals are critical, it remains a staple in sideboards and main decks alike.

How to Beat Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt is a powerhouse of efficiency in the Magic: The Gathering world, known for its ability to deal three damage to any target at the low cost of a single red mana. While it’s renowned for zapping creatures out of existence or finishing off an opponent, overcoming this card involves strategic play.

To outmaneuver Lightning Bolt, consider deploying creatures with toughness greater than three or those with abilities like hexproof or indestructible, rendering the Bolt ineffective as a removal tool. Spells that grant temporary invulnerability or those that increase your creatures’ toughness can also thwart its impact. Moreover, playing at instant speed allows you to react to Lightning Bolt’s cast, enabling surprise combat tricks or protective spells that can save your key creatures from destruction.

Recognizing when to hold back critical creatures until you have enough mana for protective measures can make Lightning Bolt less threatening. Additionally, employing cards that can gain you life can offset the damage directed at you, dampening the impact of this fiery spell on your overall strategy. By understanding the roles that speed, durability, and resilience play in the game, players can effectively navigate the challenges posed by Lightning Bolt.

Where to buy

If you're looking to purchase Lightning Bolt MTG card by a specific set like Limited Edition Alpha and Limited Edition Beta, there are several reliable options to consider. One of the primary sources is your local game store, where you can often find booster packs, individual cards, and preconstructed decks from current and some past sets. They often offer the added benefit of a community where you can trade with other players.

For a broader inventory, particularly of older sets, online marketplaces like TCGPlayer, Card Kingdom and Card Market offer extensive selections and allow you to search for cards from specific sets. Larger e-commerce platforms like eBay and Amazon also have listings from various sellers, which can be a good place to look for sealed product and rare finds.

Additionally, Magic’s official site often has a store locator and retailer lists for finding Wizards of the Coast licensed products. Remember to check for authenticity and the condition of the cards when purchasing, especially from individual sellers on larger marketplaces.

Below is a list of some store websites where you can buy the Lightning Bolt and other MTG cards:

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The Lightning Bolt Magic the Gathering card was released in 36 different sets between 1993-08-05 and 2024-02-23. Illustrated by 14 different artists.

11993-08-05Limited Edition AlphaLEA 1611993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
21993-10-04Limited Edition BetaLEB 1621993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
31993-12-01Unlimited Edition2ED 1621993NormalWhiteChristopher Rush
41993-12-10Collectors' EditionCED 1621993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
51993-12-10Intl. Collectors' EditionCEI 1621993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
61994-04-01Revised Edition3ED 1621993NormalWhiteChristopher Rush
71994-04-01Foreign Black BorderFBB 1621993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
81994-06-21Summer Magic / EdgarSUM 1621993NormalWhiteChristopher Rush
91995-04-01Fourth Edition Foreign Black Border4BB 2081993NormalBlackChristopher Rush
101995-04-01Fourth Edition4ED 2081993NormalWhiteChristopher Rush
111996-05-02Pro Tour Collector SetPTC et2081993NormalGoldChristopher Rush
121996-05-02Pro Tour Collector SetPTC mj2081993NormalGoldChristopher Rush
131996-05-02Pro Tour Collector SetPTC gb2081993NormalGoldChristopher Rush
141998-01-01Judge Gift Cards 1998JGP 11997NormalBlackChristopher Rush
152000-10-01Beatdown Box SetBTD 411997NormalWhiteChristopher Rush
162002-06-24Magic Online PromosPRM 728862003NormalBlackKekai Kotaki
172002-06-24Magic Online PromosPRM 362242003NormalBlackVéronique Meignaud
182002-06-24Magic Online PromosPRM 359321997NormalBlackChristopher Rush
192002-06-24Magic Online PromosPRM 1022612015NormalBlackChuck Lukacs
202007-09-10Masters EditionME1 1021997NormalBlackChristopher Rush
212009-01-01Magic Player Rewards 2009P09 1462003NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
222009-07-17Magic 2010M10 1462003NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
232010-01-01Magic Player Rewards 2010P10 12003NormalBlackVéronique Meignaud
242010-07-16Magic 2011M11 1492003NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
252010-11-08Magic Online Theme DecksTD0 A601997NormalBlackChristopher Rush
262010-11-08Magic Online Theme DecksTD0 B212003NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
272015-05-22Modern Masters 2015MM2 1222015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
282017-06-16Archenemy: Nicol BolasE01 542015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
292018-03-16Masters 25A25 1412015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
302019-11-07Mystery BoosterMB1 10012015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
312019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 862015NormalBlackAlexis Ziritt
322019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 6752015NormalBorderlessJason Rainville
332019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 9012015NormalBlackChristopher Rush
342019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 842015NormalBlackBrigitte Roka
352019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 852015NormalBlackRobbie Trevino
362019-12-02Secret Lair DropSLD 832015NormalBlackNoah Bradley
372020-07-17JumpstartJMP 3422015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
382020-09-26The ListPLST PF19-12015NormalBlackKekai Kotaki
392020-09-26The ListPLST A25-1412015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
402020-09-26The ListPLST E01-542015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
412021-04-23Strixhaven Art SeriesASTX 76s2015Art seriesBorderlessAnato Finnstark
422021-04-23Strixhaven Mystical ArchiveSTA 422015NormalBorderlessAnato Finnstark
432021-04-23Strixhaven Mystical ArchiveSTA 1052015NormalBorderlessEzoi
442021-04-23Strixhaven Art SeriesASTX 762015Art seriesBorderlessAnato Finnstark
452021-08-26Jumpstart: Historic HorizonsJ21 7872015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
462022-06-10Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's GateCLB 4012015NormalBlackPhil Stone
472022-06-10Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's GateCLB 1872015NormalBlackIrina Nordsol
482022-07-07Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's GateHBG 9262015NormalBlackIrina Nordsol
492022-07-08Double Masters 20222X2 3612015NormalBorderlessChuck Lukacs
502022-07-08Double Masters 20222X2 1172015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
512022-10-14Game Night: Free-for-AllGN3 832015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller
522022-11-2830th Anniversary Edition30A 4541997NormalBlackChristopher Rush
532022-11-2830th Anniversary Edition30A 1572015NormalBlackChristopher Rush
542024-02-23Ravnica: Clue EditionCLU 1412015NormalBlackChristopher Moeller


Magic the Gathering formats where Lightning Bolt has restrictions