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Pojo's Magic The Gathering Card of the Day

Image from Wizards.com

Chain Lightning

Reviewed March 29, 2006

Constructed: 3.65
Casual: 3.78
Limited: 4.16

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 

Jeff Zandi

5 Time Pro Tour

Chain Lightning

I was explaining this card to my seven year old son, who is an aspiring Pro Tour player. He got it right away. All mono red decks want to do is kill, and Chain Lightning goes right along with that sentiment. Most of the time when you cast Chain Lightning, nothing much happens except a creature or player gets burned for three points. Sometimes, however, your opponent has two untapped Mountains of his own and a penchant for self-destruction. On these happy days, such an opponent will bounce your Chain Lightning back to you or one of your creatures. That's HIS mistake. You are a mono-red player, and you wouldn't play this card unless you also had a couple of spare untapped Mountains with which to bounce HIS bounce of your Chain Lightning.

The end effect is you spending only three mana and ONE card to deal three damage to up to two different creatures or players while withstanding three damage to one of your own creatures or possibly your face. It's a deal!
Unfortunately, Chain Lightning is not legal in any constructed format that I participate in, but I do love this card. Chain Lightning was never a part of any limited formats, but if it were, it would be a very high pick.



* Game Store Owner

Chain Lightning

We all loved Lightning Bolt. So there's little reason to believe we wouldn't like Chain Lightning. And against decks not playing Red, it works exactly like Lightning Bolt. This is a card that's always hot. And it's always sought out by casual players.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4.5

Jordan Kronick

Chain Lightning

Alright, so in retrospect this card is pretty lame. But believe me when I say that back in the day it was super cool. Of course, we didn't have a lot of options for burn back then. There was the stuff from the core set - Lightning Bolt, Fireball and Disintegrate, notably - but there wasn't any burn in Arabian Nights or Antiquities. So when we finally got another burn spell, a lot of people were excited. Plus it could do all these cool tricks. Like being able to Chain Lightning a bunch of Rukh Eggs.. or.. okay, that's really the only trick you can do with it. But that's something! Nowadays it's just another burn spell. But it used to be pretty cool.

Constructed Rating - 1.9
Casual Rating - 3.4
Limited Rating - 4.0


Chain Lightning

One of the few (read: 2) 1 mana for 3 damage spells that can hit creature or player. Strickly inferior to Lightning Bolt being a Sorcery and the chance it can be thrown back at you against red players, the card has still always been just fine in red burn decks and will continue to be a Vintage and Legacy burn staple as long as it’s legal. It’s always been hard to argue with the card, no matter the speed or drawback.

I have to assume it’s fine in limited, as I have only drafted Legends once in my life and this card never found it’s way in my deck or against me. If I’m willing to draft Volcanic Hammer high, I would definitely play the chain.

Constructed: 4
Limited: 4.5


Chain Lightning

Hmm... not bad if you're playing against not-Red. For only one R, 3 damage isn't bad. It would be amazing if it were an instant. Also nice that it can hit a creature or a player.

Constructed - 3.5
Casual - 3.5
Limited - 3.5


Chain Lightning

I have no firsthand experience with this card, but it's not too hard to figure out. Ask any player what they'd most like to spend one Red mana on, and they'll likely say Lightning Bolt.

It's so powerful that it's been out of standard for at least a decade. This is undoubtedly an early effort to "fix" Lightning Bolt. But it's hardly a fix, since it's exactly Lightning Bolt against any player who doesn't have Red mana, and the ability to use it against yourself in order to make more copies makes it even better than Bolt in some narrow cases.

Constructed- 4.5
Casual- 3
Limited- 5
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