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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
May 22 2018 12:00pm
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MASSIVE thanks to Wizards and note that this is not paid for in any way, Wizards of the Coast have given this preview card to us with no financial or product transaction.

Burn baby, burn is probably one of the often overused lines in Magic the Gathering. Over the last twenty-five odd years, I know that I have used it far more than any player really should. Bolt the bird? Burn baby, burn! That's a long time to sling spells in any game and although I have taken breaks, Magic pulls me back in every year or so for a nice long stint. But one thing never seems to change for long, there is usually a consistent red burn deck in almost every format for a period of time.

So before we jump into the coolest (I'm calling it now!) preview card of the season, let's dive into a quick history of the Burn archetype and the red spells that shaped Magic throughout history, from the kitchen table to pro-tours around the world!

IT ALL STARTED WITH PAUL SLIGH AND JAY SCHNEIDER

Lightning Bolt

Sligh was a fast red deck with a low mana curve sporting fast red efficient creatures and enough burn to seal up a game in no time at all. The deck was first engineered and played at a Pro Tour Qualifier in Atlanta, 1996. The deck placed an impressive 2nd place being beaten in the finals by a Necropotence deck. Sligh had never been seen before and the deck sported a new concept that changed the face of Magic the Gathering forever, a "mana curve". The curve looked like this:

1 mana slot: 9-13
2 mana slot: 6-8
3 mana slot: 3-5
4 mana slot: 1-3
x spell slot: 2-3
Removal/Burn slot: 8-10

Sligh utilised a suite of direct damage/removal that consisted of fan favourites such as Lightning Bolt, Incinerate and Fireball with low cost creatures to make quick work of all the slow and clunky decks at the time. It was such a successful archetype, that it echoes through the ages and even now, you can find it's grandchild in the Standard Format, Ramunap Red. As an aside, Paul piloted the deck impressively, but it was Jay that built the concept for him and brought the design to the history books.

TEMPEST CHANGED THE FACE OF SLIGH

Kindle

By the time Tempest released, the face of Sligh had changed from a burn control deck, to more of a blisteringly fast creature beatdown deck sporting creatures such as Jackal Pup, Mogg Fanatic and artifacts such as Jinxed Idol and Cursed Scroll with the direct damage shifting to Kindle aptly named Dead Guy Red. The deck had moved to sporting less instant and sorcery based direct damage, but not for long. In 2000, a new Sligh deck emerged sporting Hammer of Bogardan, Shock. Incinerate and Fireblast popped up and started burning down the house in spectacular displays of red mage fashion. Hammering home the feeling that Sligh would be around for the remainder of MTG history, no matter what it was called.

Incinerate

But there is one card I have failed to cover here, one card that is a low cost burn spell that is a little slower than big daddy Lightning Bolt, but is an extension of the formerly mentioned, making it copies 5-8 of Lightning Bolt and is still played in legacy along-side Bolt in many Red Deck Wins and a mainstay of Pauper.

BEHOLD, CHAIN LIGHTNING!

Second only to big daddy Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning is an efficiently costed and highly played burn spell in both Legacy and Pauper alike. For just a single red mana you can send three at an opponent's dome, to a creature on the field or even a Planeswalker at Sorcery speed. The only real drawback is your opponent can pay two red mana and sling it BACK at any target too. Remember, in Two Headed Giant, you have TWO opponent's that share a SINGLE life pool. So sling this at the opponent who can't fire it back or just wait until they tap out and go for the burn!

The thing with limited is you will always have a good target for removal and direct damage, Chain Lightning will never be a waste and there isn't a set as yet where I wouldn't want to have a single mana removal in my pocket, just ITCHING to bolt a bird or fry an Elf.

Another thing I need to mention is that while you can get Chain Lightning fairly cheap on Magic Online, in paper (even after the masters reprint) you're looking at around six dollars to get a copy. A reprint is welcome, but a great removal spell with direct damage, for extra reach, is just so much goodness! 

Battlebond is looking really strong and I'm so excited to see a great two headed giant focused product and Wizards extending casual play. It really is a great time to be playing Magic the Gathering! Find out more about BATTLEBOND here!

-Cheshire