In many ways,
this is not a creature. The best times to play
this are those times when it will act like a
slightly larger than usual Blaze to the head.
Unfortunately, those times are not as frequent
as you might hope. Lightning Serpent can be
completely neutralized by a small instant-speed
burn spell or a creature with first strike. I'm
not suggesting that this creature isn't
potentially devastating, simply that it is not
as simple to use as the Blaze might be.
Fortunately, while you're waiting for the right
time to cast this guy, you're probably getting
more mana which means he'll be more effective
when he does show up.
A decent card perhaps for fast red builds. It's
pretty evil in particular cases (I've had it hit
me in limited games).
Constructed - 2.5
Casual - 3
Limited - 2.5
This card is an unique twist on the Fireball
family. Lightning Serpent is basically a blaze
that is one-point stronger than what you'd pay
for something like a Blaze but has to attack in
order to get the damage through. Flavor-wise
this card is cool, but I can't see this being
played in the same format that also has
Demonfire and Blaze.
You could, in theory, run it in one of the many
U/R Urzatron variants, but yet again I'd rather
use Demonfire or Blaze, for the simple fact that
the Serpent has the clause of being a creature.
That means a Rend Flesh, Seal of Doom, or even a
Darkblast make this card a worthless mana
investment. Lightning Serpent is best left for
limited as a last-minute win condition.
Constructed: 1.5 - There's no reason to run this
Casual: 1.5 - It's a fun card, but still
strictly worse than Blaze and Fireball.
Limited: 3 - Throw this out and hit the opponent
for a huge amount in the late game.
This card appears to be both overlooked and
underrated at this point. It's a great late game
finisher. It might even start showing up as a
finisher for control decks. The only real
problem is that it's not that much better than
an 'X' spell like a Fireball. So, it will remain
to be seen where it eventually fits in.
Ball Lightning meets Fireball. At one mana, it's
basically a Shock that your opponent chooses the
target of. Two mana and it's a Volcanic Hammer.
Three mana, a Char without the 2-damage
kickback. Four mana and it's a Lava Axe for one
less mana, but your opponent can still block it.
Maybe not all of it thanks to trample damage,
though. Five mana and we're off the scale of any
known burn spell except maybe Fireball, but
since the Serpent does two base damage, the
Serpent will always be more damaging than a
Fireball of equal X-value. And the Serpent is a
creature, so you can put damage on the stack and
sacrifice it to a Scorched Rusalka or whatnot.
I opened one of these at the Coldsnap
prerelease, so take my word for it when I tell
you that it really swings a late-game, and it's
even splashable. In Constructed, it's a more
flexible Ball Lightning or Spark Elemental, and
both of those saw play when they were Standard
legal, but then Lightning Serpent doesn't do as
much damage as either of those do for the same
amount of mana. The Serpent does stack up
favorably to Giant Solifuge though, so maybe
it'll get played.
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