26, Sep, 23

Like Nerf, Love Lightning Bolt? Wizards Wants to Sell You This

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Article at a Glance

Did you know that the Nerf brand started in 1969 as a collaboration between a game inventor and a kicker for the Minnesota Vikings? Game industry giant Parker Brothers began producing Nerf balls in 1970 and many years later, in 1991, Hasbro came to own Nerf. 1992 saw the development of the infamous Nerf blaster, and soon, there were dozens of ways to shoot each other with relatively safe foam darts and spheres.

When Hasbro acquired Wizards of the Coast in 1999, it set us on an inevitable collision course for the multiverse crossover you’ve waited 20 years to get. Yes, there is now an MTG-themed Nerf Blaster! But you also get some cool promo Lightning Bolt as part of the deal.

Seeing is Believing

HasbroPulse MTG Nerf Gun

Available for pre-order on Hasbropulse in all its glory, the Nerf LMTD Lightning Lair loads up a single shell with three darts that all fire at once because, you know, Lightning Bolt is three damage. If you look at the included cards, you will notice that they feature the original Lightning Bolt artwork but are now in a full-art frame. The artist? Best known for Black Lotus; it is Christopher Rush.

Directly from the Hasbro site: “Includes 2 exclusive Lightning Bolt playable promo cards that show off the classic art in a full-art frame for the first time ever.” Certainly, Bolt is a classic card and having the original artwork in a full-art frame is appealing. The card sees plenty of play in multiple formats from Pauper to Modern to Legacy and has had auto-include status for years. Opinion, however, is decidedly mixed on this product as a whole.

Opinions Are Mixed

Lightning Bolt | Alpha

The last set of SL lightning bolts I bought are worth about $3 now.


Many expressed this kind of sentiment. There are only two copies of the card included so to get a play set you would have to order two of these. $80 is a very steep price to pay when you can get copies for under 50 cents each. Is the new art treatment worth 40x the price? Why did they not include a play set?

“Wait.. this isn’t satire?”


My first take on this product was much the same. I was not sure if this was some kind of an early April fool’s prank or if it was a legitimate promotional tie-in. Since Hasbro owns both companies, it was an inevitable crossover, much like MTG x Transformers or My Little Pony, among others. Not everyone cares about these kinds of promotions. Still, plenty of people were happy with some aspect of the product offering.

“I appreciate that the art of the card is just the classic Alpha artwork cropped to different dimensions, and not, like, some cheesy painting of a guy shooting lightning out of a Nerf gun. At least the Magic part of this bundle is just pure Magic.”


Certainly, it is the most iconic artwork for the card and no one has criticized that part. Is it also a case of this being a product designed for only an ultra-specific cross-segment of consumers? Some posters thought that could be the case.

So, is this really just a gun and two lightning bolts? I’m not really sure how this is supposed to appeal to many magic players. Are there big nerf gun fans into collecting rare guns or something?


Yes, there are people who collect nerf guns. And there are people who collect magic cards. The idea is to get those people to spend more than they would otherwise by doing this crossbranding.


It remains to be seen just how successful this promo will be, but, in any case, it won’t ship until December 1st. While the description mentions that it is a “special edition” and “premium,” it does not specifically say that it is limited, so there’s no telling how many of these get manufactured and how many full-art original Lightning Bolts get printed.

Of course, just a few years ago, new Lightning Bolt artwork sold for $4,000, so it’s true that the card itself is powerful and iconic and appeals to many Magic players, fans, and collectors. Will this be Nerf? Will this be nothing? Wizards certainly are hoping lightning will strike twice.

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