This post was last updated on February 2nd, 2023
Hi fellow Magic players! The ability I wanna talk about in today’s article is the MTG Haste keyword ability.
In this article I’ll go over the official rules, I’ll share what I consider the best cards with the Haste ability, the most useful cards that could help you raise your chances of victory, how to play against Haste in MTG and some general tips that you’ll find spread here and there throughout the article.
What follows are thoughts based on my personal experience of playing the game since the late ’90s, I hope you’ll find something useful!
- What does Haste mean in MTG?
- MTG Haste Rules
- MTG Haste Best Cards
- MTG Haste deck examples
- Useful cards with Haste in MTG
- How to deal with MTG Haste
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What does Haste mean in MTG?
Haste is a static skill defined by keyword.
The meaning of this ability is: a creature does not suffer from the summoning sickness.
This means that the summoned creature will be able to activate its abilities with the tap symbol or alternatively attack on the very turn it entered the battlefield.
Haste was introduced as a mechanic from the very beginning, with the alpha set, but only with sixth edition it became a keyword in Magic. It is an ability that has always characterized the red colour, but nowadays it has several very interesting exceptions.
I have briefly described what Haste means but let’s have a look at what the official rules state:
MTG Haste Rules
702.10a Haste is a static ability. 702.10b If a creature has haste, it can attack even if it hasn’t been controlled by its controller continuously since their most recent turn began. (See rule 302.6.) 702.10c If a creature has haste, its controller can activate its activated abilities whose cost includes the tap symbol or the untap symbol even if that creature hasn’t been controlled by that player continuously since their most recent turn began. (See rule 302.6.) 702.10d Multiple instances of haste on the same creature are redundant.
MTG Haste Best Cards
Let’s quickly go over some of the best creatures that have the Haste ability.
The iconic card of the aggressive mono red, called in the modern format mono red burn. Playing it on our first turn we will have on the battlefield a 2/2 ready to attack. It is certainly a very brutal game opener, not only because of the damage but also because the opponent risks having to discard a card on the next turn.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
This is a creature referred to as a “combo” creature and used since its release in Champions of Kamigawa. Thanks to its ability, which can be activated as soon as it enters the battlefield, we can put a copy of a non-legendary creature on the battlefield with haste, thus doubling our next attack.
This card has been used in several combos, and below you can find the most well-known and used ones:
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker & Darksteel Colossus
In the deck called “tooth and nail,” thanks precisely to the green sorcery from which the deck is named, we would place Kiki and Colossus together on the battlefield so that we would immediately attack with an indestructible 11/11.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker & Deceiver Exarch
It was also used to replace Splinter Twin, after it was banned from the modern format, in combo with Deceiver Exarch to create infinite clerics ready to attack our opponent.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker & Restoration Angel
Similarly, it has been much used in combination with Restoration Angel, thus creating a combo practically the same as the one with Exarch but taking advantage of the colour white instead of blue.
The elf master of the deck known as “Jund.”
Considered too powerful in that deck, she was first banned, except that she was unlocked as soon as the meta stabilized so that she was not so unplayable. Its great strength, besides being fast and attacking as soon as it enters the battlefield, is the addition of the Cascade ability that allows us to cast another spell with a lower mana cost for free.
Here is a creature that is very uncomfortable to deal with, but very useful if you play several inexpensive creatures in your deck, from a mana cost perspective, due to its interaction with the graveyard.
Played in many modern decks such as Crab Vine and Hollow One, this creature also sees space and has moderate success in legacy and vintage formats.
In legacy madness, we see it played along with Hollow One and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, while the vintage format includes it in a madness deck along with Bazaar of Baghdad, where it can be “brought back” for free thanks to Rootwalla.
Obviously, it should be played in decks where there is a lot of synergy with the graveyard.
We just need to play two low mana-cost creatures and have Vengevine in the graveyard, to make sure that he is ready to come back to attack in the same turn we bring him back.
I’ll leave my favourite creature for last, and I admit to having abused it in several formats of magic.
Don’t let the high mana cost scare you off, this creature literally makes holes in the ground.
It comes in as a 5/5 with haste, but if we have a small army of creatures, even of modest strength, we can boost them to the max by giving them the trample ability and a +X/+X boost where X is equal to the number of creatures we have on the battlefield. Amazing!
This card is mainly used in Elf decks in every format; first in standard, which just came out, then in modern and finally in legacy as well.
Think of it in an elf-based deck, where we can even play it on early turns, what damage we can do to our opponent.
I saw it played against me in a modern tournament and I lost on the third turn. From there I fell in love with it.
MTG Haste deck examples
The colour red characterizes a lot of spells and creatures with haste, so let’s look at a deck, in the modern format, that takes advantage of these quick creatures.
Mono Red Burn deck (Modern format)
Mono Red Burn deck analysis:
From its name you can guess that I’m talking about a red deck, with a large presence of “damage spells”.
We are not just limited to throwing bolts and lightning at our opponent or the creatures he controls, but thanks to a good pool of creatures with haste we try to bring victory as quickly as possible.
A very balanced deck, with 19 lands, 20 creatures and 21 spells. Let’s figure out how best to use it:
Goblin Guide & Mountain
Our goal is to start immediately with land + Goblin Guide in order to start aggressively by immediately inflicting 2 damage at our opponent.
Hellspark Elemental & Spark Elemental
These are two cards that should be played quickly on the battlefield, as they are 3/1 creatures with haste and trample abilities.
They will be sacrificed at the end of the turn, true, but after an excellent service to the cause.
Note how Hellspark Elemental will be able to be summoned from the graveyard for a further attack thanks to the Unearth ability.
Ash Zealot is another good creature with haste, although its placement in the deck is mainly considered to counter those decks that interact with the graveyard, since any player that casts a spell from the graveyard will take 3 damage.
It will therefore also do damage to us if we use Hellspark Elemental’s unearth ability when ash zealot is on the field, but depending on the phase of the game these 3 damage might also be welcome let’s say.
Our super-fast nun which costs only 1 red mana, is a 1/2 creature, with haste of course and enters well in synergy with all our spells.
In fact, by casting several spells against our opponent she will boost with +1/+1 becoming more and more threatening.
In our deck we have as many as 14 “damage spells” to cast against our opponent or against his planeswalkers or creatures.
Lightning Bolt & Rift Bolt & Lava Spike & Thunderous Wrath
If we manage these cards well during the game we can inflict a lot of damage and eliminate several of the opponent’s threats on the battlefield.
Titan’s Strength & Temur Battle Rage
These 7 instants greatly enhance our creatures.
In the first case with a +3/+1 stat boost, while in the second case giving double attack to one of our target creatures.
Useful cards with Haste in MTG
We have seen a nice deck that has the haste ability as its main pivot and we have also seen which are the strongest creatures that possess this ability; we can, however, use other cards if we want to tailor our deck to be as fast as possible, even though not all creatures possess the haste ability.
We can create a deck that includes enchantments, sorceries, instants, or other creatures that can give haste to those without it.
Concordant Crossroads | Mass Hysteria
Single mana cost spell, green for the former and red for the latter. The red card is the so-called functional reprint, printed with the Mirrodin expansion.
The first version, which came out with Legends, carried the wording “enchant world,” later replaced by the more common wording of enchantment.
These spells give all creatures the haste ability; it’s true, opposing creatures will also gain haste but we care about our deck being as explosive as possible, so we can accept this risk.
Fervor & Fires of Yavimaya
If, on the other hand, we don’t want to risk our opponent’s creatures gaining haste as well, we can opt for these other two spells.
Both cards donate haste only to our creatures, paying a higher mana cost than the previous two spells, though.
The Fires of Yavimaya card also gives us the ability to boost one of our creatures with a +2/+2 boost until the end of the turn, provided we sacrifice this card.
In the Web of War
Another spell, more expensive in mana than the previous ones.
It gives the ability quickness just when it is needed, which is when one of our creatures enters the battlefield, thus making it immediately ready to attack. It also gives that creature a +2/+0 boost until the end of the turn.
This equipment artifact is widely used in Commander because of the ability to donate shroud to our commander.
In addition to shroud, this card gives haste, which is why it was included in this list, and with the cost of equipping being 0, any of our creatures entering the battlefield can be immediately quick and protected.
A 2/2 creature with quickness, its special feature is its interaction with the graveyard.
Once dead or deliberately placed in the graveyard, all our creatures will gain haste.
I still include this card, despite the fact that it has been banned from the modern format for years and years now.
This is a combo card, as we saw earlier, and assigning it to a creature allows us to create a copy with the haste ability
Even for the haste ability, there are lands that can do the trick:
- Hall of the Bandit Lord
- Slayers’ Stronghold
Hall of the Bandit Lord
This Champions of Kamigawa land allows us to add one colourless mana, with an additional cost of 3 life points, and if spent to cast a creature, that creature will have quickness until the end of the turn.
Boros Guild matrix land, white and red.
By spending one white and one red mana, and tapping it, we enhance one of our creatures with a +2/+0 in addition to vigilance and haste until the end of the turn.
How to deal with MTG Haste
Even though decks based on Haste are very aggressive and could deal many damages since early turns, there are several ways to counter that ability.
Urabrask the Hidden
This creature has dual use: it gives haste to our creatures and at the same time makes our opponent’s creatures enter the battlefield plugged, so as to evade the haste ability they possess, not allowing them to attack or activate abilities.
Another creature with a cheaper mana value than Urabrask: all of our opponent’s creatures enter capped.
Very useful, it can enter the battlefield on the second turn, but watch out for the toughness of 1 as it makes it an easy target.
Authority of the Consuls
Here we have a spell instead. It enters the field on the first turn, great for slowing down Goblin Guide or other brutal impact decks.
It’s also a useful card to increase our defence as it allows us to gain 1 life point whenever a creature enters the battlefield under our opponent’s control.
As always, the value of “destroy creature” or “destroy permanent” cards is very high when we are dealing with similar decks that make creatures, with the haste ability, in this case, their strong point.