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Haste in MTG – Rules, Best Cards + Decks!

Haste is an evergreen ability keyword in Magic: The Gathering. A creature with haste can attack in the same turn that it enters the battlefield. This article looks at what haste means in the MTG rules and how it works with examples, the best haste cards, winning haste decks, how to play against haste, and common haste questions.

MTG card [c]Manor Skeleton[/c] illustration. Image: Wizards of the Coast. Artist: Eric Deschamps.

MTG Haste Rules

What do the MTG rules say about Haste?

This creature can attack and tap as soon as it comes under your control.

Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules 702.10 and 302.6.

Essentially, this means if a creature has haste, you can attack with it the turn it enters the battlefield. Haste is a keyword ability that lets a creature ignore summoning sickness. You can also activate its tap abilities the turn it enters too.

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The haste mechanic was introduced all the way back in Alpha. It immediately proved to be a beloved and powerful ability. However, it took until Sixth Edition when haste was made an evergreen keyword.

Haste is currently a primary ability in red, but it is only a secondary ability in green. It is tertiary in black. Green has haste to recover from killspells and boardwipes, while black has it for extra aggression and graveyard recursion.

MTG Haste Examples

MtG card Lava Serpent. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Lava Serpent. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Let’s suppose I cast [c]Lava Serpent[/c], a 5/5 creature. It’s pretty expensive too, at 6 mana value. That would be really lame in the current meta. However, Lava Serpent has haste. This means I can immediately use its big stats to my advantage by attacking the turn it enters.

This turns my otherwise slow creature into a power surprise. Haste also gives Lava Serpent some protection from sorcery-speed removal, as I can already get an attack in with it before my opponent’s next turn.

MtG card Hall Monitor. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Hall Monitor. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For the next example, I cast [c]Hall Monitor[/c], a haste creature with a tap ability that I want to use. Hall Monitor taps to let me have a target creature be unable to block this turn. In red, this is quite strong.

I usually couldn’t use a creature’s tap ability the turn it enters the battlefield because of summoning sickness. That could through off my deck’s tempo pretty badly. However, Hall Monitor has haste, so I can use its tap ability on the turn it enters. I could even attack with it instead if I wanted to.

Can You Block Haste?

You can block haste creatures normally with any untapped creature. Haste allows a creature to attack the turn it enters. It doesn’t mean that the creature is inherently harder to block or can’t be blocked by certain creatures.

MtG cards Deathless Knight and Campus Guide. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Deathless Knight and Campus Guide. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For instance, imagine my opponent casts [c]Deathless Knight[/c], a haste creature. They can attack with it that same turn, so they do. As long as my creature is untapped, I can block Deathless Knight with it. Suppose I block and kill it with [c]Campus Guide[/c]. That’s fair game.

However, the risk with haste is that it allows my opponent to play and then attack with creatures while I don’t control any untapped blockers. This means I have to be on guard if I know my opponent has haste creatures, as an all-out attack isn’t always the best idea.

Now Deathless Knight comes back, as it also has a recursion ability. My opponent casts it and attacks with it again. The problem is, I attacked with my only creature last turn. 

Because my creature is now tapped, I have to take Deathless Knight’s damage directly. If it didn’t have haste, my creature would’ve untapped and I could’ve used it to block.

Haste vs Vigilance

Vigilance is one of the best keywords to fight against haste. This ability allows me to attack with my creatures while still letting them block. This means my opponent can’t catch me out with any surprise attacks.

MtG cards Gods' Hall Guardian and Arni Brokenbrow. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Gods’ Hall Guardian and Arni Brokenbrow. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For example, I control the vigilance creature [c]Gods’ Hall Guardian[/c]. I can attack with it, do some damage, and then keep it untapped to block. Now, if my opponent plays a haste creature like [c]Arni Brokenbrow[/c], I’m prepared.

Haste + Vigilance

MtG cards Gingerbrute and Mace of the Valiant. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Gingerbrute and Mace of the Valiant. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Because you’re so often attacking with your haste creatures, you don’t have a chance to block with them. Giving your haste creatures vigilance lets you use them defensively, as well as activate their tap abilities after attacking.

For example, I can equip [c]Gingerbrute[/c] with [c]Mace of the Valiant[/c], so that it now has both haste and vigilance. This way I can attack the turn it enters, but I can also use it to block later on. After blocking, I could even use its tap ability too!

Haste + Trample

MtG card Craterhoof Behemoth. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Craterhoof Behemoth. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Trample is a useful ability to give to a haste creature. This pair of abilities allows you to make the best use of the haste buffs. You can now have your creature deal excess combat damage to your opponent on the turn you cast it, getting around their blockers.

[c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] is the best example of this kind of creature. When it enters, it gives your creatures trample and a power and toughness boost until end of turn. Because it also has haste, you can then translate its own buffs into an immediate attack.

Against an unprepared opponent, haste plus trample can easily equal a game over. This combination can quickly overwhelm an opponent, as it means that even a few blockers can’t save your opponent from the attack.

Best Haste Cards 

Zariel, Archduke of Avernus (Haste – Red Planeswalker)

MtG card Zariel, Archduke of Avernus. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Zariel, Archduke of Avernus. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

A powerful planeswalker from Forgotten Realms, [c]Zariel, Archduke of Avernus[/c]’s +1 ability gives all your creatures haste. Immediately, this makes Zariel a good choice for aggro decks and tempo decks that can curve into it.

Zariel’s +0 is even better, making a standard devil token. This is another great way of pressuring the opponent, and it gives Zariel some much-needed protection too. The ultimate seals the deal, giving you an extra combat phase for every one of your turns!

Hall of the Bandit Lord (Haste – Land) 

MtG card Hall of the Bandit Lord. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Hall of the Bandit Lord. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Although the cost is steep, it’s easily worth it. At the cost of three life, you can give any creature spell you cast haste. This card allows you to get your heavy-hitters out and attacking before removal can become a problem.

Because of this, [c]Hall of the Bandit Lord[/c] is also a Commander staple, as attacking or tapping your commander is a vital part of many strategies. Not only that, but the land also sees play in combo decks for the same reason.

Maelstrom Wanderer (Haste – Green/Blue/Red Creature)

MtG card Maelstrom Wanderer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Maelstrom Wanderer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Cascade is one of the most broken abilities ever printed, and [c]Maelstrom Wanderer[/c] has it twice. This alone would make Maelstrom Wanderer an incredible creature, but it gives your whole side haste too.

This way, you can cascade into a pair of creatures, and then immediately attack with them and Maelstrom Wanderer too. The effect of this cannot be overstated, especially when you cast Maelstrom Wanderer as your commander and cascade into high mana value targets.

Concordant Crossroads (Haste – Green Enchantment)

MtG card Concordant Crossroads. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Concordant Crossroads. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Giving creatures haste is good. Giving all creatures haste is hilarious, especially for only 1 mana. [c]Concordant Crossroads[/c] does just that and it allows you to utilize green’s fantastic ramp to curve into immediate, overpowering threats.

Although your opponent’s creatures get haste too, they won’t be able to leverage this as well. Often, their deck just isn’t suited to that playstyle. In fact, against decks that would usually outmaneuver green, Concordant Crossroads outright turns the tables.

Lightning Greaves (Haste – Artifact)

MtG card Lightning Greaves. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Lightning Greaves. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

[c]Lightning Greaves[/c] is what you play when you want something to stay alive and make a big impact. Often haste creatures just get blasted with removal. However, Lightning Greaves gives shroud as well as haste, and that’s almost unbeatable.

The 0 mana equip cost of this artifact is also a huge bonus. This allows you to shuffle it around if you want to enchant or otherwise buff your main creature and curve into better equipment later on.

Queen Marchesa (Haste – Red/White/Black Creature)

MtG card Queen Marchesa. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Queen Marchesa. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Everyone wants to rule the world, and [c]Queen Marchesa[/c] makes you the monarch on entry. As well as that, Queen Marchesa’s great stats mean keeping that card advantage is pretty easily.

However, suppose you do lose the monarch. In that case, Queen Marchesa will keep spawning 1/1 assassins with haste and deathtouch until you get it back. Even if you don’t use them to attack your opponents, they’re fantastic annoyances.

MTG Haste Decks 

Haste is most common in red. As such, if you want Standard-legal haste, buy the appropriate Core Set 2021 theme boosters. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, Strixhaven: School of Mages, and Theros Beyond Death all have good haste cards.

Red Deck Wins – Standard

Red Deck Wins is a continual mainstay of the Magic competitive scene. The strength of Red Deck Wins lies in its speed and this is why it runs loads of haste creatures.

This aggro deck’s gameplan is to simply overwhelm your opponent with cheap attackers before they can react. To this effect, Red Deck wins adds a burn package, but the deck’s best feature is its effective swarming potential.

MtG cards Goblin Javelineer, Fireblade Charger, Battle Cry Goblin, Goldspan Dragon, Faceless Haven and Den of the Bugbear. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Goblin Javelineer, Fireblade Charger, Battle Cry Goblin, Goldspan Dragon, Faceless Haven and Den of the Bugbear. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

This current version of Red Deck Wins uses a strong goblin tribal sub-theme to take advantage of their low-cost and powerful synergies. Many of these cards have haste, such as [c]Goblin Javelineer[/c], [c]Fireblade Charger[/c], and [c]Battle Cry Goblin[/c].

At the higher end of the curve, Red Deck Wins also runs the mighty [c]Goldspan Dragon[/c]. This flying haste creature provides much-needed ramp in addition to consistent and hard to block damage.

For additional damage, Red Deck Wins uses manlands like [c]Faceless Haven[/c] and [c]Den of the Bugbear[/c] that can turn into creatures and give mana. This way they avoid running out of cards in the end game, should the game ever get that far. Red Deck Wins also uses snow lands to take advantage of their Kaldheim synergies.

How to play against Haste 

As annoying as they are to play against, haste creatures don’t have hexproof, ward, or protection by default. As such, they’re vulnerable to removal. So instead of using your burn to attack their opponent directly, rather kill their haste creatures with it.

Similarly, prepare your killspells, tap abilities, and hand attacks. Haste is only dangerous when the creature is on can attack and block. Make sure it can’t.

Combat tricks are also effective. Instead of being the one who gets surprised when they suddenly attack with haste creatures, surprise your opponent by killing the haste creature by buffing up your blocker.

Remember to choose smart targets for your removal, though. Don’t just destroy immediately everything you see with haste. A cunning opponent might try and bait out your spell so that they can play a more threatening card later on.

You can also try to tap down your opponent’s haste creatures. White and blue have creatures and enchantments that can tap a creature at instant speed, making haste completely useless.

Lastly, haste creatures generally have low stats. Although they might be annoying, if you’re playing on curve your creatures will usually be strong enough to block and kill them. This might be a tough sacrifice, but it’s better than losing the game.

Haste FAQs 

Does Haste Untap a Creature?

Haste does not untap a creature. If you give a creature haste, it won’t automatically become untapped. What haste does is that it makes a creature immune to summoning sickness but that isn’t the same as being tapped.

Summoning sickness prevents a creature that entered the battlefield on that turn from tapping for its abilities or to attack. Summoning sickness does not automatically tap the creature, so haste won’t untap it.

This also means that you can’t both attack with a haste creature and use its tap ability on the same turn. Haste doesn’t let you use both. It only lets you use either the turn the creature enters.

What is Super Haste?

Super haste is a silver-bordered keyword ability that appears on only one card, [c]Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug[/c], which isn’t legal in any official format. Essentially, it’s a joke ability.

The super haste keyword lets you attack with Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug the turn before you cast it but if you don’t pay the creature’s mana cost during your next turn, you lose the game.

Does Haste Stack?

Multiple instances of haste on the same creature do not stack, So, if you give a creature haste twice, it doesn’t get any extra abilities. It can still attack and tap the turn it enters the battlefield and that’s it.

Do Other Keyword Abilities Give Haste?

Some other keyword abilities give a creature haste as part of their rules. Fate Reforged’s Dash ability allows you to cast a creature for an alternate cost and, if you do, it gains haste. However, that creature returns to your hand at the end of turn.

Similarly, the Riot ability lets you choose between giving your creature haste or a +1/+1 counter when it enters the battlefield. This keyword was introduced in Ravnica Allegiance.

A note about Haste MTG 

Haste is keyword ability that lets a creature attack or tap for an ability the turn that it enters the battlefield. This is deceptively powerful as it allows you to apply pressure quickly.

Haste is most common in red, although many black and green cards have it too. Many red haste cards are used in the renowned Red Deck Wins, which is perpetually one of the best decks in all of Magic.

It’s no wonder it uses haste cards. Not only are they fast and unpredictable, but they’re helpful just like this article! So, add some haste to your deck today. Your opponent won’t know what hit them!

For a guide on How to Build your MTG Deck, see our article! Playing Commander? See our full guide on How to Build a Commander Deck it’s packed full of tips!

More Magic: The Gathering Keyword Articles

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