Magic The Gathering: What Is Haste?

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  • What Is Haste?
  • How To Use Haste
  • What Colour Is Haste

In Magic The Gathering, you sometimes need to hit hard and fast. Maybe you've been engulfed with rage, are a battle-hardened berserker, or are just a gang of goblins pillaging the streets of Fiora. Getting the first hit in can often decide a game, and that's where the Haste mechanic comes in handy.

Haste is one of Magic's most common mechanics, dating way back to its very first set. But many people misunderstand what it does, and don't realise how powerful it can be. Here is everything you need to know about Haste and how to get the most out of it.

What Is Haste?

Haste is an evergreen keyword, which are a group of mechanics that appear in most sets and form the foundation of Magic's design. It's effectively one of the fundamentals of Magic, and is one of the early mechanics a newcomer to the game will learn about.

Normally, when you summon a creature, there are some limitations on what it can do the first turn it's out on the battlefield – this is known as summoning sickness. Creatures you control with summoning sickness can't be tapped by you, and they can't attack. They can still block, and any abilities that don't have tapping the creature as part of its costs can still be used, but otherwise they're inert for the first turn they're in play.

Creatures with Haste do not have summoning sickness. They can attack and tap as soon as they enter the battlefield, as if they had been out for a full turn beforehand.

How To Use Haste

At the start of a game on an empty battlefield, Haste's utility is clear: you can swing in with a Haste creature as early as the first turn and your opponent won't be able to do anything about it. There are entire decks dedicated to play as many cheap creatures with Haste as possible to deal damage before your opponent has time to build a defence – mono-red Aggro being the most prevalent one.

But once your opponent has built up their defence, beginners often see Haste as being a big pointless. However, they forget that Haste also allows creatures to tap as part of an activated ability cost. For example, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker can enter the battlefield and immediately tap to make a copy of a nonlegendary creature, which is an incredibly powerful ability that, without Haste, your opponents would have a whole turn cycle to stop.

What Colour Is Haste

Haste is an incredibly old mechanic in Magic, meaning there are, as of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, 822 cards that mention it. This is including the 388 creatures with Haste, as well as the remaining 512 that mention it on other ways, such as making Haste tokens or giving it to a creature.

Haste is one of red's defining mechanics, and so over half of all Haste cards are mono-red, with a whopping 455. Colourless is the next common, with 65. Green comes next with 64, black has 52, blue has eight, and white has only seven.

In multicolour identities, it still skews heavily towards red:

  • 38 Rakdos (black/red)
  • 36 Gruul (red/green)
  • 35 Boros (red/white)
  • 21 Izzet (blue/red)
  • Seven Grixis (blue/black/red)
  • Seven Jund (black/red/green)
  • Six Mardu (red/white/black)
  • Five Golgari (black/green)
  • Three Orzhov (white/black)
  • Three Temur (green/blue/red)
  • Three Jeskai (blue/red/white)
  • Three Naya (red/green/white)
  • Two Sultai (black/green/blue)
  • Two WUBRG (white/blue/black/red/green).
  • One Azorius (white/blue)
  • One Dimir (blue/black)
  • One Simic (green/blue)
  • One Not-Blue (black/red/green/white)

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