Dash is actually three different abilities all in one keyword. First, it’s an alternative casting cost. Then, if that cost was paid, the permanent with it has haste. Lastly, if that cost was paid instead of its normal casting cost, return it to its owners hand at the beginning of the next end step.
So to boil it down, Dash is an alternate cost that gives the permanent with it haste but will then return back to hand at the end of the turn. Seems pretty straightforward, but a few things to keep in mind:
- Paying the Dash cost is still a form of casting the spell, so counterspells still work.
- No part of this changes the timing of when you can cast the spell.
- If a card whose Dash cost was paid is no longer on the battlefield when the turn ends, it won’t return back to your hand, it’ll stay wherever it now is.
- You don’t have to attack with a Dashed creature, it just has haste.
- If something becomes a copy of a dashed creature, that copy won’t get returned to hand and it won’t have haste – its dash cost wasn’t paid, after all.
Dash is a nicely aggressive mechanic that has a lot of strategic play to it, letting you play around with enters-the-battlefield and leaves-the-battlefield abilities, as well as protecting your creature against sorcery-speed removal and board wipes. At the same time, It does mean you aren’t really building a board presence, which can be a significant cost. Given all that room for interesting play, expect to see Dash have at least one more turn in the spotlight.
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