MTG Keywords Explained: Horsemanship

Card Kingdom Strategy

We’ve covered all sorts of Magic mechanics here — from the most common and straightforward to the most obscure and complex. Today, we’ll be covering a mechanic that’s incredibly rare, but that’s been responsible for a surprising number of wins in Commander. Saddle up — it’s time to talk about horsemanship.

What is Horsemanship?

Horsemanship isn’t that complex a mechanic; in fact, it’s functionally the same as flying. If a creature has horsemanship, it can only be blocked by other creatures with horsemanship. It can still block creatures that don’t have horsemanship; multiple instances of horsemanship are redundant; if you give a creature horsemanship after blocks have been declared, those blocks are still valid.

So, why is horsemanship so powerful? Essentially, it’s so rare that no one really expects it — and, as such, it’s achieved meme status in certain corners of the Magic community.

Horsemanship has only appeared in one Magic set, Portal: Three Kingdoms, which wasn’t even tournament-legal at the time of its printing. Flying is evergreen — it’s not hard to find a creature with flying or reach to block a flying creature, or a removal spell to destroy it. Most Commander decks can deal with a swarm of flying creatures, but they may be left defenseless when Sun Quan, Lord of Wu makes everything unblockable.

Creatures with horsemanship aren’t exactly the most aggressive, but nonetheless, the mechanic has the potential to swing games in a big way. If you don’t believe us, just watch the latest episode of Game Knights!

Check out all the creatures with horsemanship in our catalog, and consider adding some to your decks!