Waiting to untap is so boring. And worst of all? Your creature might not even survive. If you simply have to get value before that happens, you need haste. Let’s crank things up to 88 mph and find ourselves a better future, where creatures can do things before dying.
Gotta Go Fast
You can’t go wrong with a classic, and there are few decklists that don’t run at least one pair of these speedy shoes. They’re the indisputable best in slot because they grant both haste and protection from removal. They’re your first stop if you want haste, even in red decks a lot of the time.
As far as which one to take? Well, I have to say that people over-play Lightning Greaves when they actually want Swiftfoot Boots. Any mana-hungry deck that plays more than one creature at a time should be playing Greaves for sure (especially those wanting to combo by activating abilities of artifacts — looking at you, Crackdown Construct). Otherwise, you almost certainly should be playing Boots. Getting to target your own creature with spells like Blacksmith’s Skill or Malakir Rebirth is worth the extra mana to equip.
If you’re playing a combat-focused deck, or one that plays chunky mana dorks that over-tap for mana, or you’re not in red, then your next stop should be Crashing Drawbridge. Drawbridge was really quite the sensation when it was printed, and it’s done more than its fair share of work since.
If you’re on the mana dork plan — or you just have plenty of activated abilities — then check out Thousand-Year Elixir, too. It’s a little more pricey than some of the other options on the list, given it also untaps something, but it’s well worth the price of entry in the right deck. I run this in my Lathril, Blade of Elves deck, and I’m never not happy to see it.
Next up, there’s some great equipment worth considering in a Voltron-focused deck, especially if you have free equips from Syr Gwyn, Ardenn, or other sources. Sword of Vengeance is criminally underplayed in the context of free equips, and it should be your first port of call. I also really love Fleetfeather Sandals if your commander doesn’t fly; check out my Syr Gwyn upgrade article for more on my deck building choices for Voltron. If you don’t have free equips, Haunted Cloak is a decent option, provided you can buff your creatures in other ways. Obsidian Battle-Axe is also worth a look if you run Warriors; I know I love it in Neheb, the Eternal.
There aren’t many more options in colorless beyond what we’ve covered. But at the top end, you do have a finisher in Akroma’s Memorial, and a way to reuse your graveyard in God-Pharaoh’s Gift. You’ll know if you want these cards.
Red is the Fastest Color
If you truly have a need for speed, then you’re going to have to earn those go-fast stripes by dipping into red. Red is primary in haste, and it’s where you’ll find the best haste enablers. Some are better than others, of course, but even still — there are some hidden gems to cover, too.
Granting haste to the creatures you’re playing is easiest in red. Ogre Battledriver and Tuktuk Rubblefort make sure your creatures can swing the turn they come in. Frenzied Saddlebrute lets your opponents get in on the action, provided they’re attacking anyone but you. Reckless Stormseeker, the new Werewolf from Midnight Hunt, is also a great option, and one that’s tutor-able with Imperial Recruiter.
If you’re tutoring for haste and you’re not casting Buried Alive, though, you probably just want to grab Anger instead. Anger is the most popular haste enabler, and it’s clear to see why. It asks for minimum effort for maximal output, and it’s usually safer in the bin than a permanent on the battlefield would be.
Mass Hysteria should be played with caution, as it can lead to your own untimely demise. but it’s still worth a shot. I love how cheap it is in my high-powered Winota, Joiner of Forces build. Purphoros, on the other hand, lets you cheat on mana costs, too, giving you a burst of speed.
Purphoros’ Hammer is also worth a look, though be cautious: it’s weak to both artifact and enchantment removal, meaning it’s doubly vulnerable. Fervor is an option, but it’s easily outclassed these days, given it doesn’t do much else; Barbarian Class at least offers some bonuses if you’re in the right deck.
Certain strategies also have more niche options. Dragon Tempest is great with Dragons and Angels, and there’s not much more to say than that. I’ve enjoyed Bloodsworn Steward in many a deck that wants to rush a commander in, with Sylvia and Khorvath benefiting greatly. Battlemage’s Bracers is a newer option that gives red decks redundancy for Illusionist’s Bracers — or, in some ways, a superior option.
The undisputed king of haste, though, has to be Urabrask. Urabrask is a card that I’ve often found myself wanting in more decks the more I play it. What makes Urabrask so good is that the tempo shift you gain makes it feel like you’re more than a turn ahead of opponents. In the mid-to-late game, denying blockers is downright disgusting and makes your hasty beats all the more potent. If you aren’t playing Urabrask, what are you even doing?
Rubies in the Rough
As I mentioned above, there are still a few gems in red that don’t see nearly enough play.
Hanweir Battlements and Flamekin Village are basically free sources of haste you can keep in the mana base. Which you take will depend on what your deck needs; in two-color decks, the untapped Battlements might be better, but in three-color decks, you might value the colored mana source of the Village more. If you can justify it, I’d probably run both. Footfall Crater is a neat option, too, especially if you’re doing weird stuff with lands.
Sneak Attack is seen as a combo card by most; outside of a specific set of decks, it can be hard to justify. There are enough decks that win through combat that probably just want this card, though. In Boros, Rakdos, and Gruul, Sneak Attack can be a major win condition. First Day of Class, meanwhile, is a nice budget option for when you’re able to bring a lot of creatures into play at once.
If we mine a little deeper, then Mark of Fury is one that I think should see more play. It’s reusable haste that doesn’t end up on the board past your turn, which helps it avoid getting blown up like a pair of Swiftfoot Boots. If you have a lot of creatures with attack triggers, Mark of Fury is a good option. Generator Servant, meanwhile, is super sweet if you have a pricey commander. Commanders like Etali, Primal Storm, Drakuseth, Maw of Flames and even Gisela, Blade of Goldnight all love Generator Servant.
Rounding out the red cards, we have a relatively new addition, Cursed Mirror. I would argue that this card should be in basically every red deck that cares about creatures, unless you’re overloading on legendary creatures. Even then, it can put in serious work by coming in as a copy of an opponent’s creature. In my games with it so far, I’ve enjoyed mirror versions of Archon of Cruelty, Farhaven Elf, and even Nyxbloom Ancient. Just as Dire Fleet Daredevil’s floor is a removal spell or ramp spell, the floor on Cursed Mirror is a three-mana rock. What a beautiful, powerful card.
Planeswalk? More like Planes-RUN
Some planeswalkers are wasted on cross country, but much more dangerous over short distances. Samut, Tyrant Smasher is a natural sprinter, and can help your creatures get lean for the main event. If you want a little extra value on your investment, then consider Zariel, Archduke of Avernus or Sarkhan Vol. They grant buffs as well as team-wide haste, and they have other relevant abilities.
Xenagos was much better when he wasn’t a planeswalker, it has to be said. Even when he’s not helming a deck, he still offers a lot in the 99 as a way to boost your creatures into the red zone. While we’re in Gruul, we can’t not check out format staple Rhythm of the Wild and its power-crept cousin, Fires of Yavimaya. Rhythm commands a very strong price for a relatively recent uncommon, and it’s worth every penny.
While we’re journeying across the multiverse, it’s worth highlighting a few commanders that enable hastey beats. My favorite is Samut, Voice of Dissent, as she offers a plethora of builds. Whether you want to do Human tribal, creatures-with-tap-abilities tribal, or just infinite combats with Delina and Combat Celebrant, Samut can enable it.
Chainer is a reanimator commander that enables haste, too. His ability grants haste to any creature that wasn’t cast from hand — which includes reanimated creatures, and himself from the command zone!
If you’re greedy for more colors and have access to a good mana base, then Kenrith, the Returned King may be the best option for you. His ability to grant trample and haste until end of turn is just what you’ll need to enable hastey beats and awesome feats.
Break the Sound Barrier
Beyond literal ways to grant haste, there are some great options in various colors that either spread haste, grant it to the tribe, or enable certain strategies.
Boros decks have access to Legion’s Initiative as a way to both protect the board and act as a trick. Slayers’ Stronghold is consistently relevant in decks from Snapdax to Aurelia. And Odric, Lunarch Marshal only needs one creature to natively have haste to ensure all of your creatures get it.
Cloudshredder Sliver, Alibou, Ancient Witness, Thopter Engineer, and Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund are all excellent tribal payoffs. And if you’re pushing the boat out, Concordant Crossroads is a Mass Hysteria in green. There are even some more thematic options in Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders, and Temur Ascendancy, if you’re playing blue and green as well as red.
While I’ve mainly focused on ways to grant haste, don’t forget that there are other ways to get value out of your creatures straight away. Creatures or other permanents that ask you to tap X untapped creatures as a cost don’t require those creatures to have haste. Some good examples are Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca, Captivating Vampire, or Nullmage Shepherd. You can even cast Sephara, Sky’s Blade for her alternate cost straight after playing four flying creatures.
Haste is one of my favorite abilities, and one that becomes more relevant the faster the format gets — especially for combat-focused decks. Removal has never been better, and if you want to get some value before an opponent untaps, you gotta go fast.
Kristen is Card Kingdom’s Head Writer, and member of the Commander Advisory Group. Formerly a competitive Pokémon TCG grinder, she has been playing Magic since Shadows Over Innistrad, which in her opinion, was a great set to start with. When she’s not taking names with Equipment and Aggro strategies in Commander, she loves to play any form of Limited.