Last updated on August 17, 2023

Rune of Might - Illustration by Yeong Hao Han

Rune of Might | Illustration by Yeong Hao Han

I hope you’re having a good day and that nothing, er, runes it.

I’m sure you’ve come across the runes of MTG if you’ve played some competitive forms of Constructed Magic. They have a straightforward playstyle, but if you’re unsure about the runes, let me help fix that.

What Are Runes in MTG?

Wall of Runes - Illustration by Zezhou Chen

Wall of Runes | Illustration by Zezhou Chen

Runes are enchantment spells with the aura subtype. They can be attached to any permanent you control and are known to give creatures keywords. They’re also cheap cantrips that can help you gain a massive draw advantage. The “rune” subtype doesn’t have any special rules; they follow all the general rules on enchantments.

The History of Runes in MTG

Runes were introduced in Kaldheim. They’re linked to blessings from the gods, and creatures that wear them gain special abilities. These abilities equate to keywords for your creatures. There are only the five runes from Kaldheim with no news or hints to further rune cards. In fact, we asked our entire writing staff (including some judges) if enchantments could be turned into runes. To our knowledge, runes are unique and there isn’t an exact way to replicate them.

#5. Rune of Mortality

Rune of Mortality

The strength of the rune cards comes from making big creatures with great keywords for a small amount of mana. Rune of Mortality can help pump enchantment triggers, but the deathtouch keyword won’t be necessary for big creatures. If one rune were to be left out of a deck, it should be Rune of Mortality.

#4. Rune of Flight

Rune of Flight

As the name says, Rune of Flight gives the enchanted creature flying. This is a wonderful keyword to make your creature harder to block. The reason this rune is lower on the list is it doesn’t fit into the color schemes of rune decks as well as the others. It has value, but some of the other runes just fit better.

#3. Rune of Speed

Rune of Speed

Haste is a great keyword when used properly. Unfortunately, it’s not a keyword that helps for multiple turns. The increase in power and the speed of Rune of Speed helps to crush your opponents sooner.

#2. Rune of Sustenance

Rune of Sustenance

Rune of Sustenance is the rune to keep you alive long enough to overpower your opponent with your other creatures and runes. With how big rune decks can make creatures, giving them lifelink ensures that your opponent needs the right cards to stop you.

#1. Rune of Might

Rune of Might

Rune of Might is the rune that will help you to finish games. Once you’ve made your creatures big, it’s time to give them trample so they can’t be stopped. Not only is trample a wonderful keyword for this strategy, but your creature also gets a +1/+1 pump.

Best Rune Payoffs

Let’s break down the essentials you need to make a powerful rune deck.

Start with Runeforge Champion to lower the cost of your runes and fetch the one you need. Runed Crown is another way to get a rune onto the battlefield quickly, though it’s not as good.

Next, you need some great creatures to attach these runes to. The staples of this deck recently are Generous Visitor, Jukai Naturalist, and Kami of Transience. Some other good options for rune decks might be Calix, Guided by Fate, Zur the Enchanter, and Nylea's Colossus.

Support your rune strategy with spells and triggered effects. You can find the runes you need with cards like Commune with Spirits and Showdown of the Skalds. You can also create a huge board presence when playing your runes from cards like Hallowed Haunting and Archon of Sun's Grace.

Any card with constellation like Setessan Champion benefits from your runes. There are also many cards that benefit from many small enchantments like All That Glitters. Don’t forget about planeswalkers like Calix, Destiny's Hand and Estrid, the Masked that can maximize your runes.

If animating your runes is your aim, make sure to include Starfield of Nyx and Opalescence.

Alternate Options

If runes aren’t your style, there are plenty of ways to draw cards and give keywords from enchantments and creatures.

For drawing cards, you can use creatures like Tuvasa the Sunlit and Argothian Enchantress and enchantments like Rhystic Study.

If you’re looking to make big creatures or give keywords, you can use other enchantments like Katilda's Rising Dawn, Rancor, and Hydra's Growth.

For other similar strategies, I suggest the umbra cards like Drake Umbra and aura decks highlighted by cards like Winds of Rath and Accursed Witch.

Wrap Up

Runeforge Champion - Illustration by Andrey Kuzinskiy

Runeforge Champion | Illustration by Andrey Kuzinskiy

There isn’t too much more to say about runes, and I feel I’ve said just enough. With the right build, runes can be massive card draws and make massive creatures. Get out there and start building!

Which runes do you use? Do you want to see something similar in future sets? Please leave a comment down below, or let us know on the official Draftsim Twitter.

Stay safe and keep striving for greatness. Skol!

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