The card art from Calamity, Galloping Inferno.

Saddle in Magic: The Gathering, Explained

Giddy up!

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

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Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

To activate a Creature’s Saddle ability, you need to tap other Creature(s) with power equal to or greater than the number next to the Saddle keyword. You can only activate Saddle as a Sorcery action.

Furthermore, you can Saddle a Creature with any other Creature(s); and with any number of them—even more than the Saddle requirement states—and you’re allowed to activate a Creature’s Saddle ability as many times as you want.

You can’t have a proper Western setting in Magic: The Gathering without faithful steeds! Enter the Saddle mechanic, which—while not exclusively tied to the Mount creature type—is pretty much only relevant when one is involved on the MTG battlefield. Use this to buff your Creatures.

Table Of Contents

    What Is Saddle in MTG?

    To activate a Creature’s Saddle ability, you need to tap other Creatures with power equal to or greater than the number next to the Saddle keyword. You’ll always see the Saddle keyword with a number next to it on a Creature spell, like “Saddle 1,” “Saddle 2,” and so on. This number represents the total power of other Creatures you need to tap to Saddle the Creature with the Saddle ability. In essence, this works identically to the Crew mechanic.

    You can only activate Saddle as a Sorcery action, meaning that it can only be done on your turn and only if nothing is on The Stack.

    Saddling does nothing by itself. The Saddled Creature needs to attack for the Saddled effect to do something useful.

    Regarding in-universe flavor: the tapped Creature is using its action to get into the literal saddle on the back of a Mount Creature—or at least sit on its back thanks to a consensual agreement.

    An Example of How Saddle Works

    Let’s say you have a Trained Arynx and a Frontier Seeker on your side of the battlefield. Since Trained Arynx has Saddle 2, you can tap Frontier Seeker (which has a power of 2) to Saddle Trained Arynx.

    Trained Arynx, a mount with the Saddle ability, and Frontier Seeker from MTG.

    Now that Trained Arynx is Saddled, it gains First Strike when it attacks (until the end of the turn). Furthermore, Trained Arynx also stops being Saddled at the end of the turn. Frontier Seeker untaps during the Beginning Phase of your next turn as normal.

    What’s more, Trained Arynx’s Scry ability is connected; it activates when you attack with Trained Arynx when it is Saddled.

    If Trained Arynx attacks when it is not Saddled, it does not gain First Strike—nor does its Scry ability activate.

    How to Use Saddle in MTG

    You can Saddle a Creature with any other Creature(s)—even those that also have Saddle! While it would paint an odd mental image, it’s a totally legal play. For instance, you can Saddle a Stubborn Burrowfiend with another Stubborn Burrowfiend. Think of it like one badger giving the other a piggyback (badgerback?) ride.

    The Stubborn Burrowfiend card from MTG.

    Additionally, you can Saddle a Creature with any number of other Creatures—even more than the Saddle requirement states. To carry on with our badgerback ride example, you can potentially Saddle one Stubborn Burrowfiend with two or three other Stubborn Burrowfiend—despite excessively doing so being a waste of time and resources. But if you want to make a living totem pole out of badgers, go for it! We’re not going to stop you.

    Weirdly enough, you can activate a Creature’s Saddle ability as many times as you want, even if it’s already Saddled. Like that aforementioned example, it won’t do you much good in most cases, but it’s still possible.

    When a Creature is Saddled, it does not gain “Saddled” as an ability, as this term is a description of an effect, not an ability. Therefore, if copied, the copy does not gain the Saddled effect. However, a copy Creature Token will gain “Saddle (insert number)” as an ability.

    Comparing Saddle and Crew

    While there are a lot of similarities between the Saddle and Crew abilities, there are also a few differences.

    The most notable is that the Crew ability only appears on Vehicle cards, where Vehicle is an Artifact type. You can only attack with a Vehicle if it is Crewed, which makes the Vehicle an Artifact Creature in addition to its other types: an Artifact Vehicle Creature.

    Conversely, Saddle can technically appear on any type of Creature—not just Mounts. However, currently, it just so happens that this ability has only appeared on Mount Creatures so far. Moreover, a Mount Creature can attack and block as a normal Creature would; it does not need to be Saddled. Saddle only adds an effect that triggers upon the Saddled Mount attacking.

    How to Counter Saddle in MTG

    You can counter a Saddled Creature the same way you would a regular Creature in MTG. This means you can destroy or exile it. Additionally, locking it down with effects that prevent it from attacking or blocking is also viable. In fact, stopping a Saddled Creature from attacking would be effective and demoralizing to your opponent. Use deterrents such as Deathtouch Creatures to do so passively.


    If you’re a fan of Westerns, you owe it to yourself to try out the Saddle mechanic in MTG. There are horse Mounts but also more outlandish ones. Have you ever wanted to ride on the back of a bear? You can! The same goes for saddling up crazier critters, such as salamanders, beavers, possums, and frog horrors. For the extra brave, there are even porcupine Mounts. Ouch. If you try riding the latter, we hope you have Regenerate!

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