Card art from the MTG spell Rustler Rampage, which has Spree as an ability.

Spree in Magic: The Gathering, Explained

It's time to sling some multi-effect spells!

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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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Key Takeaway

Sorceries and Instants with Spree in Magic: The Gathering have a “+” (plus) symbol next to their mana value in the top-right corner of the card.

You can pay the indicated mana costs on the body text of the spell to add effects to it when cast. You have to activate at least one of these effects to cast the Spree spell.

True to its name, Spree in MTG allows you to unleash a barrage of effects from a single card. While this kind of ability isn’t that different from older ones in Magic: The Gathering—like Escalate, it’s a new take on the modality-type mechanic. Use it to pummel foes!

Table Of Contents

    What Is Spree in MTG?

    When you see a Sorcery or Instant with “Spree” on it, this keyword ability means you can pay additional mana to activate extra effects. You have to choose—and pay for—at least one additional effect to cast a Spree spell (in addition to the mana cost on the top-right of the card).

    Another way to tell a Spree spell apart from non-Spree cards is to take note of the small “+” (plus) sign in the upper right corner near the mana cost.

    A red arrow pointing to the plus sign on a Spree MTG card.

    If multiple effects are chosen, they resolve in the order listed on the card from top to bottom.

    You also cannot activate the same effect twice.

    An Example of How Spree Works

    Let’s say, on your opponent’s turn, you’ve got an Outlaw Medic on your side of the battlefield and your opponent just cast Resilient Roadrunner. To prevent your opponent from activating Resilient Roadrunners ability that lets it become (mostly) unblockable, you can cast Final Showdown and pay for its first effect—which causes all Creatures to lose all abilities until the end of the turn.

    The Final Showdown, Outlaw Medic, and Resilient Roadrunner cards in MTG.

    Keep in mind that Final Showdown’s first effect also affects Outlaw Medic, removing its Lifelink ability—and its on-death effect—for this turn. With that said, Final Showdown’s first effect removes Resilient Roadrunner’s Haste ability as well. This prevents it from attacking you due to gaining summoning sickness, which is pretty unorthodox.

    However, what if you activate both the first and second effects of Final Showdown? Firstly, all Creatures lose all abilities. Then, a Creature you control gains Indestructible.

    Now, consider what happens if you activate all three of Final Showdown’s effects. They resolve as follows:

    1. All Creatures lose all abilities (pay one white mana and one mana of any color)
    2. A Creature you control gains Indestructible (pay one white mana and two mana of any color)
    3. All Creatures (without Indestructible) are destroyed (pay three white mana and five mana of any color)

    This leaves your Indestructible Creature on the battlefield while all others (in an ideal scenario) are sent to the graveyard.

    Alternatively, if you only want to destroy all Creatures, you can choose to trigger the third effect on Final Showdown and nothing else. This would cost three white mana and three mana of any color.

    How to Use Spree in MTG

    Spree is a versatile mechanic in MTG that gives many Sorcery and Instant cards multiple functions. As such, there’s no right or wrong way to use it—just make sure its effects help you win! With that said, there are a couple of ways to enhance the casting of Spree spells.

    Copy Spree Spells

    When you copy a Spree spell, you cannot choose different effects than those that were initially activated. However, doing so can let you double the potency of casting a Spree spell that’s had all its effects activated.

    For instance, you cast Explosive Derailment—and activate both of its effects—before then casting Display of Power.

    The Explosive Derailment and Display of Power red Instant cards from MTG.

    Since the two additional effects on Explosive Derailment deal four damage to a target Creature and destroy an Artifact, casting Display of Power to copy Explosive Derailment lets you deal four damage twice (eight total) and target up to two different Creatures before then destroying two separate Artifacts. Breeches would be proud!

    Overall, this means you’ve paid eight mana to deal eight damage to Creatures and destroy two Artifacts—not bad!

    However, if you activated both effects of Explosive Derailment, when you cast Display of Power, you cannot choose only one effect of the former Instant. You must activate both effects in this case.

    Casting a Spree Spell Without Paying Its Mana Cost

    If you trigger an effect that lets you cast a spell in an MTG game without paying its mana cost, you’ll only avoid paying the cost printed on the top right of a Spree spell. Therefore, you still pay for the additional effect(s) you activate when casting your Spree spell. Depending on the Spree spell, this can mean you only have to pay mana of any color to cast it—which can be handy if you were unlucky with your Land draws.

    In a situation where you’ve got a Permanent in play that lets you cast a spell without paying its mana cost—like Galvanoth—you can cast an Instant like Caught in the Crossfire (and activate all of its effects) for half of the usual mana cost.

    The Galvanoth and Caught in the Crossfire cards.

    For decks that intend to cast lots of Sorceries and Instants, this is a great way to launch additional damage at your opponent.

    How to Counter Spree in MTG

    Despite being versatile, Spree spells are as easy to counter as most other Sorcery or Instant spells in MTG. All you need to do is cast your favorite Counterspell variant!

    Furthermore, Permanents with Ward make it harder for your opponent to use Spree effectively. Spree spells are expensive in terms of mana usage. Since Ward Permanents increase how much mana an opponent must pay to target it, your foe may not want to expend so many resources. This deterrent can be more useful for avoiding the worst of a Spree spell’s effects than outright countering it.

    You’ve now got a grip on Spree’s rules. Use this newfound knowledge to assault your opponent with tons of spell damage! Stacking efficiency actions with Spree can make them even more deadly. To do so, consider sliding Cascade spells into your deck. You’ll overwhelm your opponent in no time!

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