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Introduced: Theros
Last Used: Conspiracy: Take the Crown
Reminder Text: (cost): Monstrosity N (If this permanent isn't monstrous, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)
Statistics: 22 cards
  • {G} 31.8%
  • {R} 27.3%
  • {U} 9.1%
  • {B} 9.1%
  • {W} 4.5%
  • {G/W} 4.5%
  • {R/G} 4.5%
  • {G/U} 4.5%
  • Artifact 4.5%
Gatherer search for "Monstrosity"

Monstrosity is a keyword action introduced in Theros, where it is connected to the monster theme of the set.

Description[edit | edit source]

Monstrosity is defined as giving the creature the ability to become monstrous. Monstrosity is an activated ability you can activate any time you can pay for it. When it resolves, it checks whether the creature is already monstrous. If it's not, the ability puts a number of +1/+1 counters on the creature and causes the creature to become monstrous.[1][2] Monstrosity skipped Born of the Gods, but reappeared in Journey into Nyx. It was reused in Commander 2015 and Conspiracy: Take the Crown.[3]

Monstrous[edit | edit source]

Monstrous is more like a characteristic of a card. Many creatures with a monstrosity ability have a triggered ability that triggers when the creature becomes monstrous. There are also some cards with monstrosity that gain abilities as long as they are monstrous.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2017 (August 25, 2017))

  • 701.29. Monstrosity
    • 701.29a “Monstrosity N” means “If this permanent isn’t monstrous, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.”
    • 701.29b Monstrous is a designation that has no rules meaning other than to act as a marker that the monstrosity action and other spells and abilities can identify. Only permanents can be or become monstrous. Once a permanent becomes monstrous, it stays monstrous until it leaves the battlefield. Monstrous is neither an ability nor part of the permanent’s copiable values.
    • 701.29c If a permanent’s ability instructs a player to “monstrosity X,” other abilities of that permanent may also refer to X. The value of X in those abilities is equal to the value of X as that permanent became monstrous.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2017 (August 25, 2017))

A keyword action that puts +1/+1 counters on a creature and makes it become monstrous. See rule 701.29, “Monstrosity.”

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • Although it is not a verb, it is considered a keyword action in the Comprehensive Rules
  • Once a creature becomes monstrous, it can't become monstrous again. If the creature is already monstrous when the monstrosity ability resolves, nothing happens.
  • Monstrous isn't an ability that a creature has. It's just something true about that creature. If the creature stops being a creature or loses its abilities, it will continue to be monstrous.
  • An ability that triggers when a creature becomes monstrous won't trigger if that creature isn't on the battlefield when its monstrosity ability resolves.

Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Stoneshock Giant - {3}{R}{R}
    Creature — Giant
    {6}{R}{R}: Monstrosity 3 (If this creature isn’t monstrous, put 3 +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)
    When Stoneshock Giant becomes monstrous, creatures without flying your opponents control can't block this turn.
  • Hundred-Handed One - {2}{W}{W}
    Creature — Giant
    {3}{W}{W}{W}: Monstrosity 3 (If this creature isn’t monstrous, put 3 +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)
    As long as Hundred-Handed One is monstrous, it has reach and can block an additional ninety-nine creatures each combat.

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Renown, a similar mechanic from Magic Origins

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (September 2, 2013.) “The Mechanics of Theros”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (November 11, 2013.) “Building a Better Monster”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Shawn Main. (August 15, 2016.) “The Heart of a Conspiracy”,, Wizards of the Coast.