Menace in Magic: the Gathering Explained

In MTG, the ability to “menace” necessitates that two or more creatures block a creature during combat. It was introduced with the Magic Origins set in 2015, replacing the intimidate mechanic. Menace is primarily found in black and red cards and has been included in almost every set since its introduction. The ability enhances combat strategy by making it harder for opponents to block attacking creatures, thus favoring aggressive play styles.

How To Use Menace

The strategy for using menace effectively boils down to three factors:

  • Maximizing your creature’s combat damage
  • Complicating your opponent’s defense
  • Ensuring your creatures’ survival

Increasing combat damage can be achieved with cards that boost your creature’s power, from the classic Giant Growth, which adds +3/+3 until the end of the turn, to the powerful Colossification, providing +20/+20.

Introducing double strike can quickly amplify creature power, dealing damage twice – once during the first strike step and again during the regular combat step. This doubles the damage and eliminates blocking creatures before they can retaliate.

Raking Claws and Embercleave are cards that enhance a creature’s combat abilities. Embercleave offers additional benefits such as flash, reduced cost per attacking creature, double strike, a power boost, and trample.

Reducing enemy defenses can be achieved through cards like Kheru Mind-Eater, which exiles cards from an opponent’s hand upon dealing combat damage, limiting their options and providing you with valuable information.

Furthermore, dedicated removal or damage spells, such as Bedevil and Lightning Bolt, are essential for managing potential blockers or securing the final blow.

Ensuring creature survivability is also crucial. Cards, like Weaponize the Monsters, offer utility by allowing you to sacrifice creatures about to die. At the same time, spells like Call of the Death-Dweller and Agadeem’s Awakening can resurrect creatures from the graveyard.

For decks incorporating white, consider Adamant Will for a quick boost and indestructibility or Soul of New Phyrexia for its broader protective abilities.

Menace Official Rules

  • 702.111.Menace
    • 702.111a Menace is an evasion ability.
    • 702.111b A creature with menace can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures. (See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”)
    • 702.111c Multiple instances of menace on the same creature are redundant.

How Many Menace Cards Are There?

Currently, 310 cards feature menace as an ability. Distribution across colors includes three white cards, one blue card, 114 black cards, 89 red cards, eight green cards, and 26 colorless cards.

In dual colors, there are eight Dimir (blue and black), 19 Rakdos (black and red), four Gruul (red and green), five Orzhov (white and black), one Izzet (blue and red), 14 Golgari (black and green), and six Boros (white and red) cards.

Additionally, 12 multicolored cards utilize menace, featuring combinations across various color groupings, including three Esper (white, blue, and black) and others spanning the color spectrum up to five colors.

Understanding and leveraging the menace ability can significantly impact gameplay, offering strategic advantages and challenging defenses. Integrating menace into your deck can enhance your tactical options and potentially secure victory through smart play and effective card combinations.

Menace FAQ

Menace in Magic: The Gathering is a keyword ability that can make creatures harder to block, effectively requiring two or more creatures to block them. This ability is interesting and strategic but can lead to some confusion among players. Here are common questions and their answers regarding Menace, combined with insights on how Menace interacts with other abilities and strategies for using it effectively.

  1. Can Menace Creatures Be Blocked by a Single Creature?
    No, creatures with Menace must be blocked by two or more creatures. If an opponent cannot block with two or more creatures, the Menace creature is unblockable by them.
  2. Does Menace Stack?
    Multiple instances of Menace on the same creature are redundant. For instance, having two Menace abilities on a single creature does not necessitate four creatures blocking it.
  3. How Do You Counter Menace Creatures?
    Using removal spells or abilities that can bypass the blocking restriction, such as spells that don’t target or using skills that can remove creatures without blocking, are effective strategies. Also, having multiple creatures available to block or using creatures with abilities like Deathtouch to ensure the Menace creature is destroyed in combat can be effective.
  4. What Happens if a Menace Creature Gains an Ability Like “Can’t Be Blocked”?
    If a creature has Menace and gains an ability that makes it unblockable, then it can’t be blocked. The Menace ability becomes irrelevant because any number of creatures can’t block the creature.
  5. How Does Menace Interact with Other Abilities?
    Menace combined with Deathtouch makes a potent combination, forcing opponents to block with two creatures, which are likely to be destroyed. Menace with Flying also creates a problematic scenario for an opponent, requiring two creatures with flying or reach to block.
  6. Can Artifacts Block Creatures with Menace?
    Only creatures can block in MTG, so artifacts cannot block unless they are also creatures (artifact creatures). In that case, artifact creatures can help block a Menace creature if two or more of them exist.

Understanding these aspects of Menace can significantly enhance your gameplay and strategic planning in MTG. 

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