Last updated on January 24, 2023
Disrupt Decorum | Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi
It’s time to make the fantastic, not-confusing-at-all rules of Magic a little easier. Today we’ll be talking about the goad mechanic. I’ll go over what it is, answer some often-confusing questions regarding the mechanic, and talk about the history of it.
Let’s break it down.
What Is Goad in MTG?
Shiny Impetus | Illustration by Filipe Pagliuso
Goad is a keyword action that affects creatures. If a creature is affected by goad, it must attack a player other than the one that applied goad, if able. That’s it.
If you “goaded” your opponent, that opponent’s creatures must attack a player other than you if they can. These “if able” scenarios can get a bit confusing, but we’ll get into those situations in just a second. Goad can be applied to a player and can last as short as a single turn or indefinitely via a permanent aura attachment.
History of Goad in MTG
Goad came to Magic with the Conspiracy: Take the Crown set back in 2016. We’ve seen it a couple other times since, but never in a Standard-legal set. Conspiracy: Take the Crown was a supplemental set and it’s only otherwise been released on Commander cards.
The most recent appearance of goad has been in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, a Commander supplementary set. It’s featured on 14 cards, which solidifies it to be a rarer mechanic that, even when included, does not make a major appearance.
It isn’t a very common keyword. It seems WotC has intentionally kept it out of mainstream cards. They’ve reserved it for supplemental sets and Commander cards, and I doubt we’ll see it very often or in a Standard-legal set.
How Does Goad Work in 1v1?
Goad creates two attack requirements.
First, it must attack if able. For example, a creature with defender can’t attack so a goaded creature with defender isn’t able to attack. If a creature is tapped, it can’t attack. If it’s not prevented from attacking by an affect like those, it has to attack.
Second, it must attack a player other than the one that controls the goad affect if able. The “if able” is the biggest part of that. If you’re in a 1v1, there isn’t another player for the goaded creature to attack, so that creature has to attack the player that controls the goad affect (i.e., you).
Can a Creature That’s Goaded Attack a Planeswalker?
Not usually. A goaded creature must attack a player other than the player that goaded it. But if it can’t attack an appropriate player for some reason, it could then attack a planeswalker to at least meet its “must attack” requirement.
Do Multiple Instances of Goad Have an Additional Affect?
Not from the same player. But if multiple players goad the same creature, then the effect is cumulative and those players can’t be attacked.
If a Creature Is Affected by a Propaganda-Type Card, Does a Goaded Player Have to Pay the Cost for Its Creature to Attack?
No, the player isn’t required to pay that affect. Since Propaganda prevents creatures from attacking unless a cost is paid, the player can choose not to pay it which means the creature can’t attack.
Would a Creature That Comes Into the Battlefield After Disrupt Decorum Was Cast Be Affected by Goad?
No, only creatures that were on the battlefield when Disrupt Decorum was cast are affected by goad.
What Colors are Goad Cards Focused on?
There are 15 cards with the goad keyword. The majority of them are in red and blue, but it has showed up in each of Magic’s five colors. There’s even an artifact with goad.
Goad’s flavor does feel red to me, though. Mostly because of the emotional taunting connotations of goading someone or something.
Gallery and List of Goad Cards
- Disrupt Decorum
- Grenzo, Havoc Raiser
- Marisi, Breaker of the Coil
- Geode Rager
- Bloodthirsty Blade
- Agitator Ant
- Shiny Impetus
- Parasitic Impetus
- Psychic Impetus
- Martial Impetus
- Predatory Impetus
- Goblin Racketeer
- Coveted Peacock
- Jeering Homunculus
- Bhaal, Lord of Murder
- Bloodboil Sorcerer
- Coronation of Chaos
- Firkraag, Cunning Instigator
- Insufferable Balladeer
- Jon Irenicus, Shattered One
- Oceanus Dragon
- Popular Entertainer
- Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer
- Bothersome Quasit
- Death Kiss
- Farid, Enterprising Salvager
- Kaima, the Fractured Calm
- Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant
- Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva
- Komainu Battle Armor
- Kros, Defense Contractor
- Laurine, the Diversion
- Life of the Party
- Maestros Confluence
- Maeve, Insidious Singer
- Mocking Doppelganger
- Slicer, Hired Muscle
- Sly Instigator
- Spectacular Showdown
- Taunting Kobold
- The Beamtown Bullies
- Undercity dungeon
- Vengeful Ancestor
Since goad isn’t a very common keyword and is pretty specific, there aren’t a lot of great combos. The mechanic mostly applies to multiplayer. There are some interesting ones though, as well as a couple really cruel ones.
Bedlam is fun for an aggressive-style goad Commander deck. Goad other players and creatures that can’t be blocked and then finish off the last player after the mayhem.
Tainted Strike could be really cruel. Force your opponents to attack each other and then pump an unblocked creature with infect and other affects to finish them off. You’ll quickly become the favorite at the table with that one.
It would be cool to goad players and give them Karona, False God.
Baffling End | Illustration by Mathias Kollros
That’s the breakdown of the goad mechanic. I don’t think it’s something we’ll see very often. When we do, it’ll probably be on Commander cards. I personally don’t care to see it more often. But that’s the great thing about Magic, there’s a mechanic for everyone. I’m sure there’s a goad lover out there.
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