Last updated on January 24, 2023

Disrupt Decorum - Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi

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

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?

Propaganda

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?

Disrupt Decorum

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

Goad Combos

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.

Here are some other cards that could be interesting with goad: Goblin War Drums, Caterwauling Boggart, Berserk, Lightmine Field, Aetherize, Aetherspouts, and Powerstone Minefield.

And if you’re looking for goad-focused Commander decks, Marisi Combat Tricks and Tahngarth the G.O.A.D. are good places to start.

That’s Goad

Baffling End - Illustration by Mathias Kollros

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.

Thanks for tuning in! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our content if you’re craving more MTG stuff. If you’re an Arena lover, may I suggest Arena Tutor? It’s an all-in-one application that uses AI to help you win more at MTGA. What’s not to love?

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5 Comments

  • Avatar
    Thanasis August 14, 2022 3:35 am

    Hi. Are we sure that a goaded creature may attack an opposing Planeswalker? I have a Firkraag EDH deck and I feel like my opponents’ planeswalkers are “protected”, because “it attacks a player … if able”

    https://mtg.fandom.com/wiki/Goad#:~:text=A%20goaded%20creature%20has%20to,chooses%20who%20the%20creature%20attacks.&text=If%20the%20creature%20can't,a%20planeswalker%20if%20it%20can.

    It says here:

    “A goaded creature has to attack a player (not a planeswalker) other than you if it can. The controller of a goaded creature still chooses who the creature attacks. If the creature can’t attack a player other than you, then it must attack you or *A* planeswalker if it can.”

    Thanks

  • Avatar
    AJVaartjes October 28, 2022 9:48 am

    This information isn’t correct. A creature CAN be affected by multiple goad effects, each eliminating a player it can attack, as long as the effects come from different cards AND different players.

    701.38c A creature can be goaded by multiple players. Doing so creates additional combat requirements. 701.38d Once a player has goaded a creature, the same player goading it again has no effect. Doing so doesn’t create additional combat requirements.

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha October 31, 2022 2:34 pm

      Thanks, article has been updated to reflect that nuance!

  • Avatar
    Jud January 3, 2023 12:05 am

    Goad says it must attack a PLAYER and ONLY a PLAYER as part of its second requirement, it specifically does not say planeswalker. Mentioning planeswalkers is meaningless here as they are not players. Simply attacking only satisfies the first restriction of GOAD. Youre confusing players and you should edit this asap as it’s on the top search results.

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha January 3, 2023 5:43 pm

      Thanks. I changed the wording a bit to further clarify what this question means.

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