First seen in Conspiracy: Tale the Crown from 2016, Goad is a multiplayer-only keyword mechanic in Magic: the Gathering. Appearing in a variety of sets, Goad is an Evergreen keyword for multiplayer products. This means that any Commander MTG product may contain a few cards with this mechanic.
Last seen in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Goad is an MTG mechanic well worth knowing about. Able to sow the seeds of chaos and turn the tide of battle, Goad is undeniably a powerful ability. Thanks to the steadily expanding list of Goad cards, it’s also an effective theme for an MTG Commander deck!
While on the surface Goad may appear rather straightforward, there are some niche corner cases. Subsequently, to make sure you don’t get caught out by this deceptively simple mechanic, here’s everything you need to know about Goad!
What are the rules for Goad?
When a creature is affected by the Goad mechanic, it will be forced to attack in its next combat phase, and it must attack a player other than the one that applied the Goad, if it’s able.
When a “goaded” creature attacks, the creature’s owner is able to freely decide which player, other than the one that applied Goad, to attack. That’s unless there is no option but to attack the player who applied the effect or a planeswalker that player controls.
How does Goad work with Propaganda and Ghostly Prison?
It’s important to note that goaded creatures will only attack “if able”. This means if the goaded creature has defender, or if it’s tapped, it won’t be able to attack.
Additionally, taxing cards such as Propaganda and Ghostly Prison, which require an attacking creature’s controller to pay a cost, also affect Goad.
When an opponent has a card such as Propaganda in play, the controller of the goaded creature is not required to pay the mana cost in order to attack that player. Instead, the player is able to target any opponent to satisfy the rule of attacking each combat.
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How to use Goad?
Predominantly found in the colors blue, red, and black, Goad currently appears on 47 MTG cards in total. Since we’re part way through The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth spoiler season, however, this number may increase. At the time of writing, only one Tales of Middle-earth card Glóin, Dwarf Emissary features Goad.
While there may isn’t an exhaustive list of Goad cards to build a deck around, there are nevertheless fairly popular. According to EDHREC, 2882 decks currently use Marisi, Breaker of the Coil as their commander.
Often favoring an aggressive style of deck, thanks to the mechanic’s roots in red, Goad can be effectively used in conjunction with cards such as Bedlam or Goblin War Drums. This will let you whittle down your opponent’s life without having to get your hands too dirty yourself.
Alternatively, Firkraag, Cunning Instigator has the power to Goad an opponent’s creatures and scale from all the goading it does. This can turn it into quite a powerful threat on the board and is a great choice for your commander.
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