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


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.


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.


From the Comprehensive Rules (Khans of Tarkir)

  • 701.28. Monstrosity
    • 701.28a "Monstrosity N" means "If this permanent isn't monstrous, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous." Monstrous is a condition of that permanent that can be referred to by other abilities.
    • 701.28b 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.


  • 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.


  • Stoneshock Giant - Mana3.gifManar.gifManar.gif
    Creature — Giant
    Mana6.gifManar.gifManar.gif: 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 - Mana2.gifManaw.gifManaw.gif
    Creature — Giant
    Mana3.gifManaw.gifManaw.gifManaw.gif: 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.

Color percentages[edit]

There is a total of 22 cards that involve monstrosity, which divide by color as such:

  • Green = 32%
  • Red = 27%
  • Multicolor = 13%
  • Blue = 9%
  • Black = 9%
  • White = 5%
  • Artifact = 5%


  1. The Mechanics of Theros
  2. Mark Rosewater. (November 11, 2013.) "Building a Better Monster", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.