Fear is an capacity keyword in Magic: The Gathering. As soon as a card has actually fear, it deserve to only be blocked by artifact creatures and also black creatures. In this article, i look at what fear method in MTG through rules and also examples, why it to be retired together a keyword, the ideal fear cards, are afraid decks, and also how to play versus fear. I go over the frequently asked inquiries for are afraid in MTG too.

You are watching: What does intimidate mean in magic the gathering

*
Gluttonous Zombie MTG card. Image: Wizards of the Coast. Artist: cutting board M. Baxa.

MTG fear Rules

Here’s what the MTG card reminder text says for fear.

This biology can’t be blocked other than by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.

See Magic: The gathering ComprehensiveRules702.36.“Fear” for more information.

Essentially, this means you can’t block one attacking creature with fear unless the blocking creature is black color or an artifact. Together such, fear is classed as an evasion keyword.


Hi! This article may contain affiliate links to online stores. If girlfriend click a link and also buy something, ns may get a commission at no extra price to you. Check out myaffiliate disclosure.


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator, Demon the Loathing, Palladium Myr, and Thorn Mammoth MTG cards. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

For example, suppose Shadowmage Infiltrator, a 1/3 creature through fear, strikes me, the defending player. I control the black color creature Demon the Loathing, the artifact creature Palladium Myr, and also nonblack nonartifact creature Thorn Mammoth. I have the right to block Shadowmage Infiltrator through Demon the Loathing and/or Palladium Myr. However, i cannot block it with Thorn Mammoth.

Fear retired and also replaced

Fear is a retired keyword, so that is highly unlikely to appear in any new sets. However, part cards with fear still watch play today.

Fear was retired due to the fact that it was considered overly border by the MTG designers. It was changed by the intimidate keyword in the Magic 2010 core set and no brand-new fear cards have actually been printed since.

MTG fear Examples


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator, and also Numot, the Devastator MTG cards. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For the first example, I attack with Shadowmage Infiltrator, a 1/3 fear creature. My opponent only controls Numot, the Devastator. Numot deserve to do a lot of nifty stuff, yet it is neither black nor an artifact creature. Together such, the can’t block the Shadowmage Infiltrator, which now deals direct combat damage to the opponent.


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator and Hope of Ghirapur MTG cards. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Now let’s imagine I assault with Shadowmage Infiltrator a 2nd time, due to the fact that I really like its card-draw effect. However, my enemy now has actually Hope that Ghirapur out on the field. Together an artifact creature, it can effectively block and also prevent my foe taking damage. Fortunately, hope of Ghirapur is only 1/1, so my wizard survives.


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator and also Thorn of the Black increased MTG cards. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Thirdly, I strike again with Shadowmage Infiltrator. This time, my adversary has other slightly an ext defensive in play, namely mandrel of the black color Rose. Fitting the name, it’s a black creature. As such, my enemy chooses it come block. And, because it has actually deathtouch, that destroys my mage too. Oh well. He’ll it is in back.

Fear vs Intimidate

Even though fear is a retired ability, cards with are afraid may quiet be played by some players. What happens as soon as a card through fear deals with a card through intimidate?


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator and Immerwolf MTG cards. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

Say I assault with mine Shadowmage Infiltrator, a blue black color 1/3 with fear. My adversary controls Immerwolf, a red green 2/2 through intimidate. Because creatures with are afraid can only be blocked by artifacts or black creatures, Immerwolf can’t block it and 1 damage is dealt directly to my opponent.

In the opposite situation, my foe sends Immerwolf my means and i only have Shadow Mage Infiltrator on the field. Creatures through intimidate can only be blocked by artifact creatures and creatures that share a colour with it. For this reason in this case, mine Shadowmage Infiltrator can’t block the Immerwolf and also I’d take it the 2 damage directly.

Fear vs Menace

What happens when a creature through fear faces a creature with menace?


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator and also Belle that the Brawl MTG cards. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

In this example, if I assault with my Shadowmage Infiltrator that has fear, my opponent can block through Belle the the Brawl due to the fact that it is a black color creature.

If my opponent sends Belle the the Braw in the direction of me and also I only manage Shadowmage Infiltrator ns can’t block it since creatures with menace deserve to only be clogged by 2 or an ext creatures. So I’d have to take the 3 damage.

Fear vs Fear

If a impede creature has fear, this way nothing unless it is likewise black or an artifact creature. Fear only uses for attacking creatures because it discusses clearly how they have to be blocked.


Join the My kind of Meeple newsletter!


Exclusive email updates! new Strategies, Kickstarter Picks, What I"m play + one-of-a-kind Extras!


sign up!
thanks for joining!

Your email is only offered for updates and email-based ad targetting. (Ads store this website free!) You can view the terms & can opt-out that email-based ad targetting here.


*
Dust Elemental and also Scornful Aether-Lich MTG cards. Image: Wizards the the Coast.

The white Dust elemental is an instance of such a creature. It has fear, yet it cannot block various other creatures through fear due to the fact that it is a white creature, no a black creature or an artifact creature.

In another example, the Scornful Aether-Lich has actually fear and can block other are afraid creatures. Not due to the fact that it has fear itself, but due to the fact that it is an artififact creature.

Best MTG fear Cards

Shizo, Death’s Storehouse – black Mana Land


*
Shizo, Death’s Storehouse MTG card. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

Arguably the most played are afraid card today, Shizo, Death’s Storehouse is a land v some serious ability and significant pedigree. Not only does Shizo provide your legendary creatures fear, which deserve to be hugely effective in Commander, it also enters untapped come immediately administer coloured mana.

Profane Command – Black fear Sorcery


*
Profane Command MTG card. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Profane Command’s power lies in that versatility. This map can quickly turn a game approximately by make all her creatures properly unblockable because that a turn if you’re playing against any colour various other than black color or colourless artifacts. Additionally, it have the right to burn, recreation a creature, or take out a danger in a way that gets approximately indestructible too.

Wort, Boggart Auntie – legend Black/Red fear Creature


*
Wort, Boggart Auntie MTG card. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

I don’t know around your family, but I’m happy mine aunts aren’t as bad as Wort end here! This lord gets extra value out of your Goblin cards, returning one native the graveyard to your hand every of her turns. Additionally, together it’s a 3/3 your opponents probably can’t block due to its fear ability. It’s frequently seen in Commander.

Cover that Darkness – Black fear Enchantment


*
Cover that Darkness MTG card. Image: Wizards the the Coast.

Cheap and also devastating describes this enchantment. Cover of Darkness offers all creatures of a chosen type fear for just two mana. Yes, if you’re play tribal versus a nonblack deck, this is what we call entirely broken. Gain not having actually friends if you operation a playset the this!

Marrow-Gnawer – legendary Black fear Creature


*
Marrow-Gnawer MTG card. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Do you choose Rats? execute you really favor Rats? have to these Rats you choose so lot all have actually fear, and multiply each turn? If the answer to these inquiries is yes, play Marrow-Gnawer. Not only that, this guy has actually some quite gnarly flavour message too.

Dread – Black are afraid Creature


*
Dread MTG card. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

This is what friend play if friend don’t favor taking damages head-on. Indeed, Dread even counters fear creatures through destroying any kind of of lock successful sufficient to damage you, the player. It’s likewise a huge creature through evasion, i m sorry gets out of hand quickly.

MTG are afraid Decks

Fear has actually the ideal deck depiction in Commander. There, unlike conventional or Modern, every the are afraid cards space legal to play. Plus, the longer multiplayer format enables many of them come shine because of their abilities working much better for massed creatures or in particular circumstances.

Shizo, Death’s Storehouse works an especially well in Commander, since the actual command only needs to deal a player 21 damage to knock them out of the game. Offering your commander an evasion capacity like fear helps significantly with this.


*
Avatar of sorrow MTG card. Image: Wizards the the Coast.

Another command standout, Avatar of woe is an outstanding 6/5 v fear and also the ability to ruin a creature as soon as per turn. You can additionally cast that cheaply with over ten creatures jointly in every graveyards. In Commander, graveyards heap up quickly.

Both Wort, Boggart Auntie and Marrow-Gnawer are legendary creatures, and thus can work as commanders themselves. They perform this substantial well. If you’re running Rat tribal v the latter, make certain to include Ratcatcher for another fear biology with an excellent Rat-searching abilities. Similarly, both synergize fantastically v Cover the Darkness.

Otherwise, you’ll be hard-pressed to find fear cards that are still played competitively. Shadowmage Infiltrator supplied to see some play as result of its card-draw capacity but that’s no longer the case. Instead, it has been surpassed by cheaper, much more powerful options.

How come Play versus Fear

Block with Black and/or Artifact Creatures

Now the we understand what fear is, the an initial way of managing it need to be obvious. Simply block with your black or artifact creatures if you have actually any. Then, make certain to kill the are afraid creature law so. Although it can feel high value to perform so, fear creatures room rare, so you generally won’t must do this more than once a game.

Fear Creatures are ruined to Removal

Of course, fear creatures lack natural protection abilities. They are damaged to removal. So, why waste your black color or artifact creatures blocking once you deserve to simply ruin it? Instead, usage your burn, counterspells or killspells to handle the fear creature.

MTG is a game all around counterplay. A clever enemy might shot and bait out your removal through an efficiently unblockable are afraid creature to play a more far-reaching threat later on on. Therefore prioritize your plays, specifically if the are afraid creature isn’t actually that impactful.

Take the Damage

The last option is to simply take the damages head-on if girlfriend can’t block the are afraid creature or otherwise disable it. You, the player, deserve to just let the damage go through. This is frequently a an excellent strategy if you desire to play aggressively or have life come spare. Remember, you have 20 life or 40 in Commander, and you have the right to keep going until it is in ~ 0.

Sideboard Properly

Even if you shed the an initial game, there’s tho a possibility that you have the right to win the entirety match. Remember that are afraid creatures room weak against black and/or artifact creatures. If you have actually them, include them.

Similarly, include additional creature control too, such together counterspells, hand attacks, and also burn. If you’re playing green, think around adding fogs too to prevent combat damage from creatures with fear. Store in mind the the sideboard is a chance to it is adapted to various other issues, for this reason sideboard because that the other strategies her opponent could have.

MTG fear FAQs

What happens if a Nonblack Creature has actually Fear?

Fear works exactly the same no matter what colour biology it’s on. The defending player deserve to only block a are afraid creature v a black or artifact creature, nevertheless of what colour the are afraid creature is.


*
Scornful Aether-Lich MTG card. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

For instance, the blue Scornful Aether-Lich deserve to still only be blocked by black creatures or artifact creatures, also though it’s blue itself.

How Does are afraid Work with Blocking?

Apart indigenous restricting i m sorry creatures have the right to block, the fear keyword doesn’t give additional rules because that blocking. The defending player can assign blockers typically as lengthy as they are black and/or artifact creatures. Likewise, the attack player assigns the fear creatures’ combat damage to the blockers as they so watch fit.

Can Colourless Creatures Block Fear?

When fear was invented as a mechanic, there were no colourless creatures that weren’t additionally artifacts. However, fear’s rules space clear. Also your Eldrazi titans can’t block creatures with are afraid as they are neither black color nor artifact creatures. (They are much better on the attack anyway!)

What if the Blocker is Both Black and an Artifact Creature?

Then you’re in happiness! The fear capability reads ‘black creatures and/or artifact creatures’ no either or. Together such, a black color artifact creature deserve to absolutely block a fear creature.


*
Shadowmage Infiltrator and Noxious Gearhulk MTG cards. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For example, if I attack with ours friend, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and also my foe controls a Noxious Gearhulk, they deserve to block it because it is a black color artifact creature. It’ll survive too. Although, that’s it because that the Shadowmage Infiltrator, I’m afraid. He’s not 6/6, alas.

How can I provide My Creatures Fear?

It’s possible to provide your creatures fear. If friend do, your opponent absolutely won’t view it coming! all card types except planeswalkers have actually at the very least one map which can offer fear. Fear, Aphotic Whisps, and also Mask that Riddles, are examples of some of these. No allude doing this against monoblack or artifact-heavy decks though!

Fear, Intimidate and also Menace

Why go Intimidate change Fear?

Intimidate replaced fear for both a gameplay and also a thematic reason. The felt out of place for nonblack creatures to have fear and also R&D additionally wanted to apply the same evasion capability coherently to other colours, specific red and also green. This expected that nonblack colours also had the opportunity to respond to a fear-like ability.

Is Intimidate much better than Fear?

Neither keyword is better in a gameplay sense. Granted, over there are an ext fear cards than intimidate cards. As result of power creep, however, intimidate cards are more powerful. For their day, though, many fear cards were perfectly decent.

Intimidate was wanted by players, despite the keyword’s fairly short lifespan. This newer keyword was much more versatile and also it to the right the style of the cards better.

Intimidate likewise made an ext sense native a story perspective. Because that instance, creatures v flying or trample carry out those things, in the same method that a creature with intimidate, intimidates things. Analysis ‘fear’ in the same way, saying a creature has ‘fear’ might be misunderstood as that creature being fearful themselves rather than applying fear to another creature.


*
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed MTG card. Image: Wizards that the Coast.

Nowadays, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is the most popular and expensive intimidate card, yet that’s not wherein the very nice lies. In enhancement to hosing humans as a tribe, Mikaeus has some fantastic synergies and also can collection up game-ending combos.

What around Menace?

Menace is the keyword that replaced intimidate. The is tho in evergreen usage today, because that both black and red. This is since R&D made decision that intimidate to be too challenging to respond to or play against after colour-changing stopped being a common card effect.

As such, menace was introduced. Menace is likewise an evasion keyword, but it works in different way to the closely-related fear and intimidate. A creature with menace have the right to only be blocked by 2 or more creatures, regardless of your colour or whether or no they’re likewise artifacts.

Will Fear ever Come Back?

Although us can’t be perfect sure, the prize is essentially no. It is doubtful more fear cards will certainly be published in future. fear is one of the few mechanics to it is in rated 10 ~ above the Storm Scale, which means that MTG R&D will certainly never include fear cards come a standard-legal set again.

This is due to the fact that fear was efficiently replaced through intimidate, i beg your pardon itself was replaced afterwards by menace. As such, R&D is an ext likely to bring earlier intimidate 보다 fear, yet even that is still really unlikely.

See more: How Many Championship Rings Does Michael Jordan Have ? How Many Rings Does Michael Jordan Have

A note: are afraid MTG

To conclude, are afraid is one evasion keyword ability. Creatures with are afraid can just be clogged by artifact creatures and also black creatures. Are afraid is virtually exclusively uncovered in black and also was changed by the an ext versatile keyword, intimidate.

Even though most creatures with are afraid are no longer competitively viable because of power creep, there space some exceptions. Plus, nobody expects you come play fear cards anymore! So surprise them by putting one in her deck today!