Let's say I have two creatures, while opponent has one. Opponent plays Monstrous Step on his Menace creature, forcing one of my creatures to block, and attacks. Can I decline to block?

The two ways of interpreting the answer is, only one creature is forced to block "if able", but it can't block the menace creature, so I don't have to block. Alternatively, I do have a legal block (both creatures on his creature), so Monstrous Step actually forces both creatures to block in this situation.

1 Answer 1


The rulings below Monstrous Step say

If a creature is required to block a creature with menace, another creature must also block that creature if able. If none can, the creature that’s required to block can block another creature or not block at all.

so your second interpretation is correct.

A similar situation is described in the comprehensive rules:

509.1c The defending player checks each creature they control to see whether it’s affected by any requirements (effects that say a creature must block, or that it must block if some condition is met). If the number of requirements that are being obeyed is fewer than the maximum possible number of requirements that could be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions, the declaration of blockers is illegal. If a creature can’t block unless a player pays a cost, that player is not required to pay that cost, even if blocking with that creature would increase the number of requirements being obeyed. If a requirement that says a creature blocks if able during a certain turn refers to a turn with multiple combat phases, the creature blocks if able during each declare blockers step in that turn.

Example: A player controls one creature that “blocks if able” and another creature with no abilities. If a creature with menace attacks that player, the player must block with both creatures. Having only the first creature block violates the restriction created by menace (the attacking creature can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures). Having only the second creature block violates both the menace restriction and the first creature’s blocking requirement. Having neither creature block fulfills the restriction but not the requirement.

  • Oops, forgot to read the rulings again ...
    – Allure
    May 16, 2020 at 11:00
  • 4
    Yeah, Wizards does a decent job of predicting Boardgames.SE questions in advance :)
    – Glorfindel
    May 16, 2020 at 11:14
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    On a tangent, I'm mildly surprised by this rule, because it looks like it could make determining the legality of declared blockers take exponential time as a function of the number of creatures that could block. (A fact which, apparently, some people have actually proved mathematically!) Then again, we already knew that MtG can be computationally hard. May 16, 2020 at 19:00
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    @NotThatGuy I guess the idea is that it's not really the effect of the spell that makes this happen, it's the game rules for attacking and blocking. When determining whether an attack or block is legal, you have to (theoretically) consider all possible attacks or blocks that could have been declared, involving all creatures on the battlefield, and in that way it's certainly possible that other creatures besides one affected by a spell will be caught up in attacking or blocking requirements.
    – David Z
    May 16, 2020 at 21:53
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    @Allure You choose one of the menace attackers, and must block it with the creature targeted by its Monstrous Step and one (doesn't matter which) or both of the other two. This satisfies the maximum possible number of restrictions and requirements.
    – Douglas
    May 17, 2020 at 0:28

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