Monstrosity MTG
Fleecemane Lion

Fleecemane Lion Russian

Last Modified 08.02.2018

A good way to make one’s blog popular is to publish pics of cats. Our team has taken that to consideration and decided to recur to that tech. We shall inspect the Monstrosity mechanics while taking a kitty from Theros block as an example.

Fleecemane Lion

Oracle Text:

Creature — Cat

{3}{G}{W}: Monstrosity 1. (If this creature isn’t monstrous, put a +1/+1 counter on it and it becomes monstrous.)

As long as Fleecemane Lion is monstrous, it has hexproof and indestructible.

Fleecemane Lion has two mana symbols in its mana cost: white and green. This means that the Lion is both white and green at the same time, but it is not “white-green” and not “golden”.

Fleecemane Lion has two abilities. One of them is activated. We recognize this by the colon in the text. Such ability may be activated at any time we have priority. This may be done as many times as we fancy, provided that we can pay the activation cost. However, we will not always get the effect of this ability, even if it successfully resolves. Why? Let’s figure it out.


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.

For example, Fleecemane Lion’s second ability refers to its monstrosity.

701.28b. Monstrous is a designation that has no rules meaning other than to act as a marker that the monstrosity action and other spells and abilities can identify. Only permanents can be or become monstrous. Once a permanent becomes monstrous, it stays monstrous until it leaves the battlefield. Monstrous is neither an ability nor part of the permanent’s copiable values.

701.28c. 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.

For example, the value of X for Polukranos, World Eater’s triggered ability equals the value of X chosen when activating its Monstrosity ability.

As the Monstrosity of Fleecemane Lion resolves, the game checks that specific permanent whether it is Monstrous or not, and if it is still a kind and harmless kitty, we first put a +1/+1 counter on it, then register it in the Monster book of Monsters.

Monstrosity is neither a characteristic or an ability. Rules uses a word “state”. That means it is not copied and couldn’t be removed by effects sweeping up abilities.

Artisan of Forms

If a non-monstrous Artisan of Forms copies a Monstrous Fleecemane Lion, it will remain not Monstrous, and vice versa, a Monstrous Artisan remains so if she copies a non-Monstrous creature.

Turn // Burn

Should Fleecemane Lion fall under the effect of a fused Turn // Burn, it will remain Monstrous, but will lose its abilities, so it will die.

Monstrosity is not tied to +1/+1 counters placed as the Monstrosity ability resolves. They are some very ordinary counters that do nothing more and nothing less than increase power and toughness. Removing any or all of these counters will not change the permanent’s state of Monstrosity.

Give // Take

Neither adding nor removing counters change a thing about the permanent’s Monstrosity. The counters do not make a permanent Monstrous, the effect of the Monstrosity ability does.


If a permanent leaves the battlefield and returns later, it is treated as a totally different object and has no memory of its past Monstrosities.

A permanent cannot become Monstrous several times, because its state is checked upon the resolution of each ability attempting to make it Monstrous. This means that even though you may certainly activate Fleecemane Lion’s ability multiple times, there will be no effect past the first resolution. The lion will get neither the counter nor any “double Monstrosity” or whatever it is you smarty-pants try to add. This is true even if you activate another Monstrosity ability the Lion gets temporarily, aside from its innate ability:

Artisan of Forms
Fleecemane Lion
Polukranos, World Eater

Suppose a non-Monstrous Artisan of Forms copies a Fleecemane Lion and becomes Monstrous through activating the Lion’s ability. It then copies Polukranos, World Eater. If you activate the Artisan-Polukranos’ ability, nothing happens because that Artisan of Forms is already Monstrous.

Since we got Polukranos to pay us a visit, it’s worth mentioning that an ability that triggers when a permanent becomes monstrous goes off only when the permanent’s state changes to Monstrous from non-Monstrous. The actions in the example just above will not trigger its ability.

Also, this ability will not trigger if the permanent is no longer on the battlefield as its Monstrosity ability resolves.

Fleecemane Lion’s second ability is a static one. Its effect depends on whether the Lion is Monstrous or not. If we have a totally Monstrous pussy cat, it gets two abilities: Hexproof and Indestructible; if it’s cute and cuddly, the ability is still there but it has no effect. If a situation comes up where you need to determine a timestamp for this ability, you must keep in mind that an ability’s timestamp often doesn’t match the timestamp of the permanent it belongs to. The permanent’s timestamp doesn’t change when its state changes.

Since Fleecemane Lion’s second ability calls it by name, it means only that Fleecemane Lion it is on, not any other one.

How does it work?

Celestial Archon
Fleecemane Lion

You attack with Fleecemane Lion. The cunning opponent blocks it with Celestial Archon. You activate Fleecemane Lion’s Monstrosity ability, and when it resolves, the Lion gets a +1/+1 counter, becomes Monstrous, and as a result, gains Hexproof and Indestructible.

During the first combat damage step Celestial Archon deals 4 damage to Fleecemane Lion. During the second combat damage step, Fleecemane Lion deals 4 damage to Celestial Archon, and the latter hits the grave. The kitty prevails!

Fleecemane Lion’s best buddies:

Training Grounds

Training Grounds makes activating the Lion’s Monstrosity ability as cheap as {1GW}.

Corpsejack Menace

Corpsejack Menace doubles the number of counters that are put on the Lion by its Monstrosity ability.

Sun Titan

Sun Titan’s trigger may return Fleecemane Lion from the graveyard to the battlefield.

  1. Those who noticed that a Monstrous Fleecemane Lion has Hexproof have my praises. Now try to imagine a situation where a Monstrous Fleecemane Lion can become a legal target for Turn // Burn.

Translated by Witas Spasovski