+1/+1 counter

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+1/+1 counter
Use: Power and Toughness alteration
Placed On: Creatures
Introduced: Alpha
Last Used: Unstable
Gatherer search for "+1/+1 counter"

+1/+1 counters are the most common counter type in Magic. They were introduced in Alpha, and creatures using +1/+1 counters were among the most popular in the early history of the game.[1]

For ease of comprehension, blocks tend to focus on only a single type of counter on creatures, and +1/+1 counters are the default choice.[2] When +1/+1 counters are absent from a block, they are most commonly replaced by their inverse, -1/-1 counters. Occasionally, thematic counters are used instead, such as the ki and divinity counters of Kamigawa block.

Charge counters serve as the equivalent default counter for non-creature permanents.[2]

As a further concession to mitigate complexity, +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters are the only power and toughness altering counters used in new products.[1] Additionally, they are never used in the same block, to minimize confusion in limited play.[3][4] A small handful of cards from the earliest sets still use other, obsolete counters.

Cancellation With -1/-1 Counters[edit | edit source]

When both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters are present on the same creature, they are immediately removed in matched pairs until only one or the other remains.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Rivals of Ixalan (January 19, 2018))

  • 121.3. If a permanent has both a +1/+1 counter and a -1/-1 counter on it, N +1/+1 and N -1/-1 counters are removed from it as a state-based action, where N is the smaller of the number of +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it. See rule 704.

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

+1/+1 counters are a component of many ability words, keyword abilities, and keyword actions. Their ubiquity is largely due to their lack of flavor, and enables a high level of compatibility between thematically unrelated mechanics.[5]

They are used by the following mechanics:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b Mark Rosewater. (February 11 2008.) “+1/+1 Size Fits All”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b Mark Rosewater. (September 26 2005.) “+1/+1 For the Road”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (November 15 2014.) "Wither and undying in the same set?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (June 9 2015.) "Wouldn't the rule...", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  5. Chris Millar. (February 14 2008.) “The Making of a +1/+1 Counter Culture”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.