|Use||Power and toughness alteration|
Description[edit | edit source]
-1/-1 counters appear in all five colors, but are primarily in black and secondarily in green. Flavorwise, putting -1/-1 counters on a creature usually indicates a character being scarred or infected.
For ease of comprehension, blocks tend to focus on only a single type of counter on creatures. -1/-1 counters are used less often than +1/+1 counters because they have less available design space, due to their similarity to +1/+1 counters and their capacity to kill creatures and thereby simplify the game state.
As a further concession to mitigate complexity, +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters are the only power/toughness altering counters used in new products. Additionally, they are never used in the same block, to minimize confusion in limited play. A small handful of cards from the earliest sets still use other, obsolete counters.
At least one set between 2015 and 2022 was expected to use -1/-1 counters. That set was later revealed to be Amonkhet, which features creatures that come into play with -1/-1 counters and shed them off each turn for an effect. -1/-1 counters are currently ranked at a 2 on the Storm Scale.
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.
Mechanics[edit | edit source]
Because +1/+1 counters are the default creature counter, -1/-1 counters have been used by far fewer mechanics. There are currently three keyworded mechanics using -1/-1 counters, all of them from Lorwyn–Shadowmoor block or Scars of Mirrodin block:
References[edit | edit source]
- Mark Rosewater. (February 11, 2008.) "+1/+1 Size Fits All", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (August 14, 2014.) "Why are -1/-1 counters so infrequent?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater. (November 15, 2014.) "Wither and undying in the same set?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 9, 2015.) "Wouldn't the rule...", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater. (April 11, 2015.) "When are -1/-1 counters coming back?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Dave Humpherys. (April 4, 2017.) "Developing Amonkhet", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (2017-02-18.) "Once upon a time, you rating -1/-1 counters at 1 on the Storm Scale. Should they be ranked higher, since they're deciduous, rather than evergreen?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater. (September 26, 2005.) "+1/+1 For the Road", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.