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+1/+1 counter

+1/+1 counter
Use Power and toughness alteration
Placed on Creatures
Introduced Alpha
Last used Evergreen
Scryfall search
oracle:"+1/+1 counter"

+1/+1 counters are the most common counter type in Magic. They were introduced in Alpha.

Description[ | ]

SNC punch card 2

Streets of New Capenna Punch card with +1/+1 counters

A +1/+1 counter on a creature adds one to its power and toughness. Creatures using +1/+1 counters were among the most popular in the early history of the game.[1]

Charge counters serve as the equivalent default counter for noncreature permanents.[2]

Any color can put +1/+1 counters on themselves, but white and green are best overall at doing it including putting them on other creatures. The creations of, and caring about, +1/+1 counters are secondary in black, and tertiary in blue and red.[3]

History[ | ]

For ease of comprehension, blocks tended 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.

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.[4][5] A small handful of cards from the earliest sets still use other, obsolete counters.

Cancellation with -1/-1 counters[ | ]

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 (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 122.3. 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[ | ]

GN19 platforms and counter

Punch out +1/+1 counters provided with Game Night 2019

+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.[6]

They are used by the following mechanics:

References[ | ]

  1. a b Mark Rosewater (February 11, 2008). "+1/+1 Size Fits All". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b Mark Rosewater (September 26, 2005). "+1/+1 For the Road". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (November 15, 2014). "Wither and undying in the same set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (June 9, 2015). "Wouldn't the rule...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Chris Millar (February 14, 2008). "The Making of a +1/+1 Counter Culture". Wizards of the Coast.