|Use||Power and toughness alteration|
|Last Used||Commander Legends|
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
- 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.
+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.
They are used by the following mechanics:
- Keyword abilities
- Keyword actions
- Ability words
- Other mechanics
- Mark Rosewater (February 11, 2008). "+1/+1 Size Fits All". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 26, 2005). "+1/+1 For the Road". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- 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.
- Chris Millar (February 14, 2008). "The Making of a +1/+1 Counter Culture". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.