Do +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters cancel each other out?

Asked by vic 2 years ago

I've heard that if a creature with a -1/-1 counter gets a +1/+1 counter or vice versa, then rather than keep both counters, the counters are both removed instead. Is this true? Here's what I'd like to do:

Run Scuzzback Marauders in a warriors deck with Bramblewood Paragon . I'm hoping to exploit Persist by continually returning my Marauders from the graveyard and having it ETB with a +1/+1 counter from the Paragon (assuming it's in play), thus removing the -1/-1 counter that it would otherwise get from Persist.

Madcookie says... Accepted answer #1

Yes, the each +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters cancel each other out as a state-based effect and the combo will work as per rule 121.3.

P.S. Also I immediately thought of to throwing in something like Ashnod's Altar and Where Ancients Tread for extra umph :D

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(<--this rule is just for state based actions).

February 26, 2019 3:52 a.m.

vic says... #2

Thanks Madcookie. I would have tried to look up the rule myself, but didn't know where to go. Can you tell me where you found that, for future reference?

And I love the card suggestions. Where Ancients Tread would be gloriously fun. Kinda mana intensive to do all that, but if that goes off, it would be great fun. Fling and Prey Upon would be fun with that, too.

February 26, 2019 4:02 a.m.

Madcookie says... #3

Personally I prefer using the Comprehensive Rules from MTG Wiki https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Comprehensive_Rules as I find the interface/links easiest to look at and use compared to other mtg rule sites I've found over the years. It is also pretty much always up-to-date too, which is great as well. :)

P.S. I can't make the hyperlink work properlly, because I'm not a premium user. You'll have to copy-paste it :S

February 26, 2019 5:11 a.m.

Kogarashi says... #4

I second the MTG Wiki. I frequently find what I need by googling "MTG" plus keywords for what I need, and the Wiki provides the chunk of rules that's relevant, plus added explanations or trivia as needed.

February 26, 2019 9:02 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #5

I agree that the MTG Wiki is a good source. I also like to use the Judge program's rules resource blog.

February 26, 2019 11:19 a.m.

Gidgetimer says... #6

Wizards has the up to date comprehensive rules available on their website in DOCX, PDF, and TXT format. I prefer the PDF for readability; but the TXT is better for copy/paste operations onto other websites, so I find myself using it more. In any case the entire rules will pop up on a single page and Ctrl+F will allow you to quickly search for each instance of a word or phrase. For example searching +1/+1 returns 91 results the first 3 of which are in 121.3 and 62-64 are in 704.7.

February 26, 2019 4:18 p.m.

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