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Say I have a Blinkmoth Nexus and Steel Overseer out. I tap the Steel Overseer for his ability to put +1/+1 counters while my Blinkmoth is a creature, and it gains a counter. After my Blinkmoth goes back into a land, does it keep the counter, or does it lose it?

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up vote 32 down vote accepted

Lands (any permanent, really) can have +1/+1 counters just fine. In fact, Llanowar Reborn enters the battlefield with one! The counter(s) will not go away just because your blinkmoth stops being a creature.

Of course, the +1/+1 counter doesn't do anything until the land becomes a creature again, but the +1/+1 counter will still be there.

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Also, Raging Ravine. – Hao Ye May 23 '14 at 19:42
@Hao Ye, Raging Raving gets the +1/+1 counter when it's also a creature, just like the card the OP asked about. It doesn't help. – ikegami May 26 '14 at 16:38
But Raging Ravine doesn't stay a creature - if the rules made it so that +1/+1 counters were removed from non-creature permanents, Raging Ravine would be very awkward. – Hao Ye May 26 '14 at 18:38
@Hao Ye, Everything you said applies to the OP's creature too, so again, it's a useless example since it just repeats the question. Llanowar Reborn is a good example because it actually places a +1/+1 counter on a non-creature. – ikegami May 28 '14 at 15:17
@ikegami: strictly speaking, you are correct, Raging Ravine doesn't say what happens to the +1/+1 counters when it stops becoming a creature, but it would be very silly for WotC to template the card that way (using temporary +1/+1 counters; Bounty of the Hunt excepted) – Hao Ye May 28 '14 at 23:23

It keeps them because nothing removes them.

There are only three instances when counters are removed from objects by the rules:

  1. Dealing damage to a Planeswalker removes loyalty counters.
  2. SBAs cancel out +1/+1 and -1/-1 counter pairs by removing them.
  3. SBAs remove extra counters when a permanent has a limit to how many of a given kind of counters it can have.

That's it. Counters are never removed from objects except in those circumstances or by abilities that instruct you to move or remove them[1].

There's definitely no restriction about which type of counters can be on which type of objects.

  • You can have +1/+1 counters on non-creatures.
  • You can have charge counters on non-artifacts.
  • You can have flood counters on non-lands.
  • You can even have counters on non-permanents!

  1. This includes three keyword abilities that remove counters:

    • Fading (fade counter)
    • Suspend (time counter)
    • Vanishing (time counter)
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What's an example of #3? (Though I just looked up 704.5s) – GendoIkari May 28 '14 at 15:13
@Gendolkari, "Rasputin can't have more than seven dream counters on it." Might be the only case. Something other than Rasputin with more than seven dream counters would have to become Rasputin for the SBA to kick in. – ikegami May 28 '14 at 15:18
Interesting, I would have thought that "Rasputin can't have more than seven dream counters on it." would have prevented the "put a dream counter on it" text from working in the first place, since "can't" always takes precedence. – GendoIkari May 28 '14 at 15:22
@GendoIkari, It does. Something other than Rasputin with more than seven dream counters would have to become Rasputin for the SBA to kick in. (This sentence was added to my last comment, but I guess you missed the update.) – ikegami May 28 '14 at 15:25
Clockwork Avian is another example. Sorry, I can't link to the Gatherer because it is currently down for maintenance. – Rainbolt Jun 12 '14 at 18:40

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