I have two creatures out. Creature One gives Creature Two +1/+1. Creature One is a 2/2 and Creature Two is a 4/4 after adding the +1/+1 from Creature Two.

My opponent casts a spell doing 3 damage to all creatures.

Now here's the question: Does killing Creature One immediately remove the +1/+1 from Creature Two ending in her death as well? Or does all the damage get applied then counters are removed leaving Creature Two with 1 toughness left?

  • Does creature 1 give creature 2 a +1/+1 counter or does creature 1 say something like 'other creatures you control have +1/+1'? If it is a counter then no, the counter remains, counters don't care where they came from, if it is not a counter, then yes it dies, since the static effect buffing it ends. For examples Bond Beetle vs Goblin King
    – Andrew
    Jan 11, 2018 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


Few points that should add up to an answer.

A Counter is not the same thing as a Static Ability that raises Power/Toughness. Abilities that add counters will use the actual word Counter in them.

Once a counter is placed, killing the creature that placed it does not do anything. So if you have an Adaptive Snapjaw that evolved and is now 7/3 due to a +1/+1 counter on it, that counter does not go away just because the other creature that caused it to evolve dies.

On the other hand if you have an Elvish Archdruid making all your elves +1/+1, that is a static ability. All your elves get smaller immediately when he dies. Sometimes new players do get in the habit of putting physical markers on other elves to track such an ability. This is a bad habit, I would recommend against doing it.

Damage does not reduce toughness. The xBox game does it wrong, pretend you never saw it. A 3/3 with 2 damage marked is just that, a 3/3 with two damage. It is no way shape or form a 3/1 for any purpose. So if your 3/3 with 2 damage marked is an Elf, and your elvish arch druid dies, he will become a 2/2 with 2 damage marked, and promptly go to the graveyard as well.

  • Thank you very much, this exactly answers my questions. You were very right in that I learned the 3/3 that takes 2 damage is a 3/1 from the Xbox game, I'll ignore the game from now on. If they got that wrong I have no idea what else they could've gotten wrong.
    – Kuurin
    Mar 5, 2013 at 6:02
  • the Xbox game is mostly quite good in its rules implementation; that way of representing damage was a rare case of them using a convenient visual shorthand that doesn't quite reflect what's actually going on under the hood. I'd say it's unfair to describe it as them having "gotten it wrong". I assume they made the decision after giving it due consideration. Mostly you don't have to worry about DotP giving you the wrong idea when it comes to transitioning to "proper" Magic. Mar 5, 2013 at 13:09
  • Sorry, I didn't think I was being super critical of the entire game or something. It is a plain fact that representing damage as reduced toughness is incorrect. It may have been the right software implementation decision at the time, but particularly with the arrival of "evolve" the widespread misunderstanding about that it caused has been kind of a pain for judging casual FNMs :)
    – Affe
    Mar 5, 2013 at 18:07

Yes, it dies.

Damage remains until it's removed in the cleanup step. If your 4/4 with three damage on it is reduced to a 3/3 (in any way that doesn't remove the damage from it) it suddenly has lethal damage on it and dies.

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