How do poison counters work? What are the scenarios a player would receive a poison counter?

  • 3
    This question is unclear. How did you hear about poison counters and what confuses you about them? It would be the same as asking "how do +1/+1 counters work? how does a creature get +1/+1 counters?" Many effects give poison counters (usually creatures with the infect keyword.) Most can be found by searching gatherer for the word “poison.”
    – ghoppe
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 20:32
  • 1
    This question is very basic, and perhaps doesn't show much research effort (you can find a lot by searching gatherer, yes) but that's not the same as it being unclear. The OP very clearly asked what the ways are that a player can get poison counters, which is a specific, answerable question.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 17:20
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    @Jefromi It sounds to me like this is a perfect example of an X/Y problem. Like the first comment says, there's obviously some hidden information behind the question, which is important for helping the player learn Magic. So "what is your real question here?" is a fair question to ask, and the part that's unclear is what the real question is. The question as asked may be answerable, but I don't think it's actually the real question.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 15:00
  • 1
    Perhaps - or perhaps he just read something about poison counters somewhere, maybe he saw Melira, maybe he saw a question here. (This one was bumped last week.) So I totally agree about figuring out if there was another question behind this, but I think it's still worth answering as-is, since it probably still will let the OP figure things out even if he's asking because of something else. I'd rather err on the side of being helpful!
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 15:49
  • You currently have five open questions and zero accepted answers. Please read How does accepting an answer work? if you don't understand how or when to accept answers.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


All you really need to know is that you lose the game if you get 10, and that they're nearly impossible to remove. Generally if you see a card that talks about poison counters, it'll be a card that gives them, so this should never really be confusing - if the cards don't mention them, you don't have to worry about them.

By far the main way to get poison counters is from creatures with Infect, like Blighted Agent:

Infect (This creature deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters.)

There's was also an ability called Poisonous, but it's only on a couple cards. Virulent Sliver gives all Slivers Poisonous 1:

All Sliver creatures have poisonous 1. (Whenever a Sliver deals combat damage to a player, that player gets a poison counter. A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)

And Snake Cult Initiation is an aura that gives the enchanted creature Poisonous 3. Marsh Viper essentially has Poisonous 2, but spells it out.

There are several more cards that just explicitly give a player poison counters.

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