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Is there some way to remove or counteract poison counters? Specifically, once you've already accumulated them, not when you are dealt them.

For example, say I already have 9 poison counters. Is there some way to reduce this number?

  • Just noticed no one mentioned Solemnity. It won't remove counters but i think it helps – Andrey Jun 26 '18 at 16:18
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Counters can be removed.

However, I believe there is only one card that currently removes poison counters, and that is Leeches

Target player loses all poison counters. Leeches deals 1 damage to that player for each poison counter removed in this way.

Leeches was in the Homelands set.

  • 3
    +! - Leeches used to be a junk rare, and now with Mirrodin Beseiged et al, it's hovering around $4 for Legacy – LittleBobbyTables Jul 28 '11 at 9:15
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    I've seen comments that suggest that this is intentional, that they didn't/don't want poison to become like life, just another counter that can be moved up or down by all sorts of things. – Dave DuPlantis Jul 28 '11 at 13:54
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Another way to reduce the number of poison counters that you have is through an effect that restarts the game, like Karn Liberated's third ability. Doing so resets your number of poison counters to zero, as per the New Phyrexia FAQ.

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Check out this column, by Magic head honcho Mark Rosewater: Something Wicked This Way Comes.

It explains some of the thinking behind "modern" poison, most relevantly why you'll have trouble finding any other card that can reduce your poison total apart from Leeches. Here's a taste:

My hatred of Leeches did one important thing. It cemented in me the importance of poison not just being another life total. (This theme will become very important in Scars of Mirrodin's design.) As such, you will not see any card in the entire Scars of Mirrodin block that removes poison. It cannot be done. There are answers. There are ways to deal with poison but healing yourself of it is not one of them. If you want to remove poison counters you will only have one way—Leeches.

5

This answer is an attempt to create a canonical list:

  1. Leeches (Mark Rosewater intended this to be the only way to get rid of poison counters, but it no longer is)

  2. Karn Liberated (his -14 ability removes all poison counters, among other things)

  3. Suncleanser + a way to control their turn (such as Mindslaver) + a way for you to have your opponent control Suncleanser's ability (such as Bazaar Trader + Coffin Queen + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth). An example of this combo is: put Suncleaner in your graveyard, take over their turn with Mindslaver, use Bazaar Trader to give them control of Coffin Queen, and then have them use Coffin Queen and mana from Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to reanimate Suncleanser, chosing you to lose all your counters (which you can do because you control their turn).

  4. Price of Betrayal + a way to control their turn (such as Mindslaver) + a way to get them to cast it (such as Hive Mind)

Honorable mention: any of the cards that say "You can't lose" can allow to be alive (at least temporarily) with 10 or more poison counters.

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    I think if it's a canonical list, it should just say "Suncleanser + Mindslaver + a way to have your opponent control Suncleaner's ability". The 5-card combo you list is only one of many variations on how to do it. Using Strionic Resonator instead of Coffin Queen and Urborg would be interesting. – GendoIkari Feb 21 at 20:23
  • @GendoIkari I'm trying to figure out how to make Strionic Resonator to work (I'd love a combo with fewer than 5 cards, but I can't make it work short of donating Debtors Knell). The resonator only copies the ability for it's controller, so, even if you donate the resonator, wouldn't they need to already control Suncleanser's ability to make it work? – Zags Feb 21 at 20:45
  • You're right; I missed that it can't copy opponent's triggered abilities. – GendoIkari Feb 21 at 21:29
  • Also, cards that say "You win" let you start another game where you don't have any poison counters. – Acccumulation Oct 15 at 4:43
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And now, enter Suncleanser.

This will be released in M19. It is a Cleric for 1W that will remove all counters from target opponent. It can be found here, in the M19 gallery.

Now you can just get rid of all the poison counters. Just like that. For 1W. On an opponent.

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    It only works on opponents, so while it does technically fit as an answer, you can't use it to get rid of your own poison counters. – GendoIkari Jun 25 '18 at 17:08
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    @GendoIkari Good point ! So, Mindslaver an opponent into casting it on you with their GBW poison deck ? – MarsJarsGuitars-n-Chars Jun 25 '18 at 17:19
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A wild Price of Betrayal appears! for B you can remove 5 counters from target artifact, creature, planeswalker or opponent so maybe another one to add to the mindslave setup.

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