# Can proliferate be used on life counters?

Can you use proliferate to add life counters to a player to give them life?

• Welcome to the site! I don't understand the second part of your question, what sort of "negative counter" are you referring to? Like a -1/-1 counter? Abilities don't "go with" counters. Commented May 11, 2019 at 2:39
• I'd assume they are thinking the abilities on planeswalkers only activate when the amount of loyalty which is stated before the ability is reached, instead of thinking of it as a cost. Therefore, @Trish, you may want to take a look at some details on planeswalkers ;) Commented May 11, 2019 at 11:17
• Hi Trish, welcome to the site, and check out our tour to see how we work here. Board & Card Games Stack Exchange works best on a basis of asking one question per question -- if questions still make sense being asked separately, they should be asked separately. Asking further clarifying questions on the one matter is OK, but proliferating on planeswalkers is an entirely separate question to proliferating life, so that should be asked separately. I've removed the planeswalker question from this post. Commented May 11, 2019 at 12:53

No, life total does not use counters.

Players can use whatever they want to track how much life they have, but their life points do not count as "counters" ever. A counter is always a specific thing that a rule or card effect will refer to as a "counter" using that word specifically.

• Also, proliferate only works on permanents. A player is not a permanent. Might be worth quoting the Proliferate rule. Commented May 11, 2019 at 7:13
• @Hackworth quoting: "701.26a To proliferate means to choose any number of permanents and/or players that have a counter, then give each one additional counter of each kind that permanent or player already has." Commented May 11, 2019 at 9:27
• oh yeah, my bad Commented May 11, 2019 at 11:08

Proliferate cannot directly affect a players life total because life totals are not made up of "counters".

A life total is just a number:

118.1. Each player begins the game with a starting life total of 20. Some variant games have different starting life totals.

118.3. If an effect causes a player to gain life or lose life, that player’s life total is adjusted accordingly.

Meanwhile, Proliferate adjusts "counters":

701.26a To proliferate means to choose any number of permanents and/or players that have a counter, then give each one additional counter of each kind that permanent or player already has.

The reason that Proliferate can interact with poison/infect is that poison counters are literally "counters":

702.89b Damage dealt to a player by a source with infect doesn’t cause that player to lose life. Rather, it causes that source’s controller to give the player that many poison counters.

Note that proliferate can affect life totals indirectly, such as by adding a +1/+1 counter to Wall of Limbs before it is sacrificed, or putting another +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate before Wall of Reverence's end of turn ability.