Do Wicked Wolf's +1/+1 counters stay after the turn is over? It says:

Sacrifice a food: Put a +1/+1 counter on Wicked Wolf. It gains indestructible until end of turn. Tap it.

I was reading the rules and it said that you can sacrifice foods to add counters to it even when it is tapped, but will the counters stay?

3 Answers 3


The counters will stay; "until end of turn" refers to gaining indestructible.

Note that you cannot "put a +1/+1 counter on Wicked Wolf until end of turn". Putting a counter on a thing is a specific act that happens in one moment; it does not work in English (or in MTG rules) to give it a duration. If a counter were going to be temporary, it would need a separate instruction to remove that counter at the end of the turn, like this:

Put a +1/+1 counter on Wicked Wolf. Remove it at the end of the turn".

  • 1
    I recall that "<this creature> gains +1/+1 until the end of the turn." was a commonly used wording back when I played. A +1/+1 counter was always something permanent.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 9:20
  • @MechMK1 I don't remember any card that does counters "until end of turn" because you can just do the effect "until end of turn" without the counter. Counters are permanent by default.
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 10:09
  • @Nelson Exactly. If an effect was meant to be temporary, it was always "[...] gains [...] until the end of the turn." The only "temporary" counters were effects like "When [...] is summoned, add X counters to it. Whenever [...], remove a counter. When no counters remain, [...] is destroyed" - or something like this. But even then the counters were not temporary; the effect specified when counters were to be removed.
    – MechMK1
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 11:15
  • 2
    You can have "exile permanent until end of turn", so I don't think it's legitimate to appeal to "English", as opposed to MtG rules (presumably, your argument would be that a counter is not an object, so is treated differently), to assert that this is not possible. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 14:03
  • @MechMK1 That is still the standard wording for temporary pump effects. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 17:30

There's a period at the end of the sentence

Put a +1/+1 counter on Wicked Wolf.

So the only ability it loses at the end of the turn is indestructible; the +1/+1 is permanent (that is, until it's removed by another effect, such as Vampire Hexmage's ability, or damage from a source with wither – a -1/-1 counter always cancels out with a +1/+1 counter).

  • 1
    The comment about wither could be misleading for someone still uncertain about how +1/+1 counters work, since the counters are technically removed not by wither, but by the interaction with +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters. Can you consider expounding your answer to explain why wither damage will result in removing +1/+1 counters? (or use a more straightforward example like Vampire Hexmage to demonstrate how counters could be removed)
    – Aetherfox
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 21:05
  • It is also misleading because the cancellation of +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters is covered by a special rule. No other type of counters cancel out (they are very rare though). So some of the older cards that use +2/+2 and -2/-2 counters will not have them cancelled out.
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 7:30

The counters stay. The indestructible is until end of turn.

Note that the Ability itself is not a tap ability so it can be used as much as you have food tokens. But the ability itself causes it to tap so you can not defend with it when you use it in your turn, and it is not possible to buff it and attack with it before attackers are declared.

So the best thing to do is buff it and give indestructible while defending, or buff it if necessary before taking your own turn. This are always the better choices because this gives a lot more versatility with the food tokens too. (ex life gain, buffing or any other effect)

  • Also while thinking about the stack when attacking. If you attack with it, blockers are declared, and then using the ability, it is placed on top of the stack so resolves first. This causes it to tap first, and the attack is not happening if i am correct? So this will be another waste of this ability.
    – Foxdemon
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 7:58
  • as soon as your creature is declared as attacker (and tapped), it is attacking. Declaring attackers (or blockers) isn't something that goes to the stack. Tapping an attacking creature, whether it's already tapped or not due to attacking, doesn't remove its attacker status. Attacking with the wolf, and using or not its ability depending on what's blocking is a valid strategy. The rulings on Gatherer specify explicetly you can use the ability when it's tapped anyway
    – Joubarc
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 11:13

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