Question about my new mechanic: "flavored" +1/+1 counters

Newb cardsmith here! [waves] 

I have a mechanics question for you cardsmiths out there (and I'm sorry if I broke any protocols by posting a new discussion for this without asking this question in the appropriate thread).

I'm trying to envision a set of counter-based mechanics which are basically color variations on a +1/+1 counter that act differently based on who owns the creature it gets placed on. 

Meaning, if you put one of these counters on your own creature, each one "just" gives your creature +1/+1.  But, if you choose to buff-up an opponent's creature with this flavored +1/+1 counter, then something eventually happens based on the color of that counter.

Below are some examples of what I was envisioning.  Also, I'm very open to feedback, so I'm not married to these arbitrary names of these counters, or to their exact effect.   I just wanted to get this idea out there.  With the new Ikoria counters that just came out this year, and the MANY cards which can do things with counters, I thought this might be a neat thought experiment. So here are some examples:
  • Impress Counter (U): whenever a creature an opponent owns has 3 or more impress counters on it, if you were the one to put those impress counters there, you gain control of that creature & untap it.
  • Judgement Counter (B): whenever a creature an opponent owns has 3 or more judgement counters on it, exile that creature.
  • Fanatic Counter (R): as long as this fanatic counter is on an opponent's creature, it does 1 damage to that creature's controller at the end of every player's end step.
  • Synergy Counter (G): as long as this synergy counter is on an opponent's creature, a target creature you control gets +1/+1. 
  • Ward Counter (W): whenever a creature an opponent owns has 3 or more ward counters on it,  if you were the one to put those impress counters there, you and creatures you control gain protection from the color (or colors) of that creature.
So, my question is: has this already been done?  Something where you buff up an opponent's creatures to their detriment?

Thanks in advance for any feedback or suggestions!


  • This is a really cool idea, and I think it might work well. Of course, I'm not exactly the person who you should take advice from, but maybe someone more experienced. I'm guessing @Ranshi will critique the living day out of this, so be prepared for that  ;)
  • Critiques, nitpicks, knee-jerk reactions, and irrational criticisms are as welcome as constructive feedback and kind words: I'm thick-skinned, and very appreciative of the extra sets of eyes taking a look at this.  Bring it on!  ;)
  • I'll try not to be too harsh.
    Holy memory issues, Batman, that's a lot of counters with really specific rules! It's also a lot of rules questions and other memory issues that come attached. Like when and how do I determine when the buff from synergy counters and reasonably track that? Ward counters also seem generally OP as they basically kill monocolor decks.
  • @LordTachanka123, you tempt me to say nothing for the sake of proving you wrong.
  • I'd be fine if the effect of the counter was named called something many players would recognize.  Maybe the white +1/+1 counters are called pacifism counters, and they could buff your creatures as well as opponent's creatures, but once a predetermined number of pacifism counters were put on an opponent's creature, it can't attack or block anymore.  
    Or something similar.  To keep it easier to remember what the effect of the counter is.  I dunno, I'm open to suggestions.  

    I'm not really suggesting that the above 5 examples of +1/+1 counters are perfect, because I was just quickly rattling off some flavorful thoughts on what might happen if you put these special +1/+1 counters on opponent's creatures.

    I guess my question was whether MTG has ever had a mechanic that allowed a player to temporarily buff an opponent's creatures to that opponent's detriment.  It's like giving them life for exiling their big bad creature, or something.   That's kinda where I was going with this, if that makes sense.

    And my thought being: Ikoria has the ability to put keyword counters on creatures now, and things like The Ozolith work with transferring counters of any kind, so maybe the next evolution of that keyword counter trend is to introduce a set of +1/+1 buff counters flavored by each slice of the color pie?  
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