Undying and nullifying counters

  • #1
    So, I wanted to make a deck that utilized -1/-1 counters to extend the life of an undying creature. I heard that if an undying creature with a +1/+1 counter on it, gets a -1/-1 counter, it nullifies and if it's killed, it will then trigger the undying ability again.

    Then I found THIS in the Dark Asencion FAQ:

    "If a creature with undying that has a +1/+1 counter on it receives enough -1/-1 counters to cause it to be destroyed by lethal damage or put into its owner's graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, undying won't trigger and the card won't return to the battlefield. That's because undying checks the creature's existence just before it leaves the battlefield, and it still has all those counters on it at that point."

    Is that saying that if I have a Gravecrawler with a +1/+1 counter on it and let's say I was going to sacrifice him to birthing pod or some other trigger, or even if he blocks a creature and receives lethal damage, and in response I use a spell or ability to give him a -1/-1 counter he would not come back?

    Basically, does giving a -1/-1 counter to a creature with undying, with a +1/+1 counter on it essencitially remove the +1/+1 counter and allow undying to work again?
  • #2
    You're reading that entry in the FAQ to say something other than what it actually says.
    What you quoted specifically applies to a situation in which the creature receives so many -1/-1 counters in one shot that it lowers the creature's toughness to 0.

    Simply adding one -1/-1 counter to the creature will give state-based actions enough time to remove the conflicting counters while the creature stays on the battlefield, giving undying another chance to trigger.
    I am no longer on MTGS staff, so please don't contact me asking me to do staff things. :|
  • #3
    Yes, a single -1/-1 counter and a +1/+1 counter will cancel as a State Based Action. The thing is, if your creature gets enough -1/-1 counters to kill it without removing the +1/+1 (i.e., a young wolf with a +1/+1 counter with 2 -1/-1 counters) it won't return with undying, since it left the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it.
  • #4
    So, if you had a Phyrexian Metamorph and it copied a creature with Undying and then traded in combat and when it came back, it had nothing to copy, so it's just a 1/1 Phyrexian Metamorph because of the counter... and then it got hit with a -1/-1 counter, it wouldn't return if you cast Undying Evil on it?
  • #5
    Quote from Shadowmaster
    So, if you had a Phyrexian Metamorph and it copied a creature with Undying and then traded in combat and when it came back, it had nothing to copy, so it's just a 1/1 Phyrexian Metamorph because of the counter... and then it got hit with a -1/-1 counter, it wouldn't return if you cast Undying Evil on it?


    Right. The state-based action that kills it for 0 toughness is checked and carried out at exactly the same time as the state-based action that cancels the counters. So, we go from Game State A:

    Metamorph on the field as a 0/0 with one +1/+1 and one -1/-1 counter

    To Game State B

    Metamorph in the graveyard, no counters.

    There was never a 'game state' where it died, but had counters on it still, so Undying won't trigger.
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