There are a lot of risks associated with putting +1/+1 counters on Creatures, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and do it. In fact, if you’re into big risk, big reward strategies, this is often one of the more exciting ways to go.
The best +1/+1 counter Commanders come in a lot of shapes and sizes, and they often allow for different strategies too. Even the color combinations of them are very rarely the same, so the world is really your oyster here. To help you get started, we’ve made a list.
The 10 Best +1/+1 Counter Commanders
Now, our list of the best +1/+1 counter Commanders wouldn’t be complete without an honorable mention, and we’re going to go ahead and say that belongs to Gargos, Vicious Watcher. While we don’t think Gargos specifically embraces the +1/+1 counter life, they do make for a good Hydra commander.
If you’re not familiar with the Creature type, nearly every single Hydra comes in with a bunch of +1/+1 counters on it, so it sort of belongs here, though you’re more likely building a tribal deck with them, we did feel they deserved a shout out.
10 – Felisa, Fang of Silverquill
Felisa, Fang of Silverquill is a four mana White and Black 3/2 with flying and mentor. Mentor is an ability that triggers when it attacks, and it allows you to put a +1/+1 counter on another attacking Creature that has less power than it. This allows you to put counters on things all over the place, just with your Commander.
Along with all of that, they also read, “Whenever a nontoken creature you control dies, if it had counters on it, create X tapped 2/1 white and black Inkling creature tokens with flying, where X is the number of counters it had on it.” This is constant fodder for your mentor ability, so you should always have a steady stream of flying threats.
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9 – Breena, the Demagogue
Another fairly new card this time with Breena, the Demagogue. Breena is a three mana White and Black 1/3, with flying. They also have an ability that reads, “Whenever a player attacks one of your opponents, if that opponent has more life than another of your opponents, that attacking player draws a card, and you put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control.”
While this isn’t a traditional approach to a +1/+1 counter deck, having a slightly more political flavor to the whole affair can be a lot of fun. You can, of course, combine this with Felisa, Fang of Silverquil for some very powerful plays too.
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8 – Ghave, Guru of Spores
Now, Ghave, Guru of Spores, is a Commander that fits into a lot of different strategies along with also being something of a combo engine all by themselves. However, in this instance, we’re just going to focus on the +1/+1 counter side of things. Ghave is a five mana White, Black, and Green 0/0 that enters with five +1/+1 counters.
You can then pay one mana to either remove a counter from a Creature you control to make a 1/1 Saproling, or sacrifice a Creature to put a +1/+1 on a Creature. You basically just need a card or two to turn this into something obnoxious. Even just Hardened Scales will do it most of the time.
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7 – Marchesa, the Black Rose
Marchesa, the Black Rose is a four mana Blue, Black, and Red 3/3 with dethrone. That means that whenever they attack the player with the most life or tied for the most life, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on them. They also give all of your other Creature dethrone too, so you’ll be getting +1/+1 counters easily as long as you’re attacking the healthiest player.
They also allow you to return Creatures you control that die with a +1/+1 counter on it to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step. It means you can comfortably keep attacking in as long as you’re being fair, and if you’re making counters in literally any other way, then you’re golden.
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6 – Vorel of the Hull Clade
If you’re in the mood for Merfolk and +1/+1 counters, then Vorel of the Hull Clade is a good choice. They’re a three mana Green and Blue 1/4 Human Merfolk. That means there are lots of tribal things you can dabble in with a Vorel deck.
Also, you can pay two mana and tap them to double the number of each counter on an Artifact, Creature, or Land. It’s not hard to imagine how quickly doubling the counters on things can get out of hand, so we’ll just leave you to it.
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5 – Skullbriar, the Walking Grave
Now, sometimes you want to play aggro, and that’s okay. Skullbriar, the Walking Grave is a two mana Black and Green 1/1 with haste. They gain a +1/+1 counter every time they deal combat damage to a player, which means you can turn them sideways a lot.
Also, they keep any counters they have on them when they move to other zones, as long as it’s not your hand or your library. This means you can absolutely go all-in on just putting counters on Skullbriar, and you’ll very rarely suffer for doing so.
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4 – Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is a six mana 6/6 with trample and haste that halves the number of counters any opponent puts on anything. Just the stats and abilities alone there are good, but we’re going to need more than that to make Vorinclex one of the best +1/+1 counter commanders out there.
Well, they also double the number of counters you put on permanents. You can actually comfortably build Vorinclex as a horrifying infect deck, but there’s no reason to not also mess about with +1/+1 counters and maybe some Planeswalkers too. It’d be rude not to, really.
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3 – Hamza, Guardian of Arashin
Another new card now with Hamza, Guardian of Arashin. Hamza is a six mana Green and White 5/5 that costs one mana less for every Creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it. That means you can offset any Commander tax issues by simply having more Creatures out there doing what you’re trying to do.
Also, they make all of your Creatures cost one less to cast for each Creature you control with a 1/+1 counter on it. This means that you can not only play around with +1/+1 counters, but also with having some massive turns casting Creatures way above your paygrade if you build the deck well.
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2 – Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice
The top two spots here could chop and change based on the day, but we’re confident that they both belong here. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice is a four mana Green, White, Blue, and Black 4/4 with flying, vigilance, deathtouch, and lifelink. Also, they’re an Angel Horror, which is cool.
Their ability allows you to proliferate at the beginning of your end step. So, as long as you’ve already got a counter on something, you can get more. Because proliferate allows you to choose any number of permanents or players too, it means you can change the way a battlefield looks a lot by just going wide.
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1 – Ezuri, Claw of Progress
Finally, we have Ezuri, Claw of Progress. Aside from looking like a badass, Ezuri is a four mana Green and Blue 2/2, that allows you to gain an experience counter whenever a Creature with power two or less enters the battlefield under your control.
Then, at the beginning of combat on your turn, you get to put X +1/+1 counters on another target Creature you control, where X is the number of experience counters you have. It means you can go absolutely wild making lots of little tokens and unblockable bodies, and then buff them up to be bigger than Emrakul.
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