There are a variety of different counters, with different types having different names, such as Spell Counters or Greed Counters. Some cards use counters that are simply named "counter", such as "B.E.S." monsters.
Counters are represented by small physical objects placed on the appropriate cards.
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Counters must be items that cannot be confused with other game elements. Objects that are overly large, may damage cards or other tournament property, or that contain offensive text or images may not be used.
The number of counters must be represented by the same number of items—the numbers on a die cannot be used to represent multiple counters. Physical counters are required–the "counter" function in Yu-Gi-Oh! Neuron cannot be used without also using physical counters.
Common ways of representing counters include glass beads, paper clips, coins, and individual dice.
Counters themselves do not have effects, although cards that place counters can apply an effect to a card as long as it has a counter (such as cards that place Cubic Counters and Predator Counters).
Counters that can only be placed on the card that places them, as well as counters that can only be placed on specific cards (such as Spell Counters), can only remain on a card as long as that card's effects are applying. If a card's effects are negated, all such counters are removed from it.
- Konami. Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game - Perfect Rulebook 2017. pp. 171–172.
- Official KDE-US Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy: H. Tournament Materials
- Official KDE-E Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy: H. Tournament Materials
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook (PDF) (Version 10 ed.). Konami. p. 3.