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This article is about the type of marker. For the specific type of counter, see Counter (counter). For the physical card for generic counters, see "Counter" (card). For the Trap Card property, see Counter Trap Card.

Various counters in the artwork of "Counter Cleaner"
Various counters in the artwork of "Counter Cleaner"



Japanese (romanized)




A counter (Japanese: カウンター Kauntā) is a marker that can be put on cards that are face-up on the field. Counters themselves do not have effects,[1] but many cards have effects that depend on them.

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.


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.[2][3]

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.[2][3]

Common ways of representing counters include glass beads, paper clips, coins,[4] and individual dice.


Counters themselves do not have effects,[1] 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 can only be placed on face-up cards. If a card is flipped face-down[1] or leaves the field, all counters it had are removed.

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.[1]

Counters that can be placed on any card (such as Ice Counters) do not require an effect to remain on the card. Even if a card's effects are negated, these counters are not removed.[1]