ABSTRACT Some mathematical proofs explain why the theorems they prove hold. This paper identifies several challenges for any counterfactual account of explanation in mathematics. The paper presumes that countermathematicals can be nontrivial. It argues that nevertheless, a counterfactual account portrays explanatory power as too easy to achieve, does not capture explanatory asymmetry, and fails to specify why certain proofs are explanatory and others are not. Greater informativeness about counterfactual dependence can even yield less explanatory power.