Toxoplasma is a highly successful parasite that establishes a life-long chronic infection. To do this, it must carefully regulate immune activation and host cell effector mechanisms. Here we review the latest developments in our understanding of how Toxoplasma counteracts the immune response of the host, and in some cases provokes it, through the use of specific parasite effector proteins. An emerging theme from these discoveries is that Toxoplasma effectors are master regulators of the pro-inflammatory response, which elicits many of the toxoplasmacidal mechanisms of the host. We speculate that combinations of these effectors present in certain Toxoplasma strains work to maintain an optimal parasite burden in different hosts to ensure parasite transmission. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.