It is investigated to what extent the evolution of ductile damage in cold forging can be controlled without changing the geometry of the produced part. Besides the effects of strain hardening and residual stresses, damage, which is the nucleation, growth and coalescence of voids on microscopic level, affects product properties of the manufactured components such as fatigue strength, impact strength, or elastic stiffness. Former investigations have shown that the load path-dependent damage evolution in forward rod extrusion, and thus, the performance of produced parts can be controlled by the process parameters extrusion strain and shoulder opening angle. As these parameters also affect the geometry of extruded parts, design requirements of components might be violated by varying these. Thus, counterpressure is used to superpose purely hydrostatic stresses to forward rod extrusion in order to decrease triaxiality in the forming zone without causing geometric variations in the produced parts. The counterpressure is either introduced by a counterpunch or by modified process routes. The achieved improvements in product performance are in agreement with results obtained by variation of extrusion strain and shoulder opening angle as described in the literature. In addition, it is observed in tensile tests that damage in cold extruded parts does not significantly affect flow stress. All advancements in product performance are realized without affecting the products’ geometries.