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Kithkin Soldier token.

A token is a permanent that is not represented by a regular card with a casting cost.[1][2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Richard Garfield created tokens for Alpha, as opposed to counters, to make The Hive possible.[3] Usually, but not always, tokens are creatures.

Normally tokens can exist only on the battlefield, due to state-based effects. If a token leaves the battlefield and goes to another game zone, it can't change zones again, and it will be there only briefly before the state-based effect removes it.

Tokens are made of different cardstock than regular cards. They don't have the opaque layer in the middle.[4][5]

History[edit | edit source]

Non-card tokens[edit | edit source]

There were so many cards in Fallen Empires that produced tokens and/or required counters that Wizards of the Coast issued a cardboard sheet of them in Duelist #4.[6]

Citadel Gaming released a series "Magic Tokens" starting in 1995 made of a plastic material.

The first token cards[edit | edit source]

Special token cards were first printed for Unglued.[7] Mark Rosewater has written that these cards were inspired by unofficial accessory cards used by Japanese players.[8] Unglued's tokens proved so popular they spawned the new tokens given away in the Magic Player Rewards program.[9][10]

Eighth Edition[edit | edit source]

Like for regular cards, the card frame for tokens was updated with Eighth Edition. "Token" now appeared in the type line, though it never became an official subtype.[11]

Tenth Edition[edit | edit source]

Since Tenth Edition tokens appear as marketing cards in booster packs. Unlike earlier tokens, they don't have a regular card back, but feature advertisements instead. They also stopped printing "token" on the type line.

Magic 2015[edit | edit source]

Starting with Magic 2015 "Token" is now printed as a supertype on the type line.[12]

Battle for Zendikar[edit | edit source]

For Battle for Zendikar, the ratio between token cards and other marketing cards was shifted heavily in favor of tokens. The new ratio is approximately 9:10 for tokens. Tokens’ rarity is based upon the rarity of the cards that make them.[13]

Double-faced tokens[edit | edit source]

The first double-faced token was released as a special FNM card during the Innistrad block on April 6, 2012 (which featured a full moon). It fittingly represented a 1/1 human on one side, and a 2/2 wolf on the other.[14] The Avacyn Restored prerelease Helvault kit followed up with double-sided Angel/Demon tokens.[15]

The next chance for double-faced tokens came when the developers of Commander 2014 didn't have to share the tokens in that set with the brand team, and the production constraints that mandated Magic backs on the Duel Decks' tokens didn't apply. They created double-faced tokens which featured a different, unrelated, token on each side of the card.[16]

Double-faced tokens made another appearance in pre-release packs for Eldritch Moon. These tokens are a 2/2 Zombie on either face, and are foil. From 2017 on, double-faced tokens were made available as prizes for the Magic League.[17]

The Bundle for Amonkhet contained a pack of double-faced tokens that comprise a complete set of every token in the expansion.

Token miniatures[edit | edit source]

WizKids Creature Forge tokens

In September 2018, WizKids releases a miniatiure line focusing on token creature card favorites.

Token generation[edit | edit source]

All colors can make creature tokens. White and green, as the two primary creature colors, do it most often.[18] White tends to make smaller creature tokens, usually 1/1s, while green tends to make larger ones, from 3/3 and up. White often will make multiple tokens at once since they're smaller. Black most often makes 2/2 Zombies. Red most often makes 1/1 Goblins. Sometimes red's token creatures are a little bigger and get exiled at end of turn.

Increasing the number of tokens[edit | edit source]

The effect to increase the number of tokens as they're being made, or making more after they've already been made, is also primary in blue and green (e.g.Doubling Season.[18] White is secondary.[18]

Magic Online[edit | edit source]

Because Magic Online needs to represent all the tokens in the game, art needs to be created for even the most insignificant tokens. And for some of that art, Magic Online is the only place it appears.[19][20]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

A marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card. See rule 110.5.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

  • 108.2b Tokens aren’t considered cards—even a card-sized game supplement that represents a token isn’t considered a card for rules purposes.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

  • 110.5. Some effects put tokens onto the battlefield. A token is a marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card.
    • 110.5a The player who creates a token is its owner. The token enters the battlefield under that player’s control.
    • 110.5b The spell or ability that creates a token may define the values of any number of characteristics for the token. This becomes the token’s “text.” The characteristic values defined this way are functionally equivalent to the characteristic values that are printed on a card; for example, they define the token’s copiable values. A token doesn’t have any characteristics not defined by the spell or ability that created it.

      Example: Jade Mage has the ability “{2}{G}: Create a 1/1 green Saproling creature token.” The resulting token has no mana cost, supertypes, rules text, or abilities.

    • 110.5c A spell or ability that creates a token sets both its name and its subtype. If the spell or ability doesn’t specify the name of the token, its name is the same as its subtype(s). A “Goblin Scout creature token,” for example, is named “Goblin Scout” and has the creature subtypes Goblin and Scout. Once a token is on the battlefield, changing its name doesn’t change its subtype, and vice versa.
    • 110.5d If a spell or ability would create a token, but a rule or effect states that a permanent with one or more of that token’s characteristics can’t enter the battlefield, the token is not created.
    • 110.5e A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype. A token isn’t a card (even if represented by a card that has a Magic back or that came from a Magic booster pack).
    • 110.5f A token that’s in a zone other than the battlefield ceases to exist. This is a state-based action; see rule 704. (Note that if a token changes zones, applicable triggered abilities will trigger before the token ceases to exist.)
    • 110.5g A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.

Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Teysa, Orzhov Scion has the ability: "Whenever another black creature you control dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield." "Dies" means precisely "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield" (rule 700.4). If you have a black creature token that gets destroyed, it will go to the graveyard, trigger Teysa's ability, then disappear, and finally the ability will be put on the stack. However, the token cannot be the target of spells or abilities whilst in the graveyard.
  • Momentary Blink reads in part: "Exile target creature you control, then return it to the battlefield under its owner's control." If this spell is used on a creature token, it will be exiled, but it cannot come back to the battlefield and so stays in the exile zone. It will cease to exist when state-based effects are next checked.

Token specific types[edit | edit source]

Some creatures and artifacts named in the legal subtype-list only appear on tokens.

Magic Player Reward 2003
Magic 2015 token
Token Color Type P/T Additional Rules Source Printings
Camarid Blue Creature — Camarid 1/1
Caribou White Creature — Caribou 0/1
Citizen White Creature — Citizen 1/1
Clue Colorless Artifact — Clue {2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.
Deserter White Creature — Deserter 0/1
Germ[22][23][24] Black Creature — Germ 0/0
Graveborn Black/Red Creature — Graveborn 3/1 Haste
Orb Blue Creature — Orb X/X Flying
Pentavite Colorless Artifact Creature — Pentavite 1/1 Flying
Pincher Colorless Creature — Pincher 2/2
Prism Colorless Artifact Creature — Prism 0/1
Sand Colorless Creature — Sand 1/1
Sand Warrior Red/Green/White Creature — Sand Warrior 1/1
Saproling Green Creature — Saproling 1/1
Green Creature — Saproling */* This creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of fade counters on Saproling Burst.
Serf Black Creature — Serf 0/1
Servo Colorless Artifact Creature — Servo 1/1
Splinter Green Creature — Splinter 1/1 Flying
Cumulative upkeep {G}
Survivor Red Creature — Survivor 1/1
Tetravite Colorless Creature — Tetravite 1/1 Flying
This creature can't be enchanted.
Triskelavite Colorless Artifact Creature — Triskelavite 1/1 Flying
Sacrifice this creature: This creature deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Token Color Type P/T Additional Rules Source Printings
Giant Teddy Bear Pink Creature — Giant Teddy Bear 5/5

Full list[edit | edit source]

  • Comprehensive Token Table - A comprehensive sortable table that lists every possible token that can be generated in Magic: the Gathering, the properties of those tokens, and the cards responsible for their creation (does not include tokens that copy other cards).

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (May 27, 2002.) “Tokens of My Affection”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (May 27, 2013.) “Token of Appreciation”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 26, 2005.) “+1/+1 For the Road”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Eventide Token and Tips
  5. Mark Rosewater. (September 26, 2017.) "hy not just swap out a single token for a DFC?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  6. Magic Arcana. (May 31, 2002.) “Fallen Empires tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana. (May 27, 2003.) “Soldier Tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater. (August 16, 2004.) “Putting the Un in Fun”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater. (April 5, 2004.) “Unhinged or No?”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Wizards of the Coast. (May 27, 2002.) “Player Rewards tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Wizards of the Coast. (September 24, 2003.) “The new look of tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Blake Rasmussen. (July 2, 2014.) “Magic 2015 tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater. (October 18, 2015.) "Are some tokens rarer than others?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  14. Monty Ashley. (March 28, 2012.) “The Double-Faced Token”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Monty Ashley. (May 02, 2012.) “The Helvault Experience”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Ethan Fleischer and Ian Duke. (October 24, 2014.) “A Love Letter to Vorthos”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Wizards of the Coast (October 7, 2016), "Playtest League and Earn Foil Tokens", Wizards Play Network
  18. a b c Mark Rosewater. (June 5, 2017.) “Mechanical Color Pie 2017”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Magic Arcana. (July 30, 2002.) “Unseen tokens”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana. (May 03, 2005.) “Oyobi Spirit Token Art”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Magic Arcana. (September 11, 2006.) “Time Spiral Token Art #1”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Monty Ashley. (March 08, 2011.) “The Germ in Charge”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Doug Beyer. (March 09, 2011.) “Germ Warfare: The Flavor of Living Weapon”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Doug Beyer. (March 16, 2011.) “Six Secrets Behind the Sets”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Magic Arcana. (June 01, 2004.) “Pincher token art”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Aaron Forsythe. (January 27, 2006.) “Guildpact: Twenty Questions”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Magic Arcana. (September 26, 2006.) “Time Spiral Token Art #3”,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]