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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] 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. 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 ceasing to exist as a state-based effect.


Cardboard tokens[edit]

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.[4]

The first token cards[edit]

Special token cards were first printed for Unglued.[5] Unglued's tokens proved so popular they spawned the new tokens given away in the Magic Player Rewards program. [6][7]

Eighth Edition[edit]

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.[8]

Tenth Edition[edit]

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.

Magic 2015[edit]

Starting with Magic 2015 "Token" changed from subtype to supertype in the typeline. [9]

Double-faced tokens[edit]

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. [10] The Avacyn Restored prerelease Helvault kit followed up with double-sided Angel/Demon tokens. [11]

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. [12]

Magic Online[edit]

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.[13][14]

Examples and rules[edit]

  • 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 700.6). If you have a black creature token that gets destroyed, it will go to the graveyard, trigger Teysa's ability and put it on the stack, then disappear. 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.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Nov 1, 2013)

  • 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 A token is both owned and controlled by the player under whose control it entered the battlefield.
    • 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}: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token onto the battlefield." The resulting token has no mana cost, supertype, rules text, or abilities.
    • 110.5c A spell or ability that creates a creature token sets both its name and its creature type. If the spell or ability doesn't specify the name of the creature token, its name is the same as its creature type(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 creature type, and vice versa.
    • 110.5d If a spell or ability would create a token, but an 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 phased out, or 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.

Token specific creature types[edit]

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

Full list[edit]

Magic Player Reward 2003
Magic 2015 token
  • 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).



  1. Mark Rosewater. (May 27, 2002.) "Tokens of My Affection", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (May 27, 2013.) "Token of Appreciation", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 26, 2005.) "+1/+1 For the Road", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Arcana. (May 31, 2002.) "Fallen Empires tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Magic Arcana. (May 27, 2003.) "Soldier Tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater. (April 5, 2004.) "Unhinged or No?", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana. (May 27, 2002.) "Player Rewards tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana. (September 24, 2003.) "The new look of tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Blake Rasmussen. (July 2, 2014.) "Magic 2015 tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Monty Ashley. (March 28, 2012.) "The Double-Faced Token", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Monty Ashley. (May 02, 2012.) "The Helvault Experience", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Ethan Fleischer and Ian Duke. (October 24, 2014.) "A Love Letter to Vorthos", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Magic Arcana. (July 30, 2002.) "Unseen tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Magic Arcana. (May 03, 2005.) "Oyobi Spirit Token Art", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Monty Ashley. (March 08, 2011.) "The Germ in Charge", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Magic Arcana. (June 01, 2004.) "Pincher token art", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Aaron Forsythe. (January 27, 2006.) "Guildpact: Twenty Questions", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Magic Arcana. (September 26, 2006.) "Time Spiral Token Art #3", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit]