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Current token frame (Core Set 2020)

A token is a permanent that is not represented by a regular card with a casting cost.[1][2] They are created by the effects of many different spells and abilities, rather than being cast from the hand like normal cards.


Richard Garfield created tokens for Alpha, as opposed to counters, to make The Hive possible.[3][4] Usually, but not always, tokens are creatures. Once on the battlefield, tokens operate just like any other permanent in almost all ways. Some abilities limit their effects to only non-tokens, or to only tokens.

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. This concept no longer applies to phased out tokens - tokens phase out and back in just like other permanents. Similarly, tokens can have any status such as tapped or even face down.

Some creature and artifact subtypes only appear on tokens. Five kinds of artifact tokens, one creature token and one enchantment token have predefined characteristics in the game rules so that cards can create them very concisely, but of these, Clue, Food, and Treasure appear on at least one non-token card as well. This wiki also presents a comprehensive list of all tokens.


All colors can create creature tokens. White and green, as the two primary creature colors, do it most often.[5] White tends to make smaller creature tokens; these usually are 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.

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).[5] White is secondary.[5]


Tokens may be represented in the game by any physical object that's convenient to place on the playing surface and suitable for gameplay interactions, especially tapping. Official token cards are typically released with each set in the modern era, but these are not required; players can use other cards (often basic lands) with crossed out text, scraps of paper, or even dice or figurines. Official tokens are made of different cardstock than regular cards - they don't have the opaque layer in the middle.[6][7]

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.[8][9]


Non-card tokens[]

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.[10]

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

The first token cards[]

Special token cards were first printed for Unglued.[11] Mark Rosewater has written that these cards were inspired by unofficial accessory cards used by Japanese players.[12] Unglued's tokens proved so popular they spawned the new tokens given away in the Magic Player Rewards program.[13][14]

Eighth Edition[]

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 card type.[15]

Tenth Edition[]

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[]

Starting with Magic 2015 "Token" is now printed as a supertype on the type line.[16] The token rarity is denoted by a T in the Information below the text box.

Battle for Zendikar[]

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.[17][18]

Enchantment tokens[]

The first non-creature token was the enchantment token copy of Imperial Mask that can be given to your teammates. This appeared in Future Sight.

Estrid, the Masked is the first card to make an aura enchantment token.[19]

Enchantment tokens returned in the Mystery Booster set, where the test card Celestine Cave Witch lets you sacrifice insects to create curse enchantment tokens, and Domesticated Mammoth arrives on the battlefield with an aura token of Pacifism on it.

Double-faced tokens[]

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.[20] The Avacyn Restored prerelease Helvault kit followed up with double-sided Angel/Demon tokens.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

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

Artifact tokens[]

Artifact tokens were introduced in 2013 (Theros block) with Gold. Since then, Food (Throne of Eldraine), Clues (Shadows over Innistrad), Treasure (Ixalan block) and Blood (Innistrad: Crimson Vow) tokens have been added.[24] Of these, Treasure has had the most returns of noncreature tokens, and these artifacts led to several rules changes in the context of creating tokens (name and type baggage).

Gold tokens from the Theros block could be sacrificed without tapping, and this allowed a player to tap the artifact to pay other costs, such as Improvise, before sacrificing the Gold itself. Later artifact tokens added the tapping to prevent similar actions, most evident with Treasure being the same function of adding mana.

Token miniatures[]

WizKids Creature Forge tokens

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

Relic tokens[]

Also in 2018, Ultra Pro produced a series of Magic: the Gathering tokens in durable hard plastic. These can double as life counters.

Main article: Relic Tokens

Full-art tokens[]

Core Set 2020 introduced full-art tokens.[25]

Predefined tokens[]

Core Set 2020 also introduced the concept of predefined tokens, changing the rules for Gold and Treasure tokens.

Main article: Predefined token

Change in token naming[]

With the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow in 2021 came a change to how tokens are named, to prevent the naming of "Blood" (Flesh // Blood) with Pithing Needle to disable Blood tokens.[26] Going forward, if a spell or ability is creating a token without specifying its name, the name will be the same as its subtypes plus the word "Token." For example, a "Goblin Scout creature token" is named "Goblin Scout Token." Similarly, the name of a Blood token created in the game is "Blood Token" and choosing the name "Blood" (as in Flesh // Blood) for an effect will not cause that effect to apply to Blood tokens.[27]


From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 10, 2022—Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate)

A marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card. See rule 111, “Tokens.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 10, 2022—Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate)

  • 111. Tokens
    • 111.1. Some effects put tokens onto the battlefield. A token is a marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card.
    • 111.2. The player who creates a token is its owner. The token enters the battlefield under that player’s control.
    • 111.3. 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.

    • 111.4. A spell or ability that creates a token sets both its name and its subtype(s). If the spell or ability doesn’t specify the name of the token, its name is the same as its subtype(s) plus the word “Token.” Once a token is on the battlefield, changing its name doesn’t change its subtype(s), and vice versa.

      Example: Dwarven Reinforcements is a sorcery that says, in part, “Create two 2/1 red Dwarf Berserker creature tokens.” The tokens created as it resolves are each named Dwarf Berserker Token and each have the creature types Dwarf and Berserker.

      Example: Minsc, Beloved Ranger says, in part, “When Minsc, Beloved Ranger enters the battlefield, create Boo, a legendary 1/1 red Hamster creature token with trample and haste.” That token’s subtype is Hamster, but because Minsc specifies that the token’s name is Boo, neither “Hamster” nor “Token” are part of its name.

      Example: Spitting Image is a sorcery that says, in part, “Create a token that’s a copy of target creature.” All of that token’s characteristics will match the copiable characteristics of the creature targeted by that spell. If Spitting Image targets Doomed Dissenter, a Human creature, the name of the token the spell creates will be Doomed Dissenter, not Human Token or Doomed Dissenter Token.

    • 111.5. 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. Similarly, if an effect would create a token that is a copy of an instant or sorcery card, no token is created.
    • 111.6. 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).
    • 111.7. 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.)
    • 111.8. 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.
    • 111.9. Some effects instruct a player to create a legendary token. These may be written “create [name], a . . .” and list characteristics for the token. This is the same as an instruction to create a token with the listed characteristics that has the given name.
    • 111.10. Some effects instruct a player to create a predefined token. These effects use the definition below to determine the characteristics the token is created with. The effect that creates a predefined token may also modify or add to the predefined characteristics.
      • 111.10a A Treasure token is a colorless Treasure artifact token with “{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.”
      • 111.10b A Food token is a colorless Food artifact token with “{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.”
      • 111.10c A Gold token is a colorless Gold artifact token with “Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.”
      • 111.10d A Walker token is a 2/2 black Zombie creature token named Walker.
      • 111.10e A Shard token is a colorless Shard enchantment token with “{2}, Sacrifice this enchantment: Scry 1, then draw a card.”
      • 111.10f A Clue token is a colorless Clue artifact token with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
      • 111.10g A Blood token is a colorless Blood artifact token with “{1}, {T}, Discard a card, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
    • 111.11. A copy of a permanent spell becomes a token as it resolves. The token has the characteristics of the spell that became that token. The token is not “created” for the purposes of any replacement effects or triggered abilities that refer to creating a token.

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 10, 2022—Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate)

  • 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.


Example 1

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.

Example 2

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.




  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. Mark Rosewater (June 1, 2020). "My Favorite Things". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Eventide Token and Tips
  7. Mark Rosewater (September 26, 2017). "Why not just swap out a single token for a DFC?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Magic Arcana (July 30, 2002). "Unseen tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana (May 03, 2005). "Oyobi Spirit Token Art". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Magic Arcana (May 31, 2002). "Fallen Empires tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Magic Arcana (May 27, 2003). "Soldier Tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (August 16, 2004). "Putting the Un in Fun". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater (April 5, 2004). "Unhinged or No?". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast (May 27, 2002). "Player Rewards tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Wizards of the Coast (September 24, 2003). "The new look of tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Blake Rasmussen (July 2, 2014). "Magic 2015 tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2015). "Are some tokens rarer than others?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Token Rarity in DOM, M19, GRN, BBD, UMA (Reddit)
  19. Mark Rosewater (March 13, 2020). "Can I have an obscure trivia about Estrid or enchantments matters?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Monty Ashley (March 28, 2012). "The Double-Faced Token". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Monty Ashley (May 02, 2012). "The Helvault Experience". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Ethan Fleischer and Ian Duke (October 24, 2014). "A Love Letter to Vorthos". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Wizards of the Coast. (October 7, 2016.) "Playtest League and Earn Foil Tokens", Wizards Play Network.
  24. Mark Rosewater (October 28, 2021). "Is there a word for these ever-changing kinda-generic artifact tokens?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. Chris Gleeson (June 20, 2019). "The Tokens of Core Set 2020". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (November 2, 2021). "There has been a change to how token naming works.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Jess Dunks (November 10, 2021). "Innistrad: Crimson Vow Comprehensive Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]