I have quite a few cards that have the ability to create creature tokens when they're played or their ability is activated. The only problem is I don't have the specific token for each one, but I have a handful of other creature tokens.

Can I substitute creature token Y for creature token X? For example, if the ability allows creating two 2/2 Black Zombies, but I don't have any Black Zombie tokens, could I use, say, a Green Wolf and a White Human to substitute as placeholders? I don't see why not since the tokens are pretty much empty objects that are filled in whenever they're brought into battle.


5 Answers 5


You can represent your tokens however you want with

  • coins
  • dice
  • sleeves
  • deckboxes
  • your smartphone, etc
  • If you have different types of tokens, I normally put them face down.

But there are some things to be careful of however. (mostly applies to competitive scenarios)

  • If you have many of the same token, Avoid using dice to represent the quantity. If you do this, you'll have issues differentiating tapped tokens from untapped, and tokens with summoning sickness from tokens without.
  • If a card produces a token, avoid turning that card face-down for your token. If that card is in your graveyard, your graveyard is where it belongs. find another object to represent your token with.

To Summarize: You can represent your tokens in whatever manner you want, so long as they're clearly and accurately represented.

  • 1
    As a note, I would avoid using other creature tokens face-up to represent your token creatures, because that creates the possibility for confusion, especially if e.g. your opponent somehow manages to create a White Human token. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 18:29
  • (Also, I'd encourage avoiding using dice for the tokens themselves since it's so hard to distinguish tapped from untapped state on dice. Otherwise, though, an excellent answer all about.) Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 18:29
  • Coins don't work since you can't tap them. Dice don't work well either.
    – ikegami
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 20:46
  • 2
    @ikegami heads or tails? Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 20:47
  • 1
    ug, I wouldn't allow that heads/tails for tap status. Otherwise unused lands (islands for a red player), unsleeved cards in an otherwise sleeved deck and face-down sideboard cards all work better.
    – ikegami
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 20:53

You can use whatever physical object you want to represent a token, including actual MtG cards.

The only conditions are that it has to be clear which object represents which token, and that each object can be tapped, i.e. you have to be able to tell whether a token is tapped or untapped.

Of course you must also avoid confusion with real cards, so you best don't use a card as a token if the same card also appears in your or your opponent's deck.

  • I think this answer is the best - it gets to the core of the issue: clarity. You have to make your board state as clear and simple as reasonably possible. If you had a deck that generates lots of soldier tokens and saproling tokens, it would be very wise to have either a set of white and a set of green dice, or a good supply of token cards. It would be a poor decision to have a lot of the same color dice.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 18:38

Yes, you can use anything to represent a token. As long as it is clear to both players what the token actually represents.

However, using a token of a different type can be confusing. Instead of using a different token I have seen the following used:

  • face down card from a different deck (as long as this wont be confused with morph)
  • empty card sleeve
  • scraps of paper

You don't need to use those pre-printed tokens, they are only a convenience. You can use a scrap of paper with the stats written on it, an upside down magic card, anything at all really. It only gets complicated if you have multiple different types of tokens in play at once, then you will want to make sure you can distinguish them.

You could use a normal pack of playing cards, with each suit being a different type, for example.

If you start generating large number of tokens (eg more than 5) its probably easiest to use a small piece of paper with a name written on it and a dice to show how many of those tokens there are. Then if you attack with some of them, make a new card with the same name with a dice and use one to represent tapped and one untapped tokens of that name.


If I don't have the actual token I like to use the blank advertising cards that I sometimes get in boosters instead of tokens.

Failing that you can always order packs of tokens for fairly cheap on eBay if you want to.

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