This may sound like a noob question but I cannot find answer anywhere and I still learning all new stuff since I last played so I will ask here.

What does the rules say about using non-format tokens and basic lands in specific format tournament?

Example: I want to play token deck in standard tournament but I don't have current standard tokens/basic lands, can I use previous release tokens if they are the same in stats, types, etc?

2 Answers 2


Yes. If a card (e.g. "Island") is allowed in the current format, you may place any print of that card into your deck.

You can even use a print of a card whose text has since been changed in Oracle. The text in Oracle always overrides the text on the card.

The cards much match the following criteria:

  • The card is genuine and published by Wizards of the Coast
  • The card has a standard Magic back or is a double faced card.
  • The card does not have squared corners
  • The card has black or white borders
  • The card is not a token card
  • The card is not damaged or modified in a way that might make it marked
  • The card is otherwise legal for the tournament as defined by the format
  • The card is a proxy issued by the judge of a tournament

(See section 3.3 of the Tournament Rules for a couple of additional notes.)

Note that wear and faded ink on older cards could be construed as markings. Sleeves can address these issues.

As for tokens, you can use anything that can be tapped. You can use an Ace of Clubs as your Spirit token if you so desire.

  • I've even seen token starved folks use dice for their tokens (sometimes a 6 means a 6/6, other times a 6 means 6 of whatever token it represents...), with their position representing tapped vs untapped vs summoning sickness. I don't recommend it because it forces you to remember so much more, but it does work in a pinch.
    – corsiKa
    Sep 19, 2014 at 18:01
  • @corsiKa, A despicable practice, in my opinion. Use the face-down cards of another deck instead.
    – ikegami
    Sep 19, 2014 at 18:09
  • If your opponent wishes to use dice for tokens (I do so frequently, myself) and you do not feel their use is clear enough, you can request they use something more clear to represent the tokens. Tokens can be anything so long as their state is clear to everyone participating in the game.
    – Brian S
    Sep 19, 2014 at 18:29
  • Face down cards from another Magic deck can appear to be face-down morph creatures. Also, even in block constructed, a dedicated token deck can generate hundreds of tokens. I typically use 3 10-sided dice placed atop a single token card to represent numbers of that token from 001 to 999. If I split them (tap some without tapping others) I'll ask my opponent if he wants me to write the number of tapped and untapped on a piece of pocket notebook paper and leave it by the token until they untap. Sep 21, 2014 at 23:23
  • @gather818, Re "Face down cards from another Magic deck can appear to be face-down morph creatures." Still way better than dice, even though it's a made-up problem. You can take the sleeves off.
    – ikegami
    Sep 22, 2014 at 1:30

You can use any black- or white-bordered version of any card that is legal in your format, including basic lands. For example, Naturalize was printed in Magic 2015, so it is standard legal, but you can also use your Onslaught Naturalize and it will be perfectly legal.

Tokens are not considered Magic cards by tournaments: they don't go in your deck, or in your deck list. You can use any object you want to represent a token, as long as your opponent knows what it's supposed to represent (and, in most cases, you should be able to indicate that it's tapped).

  • Thanks much! I am still new and just starting to gather my new collection but it will help me for sure to look for some specific cards :)
    – necromos
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:22
  • For whoever is interested, "You should be able to indicate that it's tapped" is covered by section 1.10 of the Tournament Rules. It's worded differently, like "Players must maintain a clear game state." Being tapped happens to be a part of the game state.
    – Rainbolt
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:46

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