When a creature that produces tokens is countered, does it still produce tokens? I.e. if Wurmcoil Engine is countered before it hits the battlefield, does it still produce tokens when it goes into the graveyard?

4 Answers 4


It depends on the trigger condition.

Wurmcoil Engine triggers when it dies. Dies means something very specific in Magic: the Gathering:

700.4. The term dies means “is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.”

If Wurmcoil Engine is countered, it goes straight from the stack to the graveyard, bypassing the battlefield entirely.

701.5a To counter a spell or ability means to cancel it, removing it from the stack. It doesn’t resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owner’s graveyard.

If the trigger condition were different, like "Whenever Wurmcoil Engine gets countered, [...]" or "Whenever Wurmcoil Engine is put into the graveyard, [...]" then it would trigger.

A commentor helped me find a creature that would still give you a token even if it were countered. Desolation Twin triggers when you cast the spell. Once triggered, the trigger exists independently of the actual spell. Even if Desolation Twin gets countered, the trigger will still resolve, and you will still get a token.

  • 1
    There are certainly creatures that trigger when entering the graveyard, even if they don't make tokens - the template is "...put into a graveyard from anywhere...", like on Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. So that's a decent example - you'll shuffle him into your library, whether he dies or is countered.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 3, 2016 at 0:06
  • Sorry, that's shuffle your graveyard into your library, not just Kozilek.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 3, 2016 at 1:40
  • 3
    There is Desolation Twin which makes a token when cast, so you still get the token even if it is countered. There may be other recent eldrazis in this case.
    – Autar
    Mar 3, 2016 at 8:44

The key word here is "dies":

When Wurmcoil Engine dies, ...

That word has a very specific meaning:

700.4. The term dies means “is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.”

If Wurmcoil Engine is countered, it never enters the battlefield, so it can't possibly die, so you don't get tokens. You also wouldn't get tokens if it were exiled, returned to your hand, put on top of your library, or anything else besides going from battlefield to graveyard.

Contrast this with something like Desolation Twin:

When you cast Desolation Twin, put a 10/10 colorless Eldrazi creature token onto the battlefield.

Since that ability triggers when it's cast, you'll get the token even if the Desolation Twin itself is countered.


A creature card that is countered does not enter the battlefield. Instead it goes from the stack to the graveyard. By that definition, it doesn't die, so it doesn't create the tokens.


This depends on how the creature creates tokens. In Wurmcoil Engine's case, it creates the tokens when it dies. "Dies" is defined as "goes from the battlefield to the graveyard", so no, it will not create the tokens, as it was never on the battlefield.

If instead it were a card that said "when [creature name] is put into the graveyard", then yes, it would.

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