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I need help to settle a disagreement. During a recent Commander game, my opponent played a Devastation Tide, Return all nonland permanents to their owners' hands. He had 4 tokens out, and claims this did not apply to the tokens. His logic was that tokens would not return to his hand since they never were actually cast, so they should remain.

I disagree for 2 reasons, first I play Duels as well and the table version, and that game counts tokens as permanents. Second, from my understanding, with a few minor exceptions, a nonland permanent would be ANYTHING except an instant, sorcery, artifacts, equipment, etc. that is not 'permanently' on the battlefield.

In the above scenario, the tokens should have been eliminated, I believe. Is this correct?

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    Artifacts and equipment are also permanents – Ivar de Bruin Feb 28 '17 at 6:14
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    Just show him Brooding Saurian. If tokens weren't permanents, other cards wouldn't have to specify nontoken permanents. – Samthere Feb 28 '17 at 10:45
  • Re "a nonland permanent would be ANYTHING except an instant, sorcery, artifacts, equipment, etc. that is not 'permanently' on the battlefield.", Not quite. Just like creature cards and tokens, artifacts cards and token (incl Equipment cards and tokens) are also permaments when they are on the battelfield. – ikegami Feb 28 '17 at 19:41
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Rule 110 is very clear,

Some effects put tokens onto the battlefield. A token is a marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card.

...

e. A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype.

...

f. 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.

Rule 705.4d also clarifies,

If a token is phased out, or is in a zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.

Therefore,

  • Tokens are permanents.

  • Tokens, being permanents, are affected by Devastation Tide.

  • Each token leaves the battlefield.

  • State-based actions are checked and each token ceases to exist.

Whatever the case, your opponent's reasoning was false from the beginning.

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You are correct. According to the comprehensive rules (emphasis mine):

110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield. A permanent remains on the battlefield indefinitely. A card or token becomes a permanent as it enters the battlefield and it stops being a permanent as it’s moved to another zone by an effect or rule

and

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.

So tokens on the battlefield are permanents, and if they are not lands Devastation Tide will return them to their owner's hand (and since they're tokens, they will immediately cease to exist after leaving the battlefield).

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Tokens are permanents. The definition from the comprehensive rules:

110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield. [...]

110.5e A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype. [...]

So... yup, nothing to do with whether they were cast, and Devastation Tide definitely bounces tokens. If anything, it's more powerful against tokens, since upon being returned to their owners' hands, they cease to exist:

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.)

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