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I have a Greenwarden of Murasa out, and I make a token copy of it with Fated Infatuation or Progenitor Mimic or something along those lines.

When the token dies it will immediately vanish from the graveyard per token rules, but this ability will also trigger:

When Greenwarden of Murasa dies, you may exile it. If you do, return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

Will I have no option to return a card via this ability? It vanishes too soon for me to exile it, and I don't have the ability to meet that "if" with a token, right?

7

You cannot choose to exile the token because it has already ceased to exist, and you won't be able to return a card to your hand.

A token ceases to exist as soon as it moves to a zone other than the battlefield:

110.5g 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.

When the token dies, its death ability will trigger. As per state-based actions, the token ceases to exist. On resolution of the triggered ability, you will get to choose whether to exile the token. However, because the token has already ceased to exist, you cannot choose to exile it, and you will not be able to return a card to your hand.

  • 1
    Can't you technically still choose to exile it? Of course, that doesn't do anything, because you only get to return a card "if you do [exile it]", which you can't? So you can make the choice as you wish, you just can't exile it. – sgf Jul 27 '17 at 22:46
  • It may be that trying to assess whether you can/can't choose to exile a token that isn't there is splitting hairs: the fact remains you can't compete all of "choose to exile it", or there is no way to take advantage of "you may exile it", and whether that's because you can't choose or there isn't an "it" is probably immaterial. – doppelgreener Jul 28 '17 at 0:07
  • Would this be different if the wording said: "When Greenwarden of Murasa dies, you may exile it instead of placing it in your graveyard"? Would that change of wording make this a replacement-effect? And would a token be able to do the replacement effect (ie instead of moving from the battlefield to the grave and cease exisisting, it now moves from the bf to exile and ceases being)? – steenbergh Jul 28 '17 at 8:25
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    @steenbergh To be a replacement effect it would have to not be triggered, since if the ability gets triggered it's too late to replace that event, so we'd get something like "If Greenwarden of Murasa would die, you may exile it instead. If you do...". I think that would certainly change the answer, but alas. – doppelgreener Jul 28 '17 at 9:37
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    @doppelgreener, The wording of the replacement effect would be closer "If ~ would be put into your graveyard from anywhere, you may exile it instead. If you do, return target card from your graveyard to your hand." That would indeed work, because tokens can be exiled. – ikegami Aug 1 '17 at 16:47
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You cannot exile the token for the ability

This is what happens:

  1. Your Greenwarden of Murasa (token) is put in the graveyard, triggering its ability. The ability is put on the stack and you choose a target card in your graveyard (you do not get to exile the token at this time).
  2. State-based actions are checked, and the token stops existing.
  3. The active player gets priority, and presumably you and your opponent(s) pass.
  4. Greenwarden's trigger resolves, and asks if you want to exile it from your graveyard. Since it has ceased to exist, of course, you don't have that option. Nothing happens.

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