A token is a permanent that is not represented by a regular card with a casting cost. Usually, but not always, tokens are creatures (It is possible to use cards such as Followed Footsteps and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to create noncreature tokens).
If a token leaves play and goes to another game zone, it will be there only briefly before ceasing to exist as a state-based effect.
- Teysa, Orzhov Scion has the ability: "Whenever another black creature you control is put into a graveyard from play, put a 1/1 white Spirit token with flying into play." If you have a black token creature that gets destroyed, it will go to the graveyard, trigger Teysa's ability and put it on the stack, then disappear.
- Momentary Blink reads in part: "Remove target creature you control from the game, then return it to play under its owner's control." If this spell is used on a token creature, it will leave play, but cannot come back into play and so stays removed from the game. It will cease to exist when state-based effects are next checked.
From the Comprehensive Rules (May 1, 2008)
- 216. Tokens
- 216.1. Some effects put tokens into play. A token is controlled by whoever put it into play and owned by the controller of the spell or ability that created it. (If no player controlled the effect that created it, the token is owned by whoever put it into play.) The spell or ability may define any number of characteristics for the token. This becomes the token's "text." The characteristics defined this way are functionally equivalent to the characteristics that are printed on a card; for example, they define the token's copiable values. A token doesn't have any characteristics not defined by the spell or ability that created it.
- 216.1a. A spell or ability that creates a creature token sets both its name and its creature type. If the spell or ability doesn't specify the name of the creature token, its name is the same as its creature type(s). A "Goblin Scout creature token," for example, is named "Goblin Scout" and has the creature subtypes Goblin and Scout. Once a token is in play, changing its name doesn't change its creature type, and vice versa.
- 216.2. A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype. A token isn’t a card (even if represented by a card that has a Magic back or that came from a Magic booster pack).
- 216.3. A token in a zone other than the in-play zone ceases to exist. This is a state-based effect. (Note that a token changing zones sets off triggered abilities before the token ceases to exist.) Once a token has left play, it can't be returned to play by any means.
- 216.4 A token that has left play can’t come back into play. If such a token would return to play, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based effects are checked.
Token specific creature types
Some creatures named in the legal subtype-list only appear on tokens.
- Camarid tokens are created by Homarid Spawning Bed and Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII.
- Caribou tokens are created by Caribou Range.
- Citizen tokens are created by Icatian Crier, Icatian Town and Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII.
- Deserter tokens are created by Kjeldoran Home Guard.
- Germ tokens are created by living weapons.
- Graveborn tokens are created by Balduvian Dead and Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper. Graveborn Muse doesn't have the subtype Graveborn.
- Orb tokens are created by Phantasmal Sphere. Note that artifacts like Chaos Orb don't have the Orb subtype.
- Pentavite tokens are created by Pentavus.
- Pincher tokens are created by the Summoning Station. Pincher Beetles doesn't have the subtype.
- Prism tokens are created by Diamond Kaleidoscope, but not by Pentad Prism or Prismatic Circle.
- Reflection tokens are created by Pure Reflection and Spirit Mirror, but not by the Kami of Twisted Reflection.
- Sand (Warrior) tokens are created by Hazezon Tamar and Dune-Brood Nephilim, but for example not by Choking Sands or Sandstorm. Sand Golem is not a Sand Creature.
- Saproling are produced by many green-aligned fungus and/or plant-based cards.
- Serf tokens are produced by Sengir Autocrat.
- Splinter tokens are created by Splintering Wind, but not by Splinter, Splinter Twin or Bone Splinters.
- Survivor tokens are created by Varchild's War-Riders under opponent's control. Note that Auriok Survivors, Riptide Survivor and Survivor of the Unseen don't have the survivor subtype.
- Pink Giant Teddy Bear tokens are created by Water Gun Balloon Game.
- Tetravite tokens are created by Tetravus.
- Triskelavite tokens are created by Triskelavus.