Tokens

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Token decks focus on creating a large number of token creatures to overwhelm their opponents. Token strategies often take the form of aggro decks, using a high density of creatures, commonly paired with effects that increase their power, to defeat enemies with combat damage.

Token decks are most commonly centered in decks that include the colors white and green.

Popular Cards & Commanders

Popular cards used in token decks include:

Popular token commanders include:

Strategy

Token decks seek to create creature tokens to overpower their opponents in combat. Because token-producing cards can create a large number of tokens for a low cost, this can allow tokens players to spend very few cards and resources to establish a much larger board presence than their enemies. Token decks often contain a mixture of cards that create tokens, cards that duplicate tokens, and cards that amplify their power.

Token Makers

Token decks are able to produce tokens in a variety of ways:

Pump/Evasion

Once a token deck has assembled a large number of tokens, they commonly use effects that will make those tokens more powerful in combat often with 'anthems' (cards that provide a power and toughness boost to each creature). Common pump effects used in token decks include Craterhoof Behemoth, Overwhelming Stampede, Conclave's Blessing, Intangible Virtue, Cathars' Crusade, Triumph of the Hordes, and Beastmaster Ascension.

Tall vs. Wide

Token decks must often choose between going 'tall' (creating a small number of extremely powerful tokens) and going 'wide' (creating a very large number of much smaller tokens). For instance, a card like Desolation Twin can create a 10/10 token, where a card like Storm Herd can create many 1/1 tokens.

Token decks that elect to go tall and create larger tokens most commonly make use of abilities such as Populate, to duplicate specific tokens for a low mana investment.

Token decks that elect to go wide and create many smaller tokens more commonly make use of doubling effects such as Second Harvest to exponentially increase their numbers. These decks are also more likely to use mass pump effects such as Conclave Blessing to increase the power of their large army.

Tokens as a Subtheme

Many decks may use tokens as a subtheme to advance their strategies, often relying upon the token-making cards to produce a large number of creatures on the field. Aristocrats decks, for instance, may use a large number of token-producing cards to acquire a high number of death triggers, and tribal decks may use tokens of a specific creature type to increase the potency of their tribal synergies.

Strengths and Weakness

Strengths

  • Token decks are quick to establish a large number of creatures that can easily overwhelm an opponent with combat damage. Slower strategies may struggle against token decks if they take too much time to establish their primary game plans.
  • Token decks commonly assemble more creatures than opponents are able to successfully block during combat, making them exceptionally difficult even for extremely defensive enemies.
  • Token decks spend very few cards to create a large number of game pieces on the battlefield, and often can continue to produce additional creatures over time. Tokens are typically very dispensable, so the token player is rarely set back by the loss of any specific creature on their battlefield.

Weaknesses

  • Token decks may struggle with specific defensive cards like Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, and Crawlspace, which stymie their ability to attack profitably during the combat step.
  • Token decks are vulnerable to mass removal effects that will destroy their creatures, often resulting in a major setback that requires the token player to completely reestablish their board, which can be difficult if they no longer have access to token-making spells and abilities.
  • Cards that duplicate tokens, such as Populate spells, are often useless if the token player does not have any tokens in play, often lowering the efficacy of the token players' nontoken cards.

Compatible Sub-themes

Aristocrats

Tokens biggest weakness is having their creatures die... but Aristocrats LOVES having it's creatures die, and even often uses tools to generate tokens for itself.
Example Cards:Ogre Slumlord, Dark Prophecy, Spawning Pit

Tribal

When producing lots of tokens, often they end up mostly the same creature type and it may not be much work to make them ALL the same creature type. Once this is the case, you can benefit from any of the cards designed to improve a tribal deck for that type (or cards designed to benefit any tribal deck)
Example Cards:Cryptbreaker, Cemetery Reaper

Superfriends

Planeswalkers often need help defending themselves, which tokens can help with... while simultaneously, there are many planeswalker that can provide card draw or token generation to assist a token deck
Example Cards:Elspeth Sun's Champion, Garruk Wildspeaker, Dovin, Grand Arbiter

Stax

The big disadvantage to Stax is it often lacks a fast way to end the game... Tokens can provide this. Tokens' weakness is that given enough time and resources your opponents can often find and cast a Board Wipe... Stax can often prevent THAT.

Land Destruction

The big disadvantage to Land Destruction is it often lacks a fast way to end the game... Tokens can provide this. Tokens' weakness is that given enough time and resources your opponents can often find and cast a Board Wipe... Mass Land Destruction can prevent THAT.

-1/-1 Counters

Despite the lack of obvious synnergy, there are a number of ways to make tokens that can add -1/-1 counters, and ways of turning -1/-1 counters into more tokens or card draw
Example Cards: Blowfly Infestation, Everlasting Torment, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, Corrosive Mentor, Phyrexian Swarmlord, Trigon of Infestation, Flourishing Defenses


References: