What Are Monster Tokens in "Yu-Gi-Oh"?
Monster tokens are a unique type of monster with different rules than other creatures. You don't include them in either your main or extra deck; in fact, the Yu-Gi-Oh wiki amusingly (but accurately) states they are literally summoned "from nowhere" by other card effects.
Once fielded, tokens act similarly to normal monsters, as they don't bear special abilities, but they have ATK/DEF scores, attributes, and types, just like monsters. However, they can't be placed into face-down defense position and completely leave the game (not banished, but entirely dispelled) when exiting the field. Learn more token monster rules below, or skip straight to our countdown of Yu-Gi-Oh's best token-summoning cards!
Token Monster FAQ
- Can token monsters be used as materials for extra deck monsters? Depends. Unless a token's summoning card states otherwise, tokens can be used for tribute, fusion, synchro, and link summons. However, they can never be used as material for xyz summons since they'd just disappear rather than attach to the xyz monster as an xyz unit.
- How do I represent a token in a duel? While most monster tokens have official releases of their specific token, even official tournaments helpfully allow you to use almost anything to represent a token. Many players opt for fan-made cards to give their deck a personal blend. If you don't have any around, it's good to use objects with two different, easily-seen rotations to represent attack and defense positions. The heads and tails sides of coins or the lowest and highest values on a die also work well.
- Where do I keep my tokens during a duel? Since tokens don't go in your main or extra deck, you can keep them anywhere nearby that's quickly accessible. Conceal them at first to prevent your opponent from receiving clues about what type of deck you're playing.
10. Lair of Darkness
This field spell got its own structure deck designed around tributing enemy monsters using Lair's effects, which make everything dark attribute and let you once per turn tribute an enemy monster for an effect. These usually come from the deadly Virus trap cards, which sacrifice dark monsters for brutal penalties. Also, at the end of the turn, the turn player summons torment tokens (1000 ATK/DEF) up to the number of monsters tributed, ensuring there's always fodder for your effect.
Plus, in addition to the general field-searches Terraforming and Metaverse, you can easily find Lair with the self-discarding effect of Ahrima, the Wicked Warden.
9. Girsu, the Orcust Mekk-Knight
Note that Girsu belongs to both the Orcust and Mekk-Knight archetypes, so he's got plenty of synergy (and as a dark monster with 0 DEF, he can be recovered with Recurring Nightmare). If that weren't enough, when summoned, he sends an Orcust or World Legacy card from deck to graveyard, and if there are at least two other cards in his column, he becomes a tuner for the turn.
Finally, if you control no other monsters, Girsu can summon a 0 ATK/DEF token to each player's field, offering great link fodder and setup for column-based effects.
8. Generaider Boss Stage
This field spell summons a Generaider from deck when a card is added from your opponent's main deck to their hand. Thing is, this counts their normal draw, so it's basically guaranteed to trigger on their turn, and when you summon the Generaider, you also summon any number of 1500 ATK tokens.
These are destroyed at the end phase but make solid blockers and can be spent for the effects of Generaider monsters, like the negation on Harr, Generaider Boss of Storms.
7. Mecha Phantom Beast Mecha Phantom Beast O-Lion and Dracossack
Limited as of this writing (one copy per deck), Beast O-Lion is a tuner that summons a token when sent to graveyard, making great synchro fodder that turns into link fodder. Since it's a Mecha Phantom Beast, it works great with the often-banned link monster Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon.
I also want to mention the underrated xyz Dracossack, who brandishes a sturdy 2600 ATK, takes any 2 level 7 materials, and can (once per turn) detach a material to special summon two Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens with 0 ATK/DEF. While you control at least one token, Dracossack can't be destroyed by battle or effect and can once per turn tribute any Mecha Phantom Beast (including your tokens or even itself) to target and destroy one card on the field. Dracossack can't attack the turn you do this, but this awesome card can generate a total of four tokens—you can even immediately spend the tokens to link summon Wynn the Wind Charmer, Verdant (who can summon a wind monster from an opponent's graveyard, setting you up for a link 3 summon).
6. Pacifis, the Phantasm City
Pacific is always treated as Umi, the classic water-support field spell, so you can recover it with cards like Sea Stealth Attack. Now, you can't summon effect monsters the turn you use this card's effects, which admittedly is a huge downside. However, once per turn when you summon a normal monster, you add a Phantasm Spiral card from deck to hand, and if your opponent activates an effect while you control no tokens, you get to summon a 2000 ATK/DEF Phantasm token, one of the strongest tokens in the game.
5. Sky Striker Mecha - Hornet Drones
Limited as of this writing, this deceptively-strong card can only be used if you have nothing in your main monster zone, summoning a 0 ATK/DEF token or a 1500 one if there are 3+ spells in graveyard.
What makes this so great is its quick-play status, easy setup for Sky Striker link monsters, and synergy with the other spell-related tricks of the still-meta Sky Striker archetype.
4. Swordsoul of Mo Ye/Swordsoul Strategist Longyuan
These cards are annoying but undoubtedly powerful. When summoned, Mo Yo reveals a wyrm or Swordswoul to summon a level 4 token, while Longyuan discards a wyrm or Swordsoul to play itself and summon the same token.
What makes the tokens amazing is that they're tuners, setting you up for amazing synchro combos. Swordsoul Emergence will search you Mo Ye, who plays the level 8 synchro Grandmaster - Chixiao, who adds Longyuan to hand. As if that weren't bad enough, Mo Ye draws when used as synchro material, while Longyuan inflicts 1200 damage to your opponent, leading to irritatingly consistent plays.
The classic Scapegoat prevents you from summoning other monsters the turn you use it, but as a quick-play, you can use it on your opponent's turn (and potentially bait a spell/trap removal). It summons four sheep tokens; these are weak at 0/0, but absorb hits. And while they can't be tributed, they can be used for many link monsters, some favorites being Aussa, the Earth Charmer Immovable, and Ra'ten, the Heavenly General
2. Blackwing - Steam the Cloak
Another limited card, Steam summons a 100 ATK/DEF token when it leaves the field, probably as synchro material since he's a tuner. Plus, once per duel, he can summon himself from graveyard by tributing a monster, possibly the token you just created. Doing so forces you to use other Blackwings as synchro material if you synchro summon, but Blackwings are usually a purebred archetype not often mixed with others, so this shouldn't be hard.
1. Rite of Aramesir
The Adventure cards took the meta by storm in part to this great spell. Rite summons a 2000 ATK/DEF Adventure token; then, if you don't already control the spell Fateful Adventure, it will play once from your deck.
Basically, this nets a free token, the only real downside being you can only activate special summoned monster effects that turn (no normals or flips), but that's the majority of abilities these days anyway.
Banned Token Monsters
In addition to today's cards, keep an eye on currently-banned token aces like Dandylion, Grinder Golem, and Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon. Be sure to pay attention to which link monsters will or won't accept token materials, and remember that tokens can also benefit from normal monster support cards.
You'll often find token cards in structure decks, a great way to ensure you've always got some on hand, but for now, share your favorite tokens, and I'll see you at our next YGO countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill