Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Token Creature cards in 10th Edition

Since the very beginning of Magic (the original Alpha Edition in 1993) there has existed the concept of a "token Creature". In Alpha Edition there was a card The Hive, an Artifact that allowed the controller to spend 5 mana and tap The Hive to put a 1/1 Wasp Artifact Creature token with Flying into play. As long as you had 5 mana to spare, and The Hive was untapped, you could make yourself an annoying little Wasp. The intent was that the user would represent these Wasps with a coin, or a spare card, or anything that could be flipped or rotated to indicate it was "tapped" (when it attacked, for example).

Since Alpha, more and more cards have come out that creature token Creatures. Saprolings, Goblins, Angels, Beasts, Demons, Soldiers - even Sheep and Squirrels! But the intended representation remained the same until 1998.

In 1998 a "silly" set called Unglued was released. This set was never intended for serious play, and I have discussed some of the cards in it before. Included in this set were 6 honest-to-goodness official token Creature cards - cards which served no purpose other than to act as representations of token Creatures generated by a card or effect. There was a Goblin, a Pegasus, a Sheep, a Soldier, a Squirrel and a Zombie. As an example, here's the Squirrel token pictured to the right (cute, isn't he?).

Then, starting in 2001, Wizards of the Coast started releasing more official token Creature cards as part of their Players' Rewards program. I have some of these available in my eBay store at the moment. There have been many printed over the past few years, and the only way to get them was to join the program that they were given out in (or buy them from people who got them that way, as I have done).

But now, with the advent of 10th Edition, official token Creature cards are being given out in ordinary booster packs. About 1 out of every 3 10th Edition boosters contains one of six Creature token cards (which I of course have available for sale): Dragon, Goblin, Saproling, Soldier, Wasp and Zombie. Why these six? Because they are each generated by a card in the 10th Edition (Dragon Roost, Siege-Gang Commander, Verdant Force, Mobilization, The Hive and Midnight Ritual, respectively), and they are the only six token Creatures created by cards in 10th Edition. Yes, The Hive has returned to the Core Set after being absent since 6th Edition - and the Wasp Token (pictured to the right) has been printed to be used to represent the little blighters.

Wizards of the Coast has already announced that they will continue to include token Creature cards in booster packs at least through the next three expansion sets (Starting with Lorwyn, to be released this Fall), and has said that they will start to be more common, in around 2 out of every 3 packs instead. I'm glad to hear it - I think they're kinda cool, and I'm glad that "ordinary" people can get their hands on them now.

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