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Token Monsters are used as representations of Monster Cards. The Tokens represent monsters that appear on the Field as part of a card effect. These monsters are not included in the Main Deck. Official Token cards are grey.
A Monster Token can be represented by a coin (Heads is treated as Attack Position and Tails is treated as Defense Position), a die, or other such acceptable marker. Fan-made cards are often used as markers in Tournament Duels by players. Also, "Fluff Tokens", "Ojama Tokens", and "Sheep Tokens" have been made into official cards. These cards have a gray background to differentiate them from other Monster Cards and also lack any kind of text, instead being all named the more general "Token" and with the effect text "This card can be used as any token". The new Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's card tins include random tokens as well, like the "Regenerating Rose Token", the "Destiny HERO - Double Dude Token", and "Arcana Force XVIII - The Moon Token".
In 2009, participants of United States and Canada's National Championships, as well as European and South American Continental Championships, received the special "National Championship 2009 Token", being the first Token card not related to an already existing card effect that summons it.
While in play, Token Monsters are placed in the Monster Card Zones. When destroyed or returned to the hand, Token Monsters simply disappear from the field. Token Monsters cannot be face-down, and a Token Monster cannot be sent to the Graveyard, back to the hand, Deck, or be banished. They count towards the 5-card Monster Card Zone limit, however.
During a duel, most duelists using Tokens keep them in a small pile next to their Deck, just below the Banished Zone, so that they don't get lost, or knocked off the table. Some players call this the "Token Deck" or "Token Zone", though neither is an official term.
Token Monsters can be Tributed (where applicable), and can be the legal targets of effects that return cards to the hand or Main Deck as part of an effect, but not as part of a cost. Token Monsters are also useful for Synchro Summons as they still have Levels. Similarly, they can also be used for Ritual Summons and even Fusion Summons. However, Tokens cannot be used as Xyz Materials, because Tokens can only be on the field and Xyz Materials are not considered to be there.
- When Token Monsters leave the field, they cease to exist. If an effect tries to put Tokens in the Graveyard, hand, Main Deck or Banished Zone, they simply disappear.
- Token Monsters can be used to pay costs as long as the cost doesn't require it to go to a specific place on the playing field outside the Monster Card Zones: the Graveyard, Main Deck or hand. You can use Token Monsters to Summon "Destiny HERO - Plasma", but you cannot use them to Summon "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler". This is because "Destiny HERO - Plasma" merely Tributes, but "Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler" requires the monsters to be sent to the Graveyard, a condition that Token Monsters cannot fulfill.
- Token Monsters are fundamentally treated as Normal Monster cards in every respect. Anything that you can generally do on the field with a face-up "Skull Servant", you can do with a Token Monster (unless an effect specifically forbids it). You can even equip a Token Monster to "Relinquished".
- Token Monsters are never considered to have effects. They are always treated as Normal Monsters and are never treated as Effect Monsters. Any effect from a Token Monster is placed upon it by the effect that generated it. The effect is considered to come from the generating card, a "Lingering Effect".
- Token Monsters cannot be flipped face-down. This is their only on-the-field restriction. Thus, they cannot be targeted by effects that flip cards face-down (like "Book of Moon"), and they are unaffected by "blanket" effects that flip Monster Cards face-down; You carry out as many actions that the effect requires, short of flipping the Token Monster face-down; cards like "Swords of Concealing Light" will still cause the Token Monsters to shift to Defense Position, for example.
- Token Monsters can be Tributed unless an effect prevents it. The "No-Tribute Restriction" that is placed on some Token Monsters (such as "Sheep Tokens") is due to the card effects that generated them, and are not the default action of all Token Monsters.
- Tokens Monsters with the "No-Tribute Restriction" can be Tributed to Special Summon a Monster whose summoning conditions require the tribute of one or more monsters, like a high level Toon Monster or "Lava Golem".
- Token Monsters belong to the controller of the card that Special Summoned them. If you use "Ojama Trio", you are still treated as the owner of the "Ojama Tokens", and they will shift back to you if cards like "Owner's Seal" are used.
- Whenever a Token Monster would be picked up it is considered to be taken off the field. When you stack Xyz Materials, the monsters you used are picked up and then stacked under the new Xyz Monster, therefore tokens cannot be used for an Xyz Summon.
- See also: Card Rulings:Token Monsters.