Last updated on December 8, 2023

Blood token - Illustration by Miranda Meeks

Blood token | Illustration by Miranda Meeks

Nearly every Standard set these days has some kind of “gimmick” designed (at least in part) to smooth out the Limited format, whether it’s Treasures in Forgotten Realms, Powerstones in The Brothers’ War, or kicker in Dominaria United.

Crimson Vow introduced players to Blood tokens. They ended up playing a huge role in Limited, so let’s look at these tokens and what makes them so good!

How Do Blood Tokens Work?

Anje, Maid of Dishonor - Illustration by Yongjae Choi

Anje, Maid of Dishonor | Illustration by Yongjae Choi

Blood tokens are artifact tokens with an activated ability that costs , tapping the token, and sacrificing it to discard a card and draw a card (also known as rummaging). This is a great way to filter through excess lands or useless cards to find something better to play. It’s also sometimes useful to have extra artifacts on the battlefield.

The History of Blood Tokens in MTG

Blood tokens first appeared in Innistrad: Crimson Vow in 2021, appearing on 35 cards between the main set and the VOW Commander decks. They also were included on two cards from Alchemy: Innistrad, and one is a March of the Machine Commander card.

Blood tokens aren’t currently evergreen. They’re tied to the vampires of Innistrad, and there’s some concern that they’ll be difficult to include in future sets for flavor reasons. That said, there’s no real reason for them to be excluded in future.

Do Blood Tokens Count as Permanents?

Blood tokens are permanents, but they’re also tokens. When they leave the battlefield (like if they’re bounced to hand or go to the graveyard), they cease to exist.

Do Blood Tokens Count as Artifacts?

Blood tokens are artifacts, so any effects that care about artifacts entering the battlefield, sacrificing artifacts, or anything else could synergize well with them.

Can You Sacrifice Blood Tokens Without Discarding?

No, you can't sacrifice Blood tokens without discarding. The discard is part of the cost of the ability, so you need a card in hand to discard to use the ability.

That said, you can use the Blood token’s ability with a replacement effect like with madness. You can also sacrifice the tokens to other effects, like Powerstone Fracture, without discarding a card.

Do Tokens Trigger Butcher of Malakir?

Butcher of Malakir

Creature tokens trigger Butcher of Malakir, but noncreature tokens like Blood tokens don’t.

Can You Exile Blood Tokens and Bring Them Back?

No, you can't exile and bring back Blood token. If you exile any token, including Blood tokens, they cease to exist and can’t return to the battlefield.

Do Blood Tokens Go to the Graveyard?

Yes. technically Blood tokens go to the graveyard and trigger any abilities that trigger when an artifact goes to the graveyard. But they also cease to exist before you get the chance to do anything else with them.

Can You Sacrifice More Than Two Blood Tokens With Strefan, Maurer Progenitor?

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor

Unfortunately you can only trigger Strefan, Maurer Progenitor once each time it attacks. You can only sacrifice two Blood tokens and put a single vampire onto the battlefield with its ability.

What Are Blood Tokens Good For?

Blood tokens are, at first glance, good for getting rid of excess lands or digging for that card you need to squeeze out of a tight spot. But they have some other benefits in certain decks too.

For starters, you can use the tokens as a convenient discard outlet to get your reanimation targets into your graveyard if you’re running any kind of reanimator deck. This also has the added benefit of effectively cycling them, so you’re more likely to have your reanimation spells in hand.

Another way you can make the most out of the discard side of the card is madness. Madness allows you to cast cards like Fiery Temper more cheaply when you discard them, so using Blood tokens to rummage is a good way to get the benefits from both mechanics.

Gallery and List of Blood Token Cards

Best Blood Token Cards

Olivia's Attendants

If you want to create lots of Blood tokens, there’s no card better than Olivia's Attendants. It creates six of them each time it deals damage (or more with pump spells), but you can also use its activated ability to create extra tokens when you ping things with it. No other card comes close to creating the volume of tokens that this does.

Other cards that are great at generating Blood tokens are Exsanguinator Cavalry, Kamber, the Plunderer, Restless Bloodseeker, and Voldaren Bloodcaster.

Decklist: Strefan, Maurer Progenitor in Commander

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor - Illustration by Chris Rallis

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor | Illustration by Chris Rallis

This is one of those decks that rely on the commander to do its reanimation thing. Strefan, Maurer Progenitor uses Blood tokens to cheat vampires into play attacking and gives them indestructible to stop them from being immediately killed on blocks. The build also has a lot of ways to generate Blood, like Olivia's Attendants and some juicy targets to cheat in like Necropolis Regent.

While not likely to beat Edgar Markov on the vampire commander tier list, Strefan provides an interesting way to use vampires in a way that cares about Blood. It’s even a sweet place to use Blood for the Blood God!

Wrap Up

Ceremonial Knife - Illustration by Antonio José Manzanedo

Ceremonial Knife | Illustration by Antonio José Manzanedo

Blood tokens were a hit in Crimson Vow Limited and have played a good role in Constructed formats. They’re a useful utility token without being overly powerful like Treasures have become.

I think there’s a good chance that Blood tokens will return in future. After all, there’s only so many things WotC can do to introduce mechanics that smooth out draws. Still, they may be difficult to include in formats in a flavorful way. Pretty much anything can be classed as a “treasure,” but Blood is a bit more difficult to easily include anywhere.

That said, I hope to see it come back because it fulfils a lot of roles very well. What do you think? Do you like Blood? Can you see it being used in any different ways in future? Let me know in the comments below or over on the official Draftsim Discord.

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