What ARE Map Tokens?!

Map Tokens and Explore – MTG Mechanics Explained

Card KingdomStrategy, Uncategorized

Map tokens join treasure, food, clues, and blood as a predefined token. Map tokens come with an ability that lets you (at sorcery speed, so in your main phase with nothing else on the stack) pay 1 mana, tap the map token, and sacrifice it. When you do, a target creature you control explores.

And, well, that means we’re asking…

What IS Explore?!

Explore can appear on any card type thoeretically, but primarily affect creatures. When you are instructed to explore for any reason, you first specify which creature is exploring. Sometimes this is spelled out for you, like when a card says “this creature explores,” other times you choose a target creature to explore.

To explore, you reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a land, it goes into your hand. If it’s a nonland card, the creature that’s exploring gets a +1/+1 counter, and then you choose whether the revealed card stays on top of your library or goes to the graveyard.


And that’s it. A few notes, but nothing too complicated.

  • If the exploring creature is removed before the explore effect resolves, you will still explore if the effect didn’t target anything – like if the creature itself just said it explores when it enters the battlefield. If there was a target involved, the effect will fizzle if all the targets are now illegal.
  • If you do explore with the exploring creature no longer on the battlefield, nothing will get the +1/+1 counter if a nonland card is revealed.

So Map tokens and explore are intrinsically linked, with Map tokens simply being a way for you to essentially “store” Explore triggers. It’s a pretty elegant and flavorful design – what do maps do if not allow anyone to explore?

Map Tokens and Explore can be added to your collection at cardkingdom.com!