What is Your Opinion of Proxies?

General forum

Posted on Dec. 7, 2022, 8:50 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

Some player use proxy cards, unofficial duplicates of official cards, either when they do not wish to spend an exorbitant sum of money on an expensive card that they desire, or when they already own such a card, but do not wish to use it in events.

Thus far, I do not have any proxy cards in any of my decks, because I have not needed them, since I do not use any cards that I cannot afford to purchase; however, I have been contemplating possibly purchasing proxies of certain cards to use in my decks, since it is very unlikely that I shall ever enter any WotC-sanctioned events, as I am not a very competitive player. I obviously would not be so cheap as to use proxies of Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, or the original moxen in my decks, but I see no problem with proxies of Sol Ring, as it is now an inexpensive and ubiquitous card, due to numerous reprints, or the original dual lands, as they are powerful, but not game-breakingly so, and are on the reserved list, so WotC shall never reprint them (at least not in tournament-legal form).

What does everyone else say about this? How do you feel about proxy cards?

AstroAA says... #2

I used to be vehemently opposed to proxies. However, I wanted to start building more decks, so I started proxying cards that I already own. Then, I wanted to start playing with other cards I didn't own, but I didn't (and still don't) play Magic enough to justify me spending hundreds to thousands on cards that I want to play with. Now, every single deck I own has at least one proxy in it, whether that being from only owning one copy of the card and wanting to use it in multiple decks or not owning the card at all and not wanting to spend money on the game due to WotC leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

The only proxies I really don't like are cheap proxies where you pretty much scribble a few words on notebook paper or something. If you're going to proxy, at least invest a little in them, whether that be printing out even black and white images or ordering actual professionally printed proxies from somewhere like MPC. I myself use MPC and they're great.

December 7, 2022 9:19 p.m.

TheoryCrafter says... #3

I really see the use of proxies as the equivalent of back in the 80's or 90's when you could use a VCR to record a movie off the television. At home use and to be destroyed when you get an official copy. I personally am not a huge fan of them, but I wouldn't necessarily begrudge anyone of their use.

December 7, 2022 9:33 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #4

TheoryCrafter, I likely shall never be able to afford genuine copies of the original dual lands, unless WotC actually decides to properly reprint them, so how do you feel about proxies of those cards?

December 7, 2022 10:07 p.m.

wallisface says... #5

My view is that any casual format proxies should be 100% ok. People are there to have fun and play with cards they enjoy. So long as the quality of the proxies isn’t detracting from others overall game experience (i.e try to do better than writing a word on paper) it should be entirely fine. By “casual” format, I mean anything kitchen-table, as well as anything edh.

For any competitive format (modern, standard, vintage etc) where you’re not playing in a competition, I think its definitely a case of asking first. And for obvious reasons, you can’t bring any such cards to an actual competition/event

December 7, 2022 10:34 p.m.

wallisface says... #6

Two other thoughts on “being a decent human”

  • if your casual playgroup isn’t using proxies, but you are, don’t then use this as an excuse to field cards vastly more expensive than those players budgets. It’s just rude and undermines the work they put into their collections.

  • really do put effort into printing decent quality proxies. There’s nothing worse than trying to work out what someone’s board state is and just seeing a pile of unreadable/undistinguishable monochrome squares.

December 7, 2022 10:39 p.m.

Gleeock says... #7

I love 'em. I have several RL cards & my collection is pretty good (I kept a bunch of them spanning back up to 1996). I never signed anything saying that my cards should be exorbitantly priced so I can have some sort of bragging rights, or, even worse, feel uncomfortable (for many reasons) playing my duals in mid-tier decks. I am all about playing the game & new players entering without feeling that financial barrier. I think a mana-base with less hoops to jump through is great & I will proxy the $7!@ out of those. I think proxies are PARTICULARLY useful to the mana base of decks, it is a key component of many decks which heavily influences the enjoyability of decks & requires several expensive copies if you play overlapping color combos.

The freedom to enjoy proxies has made my playgroup lighten up a little bit too (seems like less performance pressure with less $$ input). New players are much more open to trying out new decks when I tell them to go ahead & use my printer.

I enjoy perfecting the right printing medium for some of my copies, it offers me a little fun challenge. Getting out the gluestick is a fun activity I can do with my son as well.

December 7, 2022 10:55 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #8

Remember kids, false cards are fine, as long as you forge them well enough

December 8, 2022 12:15 a.m.

TheoryCrafter says... #9

DemonDragonJ, If you wish to play the original dual lands in proxy that is your business.

As for me, I'm a stick in the mud about it. Even in a casual setting, to put proxies in my deck would to me be a lack of respect in not only my own deck building skills but those of total strangers as well. It means I'll put in the minimal effort to be competitive in a game where a well thought out and built budget deck can be just as fun and maybe make the occasional win over a more powerful deck and equally skilled opponent taste even sweeter.

Now, would that stop me from ever putting proxies in my deck? Not at all. I myself haven't been able to even buy a basic land card in over a year. My sister-in-law's nephew is big into Plants vs. Zombies and will play MTG with me from time to time. If I had a printer I'd love to do a Plants Vs. Zombies duel deck. It's really the only exception I'd make regarding proxies. However, those proxies would not leave my home and I would make that clear to him. I would also make every effort I could to get the actual cards and destroy the proxies.

Not to mention between Magic apps and this website I have enough resources for all my theorycrafting and decktesting needs.

You bring a deck to me with even one proxy I'll still play against it. Reasons and rules of engagements for acceptable use of proxies vary by person. Just please don't make a habit of it.

December 8, 2022 4:42 a.m.

Gleeock says... #10

Probably depends on your comfort-level with them, which can change over time. I'm not much of an LGS guy, so there is that... Though, I sometimes go & see a few high school friends there & play a casual game, I will drop the fact that some cards are proxies & it has always been a non-issue from there, particularly with print quality being too good to prompt anyone to know the difference.

They are a nice option for playgroups that get together a couple times a month to play some cards. I don't really want anyone in my playgroup to feel any need to put too much time or effort into building & then feel that pressure to perform or be inordinately salty when they take an "L", those are things that proxy use have helped with. My group is typically more focused on quality of company over quality of decks. I also like to save the $$ to spend on a XO cognac to sip at on game night :) - there's my moxen

I feel like proxies, for a good amount of players out there, are just the ultimate conclusion to a hobby that is getting increasingly expensive, particularly as we change as individuals & develop other hobbies or responsibilities.

December 8, 2022 6:30 a.m.

alulien says... #11

I'm all in on proxies. In fact, I'm selling all my real cards cuz I can get the same return (playing magic with my friends) investing in proxies as paying out the butt for the expensive real deal. Some specifics to my situation:

  • I only play EDH
  • I only play kitchen table
  • My playgroup all agrees that proxies are OK
  • My playgroup has an agreement around the power level of our proxy decks

Ever since my group agreed to this setup I've found a renewed sense of enjoyment when deck building as I'm no longer constrained by budget! It's ridiculously silly to me to pay hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for cards when I can pay ~$35 and have a full EDH list ready to go with whatever cards I so choose.

My deck building... creativity? has definitely increased as well: previously I would shy away from expensive cards just because of the $. Yes, this forced me to learn to look at alternatives to "strictly best" cards. But now that I have that restriction lifted? I'm building with both "concepts" in mind.

While I don't think a game like MTG should be considerate of the "investment" side of things I do understand the argument. But I feel, personally, the only reason to for being "against" proxies is 1) in a tournament/official setting (duh), or 2) if not previously discussed/agreed upon by everyone at the table.

December 8, 2022 11:09 a.m.

Tsukimi says... #12

A lot of people have made great points already, I just wanted to add that I will always appreciate proxies so that no one is priced out of the game.

I play casually with friends, and I have taught most of them how to play. I have taught a lot of people, and the number one reason I saw them not want to play again, the thing that always made them lose that excited look and lose interest in a game they were enjoying was when they realized they had to invest to make a deck. (Especially edh) I have built a lot of budget decks for people, even for our whole table. But when some people are using budget and others are using a range of decks, even cheaper ones, it is very hard to enjoy the game as the budget player.

When I started to proxy decks, suddenly the game was more fun, no one had to struggle with money to build something they enjoy (or as is often the case let me build them a deck they enjoy lol) and everyone wanted to play more. Everyone wanted to have more decks and try more strategies. Everyone was inclined to play each other's decks, and eventually proxying is what got my friends who were very adverse to the concept of deck building to build their own decks and enjoy it.

TLDR: Proxies make the game fun, and keep people with less money from literally being priced out of the game. If a game requires you to put down a lot of money, there will always be people who can't play.

December 8, 2022 11:23 a.m.

Abaques says... #13

Personally I don't use proxies in my decks. I just prefer to run real cards I can afford. But that viewpoint only applies for my decks. I'm totally fine with anyone using proxies. There are only two things I'd ask of someone proxying a card:

  1. Please make it clear what the proxy is so it's easy to glance at the table and be able to identify the card.
  2. Don't proxy just to increase your power level above that of the meta you're playing with. If no one else in your playgroup is running Gaea's Cradle then think twice about why you're going to proxy it.
December 8, 2022 12:11 p.m.

sageprinny says... #14

I don't mind when people use proxies unless it's to use a card clearly no one at table can reasonably financially afford, or as a reskin that WotC has not or will not do (Perrie the Platypus for ex) I personally have not used proxies in my irl decks but if im playing remotely i tend to use archidekt/tappedout/mox with my irl decks or decks i'm in the middle of buying out as it's easier for spelltable to scan and speeds up play. I don't use them in IRL decks personally cause it feels off not owning the card to me

December 8, 2022 12:36 p.m.

Profet93 says... #15

Proxies are cool, I don't think $ should be the reason one wins or loses. If there is a competition with a prize involved, then no proxies. But if there is no prize/competition, then I would actively encourage my opponents to proxy the entire deck should they wish.

For me, I'd rather get my ass handed to me by an expensive deck time and time again rather than beat a cheap deck (not to say its automatically gonna win or lose based on $, just statistics). It's the same reason I don't want people to mulligan down to 6, just keep 7 as long as you have enough lands, we are good. What point is there to kill an opponent with a handicap? After all, they give the fox some time to run before hunting it down and mounting it on my fireplace. Do my opponents not deserve the same respect as a fox?

December 8, 2022 4:52 p.m.

Grubbernaut says... #16

I literally only purchase real cards if they're cheaper than proxies, which is rare. I don't want to give WotC money, and I exclusively play commander, so there's no reason to ever get real cards, for me.

December 8, 2022 5:55 p.m.

Yisan says... #17

There are really nice inexpensive proxies to be had on Etsy. I prefer those for aesthetics purposes, however, sharpie on a basic is cool with me as long as it has all the text of the card written on it and not just the name

December 8, 2022 6:24 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #18

I am very glad to receive such responses, and I assure you that I definitely shall inform all players with whom I play that my deck contains proxies, and ask if they accept that.

December 8, 2022 8:30 p.m.

that_dude33 says... #19

I use a few proxies, none exceeding $50. I always announce I use them before I play, none seem to care that much since I only have 5 or less and nothing crazy.

I actually design some on photoshop and sticker them onto stripped foils. Pretty fun, check them out.


December 8, 2022 10:20 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #20

Personally I only proxy what I already own at least 1 copy of because I am weird like that. When playing with people my only cares are that they know what their proxies do (I actually care about this for real cards too, but I can't complain about them not running cards they don't know if they bought it) and that people aren't using explicit/objectionable art. I have decks that cost a month and a half of wages at minimum wage. I would much rather have people to play them against than to gate keep and have a deck that never gets played.

Oddly enough the more expensive cards I acquire, the more I am OK with other people proxying. I used to be much more against proxies and think that they should only be used for play testing if you are honestly considering buying one or if you have one on the way. Now I just want people to play my expensive decks against and not get eye-rolls at having reserve list cards.

December 8, 2022 11:35 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #21

I don't mind others playing them, I just don't like playing proxies myself. The only proxies I made are for the dip in cEDH my playgroup did, and even then, only for cards I already owned. I'll pay for a Mox Diamond, but even I think it's egregious to buy multiple of the same hundreds-of-euros cards if you need them in different decks '^^

When you buy a single for that amount though, Wizards sees nothing of that money. It goes entirely to my local game shop, so they can keep the lights burning and keep organising events for me to play in. I bought a lot of really expensive cards in early 2020, because I wanted my LGS to still be there if the virus-restrictions ever would end. It's not the bragging rights, I'm investing in the community. Not in the makers of Magic, but in the place that housed me for more than 6 hours every week for the past 6 years. You can't buy that for the price of a Gaea's Cradle, but both parties improved by me buying one anyway.

December 9, 2022 12:59 a.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #22

As a competitive player I don’t like proxies just for the fact that they are inconsistent in terms of quality, etc. so in sanctioned events I don’t like them, but I have several entire decks proxied for the purposes of testing specific formats.

December 9, 2022 1:38 a.m.

IXALAN_Crazy says... #23

My main use for proxies is to test out a deck before I buy it, see how it fits my playstyle, and go from there. My playgroup is pretty relaxed about proxies, but it would still be frowned upon of course to proxy a deck filled with power 9 or some crap.

December 9, 2022 11:48 a.m.

SpammyV says... #24

I'll echo the sentiment to not proxy just to pubstomp, but I'll also add that if someone is using proxies, I would greatly prefer to see that those proxies are distinguishable from real printings. Different art, different frame, watermark, just something so that it couldn't be passed off or sold as a genuine asset. That's the line between a proxy and counterfeit in my eyes.

December 9, 2022 12:08 p.m.

sdtech58 says... #25

I only play Commander. I'm generally ok with them if the player can show a copy of the real card in a top loader or another deck. I can respect not wanting to put wear on an expensive card, or having to buy one for each deck. If there's prize support/money on the line, absolutely no proxies.

December 9, 2022 3:45 p.m.

If you're not playing in an official event, go for it.

Spend money in your LGS.

December 9, 2022 8:42 p.m.

Poly_raptor says... #27

I don’t mind them. if someone else is using them it doesnt bother me at all.

Recently ive built a few EDH decks and put proxy placeholders in until i can get real copies. Or put a placeholder in for a card that is in another deck, as I feel theres no need to buy a second Force of negation for example.

Since wizards tried selling packs of proxies for $1000 I’ve become much more okay with the idea of making my own!

December 10, 2022 1:59 a.m.

khunkao says... #28

I use proxies, but I make sure to tell my playgroup that my deck has proxies and what the proxies are. The proxies I have aren't overly expensive cards, but are typically cards I've simply been unable to obtain yet (I have a limited budget for the game).

My playgroup has the option to ask me not to use the deck at all, or remove the proxies (or specific proxies).

The rest of the guys haven't started using proxies, but they have all said they intend to create some of their own.

(I print mine on my home printer, cut out the card, then sleeve them over a basic land card)

December 10, 2022 2:49 p.m.

ork_mcgork says... #29

I'll proxy cards when I need a little bit of time to build up money to get them, but not consistently. All I play is commander, but I see budget restrictions as a chance to get better at the game - making less expensive cards work in the face of unlimited options (if someone's got a lot of cash or has played/collected a long time) is fun and rewarding.

I co-host an MTG club for the high school I work at, and we have a student and his cousin that play with all proxies they print out at the library and put in front of real cards in sleeves. They're decent at magic, but their perspective on the game is skewed and we don't let them use their proxied decks with the other students who use actual cards because the other students have precons + a few cheap upgrades and these guys are running fully optimized decks. My coworker and I use toned-down decks to play with the kids unless they really want to see what our personal decks do as well. I got the 40k commander decks for this reason, and the kids have a great time.

So clearly, this is an issue of individual play groups, just don't be negative if you play with others who don't have the same beliefs on the issue as you do. Also, in light of Magic30 I muse again at how long it'll take until someone produces such convincing knockoffs of RL cards that you can't tell...

December 11, 2022 5:22 p.m.

DoomNoodle says... #30

As an edh player I currently have 18 fully built decks ready for play and a slew of lists that can be built from my collection of those 18 decks 3 of them contain mana crypts I only own one though so I used photopea to make sexy alt art proxies for the other two decks. Same true for Doubling SeasonParallel LivesCavern of Souls and a few others. I own at least one of all these but I need them in multiple decks. Pre game I'll address this and if anyone has issue I'll swap them out for the real deal. I also used transparency papers and de-inked bulk foils to make them so they are aesthetically pleasing and easily read and distinguished from real cards.

December 11, 2022 8:18 p.m.

It's a card game. I'm more interested in having a fun, thoughtful, hard-fought game, not who has the more expensive deck or how curvy all of its foils are. If the decks are all around the same power level you could play with 100 crayon-written 3x5" cards and I'd be fine. I neither want to roll over nor be rolled over by my opponents on a regular basis. Neither is much fun for anyone.

December 11, 2022 11:29 p.m.

that_dude33 says... #32

DoomNoodle where do you buy de inked bulk foils? I’ve been stripping foil lands with acetone nail polish remover. Your way seems easier lol

December 12, 2022 12:02 a.m.

wallisface says... #33

For anyone interested this video covers how to make very good quality proxies at a very reasonable cost: youtube link.

^ I've used this approach to build my own custom-card-cube and was extremely pleased with the results. I plan to use it in the future to make decks I can playtest with before committing to building irl, as well as making some expensive decks guests can use without any fear of them inevitably spilling beer all-over everything (not that that would ever happen, but its just nicer to be able to donate decks out to people without you or them worrying about damaging anything accidentally).

If I ever got into commander, I think i'd be building decks exclusively this way - as the format is casual and there shouldn't be any real reason to hate on this quality of proxies (provided you're not building something vastly more powerful than the group).

December 12, 2022 3:09 a.m.

wallisface just so you know, CardConjurer has been taken down by Wizards.

December 12, 2022 8:55 a.m.

Gleeock says... #35

I don't even remember what I google - I just know it is always there when I search it. ork_mcgork I think we are already there with undiscernible proxies with little effort (at least if they are sleeved). Use a half decent paper cutter, one of those creative suite Shaq printers, & semi-gloss paper stock.

I've never actually firsthand witnessed proxies fueling pubstomp decks.

December 12, 2022 12:43 p.m.

wallisface says... #36

TheOfficialCreator that sucks. Though luckily there are a decent amount of alternatives. Does make my link a little less valid though.

December 12, 2022 1:42 p.m.

DoomNoodle says... #37

that_dude33 oh no my guy I do the same I just have a little over 500 foils and I'll take an hour and clean them up. Unfortunately I don't think you'll find blank cards for sale anywhere lest they want daddy Hasbro coming down on you!

December 12, 2022 4:14 p.m.

that_dude33 says... #38

DoomNoodle gotcha.. I did find someone on Etsy selling them but it was like $3 for one lol

December 12, 2022 6:01 p.m.

Optimator says... #39

I feel like...

I don't dislike proxies and generally encourage them in my playgroup...

but at FLGSs I feel like proxies are done nine time out of twenty for power-level reasons. Ususally it isn't a proxy here or there but a mostly-proxy deck pub-stomping with $4000 decks. That isn't cool at all.

December 13, 2022 1:10 a.m.

Optimator says... #40

*nineteen times out of twenty

December 13, 2022 1:16 a.m.

Kret says... #41

I don't mind proxies as long as the printed cards are at a power level we all agreed. I almost always play with a couple of proxy cards in my decks -> mostly because I don't want to buy second or third copy of a card or for playtesting purposes. It gets irritating when someone plays printed Mana Drain, when all you can afford (or willing to pay for) is a Counterspell. Playing againts Mana Drain or other overprices and powercreeped cards is tilting even when someone owns them, but the fact that a card is printed makes it a little worse.

December 13, 2022 8:47 a.m.

Guerric says... #42

I'll throw in and say what I've seen a lot of others say, namely that I am ok with it if a player already owns a copy of the card. In that case I am cool with it since they could just swap them between decks and they are essentially just saving us time. I don't personally do this because I don't like the look or feel of proxies, but I am fine with others doing this. I am also ok with players using gold-bordered cards like real ones. This helps increase the supply with cards that are limited by the stupidity known as the reserve list. I am not so ok with it outside of that. I also think budget constraints and such generally put some healthy constraints on the format in general. If anyone just puts whatever cards they want into a deck without paying for them it kind of creates an environment where cheating cost is rewarded. I also think in a general sense Wizards is a business, and how ever much I might criticize the way they do things at times we should be paying for our product at some point. Even more to the point, local card stores and businesses need our support as well. Unless there are very specific reasons if we allow one or two proxy cards what is to stop someone from making an entire proxy deck? People may not be doing this, but it seems safe to just have a clear standard here. After all, if one proxies all the expensive cards in a deck game stores aren't making much off of the rest of it. I don't mean to overextend these points, but I think together they give me a bad feeling about proxies, and we certainly don't allow them in our playgroup.

December 13, 2022 10:42 a.m.

nhhale says... #43

Hi, I use proxies. Here are two things I've noticed:

  1. Even if you are absolutely determined to build your deck to the power level of your casual playgroup, players might still have hard feelings when you play a proxy of a card they don't like or don't recognize.

  2. When you play exclusively with proxies, you forfeit the collecting aspect of the game. Remember that the people you play with who don't use proxies are accruing a valuable collection while you are collecting worthless cardboard.

  3. Proxies are a great way to enhance your experience! If are going after a particular theme, you can change the artwork of some of your cards to reflect that theme or print lands that capture the flavor of the deck. This is my favorite way to use proxies.

December 13, 2022 11:57 a.m.

Zeddicuus says... #44

I rarely run proxies myself, preferring to build around the cards I own in my collection, I have no issues whatsoever with others using proxies. I just want to play the game and want everyone to have fun, and if that means some people feel they want to use proxies so they can have fun, who am I to argue with it?

December 13, 2022 1:36 p.m.

That's essentially my view on it. I have a couple of proxies, primarily of the ABUR dual lands and the Power 9 to make jank little decks with powerful cards, but it's not like I play those in actual games. I've considered playing the duals before in my Commander decks, but it just never really appealed to me, as it always seems a bit too easy. I like the complex land systems of a Commander deck, and duals detract from that imo.

December 13, 2022 1:40 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #46


While I agree with the rest I’m just curious why you feel that the OG duals “detract from the complex land systems in commander.”

To me, it’s just another option for lands that you can use. When you have 30+ lands slots and a 3+ color deck, it’s just a strictly better Guildgate, Gain-land (a-la Blossoming Sands and the like), and other etb tapped duals.

I just don’t see how it’s different from using these tapped duals, other than you get to use them on the turn they come down.

How does it change the “complexity”?

December 13, 2022 2:20 p.m.

Daveslab2022 if I were playing all 5 colors it would be a different story, but in my three color deck I just don't personally feel like it's fun to use the dual lands as they fix my mana almost too well. I like the diversity of lands in my deck. Though I may end up slotting them back in for casual play so that my Tainted Pact always works.

December 13, 2022 2:31 p.m.

Abaques says... #48

My issue only issue with proxying the ABUR dual lands is what is your meta like? If other people are running them, then fine, but if you're proxying them just because you want to, well to me that's proxying to increase the power level of your meta, and unless everyone is cool with that (cEDH for example) I think it can be a negative. They are just such expensive cards that I think it's more likely than not that your opponent's won't have or be able to afford real versions. Honestly if I had any real ABUR dual's I'd probably keep them out of my decks just because the power level of my meta isn't that strong. This whole discussion, which I've really appreciated, has highlighted to me that the question of proxies is probably intrinsically linked to that of power level.

December 13, 2022 2:41 p.m.

Grubbernaut says... #49

If you take a casual deck and add true duals, is the deck really any meaningfully more powerful? There's already so many budget untapped duals/rainbow lands.

December 13, 2022 5:19 p.m.

I’m agnostic on other people using proxies but I don’t use them at all. With that said: it seems weird to me when “proxies” and “non-competitive” or “casual” are used in the same sentence. Most of you know that flavor is extremely important to me, so I can understand the desire to get that “perfect piece” even though a real one would cost $1,000... but I can’t say that’s ever been my experience (in building decks or playing against folks). Effectively every proxy I’ve seen has been to ramp up a deck’s power, which has been unimpressive to me.

December 13, 2022 5:43 p.m.

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