Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?

Ah this old dead horse. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Vintage is 100% non-proxy and is played on MTGO. We are reaching (more likely we are past...) the point where this is the only vintage that Wizards and the DCI care about in making high level decisions for the format. The rest of vintage, the vintage played on paper, is almost always 15 proxy, with the notable exception of Eternal weekend and whatever SCG decides to plan (important to note that the original SCG P9 series was 5 or 10 proxy). In 2019, the line between "proxy" and counterfeit is blurred to the extreme. TO's post multi paragraph expectations on what a proxy is and isn't, and still players show up with their very real looking counterfeit Power, Shops and Bazaars. A shift to 100% proxy will quickly become 75+% Counterfeit, with the average player either not able to identify, or just not caring what their opponent sleeves up in your average casual 15 person proxy vintage event from across the table. If I may introduce a totally subjective "salt factor" into the equation, non or low proxy players will be FAR saltier losing to a deck thats 75% sharpied basic lands than to a deck that 75% Chinese counterfeits that are barely distinguishable from the real thing without removing the card from a sleeve and examining it. I have no objection to Proxy's (and use them myself when needed) but playing against a deck thats mostly handwritten in a tournament setting stinks and hurts my overall experience when I am taking time out of my insane schedule to play Magic for 6 or 7+ hours.

@p3temangus said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

but playing against a deck thats mostly handwritten in a tournament setting stinks and hurts my overall experience when I am taking time out of my insane schedule to play Magic for 6 or 7+ hours.

Just to play devil's advocate, but in any given tournament, take a look at how many people are playing say 10+ proxies. How would your play experience be without those people there? I'm guessing non-existent.

I'm going back to my first post. My point of that post isn't that we shouldn't have proxies. We should. My point there was that making this a proxy environment, even 100% proxy, won't resolve the issues the OP is asking about.

These are interesting perspectives but I think you are missing the point. We have a total of 3 large vintage events in the US this year and one of them is partially proxy. We also have the vintage qualifiers.

Take those and make them all proxy. Does that increase attendance and interest?

Now people with the cards don’t need to bring them. If you want to show off your old cards go to old school. And new players just show up and play.

I think Wizards should support this and just print good proxies for old cards.

As for MTGO, they should drive up the print runs on all of the cards in eternal formats and bottom out the deck costs. Get decks down to about $200 to $300

Why is force of will expensive online? That stupid. It should cost $5 per. That’s my opinion anyway.

last edited by moorebrother1

Well, i can share my experience.

I organize a Vintage Full Proxie Tournament here in Chile, one time at month, with 20ish people.

Is really fun!! I buy like 14-15 pizzas and 100 Beers and we play like 5 rounds with top 8. Latelly, we are streaming in twich and share of our video in YouTube.

Some guys play their cards (i own a Black Lotus and used it) and other guy just play 75 cards proxies. That really don't matter, we have a awesome day with 9 hours of great matches.

I think one day Vintage will be over (our average is like 40 years old), but in the meantime we enjoy the community we rebuilt this far (some guys where 13 years without playing magic).

My opinion? Just play and enjoy this awesome game :).

Our YouTube channel

Our Twitch channel

last edited by ZaeferMalkav

I think yes. While it may irk some current players, they won't quit the game over it. We are hooked. Magic is heroin. Won't quit over something like that.

I think price IS a deterrent to many many people. It's a deterrent to me and I'm a 38 year old dude with some coin to waste. So many players I know won't invest money in the game and have bad assumptions about vintage. Without trying it, they won't play it. Without proxies, they won't try it.

So let's say you let the guy play kitchen table with proxies. He likes it. He's all in on the format. He's getting good and wants to play a tourney. The tourney virtually reads "$20K entry fee". He goes back to Modern FNM because Vintage at any competitive level is now unattainable.

Vintage should allow proxies. The prices are just stupid. If you want prices to stay high for collector value, fine. If you want it just to keep players out of the game, that's different. The ability to competitively play this format should not be determined on if you have a fat wallet or were lucky enough to start playing the game in 1993.

I say Yes. I say yes as one of the players who sold out in 2003, and will never have the income to get back into it short of winning the lottery. In Ohio, I would go to the Columbus tournaments every 3 months or so, and when asked why I didn't go to the Sandusky Tournaments, I simply stated, you don't allow prooxies, and I don't have the card/income to get the cards. So they changed to allow proxies. Did it up their attendance? It did by at least 1, me. So I am all for it.

The other thing - Wizards ALREADY has zero support for vintage paper tournaments. So making proxies can't scare off support that doesn't and won't ever exist. If WotC ever supports vintage, it'll be through MtGO/Arena where they can make money. They get no cash from the secondary market, so they have no gain in supporting paper vintage.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@shopsaholic Proxies only apply to paper. MtGO really has nothing to do with it. Going to in-person tourneys and playing across from real people is a great experience imo. There are people that don't/can't play in these tourneys simply due to being priced out (I know several).

It's not about making more deck types in the format. People can't even play the decks that exist. If any deck benefits from black lotus, you're already $5K away from playing any optimal list. Kid fresh out of college isn't plopping down $5k for cardboard with $20k in student loans. That same person may be awesome at vintage, but will never get to play in anything sanctioned. That's a shame, I believe.

I think some proxies is absolutely necessary on any level to get new blood into the format. However, I've found that 100% proxy events tend to create not much care or investment in the format. A potential player would come to play hoping to spike a Vintage event for the EV and have 60 basic plains sharpied with the latest deck that won a MODO challenge. There would be very little investment in the format itself for such a player, and in which case it is not growing the format at all. I'm not sure that's the sort of event I'd be interested in going to.

To clarify, I do think proxies are needed as I wouldn't have gotten into Vintage without it. But limited proxies are sufficient. Anywhere to 10-15 proxies sound fine to me.

@khahan said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

  1. The cost is a deterrent. "but proxies eliminate this issues." the cost is a deterrent. "But proxies elimi..." the cost is a deterrent. Again, reality takes a back seat to perception here. I literally had this conversation with players of other formats at Deal Me In Games,
    Me: "You should stop by this sunday and check out the vintage tournament."
    player: "yeah, that would be neat to see, its such a fun format and all those old cards. But I could never afford it."
    me: "That's the beauty of the vintage format. You can proxy cards and cut the cost. Plus if there is a deck you want to try, I can loan you most of it. Plenty of other players who will be there will be happy to loan you a deck. Proxies make it really accessible."
    player: "Yeah, but its really expensive."

The thing is, fifteen proxies don't really make it that accessible. Just pulling up a Karn shops list as a quick reference, yes fifteen proxies is like thirty thousand dollars worth of cards but the rest of the deck is still $1,500. Most other decks are pretty similar apart from dredge. That's an awful lot to try to get someone to drop to try out a new format, and as generous as it is for people to loan decks out, many players are not going to be comfortable borrowing them.

In order to grow paper vintage it needs nothing more than advertising and backing from Wizards. Until that happens, its a dying format.

I think it takes both. Anything that gets Vintage wider exposure is great and essential for getting people to pick up the format (and the exposure the format gets through things like the VSL or just higher-profile players playing it from time to time are part of what gets people to pick it up on MTGO), but it doesn't matter how interested people are in it if they aren't able to actually play it even if they want to.

In response to the OP: yes, and no.

I experimented 6-7 years ago with running 100% proxy events in Sydney, Australia. These events allowed a vintage community to be maintained, but, regardless of my efforts, it did not grow the player base. When I moved away from Sydney, the community collapsed.

A vintage meta-game is laudable. There's MTGO...

The reality is that vintage is not for everyone. Whilst I am certain cost is a barrier to entry, I am skeptical that going 100% proxy would drive significant adoption. I would hate to lose what little WOTC support there is.

@moorebrother1 said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

I think Wizards should support this and just print good proxies for old cards.

Honestly one of the most fun things to me would be if they brought back gold-bordered cards and printed a whole bunch of old stuff to demand. That would be a great way to support not just Vintage but Commander and Old School formats as well.

last edited by craw_advantage

@khahan my objection is not to 10-15 proxys, but to 45-75 proxys. Proxys need to be capped, and 15 cards represents 25% of your main deck; A generous portion. I will also reiterate my concerns regarding greater number of proxys leading to more Counterfeits. If the collective TOs in the room (which I believe you are one of) disagree that there is a connection, then I will defer to that experience.

I agree with 10 proxy. I think 100% of Vintage should be proxy allowed, but not all Vintage be 100% proxy. I took the thread to mean all Vintage should allow some number of proxies (like 10-15). I think that helps reduce the barrier to entry. 100% proxy would be ugly.

@craw_advantage when I hear people talk about accessibility I often mentally picture someone who already has a legacy deck as the person trying to get into vintage; someone with duals/fetches/forces/jaces can play vintage with 10-15 proxies, or someone playing ancient tomb/chalice decks in legacy getting into shops, or throwing solomoxcrypt into their modern eldrazi deck(rip).

last edited by BlindTherapy

This is all, at the end of the day, a moot issue. WOTC will never make any format a proxy format, and you are already perfectly welcome to make your own tourneys with your own rules as it stands. Sanctioning is really the only thing that differentiates this.

There is a better chance that at the end of the day WOTC just stops supporting vintage and gives it to the players to run, which is in my eyes the same as just killing the format.

All of this is just trying to come up with answers to the other intractable issue that is causing these high prices, which is the reserve list, which will also never go away. There are some cards on that list you can likely remedy like Bazaar, tabdernacle, etc by just making them legendary snow or what have you, but you will never fix lotus or moxen without creating lists that attack on different vectors like dredge or some sort of null rod list that wants no moxen or lotus.

@blindtherapy said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

let's say the replacement card is good enough, dredge is still a competitively viable deck with 1 bazaar and 4 of the new card, and needs no other reserve list cards- I think bazaar just hits 3 grand in that scenario

I'm not sure why you think that. Right now the cost is 100% driven by lack of supply and the fact that you need 4 of them. If you literally quadrupled the supply of available playable sets I really cannot imagine the cost skyrocketing. I don't think it would precipitously drop, but to increase immediately after a ban seems counter to how we know the market functions. It also runs in the face of the price of things like moxen which are more prominent in more decks and do not even carry that price tag. If anything it's price would be closer to Library of Alexandria, which is another restricted reserve list card of equal rarity from the same set which probably sees about as much play in this scenario.

restricting bazaar for price reasons is also just a bad idea for the obvious reason that bazaar allows the only viable deck to exist for less than the cost of a lotus, which every other deck needs, most with quite a few moxen. It's not easy to make a hatebear deck that doesn't want lotus and on color moxen, even with null rod effects in it.

I don't think you can restrict it without a replacement, because unlike shops there is no Tolarian academy or Ancient tomb for back up. I suspect that in commander product or another Horizions set you could get away with printing a legendary land that had some sort of looting ability on it that could function as the new bazaar without breaking legacy. It would depower the deck to some extent, though at the same time it would be similar to how shops gets in effect 5 shops when you count academy. Frankly I think we take for granted the fact that dredge needs no mana now, I wouldn't even be against forcing them to run something like faithless looting and mana, but you would have to restrict MM in that case.

Restricting shop for price reasons is just a joke, as a shops deck has over 10k in non shops cards in it given lotus+moxen alone.

Shops should honestly just be restricted though, price point and this topic aside. It would at least open up the supply of the card for higher end commander players while also helping tone down the most problematic and costly list in the format.

last edited by Protoaddict

@blindtherapy said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

@craw_advantage when I hear people talk about accessibility I often mentally picture someone who already has a legacy deck as the person trying to get into vintage; someone with duals/fetches/forces/jaces can play vintage with 10-15 proxies, or someone playing ancient tomb/chalice decks in legacy getting into shops, or throwing solomoxcrypt into their modern eldrazi deck(rip).

I think this is a pretty common way that people look at this, but I also wonder if it's a little outdated. I don't think people necessarily work their way backwards through formats the way they might have once, and Legacy itself is also prohibitively expensive at this point, which is definitely shrinking the player base by keeping people out and which will probably lead to versions of this thread popping up on The Source a few years from now if nothing changes about the reserve list.

Ultimately, the question is just what people want the future of the paper format to look like. If you want it to grow, I don't see any way to encourage that that doesn't include being very liberal with proxies. That's not a priority for everybody though, and if what people want is an format that is mostly online-only but has a handful of high-profile paper events a year, that could be ok too.

last edited by craw_advantage

@craw_advantage The prospect of only having 2 or 3 paper events is the reality of Vintage right now. The interesting thing is that Old School has several well attended paper events without proxies.

I can barely keep up with the number of Old School events and the attendance is typically more that 32. I picked that because it is the So Many Insane Plays cutoff.

Is this more of a card pool issue? Is it nostalgia? Why is that player base able to sustain more events, at least for now, for paper events?

last edited by moorebrother1

@moorebrother1 My opinion as a relative outsider (I have never played in a paper Vintage tournament) is that the format seems to be serving two masters right now. For a lot of people who play online or at the large events, or people who are picking up the format now because it's pretty accessible online, it's a competitive format, not too different from legacy or modern besides being higher-powered, that they want to brew and play within the same way as other formats. For a lot of people who play in local paper tournaments who have been bought in for a long time, it does seem to have more of a nostalgia component, and it does seem to be more about hanging out with friends, playing decks they find fun, and not really worrying too much about winning. And I think old school formats are probably a lot better at scratching the itch for a large portion of that latter group (which is why it seems to be quite a bit more popular). I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the people running small-scale vintage tournaments now start transitioning to 93/94 over the next couple years for that reason. As far as how it can be successful without allowing proxies, I think it's just that it's more squarely pitched at its target audience: old school is fundamentally for people who have a lot of old cards that they want to play with.

last edited by craw_advantage

@thewhitedragon69 said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

It's not about making more deck types in the format.

@moorebrother1 said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

I think there is room in Vintage for many more decks in the meta-game and I think the cost is preventing new players from getting into paper.

Ok, buddy. I'll answer the OP's question while you answer the ghosts in your head.

  • 96
  • 12785