Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?

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

usually this is a bad move
yes, removing the reserve list would remove a large barrier to entry into vintage (not all of them), but it wouldn't be a silver bullet for growing the format*. however, we don't have power to remove the reserve list. we do have the power to run proxy events.
*decks would still be expensive unless wotc decided to print virtually unlimited amounts of power and duals and all the other expensive cards.

They did do this. MTGO. Literally unlimited numbers of power cards can be "printed" and are still to this day being circulated into the environment, and I would venture a guess to say that it did in fact win over some new players. It would work in paper to if they had a reasonable plan to circulate new copies of power cards to players. No it is not the only answer, but is it the most prominent one.

I suspect that if you really wanted to open up the format for more players you would need to have more truly viable pillars of decks that did not have intersecting cards. Besides the financial ramifications of it, there simply is not a deck type in vintage that appeals to every player. There is no true aggro, there is no true burn, and depending on how you label it there is no true midrange. Lotus and moxen are in basically every deck that is not bazaar, and it just ads a level of sameiness to it all from the outside looking in.

Everyone can go ahead and play basketball all they want. They can make their own leagues, teams, develop house rules, record it and stream it on YouTube. But those players have no entitlement to the NBA sponsoring those events or allowing them to play on their professional courts. The NBA would be under no obligation to change the rules of the NBA to accommodate for the fact that the league plays with a shot clock of a different length. The NBA in this case is the elite sports organizations and they get to set their own rules and will nary shed a tear if you cannot play on a professional team. This is analogous to the situation we are currently in.

last edited by Protoaddict

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

Why is it a feature?

to make an argument I'm not sure is convincing-

high buy-in seems to lead to vintage players being easier to deal with than modern/standard.

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

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

Nobody has a right to play or engage in any commercially supported (by WotC in this case) hobby for free. Vintage, Legacy, Draft or F1 racing ... they are all expensive hobbies from the point of view of different people.

While this is true in the reality of it all, I always personally hated this argument. It is elitist - which the world is, I understand - but also implies there is no interest in facing the best of the best in cardboard battle...just the best of the wealthy.

I'd agree that they shouldn't join for free, but there's a difference between paying $50 to play and $25K to play.

My point was that it's all relative. I'd love to do F1 racing. I can't even proxy that. I mean ... I can play Need for Speed. If Vintage were the only way to play Magic out there it would feel more constraining. But there are 10 other formats, all more widely played than vintage. But one persons Type II is another persons Type I in terms of cost. $50 won't get you close to a mythic laden Type II deck. It might get you a Pauper deck (I don't actually know?). It's just a race to the bottom, somebody won't even be willing to pay the $50. Then you don't have anyone with a business interest in producing new functional product.

I'd rather play in a 20 person event with real cards than a 40 person event with sharpied Scalding Tarns. It's that off putting for me. I prioritize champs every year not only because it attracts the folks who dedicate most of their 'magic time' to Vintage but also because I don't have to stare at a Plains with Mox Pearl scrawled on it.

Again ... step one is the obvious easy legalization of IE/CE. We have legal Magic cards with puzzle card backs. We even have a warped foil policy in place for some of the wretched promos not available in non-foil.

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

Vintage is primarily an online format now. Paper Vintage is more of a novelty than the best place to get competitive games. For that reason, I’d say little to no proxy events are better.

They have enough differences that I'd say you get a different game experience. Paper Magic is governed by different rules and has a human element, some people like that others don't.

It's strange to me that I never hear people talk about enforced proxy quality. I'm a big fan of proxy events, I have been forever, but I, too, feel the pain of the sharpied Scalding Tarn.

Sometime back in the golden ages, I was an SCG Power 9 event. My opponent cast a Null Rod off of a basic Forest, and then next turn a Tarmogoyf, and that Tarmogoyf killed me. Except the Forest was a Mox Emerald proxy done in ballpoint pen that I couldn't read, and I didn't notice it was a Mox until the turn after he illegally tapped it for mana. I called the judge but it was too late to roll back, and I lost to the Tarmogoyf, knocking me out of the event.

But there's a false dichotomy here which is annoying. There's no reason you can't run an event and say "You can run proxies but they have to be legible." For me, the best proxy is a computer printout, on a plain piece of paper, cut out and put in a sleeve in front of another card. I use these for testing and for lower-key paper events. There's never any confusion, and when effort is taken to print the image out at the right size with the right sized border, bystanders and opponents rarely notice I'm playing with proxies at all.

Is this kind of proxy possibly marked? probably. Is it as marked as a double-sleeved foil? not even close.

Sure, you're asking players to take slightly more effort when making their decks, but this seems like an incredibly low bar compared to sanctioned play. Asking them to spend a few minutes with a printer doesn't really feel in the same ballpark as asking them to spend $20,000 - which, of course, they're always welcome to do if they don't feel like making proxies.

Just asking people to make nicer proxies doesn't solve every problem everyone has with playtest cards, but it does solve a very big one, and it's really weird to me that nobody ever seems to bring it up.

last edited by Brass Man

@brass-man said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

It's strange to me that I never hear people talk about enforced proxy quality. I'm a big fan of proxy events, I have been forever, but I, too, feel the pain of the sharpied Scalding Tarn.

Sometime back in the golden ages, I was an SCG Power 9 event. My opponent cast a Null Rod off of a basic Forest, and then next turn a Tarmogoyf, and that Tarmogoyf killed me. Except the Forest was a Mox Emerald proxy done in ballpoint pen that I couldn't read, and I didn't notice it was a Mox until the turn after he illegally tapped it for mana. I called the judge but it was too late to roll back, and I lost to the Tarmogoyf, knocking me out of the event.

Wow ... that's rough justice.

It also negatively impacts video coverage. For example, the NYSE coverage, while free entertainment was totally unwatchable because of some of the atrocious proxy quality (plus the normal struggles of paper Magic coverage like glare).

@nedleeds Totally agree on the coverage front. Video coverage isn't something we really cared about as a game/community 5 years ago, but it's becoming a much bigger part of what it means to be a magic player. Some proxies/playtest cards are camera-friendly, but most are very much not.

@brass-man said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

But there's a false dichotomy here which is annoying. There's no reason you can't run an event and say "You can run proxies but they have to be legible." For me, the best proxy is a computer printout, on a plain piece of paper, cut out and put in a sleeve in front of another card. I use these for testing and for lower-key paper events. There's never any confusion, and when effort is taken to print the image out at the right size with the right sized border, bystanders and opponents rarely notice I'm playing with proxies at all.

So this brings up the argument of what is the difference between a really good proxy and a counterfeit. Since we are not selling the proxies we can put the discussion of morality/ethics aside, but once again going back to the OP why would WOTC enable this? Why would we buy cards from them if we could just print them out?

Yes, I agree there needs to be a standard for proxies if you intend to use them, I just don't think you should use them. There is no other format where people are clamoring for this, even though there are some decks in legacy that are now pushing up against the edges of vintage prices and quite frankly, affordability is subjective. Hell, standard is mostly more costly than vintage in the long run because cards are replaced so frequently and tend not to hold value, but no standard players are asking for a break.

Once again, sanctioning and coverage are the only things that are at all different here. WOTC would not sanction a proxy event, nor would they broadcast one where you can see fake cards on screen. If you can deal without those 2 things then you already have all the ability to run proxy events with whatever criteria you would like to have them in.

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

@brass-man said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

But there's a false dichotomy here which is annoying. There's no reason you can't run an event and say "You can run proxies but they have to be legible." For me, the best proxy is a computer printout, on a plain piece of paper, cut out and put in a sleeve in front of another card. I use these for testing and for lower-key paper events. There's never any confusion, and when effort is taken to print the image out at the right size with the right sized border, bystanders and opponents rarely notice I'm playing with proxies at all.

So this brings up the argument of what is the difference between a really good proxy and a counterfeit. Since we are not selling the proxies we can put the discussion of morality/ethics aside, but once again going back to the OP why would WOTC enable this? Why would we buy cards from them if we could just print them out?

Yes, I agree there needs to be a standard for proxies if you intend to use them, I just don't think you should use them. There is no other format where people are clamoring for this, even though there are some decks in legacy that are now pushing up against the edges of vintage prices and quite frankly, affordability is subjective. Hell, standard is mostly more costly than vintage in the long run because cards are replaced so frequently and tend not to hold value, but no standard players are asking for a break.

Once again, sanctioning and coverage are the only things that are at all different here. WOTC would not sanction a proxy event, nor would they broadcast one where you can see fake cards on screen. If you can deal without those 2 things then you already have all the ability to run proxy events with whatever criteria you would like to have them in.

One concrete example of WotCs take were the printed proxies from I think Cool Stuff Inc? They were actual commissioned art and the cards read "Ruby" etc. they clearly weren't real magic cards and didn't even say "Add Red Stuff" and they still got cease and desisted.

I can't find pictures at the moment.

I lied, Gaming Etc. did them

alt text

last edited by nedleeds

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

So this brings up the argument of what is the difference between a really good proxy and a counterfeit.

To be clear, I'm talking about the image printed on a regular piece of printer paper, no cardstock, no glue. In a sleeve, at a glance you don't notice, but there's no way you could possibly convince someone it was a real card when outside of a sleeve. It's in no way more of a counterfeit more than a basic land+sharpie proxy. To me that's the line - could you convince a buyer that the card was real? If so it's a counterfeit. I admit that counterfeit v playtest card quickly gets murky and semantic, but the line is clear for me in terms of what I'm willing to own/play with.

once again going back to the OP why would WOTC enable this? Why would we buy cards from them if we could just print them out?

Well they wouldn't enable it, of course. They never have. They're not exactly enabling non-proxy events, either. Vintage has always been a community-run format, first and foremost.

This is a very old discussion. It won't be resolved in this thread. Some players just don't like proxies no matter what, and some players (like myself) love them. Some of these opinions are there for intractable reasons, and I'm not trying to make anyone budge ... but I do think that there are some people out there who are worried about very solvable problems.

There are some people that genuinely don't get that you can play vintage for free. Those people can be taught.
There are some people that genuinely just dislike proxies for legibility. You can make better proxies.
I think some people are turned off by the concept of proxies, because they think they're for "scrubs" or "poors", and I think those people can be won over pretty easily.

But some people just aren't ever going to like them and that's fine.

@moorebrother1

As a practical step I think the best thing you can do is just make several high quality proxy decks and ask people to play with you. Tell them you're testing for a big event, or trying out a new deck, or that you haven't played vintage in a while and you're trying to get your fix. Give them a deck you think they'd like playing based on what you know about them, and if they enjoy themselves, ask them if they'd like to keep the deck. Playtesting is fun. Use playtest cards to do it. If you can leverage that into a proxy event, awesome. If not, you're still playing Vintage. Honestly I enjoy a great night testing with friends more than Vintage Champs any day.

@brass-man I really like your perspective on this, because it is my perspective on this as well. The fact that the NYSE is allowing proxies is a big part of why I started this thread.

SCG Con attendance was a bit lower this year and paper events have had some issues with attendance for a while.

At the same time Old School events are thriving and they do not even allow proxies.

I thought Vintage could follow the Old School model and do events similar to how they have low EV events but dedicated players. I was wrong. We cannot do low EV events but that may change. If paper Vintage is going to survive a few things will need to change and I think at this point we know what they are. I just hope that something does change.

I know it's natural for you guys, but you all have a very US/Euro-centric view of the format and proxies. Maybe in some places like Australia or Japan things are like that too, I have no idea. So maybe you think a format where players take control is OK or that proxies will solve stuff. But let me tell you how it works on the rest of the world.

No. One. Owns. Shit. A Volcanic Island is the same price as 1 month worth of rent, so Legacy is already broken. I play every thursday in a store that has to allow 15 proxies in Legacy or we don't have 8 people - not only because people don't have the cards, but because it's hard to walk around with a 2k deck when you could be robbed. We have monthly sanctioned Legacy, but a lot of people have to borrow cards and we've been discovering some fakes recently: so I have no idea if those 30+ players we get are actually OK.

Also, most people prefer to play Commander and spend their money there because sanctioned Vintage will never exist. Competitive players migrate to Legacy/Modern and casual player to Commander. The biggest problem is that Legacy and Commander are very good substitutes to everything Vintage has to offer, and they're cheaper to get into.

Turning to proxies is not something most people tend to accept because they know they'll never own those cards and that's a dealbreaker. In Legacy people use proxies because they're testing stuff and WILL get those cards later, one day. Vintage is impossible.

The world (not US, not Europe) only got Magic when 4th edition was released, so every single copy of anything before that was imported later somehow. So Vintage is non-existent and no one actually cares because it's impossible to gather even 3 people to play it. I'm talking about Brazil, the biggest and most developed country in South America, but that could be about Mexico or the whole Latin America too.

I know there are a bunch of people around (maybe here on TMD too) that think of us as underdeveloped apes that deserve nothing more than garbage and I'll tend to ignore idiots like those.

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

Turning to proxies is not something most people tend to accept because they know they'll never own those cards and that's a dealbreaker. In Legacy people use proxies because they're testing stuff and WILL get those cards later, one day. Vintage is impossible.

So, when i started playing vintage i definitely wouldn't have started without proxies, but I also assumed i would never own the cards. Turned out I was wrong, i eventually got some power, and then i sold it for life reasons, but still get to play because of proxies.

I am surprised that the "I might really own this" is the divider between wanting to use proxies or not, since that wasn't my experience. Can you get a little more into that mindset?

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

So this brings up the argument of what is the difference between a really good proxy and a counterfeit. Since we are not selling the proxies we can put the discussion of morality/ethics aside,

No we can't. You can make proxies that are WOTC printed quality. But they'd better have some significant difference from the real thing - alternate art for example. Any card that could realistically deceive another person into believing its a real copy is, imho, a counterfeit, and should not be tolerated. There is no reason for it.

@fsecco / @garbageaggro yeah I'm confused. I feel like you made a 3 paragraph argument in favor of proxies (people can't afford the cards, people don't want to bring expensive cards with them, etc), and then concluded with "and therefore, proxies are bad." I'm not trying to win you over, but I really don't get it.

All of the things you said about magic pricing being different in different parts of the world (or country) are exactly the things I tell people when I'm trying to convince them how great proxies are.

Last year I spent a month hanging out with magic players in Mexico City (whatup Fernando!), I was AMAZED that people were willing to spend half a day's salary on a single draft, when they could be playing Vintage for free. There are clearly cultural forces at work that make people really reluctant to play with proxies (and I mean the culture of the magic community, not any particular country)

The mindset that you have to own the cards someday is where I'm lost ... why? Why not just proxy a vintage deck and then ... not buy the cards? It's the same game. I'd argue it's a BETTER game, because you're not constantly looking over your shoulder and terrified to put a beer next to your deck. If you're interested in Vintage and you don't live down the street from a place that runs sanctioned events, what does owning the cards get you? You get to subsidize SCG in exchange for a less-fun version of the game?

There are a lot of reasons people are for or against proxies, but "we don't have enough money for proxies" is hard for me to wrap my head around, if the alternative is playing Modern or Commander which is dramatically more expensive. I can't help but think there HAS to be some other unsaid reason here.

I was personally fortunate enough to buy power when it was much cheaper, but I play with proxies whenever I can - I only ever playtest with full-proxy decks, I proxy my power and leave it home when I go to a local event ... it's just a better experience for me, and it's a place I find EW to be consistently disappointing. I know Vintage isn't for everyone, but I hate to imagine people missing out on the format because of some mistaken idea that proxies offer an inherently worse experience.

Quick life story here. One day I just decided I wanted to play vintage. I had a good job and a deep legacy collection so I thought I would make the effort and try to get back some of the cards I had when I was a kid. I started looking at lists and found Dark times, which was basically mono black with a jet and that was about it. You could play lotus but some lists did not. So I traded some stuff, store credit for some more, and bought a Mox Jet.

From that point on I started building out my collection. Eventually that dark times deck moved me into wanting to try Dredge, and I got 4 bazaars (when they were about $250 each) once again by trading standard, modern, and legacy stuff I was not going to use into store credit and trades. I played that list for a long time, and then finally I decided I would collect power. My Bazaars went towards some moxen, I got a good trade at Gencon for a timewalk from a vendor, and finally I managed to trade in something like $1500 to cardkingdom for a reasonable condition lotus.

I was basically able to collect my vintage staples without directly spending a dime, by carefully saving my cards that I was getting via limited, speculating on stuff that would go up and trading into it, and spending the time. For what it's worth most of my vintage collection today was only available to me because I bought 100 copies of Deathrite shaman at 2 dollars store credit each which then sold at 18, and 200 copies of collective brutality at less than a dollar store credit which I think went for damn near 25. I was smart and lucky, but I don't think you have to be to have a similar story to me.

Point is, the quest to actually get these cards was part of the game to me, and quite frankly I think of it as being more fun and challenging than a lot of the rounds of magic I have played in my life. If scarcity was not part of the inherent design of the game, cards would not have rarity, and if owning the cards was not important people would not buy and sell them at the rates they do. During the period of time where I was collecting my power I never once said to myself, I wish I could proxy some crap I don't own at a tourney. I just played a different list or played a different format.

I am basically making the argument here that I view ownership of the game pieces as a critical part of the game itself, or at least the meta game around the game, and I do not think you can separate the two. I would go as far as saying that owning the cards will make you not only have more respect for them, but opponents and spectators alike will have more respect for you, and I think that is important to the life of the format itself.

@garbageaggro when did you start? Because a lot changed after 2007 when Legacy got created. We now have a bunch of formats we didn't have back then, so it was way easier to convince people to play proxies. The thing now is that they can play a "real format", with official support, big events and actual opponents with real cards (be it Legacy or Commander) or they can play their crazy friend with proxies in a format that, even in high profile play, is kinda casual. Vintage has no chance, really.

last edited by fsecco

@brass-man said in Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?:

The mindset that you have to own the cards someday is where I'm lost ... why? Why not just proxy a vintage deck and then ... not buy the cards?

You got me there. I don't get that either, but it's the reality. Someone even mentioned this here (OP? Don't remember). The thing it that all of magic (Spike, Timmy, Jimmy, etc) are covered by other formats that are officially supported. This matters a lot. Why would anyone play Vintage competitively when it doesn't exist and Legacy does?
Why would anyone play it kitchen table style when Commander exists and can be way cheaper.
Sure, if people changed that mindset we'd get a bunch of vintage players, but they simply won't start playing. Also, it's a BIG problem finding calendar space to schedule events with all that's going on.
Creating a gauntlet of decks and lending it to people is the only way I got people to play and enjoy the format. What happened after that glorious event everyone played with my decks and loved the format? They never played it again because they spend their time building decks for formats they actually play.
So yeah, we should definitely play proxy. But it won't happen on a large scale and I also believe not having sanctioned big events like EW would be the nail in the coffin in the format.

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