Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?

My philosophy towards proxies is: cui bono?

I am totally sympathetic with @Brass-Man's concerns about playtest card quality and can get behind rules restricting the quality of such cards. But I have not heard any arguments for why disallowing well-made proxies benefits either existing or potentially new Vintage players that I find personally compelling. A few points:

  1. It's great that the hunt for power has driven some players to become invested in our community. But I don't see the existence of one path to joining the Vintage community as necessitating closing off all other paths.

  2. "WotC will kill Vintage if it becomes a proxy format": this argument is odd to me for several reasons. First, (paper) Vintage is already de facto a proxy format, in that the vast majority of paper tournaments allow playtest cards in some form, and this fact has been acknowledged by WotC in their official communications. Second, WotC support for the format is infinitesimal. Other than a single tournament per year, (paper) Vintage is a community-run format.

  3. We shouldn't reward counterfeiters or encourage players to give them business. This is a reason to allow playtest cards at Vintage tournaments, since counterfeits are already de facto allowed (are you really going to whip out a loupe and take your opponent's power out of its sleeve in the middle of a tournament, to police authenticity?)

  4. Some people are concerned that allowing more playtest cards in tournaments would decrease the value of their investments in Vintage cards. While there is an undeniable link between card playability and value, all of the evidence I've seen points to very old cards holding value due mostly to (a) their collectibility and (b) their usefulness in other formats like Legacy and EDH, and only slightly due to their value as a Vintage game piece. Consider (1) the value of alpha and beta cards have skyrocketed, despite a stagnation in the number of (paper) Vintage players, and Vintage become de facto a proxy format; and (2) the high price of iconic cards like Shivan Dragon that see no Vintage play.

last edited by evouga

The issue with this discussion was the OPs contention that all of vintage should be 100% proxy. As it stands right now the number of proxies allowed in a game of magic is 0 for sanctioned, and what ever the hell number you want to use for anything else that you decide to run.

So if we extrapolate that we understand that this conversation is actually "should WOTC allow proxies in sanctioned events" which is a silly and moot discussion because the answer is that they have already said they will not.

If the issue proxies are trying to solve is ultimately the reserve list, then up until this point they really have not done much to solve it considering we have proxy events all the time and the player base has not exploded. Proxies are not the thing holding back the format, because people still see the format as a costly and elite one even if it costs them a grand total of 75 basic lands and a sharpie.

If the conversation is about how do you grow the format, then your discussion lies somewhere in the nexus of:

  • Print new cards that make reserve list cards unnecessary or options as opposed to manditories - Not possible for some cards but I think you could get away with replacements for some things
  • Print strategies that do not require Moxen/Lotus - Dredge was the first and really only one we have had.
  • Restrict a few pillar cards - Workshops and Bazaar come to mind, though the effects of that would have to be tested and new cards printed to fill the roles in a less powerful way.

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

@fsecco That makes plenty of sense why not to buy power, but not why not to encourage proxy vintage.

Oh I'm not saying you shouldn't encourage it. I built a 12 deck proxy gauntlet here. I just doubt that'll do anything for the format other than gathering your 3 friends for pizza. So I don't think it would solve anything if Vintage either was a 100% proxy format as the OP asked or managed by the community.

last edited by fsecco

I think the real solution has nothing to do with proxies...and it may not even be a matter of the reserved list. Sure, it'd be great if power was cheaper to acquire, but there are plenty of people that could do it and don't, yet pay big for Modern and Legacy. The biggest deterrent I feel is prize support and frequency of high-profile events. If you could pick up a playset of goyfs, bobs, seizes, chalices, and other pricey cards to play a BG rock deck, or a set of blue duals, FoWs, and other junk for Legacy, you're not far away from chipping away at pieces of power.

But why buy Vintage cards? You can go to lots of Modern tourneys and some big Legacy tourneys to a lesser degree - but when are you ever going to use that Vintage deck? Once or twice a year at best? And for what - a $100 entry for a shot at winning an underground sea? Cmon.

Vintage is by far the least supported format with few "big" events and usually crappy prize support or something decent but for $100 entry. If proxies were allowed, people might get in more easily and try their luck...but nobody is going to invest all the way for a format you rarely get to play and for low EV in prizes. Us old folk who bought in early and are now near 40 are the bulk of the scene. We can't expect young players to come in if the opportunity to play often and for good prize support isn't there.

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

you're not far away from chipping away at pieces of power.

Sorry, but this is exactly the point - and I'll say this the last time to I don't say it too much. There's no such thing as "chip" at pieces of power. It has become expensive even to buy CE Power. Also, you can't start having "big Vintage events" in places where Vintage is non-existent. Those events will fail, lose trust from players and never be able to happen again.

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

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

you're not far away from chipping away at pieces of power.

Sorry, but this is exactly the point - and I'll say this the last time to I don't say it too much. There's no such thing as "chip" at pieces of power. It has become expensive even to buy CE Power. Also, you can't start having "big Vintage events" in places where Vintage is non-existent. Those events will fail, lose trust from players and never be able to happen again.

^^100% this!
This is the cheapest Mox Ruby on eBay in Canada and its 3k Canadian before import duties!
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/MRM-ENGLISH-Mox-Ruby-Ex-Good-MTG-magic-Unlimited-RUB01UNL/264356154570?hash=item3d8cdaccca:g:NPwAAOSwb3pc~ZS6

last edited by John Cox

I know, cards are stupidly expensive. But let's say the cards magically reduced in price by 75% overnight. Why would you buy them (other than assuming it was a blip and they'd jump 150% back overnight)? You'd have nowhere to play them and the times you could use them you'd be paying big entry fees for low EV.

Nobody will host big events with huge prizes because they'd lose money as not many would show up. Most won't buy in because it's too expensive for the EV since there's not many sanctioned tourneys with any decent prize to play in. It's the chicken and the egg, except the chicken is cooked and the egg won't crack in this catch-22.

@thewhitedragon69 well, we can see how attendance would not go up if cards were cheap either. MTGO proves that. Vintage is cheaper than Modern there and we have just a few players. I think it has a lot to do with what I said before (did I say it here or elsewhere?) of we having a bunch of formats and people not willing to dedicate to another one. So yeah, I don't think even full proxy saves us without other factors.

IF Wizard could launch gold border power or whatever, that were only allowed to a max of 10-15 in each deck, something like "official proxyes" to reduce price and still have "official cards", then maybe. But that won't happen.

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

If the goal was to increase access to vintage and attendance, why not allow the latest batch of counterfeit cards, appropriately marked, to be used as in local non-sanctioned tournament play

because this encourages the production of realistic fakes by being the demand for them. if you want legible proxies takes a color printer and print out your 75, sleeve them up in front of basics, and play.

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

If the goal was to increase access to vintage and attendance, why not allow the latest batch of counterfeit cards, appropriately marked, to be used as in local non-sanctioned tournament play? I guess we can either keep our memberships to the exclusive vintage country club or open the course to the masses. Any vintage deck would be available for less than $200 USD, which last time I checked was about the same amount of money as my putter. Proxies can make the board annoyingly confusing- is that a mox jet or mox ruby? is that an underground sea or a volcanic- oh wait, it was a fetchland? I see a easy way to open the format, the cards are distinguishable, and actually makes play easier. Solves the proxy issues Brassman pointed out- legibility and damage, as well as the video coverage, and COST all in one fell swoop.

we shouldn't support counterfeiters. just make nice proxies instead.

legibility isn't just a proxy thing either for what it's worth, I can't tell the difference between most of the expedition lands.

If the format actually took off because of proxies, I suspect it would still encourage counterfeiters to make cards, if only because WOTC would never allow proxies at an event. The prices on these cards are not being sustained by the player base but by scarcity, which is what attracts the counterfeit market. More players could only make that demand go up.

As long as the reserve list is a thing and as long as the only viable decks in the format require a few specific subsets of cards, there is no getting away from the counterfeit issue.

I'm sure most of you are aware, but Modern Horizons has "art cards" which are essentially just full art cards with a blank back for artists to doodle on. I see some noise already that people are going to use these as proxys for the high-dollar cards for playtesting purposes or in casual games for the more expensive cards. Wizards could easily do this for Vintage cards and sell as "art" cards.

I still think at the end of the day, players want a supported format, and a healthy format (however that is defined by the masses), so not sure having more proxies will grow the player base.

last edited by DanL15243

Isn’t MTGO kind of already a test case for “how popular Vintage would be if the cards were cheap?”

Obviously there are differences in paper and digital, but I don’t see how much more theoretically accurate you can get than this.

last edited by joshuabrooks

@joshuabrooks I dunno about how accurate that is. I own a shitload of cards...probably north of $50K worth. I don't play MtGO, even though I could buy my collection digitally 100x over plus all the cards I'm missing. But I waste enough of my life on the computer, so I'll pass on MtGO and deal in cardboard.

What if instead of counterfeit, I said "high quality proxies"? It seems to solve a lot of the issues mentioned. I understand reluctance, but there are not enough vintage players out there to start with to really make it an issue where we are 'encouraging' the counterfeit operations. They already exist, and the focus is not about vintage.

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

What if instead of counterfeit, I said "high quality proxies"? It seems to solve a lot of the issues mentioned. I understand reluctance, but there are not enough vintage players out there to start with to really make it an issue where we are 'encouraging' the counterfeit operations. They already exist, and the focus is not about vintage.

Like I said in another post - if you want high quality, just make sure its EASILY distinguishable from a real card. Having to bust out a jewelers loup, do the light test, etc is not easily distinguishable. Basically, if a cursory look makes somebody think for even a second, "hey, thats a nice looking black lotus", its a counterfeit. Distinguish it somehow. Make it an alternate art, full art, put it thru a foiling process etc. There are any number of things you can do to make a high quality proxy that leaves no doubt to even the most casual player that its not real.

Just chiming in to point out that allowing 10-15 proxies in events is helpful not only to players who don't own power, but to those who prefer to travel without a $30,000 mark. I know several players with vast collections who prefer to travel to events without taking an enormous risk. Additionally, allowing proxies incentivizes grading (which renders cards physically unplayable), which is an aspect many seem to appreciate & enjoy.

I'm all for it, simply because I prefer to play with proxies than to not play.

We had plenty of tournaments 10 years ago, and even a provincial Vintage championship with invitations during the golden age of Vintage.

Then the prices started to rise, most older players in my community decided to cash out and get a down payment on a house instead.

Very few younger players were able to afford competitive decks, even in a 10 proxy event. It ended up being the players who kept their cards crushing the younger players, who just never came back, and I don't blame them. I wouldn't play a format where I get blown out just because I don't have money to be competitive.

Within 2 years, all the tournaments stopped and now I can't play competitive Vintage at all, even if I still have all my card.

@wagner I really appreciate this story because it is my story. My friends that have not cashed out mostly play Old School now and while I do love Old School, I love Vintage more. I really just want more paper events. Events where we get at least 20 people.

last edited by moorebrother1

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

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

What if instead of counterfeit, I said "high quality proxies"? It seems to solve a lot of the issues mentioned. I understand reluctance, but there are not enough vintage players out there to start with to really make it an issue where we are 'encouraging' the counterfeit operations. They already exist, and the focus is not about vintage.

Like I said in another post - if you want high quality, just make sure its EASILY distinguishable from a real card. Having to bust out a jewelers loup, do the light test, etc is not easily distinguishable. Basically, if a cursory look makes somebody think for even a second, "hey, thats a nice looking black lotus", its a counterfeit. Distinguish it somehow. Make it an alternate art, full art, put it thru a foiling process etc. There are any number of things you can do to make a high quality proxy that leaves no doubt to even the most casual player that its not real.

I would write "Proxy" on the card. Issue solved.

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