Should all Vintage be 100% proxy?

I have been giving the cost of playing Magic a lot of thought especially looking at Vintage lately with all of the new sets coming out. I want to have a very serious discussion about looking at the format as a 100% proxy format.

People say MTGO is inexpensive and it kind of is. My issue is that MTGO is a digital gaming area that turns off several players. Paper on the other hand is super expensive.

Vintage is a very complex format and new cards are having a big impact on the format. 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.

On the digital side, learning how to play Vintage on MTGO is hard. Honestly, unless you are really invested there monetarily as well it is very difficult to break in and innovate.

Would viewing Vintage as a 100% proxy format, grow the player base? Would it help the meta-game?

last edited by moorebrother1

According to Betteridge's Law of Headlines, the answer is no.

In my opinion, the answer is no because it assumes that the price of the format is the absolute deterrent to players as well as innovation. My recommendation, at least for the innovation department, is to dig up the data from North America Eternal Weekend 2018 (it contained every decklist, lucky us) and Magic Online around the same time. Since Eternal Weekend is a significantly larger player pool, and your hypothesis is that a larger player pool leads to many more decks, you'll probably find your answer there.

The rest of your post is personal bias towards Magic Online.

last edited by Shopsaholic

I dont think it would help grow the format to be honest for a number of reasons all of which are based on personal experience vs any research

  1. too many magic players are proxy adverse. They view any use of proxies as a negative. Even when its explained for this format that proxies tournaments are the norm, they simply can't get their head around playing magic with proxies. Its anathema to their thought process

  2. vintage is a high powered, turn 1 format. Not relevant at all if its truly a turn 1 format. That is people's perspective. Opening up to proxies wont change that. At least not directly

  3. 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."

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

I have 0 interest in playing any format as a Proxy format, high cost or not.

Making your own game pieces is one step removed from this format just becoming a fan driven format where we start developing our own card designs. The more it becomes like that the less WOTC would ever support it to the point where it would kill the format itself, and I would much rather have a restrictive format than a dead one.

If you cannot afford vintage there are other formats you can play. I would much rather remedy the formats price issues with new printings that can pull attention away from the typical power cards and towards decks with minimal reserve list cards, as well as restrictions around cards that create huge barriers to new entry such as Bazaar and Workshops.

Dredge created a cheap and viable deck for the format until Bazaar skyrocketed. Karn Drazi seems like it could also be leaning in this direction but probably since moxen and lotus can still see play in those lists it wont solve the issue. I have hopes that one day that burn with 1 mox ruby is actually a correct and smart choice for the format much in the same way it fits into legacy or modern.

Also, what is the price point that the format is not restrictive at? Seems very subjective to me. If WOTC Restricted Bazaar, then printed a much worse but reserve list proof version of said card (something like a legendary land that drew 1 discarded 2 and cost life) would that make the deck accessible enough? Dredge is mostly cards that are no more costly than modern staples at this point, so if the barrier for entry was 1 card at $1000 (assuming it did not drop in price after restriction) would that be ok?

Yes. And that is all I will say about that.

@protoaddict
going by mtgtop8 prices here. scraped from tcgplayer average, so not real prices, but to be comparable:
dredge is 5-6k, which is almost entirely bazaars.
powerless eldrazi is 1200-1500, which is what dredge was at when i got into it in 2013
noble fish with just an ancestral is about the same cost as dredge
legacy comparisons:
legacy lands is 4-5k, mostly in tabernacle, diamonds, duals and drops
legacy UR delver is 2200, mostly duals and then forces
legacy miracles is 1.5-3k depending how many duals you play
legacy grixis is 3-4k

so dredge costs as much as the higher end of legacy decks. if they restricted bazaar and printed snow bazaar or a neutered version then either dredge becomes another strictly bad deck that people play for budget reasons like playing powerless hatebears or it remain the budget deck in the format. 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, as the deck is now force of wills, 400 dollars in modern cards, and 1 bazaar, so people will bid bazaar up as they buy in, and the deck is still cheaper. if the deck is just neutered then the price of bazaar goes down, but I don't think it does much for accessibility of the format if the resulting deck is as competitive as the existing budget decks(powerless hatebears, etc).

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.

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.

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
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8qYQEZl8XabmINR4X9GTrg

Our Twitch channel
https://m.twitch.tv/mtg_vintage_chile

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.

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