Vintage Proxy Guidelines



  • I've noticed people using backward magic cards w/ sharpie as proxies. Throughout my years playing Vintage, I've always known this to be illegal but the guidelines for proxies in the NYSE announcement threads don't explicitly say whether or not the cards can be backward; it only recommends using a basic plains from Revised.

    I've also heard that the original Starcity Games guidelines for proxies was that it had to be a backward magic card even though that isn't consistent with my first hand experiences. (Acetone+Color-pencil-art-project is what I've played with in Starcity Games tournaments)

    Does anyone know about "official" proxy guidelines or at least something that can validate why I've thought that backward magic cards were illegal proxies? I couldn't find what I was looking for on the original TMD, but I know it's there...


  • Administrators

    Proxies aren't legal in any official tournaments, so there's no such thing as an official proxy guideline. Individual TO's sometimes publish their own set of proxy guidelines, and sometimes they don't

    I've never seen a TO publish a guideline that says backwards cards with sharpie are legal - but I've definitely played in events with unpublished guidelines where people have played them.

    For me, I don't care as long as the card isn't marked in a sleeve, and it's clear to the opponent what the card is representing - same things I'm concerned about when it comes to double-faced cards, foils, alters.

    However - I'm not a TO, so my opinion doesn't really matter.



  • @Brass-Man said:

    Proxies aren't legal in any official tournaments, so there's no such thing as an official proxy guideline. Individual TO's sometimes publish their own set of proxy guidelines, and sometimes they don't

    I've never seen a TO publish a guideline that says backwards cards with sharpie are legal - but I've definitely played in events with unpublished guidelines where people have played them.

    For me, I don't care as long as the card isn't marked in a sleeve, and it's clear to the opponent what the card is representing - same things I'm concerned about when it comes to double-faced cards, foils, alters.

    However - I'm not a TO, so my opinion doesn't really matter.

    Not one says its legal but the problem is that I can't find guidelines that actually say its illegal. It's obvious to me why it should be illegal, but there is nothing to suggest that in any tournament announcement I've reviewed in the past 25 minutes.

    I mean, they concave in the opposite direction...How is that not "marked"?


  • Administrators

    Even if the guidelines don't call it out as being illegal for proxies, I think if they're using sleeves that aren't opaque enough, that would still be covered under marked cards, and it would be illegal for reasons completely unrelated to proxies

    Think about double-faced cards like Delver of Secrets. If you can tell, in a sleeve, that there isn't a Magic back on the other side of it, the deck is illegal, even though it's not inherently illegal to play a double-faced card (to my understanding, which is admittedly limited :D )


  • TMD Supporter

    @Brass-Man said:

    Even if the guidelines don't call it out as being illegal for proxies, I think if they're using sleeves that aren't opaque enough, that would still be covered under marked cards, and it would be illegal for reasons completely unrelated to proxies

    Think about double-faced cards like Delver of Secrets. If you can tell, in a sleeve, that there isn't a Magic back on the other side of it, the deck is illegal, even though it's not inherently illegal to play a double-faced card (to my understanding, which is admittedly limited :D )

    So you have to use checklist cards instead of Delvers? I'm confused...

    I would love to see some official proxies though, that would be sweet.



  • In the paper league that I run we don't allow sharpie on the back of a magic card because it can be difficult to tell what it is from a distance. If a proxy does not have all information, even if it is a well known card, it isn't allowed.

    Basically, we encourage ye olde "print off and put in front of a basic land" or even "take a blank card and draw your own awesome stick man with all relevant text" proxies because it's vintage.

    If you can be assed to do more that write the name of a card on the back with a sharpie, you shouldn't get to play vintage.



  • @Winterstar said:

    Basically, we encourage ye olde "print off and put in front of a basic land" or even "take a blank card and draw your own awesome stick man with all relevant text" proxies because it's vintage.

    This is also what we do. I think print in front of basic is the option that generally plays the best*. But I’d like to mention the proxy rule GameForce in Eindhoven used: Sharpie on a basic when it’s in your deck, and print when it’s in play; similar to how checklist cards work.

    *) At my last paper event we had a guy wth a 100% proxy deck who put prints in front of some kind of brightly colored anime cards, with a ½” border of the card showing. It was horrible, and extra horrible that he won because Dredge.



  • @Islandswamp If you are not playing with black sleeves, in all likelihood they are not 100% opaque. In that case the back of the delvers are distinguishable and they are marked. At Champs in 2014 when delver was a common deck many people received game losses for having marked cards because of this. (Snarky comments omitted.)



  • Backwards proxies weren't allowed at the NYSE.


  • TMD Supporter

    @diophan said:

    @Islandswamp If you are not playing with black sleeves, in all likelihood they are not 100% opaque. In that case the back of the delvers are distinguishable and they are marked. At Champs in 2014 when delver was a common deck many people received game losses for having marked cards because of this. (Snarky comments omitted.)

    Oh I see. I almost always use black sleeves so I guess it's never come up for me then. I prefer to have all my stuff match.


  • Administrators

    Yeah I don't believe it's inherently illegal to not use checklist cards ... But you have to be real careful about your sleeves if you don't



  • I just LOL'd at myself for literally never considering that the checklist cards were to prevent inadvertent "marking" of cards. I always thought they were for the convenience of not having to unsleeve, re-sleeve and then remember to do it all again when the game ended.



  • In general I hate playing with and against backwards cards that just have names sharpied onto them just because that gets real confusing really quick if you have a bunch of them that are all different cards.



  • I "TO" our local proxy tournaments. Our current rule is essentially don't make us need to create rules.

    [Store name] does not have any rules regarding what a proxy or play-test must look like. Please ensure that your cards are sufficiently clear so that your opponent can easily discern what card you are playing. If bad cards become a problem, we will institute rules regarding their formatting. We recommend using the ATX Magic’s Playtest Card Rules to create your proxy/play-test cards.

    The majority of our players proxy by printing out a copy of the card and sticking it in the sleeve with another card for structure.

    The worst proxy we've had is probably mine - I forgot to print the back side of Jace VP, so when he flips, I put my phone, with a picture of the card, on top of the physical card.



  • Since I never participated in a proxy tournament I don't have much experience with it. I noticed that people here play with basic lands cards with names/text of the cards while everything else is blacked out. Some simply print the image and put it into a sleeve. But it seems that the latter is actually forbidden in many places unless you proxy the whole deck this way.

    I was also wondering if some people use fake cards for this. ATX Magic obviously forbids those and I like that (and it should be like that in my opinion) but how does it look like at other places? Are there people who bought the fake cards in order to be able to use them at proxy tournaments? Do you mark the cards somehow to show that those are proxies?

    (yeah, with proxy I meant 'playtest card')


  • Administrators

    Again, there are no formal guidelines so it ALWAYS varies by TO. I know a few TO's who don't allow the fake/counterfeit cards ... not because of any concern of cheating, but to discourage people from funding counterfeiters.

    Typically speaking, tournaments that allow a lot of proxies (especially 100% proxy events) tend to be more casual, more player run, and with mostly players who know each other and look out for each other - cheating is less of a concern here than readability. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ask the TO.

    I do know that when the SCG P9 events had an official set of proxy rules, a lot of TOs would just say "We're using the same rules as SCG" to keep things simple, which made a sort of de facto standards, even if there were no de jure standards. As far as I know, this practice doesn't really exist anymore.



  • In the majority of events I've played, proxies that have been printed out and inserted in front of an actual Magic card are frowned upon, as your proxies are now thicker than the rest of your deck. Still probably less noticeable than, say, an FTV foil, but when we're talking about the thickness of 10-15 of probably the most powerful cards in your deck being different than your basic lands and Preordains, I err on the side of caution.



  • Public Service Announcements:

    The proper terms in this conversation are:

    (1) Proxy - An official replacement for a card damaged during a tournament.
    (2) Playtest Card - An unofficial card being used in place of a real one that would not pass as real even under the most casual of inspections.
    (3) Counterfeit - An unofficial card being used in place of a real one that can pass as real under a casual inspection in some relevant circumstance.

    Cite: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/proxies-policy-and-communication-2016-01-14

    A playtest card is most commonly a basic land with the name of a different card written on it with a marker. Playtest cards aren't trying to be reproductions of real Magic cards; they don't have official art and they wouldn't pass even as the real thing under the most cursory glance. Fans use playtest cards to test out new deck ideas before building out a deck for real and bringing it to a sanctioned tournament. And that's perfectly fine with us. Wizards of the Coast has no desire to police playtest cards made for personal, non-commercial use, even if that usage takes place in a store.


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