Last updated on May 23, 2024

Pirated Copy - Illustration by Daarken

Pirated Copy | Illustration by Daarken

Is it ethical to print your own Magic cards? The best philosophers in the world at prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale have devoted their lives to this question. We may never have an answer.

Lucky for you, this means you don’t have to worry your pretty little head about it! There are no laws keeping you from printing Magic cards for your own personal use, so let's take a look at the best way to fill out your decks without breaking the bank.

#6. Trinket Kingdom

Trinket Kingdom Home Page

Perhaps playing off the success of the Card Kingdom brand, Trinket Kingdom focuses primarily on imitation LEGO minifigs and custom art Magic card proxies. All their proxies use custom art to differentiate them from traditional Magic cards, licensed from the original artists.

Trinket Kingdom Proxies

Trinket Kingdom undercuts the Proxyking price by $0.25 per card, but you won’t find any regular imitation Magic cards on the site. They do offer a free bonus card on orders over $25, and a free set of (proxy, I assume) fetch lands, dual lands, or Power 9 on orders over $100. They just started shipping globally, and the site advertises they’ll ship orders within two business days.

Trinket Kingdom Archangel of Thune Proxy

Also, the use of the singular “I” in the site’s product descriptions seems to imply they only have one employee. If that’s true, shout out to you, single Trinket Kingdom employee. That sounds like a lot of work!

#5. Abyss Proxy Shop

Abyss Proxy Shop

Abyss Proxy Shop has been around since 2015 and makes an effort to offer a proxy version of every Magic card valued at $8 or more.

Abyss Proxy Shop Bundles

They have a selection of custom duals/fetches/shock lands, plus custom art for everything else in their store. Their prices are about $3.85 for nonfoils and $6 for foils. It’s fairly expensive when compared to some of the others on this list, but their unique selection of custom arts might make the difference for you.

#4. MTG-Print

MTG-Print

Mtg-print.com has a selection of every card you could wish for from Magic sets ranging all the way back to Alpha. Each card selection also includes a list of the different prints available for each card. This helps ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for, be it a German The Wandering Emperor or that exact Secret Lair Kozilek, the Great Distortion.

MTG-Print Zoom Information Text

My only hesitation with MTG-Print is their “what you see is what you get, please verify sharpness” warning at the top of the order page. This implies, to me at least, that the image quality on some of these cards may not be the best. Normally, I wouldn’t mind as long as the cards are playable, but the fact that they’ll charge you the same rate as the rest of the field for what could possibly be a worse-quality card seems egregious. Finally, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to tell if you’re getting a foil printing or a standard printing of a card, so I have to assume you’ll receive a nonfoil, always.

#3. Proxyking

Proxyking

Proxyking.biz is a fair choice for printing proxy Magic cards. Their stand-in replica cards are the closest match in quality, size, and weight of a real Magic card. Proxyking claims their printer resolution eclipses even WotC’s print quality. Based on the QA on recent sets, I believe them. I’ve never received a misprinted proxy from Proxyking, but I can’t tell you how many off-center and mis-inked cards I’ve pulled from packs in the last year (it’s more than a dozen, at least).

Proxyking Sword Set

Proxyking’s base rate for cards is a flat $4 per card and $5 per foil, making it a competitive choice for picking up a handful of rares at a discounted rate. They also sell complete cycles of cards as a bundle; pick up all five Masterpiece Invention Swords of X and Y for just $20.

Proxyking’s shipping times are great, too. They process 90% of their orders within one business day, quicker than most official Magic singles retailers will process your order. Plus, they ship from Texas, so domestic orders in the US should see fast shipping times.

Proxyking’s only mark against it is that they don’t allow you to create and upload your own custom cards. If you’re just looking for high quality imitations, this is the site for you.

#2. Printing Proxies

Printing Proxies

Printing Proxies isn’t only one of the best proxy sites for Magic cards, but they also offer a selection of proxies for other TCGs like Pokémon, Flesh and Blood, One Piece, and even Lorcana.

Printing Proxies Adjust Order Screen

Printing Proxies accepts orders for custom Magic cards, but it doesn’t have its own card creator tool. Instead, you’ll need to upload images of your custom cards. In the example below, I’ve uploaded a full art of Dakkon Blackblade with no text – perfect as the center piece to my EDH deck. Their prices are similar to MTG Proxy, with a better rate as you order more cards, and the same going rate for custom cards as official imitations.

#1. MTG Proxy

MTG Proxy

MTG Proxy is one of, if not the best sites for ordering proxy MTG cards. Its cart editor allows you to enter an entire decklist at once and add it to your cart – perfect for getting an entirely proxied deck in no time. They’re also one of the better sites for creating and printing your own custom Magic cards. MTG Proxy uses the same cardstock they’d use on any imitation card for your custom card and charges you the same rate. And they even sell Proxy Boosters: packs with 16 high-power and rare proxy cards, which are a great for casual, high-powered drafts.

That rate, by the way, is very affordable, and it gets better with the more cards you order. A single card from MTG Proxy runs you $2, 10 or more cards reduce the price-per-card to $1.50, 50 or more cards brings it down to $1 each, and ordering 200 or more cards cuts that price in half down to $0.75 per card. With a flat $5 shipping rate on top of that, MTG Proxy is the best way to get your hands on the most proxies for the lowest price.

MTG Proxy Card Input

MTG Proxy’s card creator is MTG Cardbuilder. While its card creator isn’t the absolute best, it gets the job done while still giving you access to some more fine-tuned controls, like adding and arranging layers on the card like you would in Photoshop. They also offer an AI art generator for your custom Magic cards, but I couldn’t get the AI to return an image with the prompt “three thrummingbirds,” so the thing is basically useless (/sarcasm).

MTG Proxy Card Customization

Buyer’s Guide

There are a few things to consider when purchasing MTG proxies. First, you should have an idea for what purpose your proxies are fulfilling. Are you looking to create a custom art for a favorite card, or are you looking for the closest replica you can find of a real card? Are you trying to fill out a deck for playtesting before you invest in the real, tournament-legal thing, or will these just be for casual games?

In that same vein, do you need a custom card, or are you just looking for a mimic of an official card? Many sites maintain an online inventory containing most high-value cards as proxies. Alpha dual lands, Ravnica Shock lands, that damned Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, and more are typically available on major sites and can be added to your cart and ordered no sweat.

Card quality is one of the swingiest aspects of a printed proxy. Wizards of the Coast uses their own proprietary card stock for Magic cards, meaning no proxy site has access to the exact card stock used for official cards. Sites like Proxyking.biz have done a lot of research to make their card stock match as closely as possible, but that might not be as important to your search.

You must also consider the image quality. If you’re uploading your own card art for a special custom card, you want it to be legible from across the table. Depending on printer quality, some fine details can be lost if the original image isn’t up-to-snuff.

Make sure to compare prices! Some sites offer a discount for ordering higher quantities of cards at once, while others offer a flat rate per card.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the average shipping time. If you need these cards by Friday for your weekly game, you should prioritize a proxy site with quick turnaround.

For our purposes, the best proxy sites have the best value per card, the highest card quality with the least variance, and the widest selection of cards and custom arts to choose from.

What Do I Need For DIY Proxies?

You want a high-quality printer with emphasis on legible text and color.

Get the highest resolution image files for each card or design custom cards with your personal touches to make them unique. Then you need to print them onto high-quality paper. Ensure your settings match the standard card size. Carefully cut the cards out, sleeve them in front of something you won’t need like a token, extra basic land, or ad card. If you do not carefully cut around the edges, any jagged bits can stick out terribly, even in sleeves.

How Do I Make High-Quality Proxies?

To ensure you make quality proxies, it's essential to use the best available image file of the original card. Check the file size, in general PNG files are higher quality than JPG, and more pixels are strictly better than less pixels in this case. You'll notice any lower-quality images right away when the printed cards are in your hands.

There are also printers made for trading cards, if you have the means to invest in one. Such a printer can put the image directly onto blank cards. The professional proxy productions prefer this since it feels more like an actual card.

Is It Legal to Play Magic with Proxies?

It is not legal to play with proxies in DCI-sanctioned events. For casual games, proxies should be no issue, though it's always courteous to inform your playgroup, especially if you did not already hold a rule 0 discussion.

Wrap Up

Arcane Proxy - Illustration by Kekai Kotaki

Arcane Proxy | Illustration by Kekai Kotaki

Like many Magic players, I’ve become a bit disenchanted with WotC’s constant bombardment of new products. I’m just about done paying extortion fees for the singles I know will be devalued in the coming year. That’s why I’m going with proxies for my Magic cards. I know I won’t be playing in a competitive environment, and I’ll do anything to save a buck on what is, technically, worthless cardboard from a children’s card game.

Have you ever ordered any proxies? Do they feel like the real thing, or are they easy to spot in a line-up with real cards? Would you bring proxies to a casual Commander night, or is it disrespectful to the people who actually put up for that $200 Mana Crypt (hint: it is not). Let me know in the comments or over on Draftsim’s Twitter/X.

Thanks for reading, keep pirating those cards!

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