Last updated on May 14, 2024

Phantasmal Image - Illustration by Nils Hamm

Phantasmal Image | Illustration by Nils Hamm

Alongside the growth of Commander as Magic’s most popular casual format, the number of players playing proxies is on the rise. While not legal for sanctioned play, WotC is okay with proxies for playtesting and casual use, and are overall beneficial to Magic in terms of making the game more accessible for players.

Commander players proxy the most, but there are plenty of other uses for proxies. Plenty of sites offer proxies, but not all sites are created equal. So, what are the best? I’m here to answer that, looking at two kinds of sites: those that allow you to buy physical proxies, and those that create PDFs to help print your own MTG proxies.

Quick Pick: MTGProxy.com

In a previous article on the best proxy sites for Magic, we went with MTGProxy.com. The site allows you to add an entire deck to your cart at once, saving you a bunch of time and money. Nice.

#8. MTGGoldfish

MTGGoldfish Proxies

MTG Goldfish is primarily known for its deck database and YouTube channel, but it also has a proxy maker! The only real downside is that they don’t look like Magic cards, which is a major issue.

The proxies generated by Goldfish give you the text of a card. No art or anything else which is a big downside in many cases. The art on Magic cards doesn’t just distinguish the game, but it’s vital for board clarity. In many cases, the first thing players recognize about a card is the art. Removing borders also means cards lose the features that distinguish type and colors.

This doesn’t mean Goldfish’s proxies are utterly useless, however. They’re bested suited to specific types of personal play. These utilitarian proxies are totally fine if you and a few friends agree to use them! They’re great if you and a buddy want to playtest some otherwise expensive mythic spells for your Modern decks for an upcoming PTQ before investing in physical cards. Because they’re so minimalist, they use less ink than a proxy site that provides the full art for a bit of economic value.

While I’d heavily recommend not using Goldfish’s proxies for Commander decks you intend to play with randoms at your LGS for legibility reasons, there are still uses for these proxies, and they can be a very economical choice.

#7. Etsy

Etsy MTG Proxies

Etsy works as a storefront for sellers to push their wares, which works for and against it. There’s no telling what you’ll find here, which adds to the charm but means you might see something cool, only for it to be gone when you come back.

That said, there are some things you can find on Etsy that are hard to find elsewhere, like entire Commander decks filled with altars designed to have a single, coherent theme and art style. Whether you can get foils varies from seller to seller; unless otherwise listed, it’s safe to assume you’re getting non-foil cards.

Individual proxies can be hit or miss. Many Etsy sellers offer sets of specific cards, like one copy of each original dual land from Alpha or legendary dragons. This makes Etsy a very useful storefront for players who want to proxy a cube and need complete cycles of lands and Signets and such, though players looking to find one or two cards to round out a deck may find the site wanting. Individual cards on Etsy can also cost much more than proxies from other sites, but the unique offerings can make up for the greater price, depending on your interests.

A final benefit to using Etsy is your ability to communicate directly with the seller. This can be great for more specific requests; Etsy is also the best place to find more risqué alters, should that be your taste.

#6. Abyss Proxy Shop

Abyss Proxy Shop Homepage

Abyss Proxy Shop has a wide selection of cards, including individual cards and sets of cards that include cycles, like all ten Swords or a collection of staples in a particular color. The catalog is deep, and you can order foil or non-foil cards.

Few cards have the original art from Magic;the sole exception is a set of original duals. The alternate arts are all done very well; many of them are “serious,” but there are also quite a few arts that make delightful pop-culture references, like a Darth Vader ]Necropotence.

As far as prices go, the individual cards are a bit over $3 for non-foil and $6 for foils; the price of sets varies according to how many cards are in the set and whether you’re getting a foil treatment. This means it’s not super economical to construct an entire Commander deck from these cards. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a couple of cards to round out a deck, as $3 or so is often less than the price of the original card. The alternate arts are also a huge appeal; if you’re looking for a pricy card with art that doesn’t seem worth the price, you should check out this site.

#5. Proxy King

Proxyking.biz Home Page

Proxy King is best for players looking to get individual proxies. They offer a variety of iconic MTG cards, both in sets like the Power Nine and individually. You can buy cards in foil and non-foil, with the price ranging between $4-5 dollars for individual cards, and set prices are dependent on the number of cards you get.

The biggest difference between Proxy King and Abyss Proxy Shop in terms of offering is the art. On Proxy King, you can only find cards printed with the original MTG art. Some cards have multiple art options; for example, you can order proxies of The One Ring in traditional, extended, and serialized arts, but there’s no alternate art or option to create your own.

Whether this counts as a drawback depends on your tastes. Having cards that look exactly like the real deal can be a dealbreaker for some players who don’t want their proxies to look like counterfeits; owning some Proxy King cards, I can say that it’s evident they’re fake as soon as you touch them. Since you can get the official art, this makes Proxy King better suited to purchasing one or two cards to finish off a deck you otherwise own, but it’s very close between these two sites.

#4. MTG-Print

MTG-Print Homepage

MTG-Print is the first site we’re looking at that’s ideal for printing entire proxy decks – also notice that the website's name is very similar to “MTG Print”, a different site.

The price you pay per card varies on the quantity you’re ordering, from $2 for a single card to $0.75/each when ordering 200 or more. Assuming you’re ordering a full Commander deck of 100 cards, it’ll be about $100, plus more for shipping. For an additional fee per card, you can get a foil treatment.

The card galleries on MTG-Print only contain official art, but the site has an option for you to upload your custom art. This could be an alter you made of an existing card or a wholly unique creation. When selecting art, there’s a “you get what you see” message advising you to pay close attention to the art before selecting it. This is… concerning, to say the least, so I guess I’m telling you to be vigilant about the art you select.

The biggest thing going for MTG-Print is its language diversity. Its gallery includes any non-English printing a card has received; this is a service that none of the other options on this list offer. It might not matter for every player, but it’s nice to select, say, the Spanish versions of your deck instead of manually uploading a unique file for each card.

#3. Printing Proxies

Printing Proxies Home Page

Printing Proxies has been around for a while, and it’s a great option to order proxies from. The pricing is similar to MTG-Print, including the option to upgrade your cards to foil. Where it wins is its gallery.

The One Ring Custom Proxy

Printing Proxies offers most official MTG arts of any individual card, though few non-English arts. In addition to official printings, many cards have custom art uploaded by the community. Not every card has additional arts; the more commonly played the card, the more likely it is to have a lot of options. For example, a staple like Counterspell has many more art choices than something like Cogwork Wrestler. Of course, you can always upload your custom artwork.

Another point for Printing Proxies is its diversity of games. In addition to MTG, you can get proxies for other popular card games including Lorcana and Pokémon. This doesn’t matter for every player, but it can be a great way to get into a new game; plus, since ordering more cards brings the price down, splitting an order with a buddy can be a very economical choice for both of you.

#2. MTG Print

MTG Print Proxies

MTG Print, a site run by the folks at Cardtrader, is my site of choice when it comes to printing my proxies at home. The site is incredibly simple to navigate; you just copy and paste your decklist, use a drop-down menu to select your printing, and the site generates a ready-to-print PDF. The site doesn’t allow for custom uploads and only uses official printings. It’s very barebones, but you don’t need much else to print the cards at home. Since this site generates proxies with card art, it’s much better to use if you want to print a Commander deck at home and take it to your LGS.

#1. Make Playing Cards

Make Playing Cards Proxies

Make Playing Cards is ultimately my preferred spot to order proxies, but the site has a few drawbacks. The primary reason it’s my site of choice is that it’s considerably cheaper than any other site. I mostly proxy to save money, so that is of the utmost importance.

The site has a lot of options that go well beyond MTG. Additionally, if you just upload MTG art that doesn’t have “Not For Sale” or another similar indicator, your order is rejected. The best way to navigate MPC is with MPC Fill, a website designed to smooth out all these wrinkles.

You upload your deck into MPC Fill and then select your art. And boy, are there arts! Virtually every card has alternate styles from a large, caring community. There are hundreds of options for every basic land, so you can find any art to suit your style or of course, upload your own. MPC Fill handles all the “Not For Sale” stuff and directly uploads your cards, from which point you can finish the order through MPC.

This brings us to the other hurdle. Shipping, at least to the States, takes a couple of weeks. MPC is based in Hong Kong, so the shipping takes longer and is more expensive (but it still ends up being cheaper).

I acknowledge that this tops my list solely because of the cheapness of the site; I don’t mind the added complexity of building my deck through another site or waiting much longer. If you don’t want to deal with that, I recommend Printing Proxies as the best site for the ease of navigation that trumps MPC and MPC Fill.

Buyer’s Guide

The most important thing to look for from your proxy site is quality. Find reviews. Ensure they’re sending out cards worth purchasing; all the sites listed here have excellent reviews, but mistakes can still happen.

If you’re using a site that prints at home, the quality check is for the art and the margins on the PDF. Is it sized to your paper? Is the art legible, or will it come out blurry? And do they look like MTG cards?

Cost also matters a lot; for many, proxying cards is the only way they can access the game. Cost and quality are the two biggest factors I considered when making the list, but a bit of diligence is always useful. Consider if you need to upload your art or custom cards, if you want singles or entire decks, and if you want to use alternate art or want your proxies to look as close to the real thing as possible without being counterfeits.

Once you’ve found a site that meets your needs as a buyer, with reviews to back up the quality and any claims about shipping, the last thing to do is create your decks and play!

Wrap Up

Mirror-Sigil Sergeant - Illustration by Chris Rahn

Mirror-Sigil Sergeant | Illustration by Chris Rahn

Proxying is one of the best, most accessible ways to play the game. Proxy cards have a lot of value, even outside the Commander table. It can be the only way for some people to play formats like Legacy or Vintage, and it’s a great option for players who want to playtest the latest Modern tech before investing in real cards.

Do you proxy any of your cards? What’s your favorite alternate MTG art you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *