Last updated on May 24, 2024

Arid Mesa - Illustration by Raymond Swanland

Arid Mesa | Illustration by Raymond Swanland

I love building EDH decks. I put together far more lists than I’ll ever make for fun, but I've noticed a trend: I’ll slap together a list, starting with my core spells, rounding it out with staples, etc. Then I’ll throw in a mana base and watch the deck’s price triple.

It makes me glad that I proxy my EDH decks. If you’ve played casual formats like Cube or Commander, odds are you’ve encountered proxied cards. But why would you want to proxy lands? And where are the best places on the internet to find good, cheap proxies?

Let’s explore new terrain!

What Are Proxy Lands in MTG?

Mirrorpool - Illustration by Cliff Childs

Mirrorpool | Illustration by Cliff Childs

Proxy lands are cards that look like MTG cards but aren’t official game pieces released by WotC. These often resemble MTG cards quite closely, printed on similar cardboard with the same dimensions. They’re designed for casual play to replace actual lands; you commonly find them in Commander.

There’s a difference between proxy lands and counterfeit cards. Simply put, proxies are only used in casual settings, and your opponents know they aren’t real. Counterfeits are fake Magic cards created and sold as though they were real MTG product, often made of high-value targets like Volcanic Island and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. The main distinction is that counterfeiters try to pass their cards off as the real deal and sell them as such, while proxies should never be used as anything more than a casual game piece.

Make Playing Cards

Make Playing Cards is my site of choice when proxying cards for my Commander decks. The website is fairly dense, so I recommend utilizing the application MPCFill, which handles all the site work and makes building your deck easy; the app also has an abundance of alternate arts you can use.

I’ll say that the pricing of MPC makes it a great, cheap option for proxying entire decks at a time, but it’s not ideal for doing one or two cards; the shipping costs are high as the company is based in Hong Kong, and shipping to the States takes a while (I can’t speak to shipping costs/times to other locations). This could be a great option for buying cycles of fetch lands, shock lands, and so on for a Cube or to proxy the mana bases for multiple decks.

MTGProxy

MTGProxy offers a similar service to MPC with two distinct differences: The cards are a little more expensive, but the UI is far friendlier without an additional application. Their pricing scales with the number of cards you want to order, so this is another great place to grab some of the best land cycles. The community can upload custom art, so you have a variety of choices to select from (though, as a general rule, the less popular a card is the more likely you’ll have to settle for official art).

Printing Proxies

Printing Proxies offers a very similar pricing scale and customer-friendly UI to MTGProxy. This site’s distinguishing factor is its options. In addition to printing MTG proxies, they offer proxies for other games, including Pokémon and Lorcana. Printing Proxies can be an excellent option for players who look to round out not just their mana bases but several decks in different card games for a lovely night of casual gaming.

Proxy King

While the previous options are great for buying lots of lands, Proxy King is my choice for individual proxies. Do you need that Volcanic Island for your Niv-Mizzet EDH deck or a Gaea's Cradle to skirt the Reserved List? This site is a great option with high-quality proxies. The only real downside is that Proxy King only offers official arts, but that’s not a huge deal if you only want one or two proxies within a deck of otherwise real MTG cards.

Why Proxy Lands?

The biggest reason to proxy lands is their exorbitant prices. Lands are a fundamental part of Magic; having a solid mana base allows you to play consistently, so they’re in high demand and quite expensive. Fetch lands, triomes, and shocks are the foundation of consistent mana bases in virtually every MTG format, so it’s hard to get them for less than $10 apiece, and often much more. This is before we wade into the nonsense of the Reserved List and original dual lands costing hundreds of dollars.

Mana bases tend to comprise most of a given deck’s price, especially in Commander. Budget mana bases are often inconsistent and slow. Proxying lands lets you play more Magic because your mana base works better and saves you a ton of money. You obviously can’t play with proxies in sanctioned MTG events and tournaments, but proxying your mana base for Commander or Cube can do a lot to save money and even provide customization for your deck.

Wrap Up

Littjara Mirrorlake - Illustration by Jokubas Uogintas

Littjara Mirrorlake | Illustration by Jokubas Uogintas

Proxying lands (and other cards) helps players get into Commander and other casual formats. You shouldn't try to pass your proxies off as counterfeits, but doing what you like at the kitchen table or LGS depending on their rules is totally fine. Proxying lands can be a great way to save on the most expensive part of the average Commander deck while improving its consistency.

Do you proxy any cards in EDH? Where do you source your proxies? Let me know in the comments below or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

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