Spark Double - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Spark Double | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Proxies have become a more prominent part of Magic with the rise of Commander as a popular, casual format. While players once used proxies to playtest strategies for upcoming events before committing to a strategy or sideboard card, you’re much more likely to find the average player rolling up to an EDH table with a deck full of stand-ins.

Proxies are great for accessibility, allowing people to engage with the game however they like. Most cEDH players couldn’t play the format without proxies! Many Legacy and Vintage players are also cool with proxies in non-sanctioned events. If you’re interested in proxying MTG cards, the most important question is which service you should use.

As an avid proxy player, I have the answer with a few alternatives!

What Are Proxy Printing Services?

Body Double (Jace vs. Vraska) - Illustration by Winona Nelson

Body Double | Illustration by Winona Nelson

Proxy printing services print proxies and ship them to you. I’m only considering services that ship physical proxies. Some sites, like MTG Print, generate PDFs to print proxies at home. Those aren’t what I’m ranking today (though MTG Print is my preferred website for home printing).

Proxy printing services come in two flavors: services you can upload entire deck lists to for custom printings, and services that function as more of a storefront you can select individual proxies from. I’ve included both on this list, though I prefer sites that ship the entire list.

#5. Etsy

Etsy Proxy Printing Services

Etsy is the Wild West of MTG proxies—or should that be the Thunder Junction of MTG proxies? You never quite know what you’ll find, from entire proxied decks themed around One Piece to stunning alternate arts of mana rocks and lands. The site’s strength and weakness lie in this variety. It can be more expensive than other services on this list but offers the most unique art. It’s also one of the better places to get more risqué proxies if that’s to your taste.

#4. Proxy King

Proxy King offers a selection of high-quality proxies that are almost identical to Magic cards. The distinguishing features are a slightly slicker finish and a lighter card back. Their store focuses on proxies of high-value cards. This service isn’t great for proxying entire decks, but it’s perfect for players who want proxies of one or two particularly expensive cards, like fetch lands, original dual lands, power nine or Reserved List powerhouses, and multiformat staples like The One Ring.

#3. MTG Proxy

MTG proxy

MTG Proxy will print entire decks. Their pricing scale depends on the number of cards you’re printing—the more cards you order, the less you pay per card. The shipping is quite fast. The site’s greatest strength comes from clarity. It calls itself MTG Proxy and it makes MTG proxies. With a simple UI and even an option to upload custom images for your own art or a custom card, MTG proxy does what it says.

#2. Printing Proxies

Printing proxies website

Printing Proxies offers excellent services. In addition to quick delivery of high-quality MTG proxies, their options go well beyond Magic. You can get proxies for other card games, including Lorcana and Yu-Gi-Oh!. It’s a great site to explore other card games in addition to Legacy, Commander, and any other MTG formats you want to play. This diversity makes it a one-stop shop for all kinds of card games.

#1. Make Playing Cards
MPC Fill

Make Playing Cards is my proxy service of choice, though I must be upfront about the downside: This site is dense, with all kinds of options and strict copyright policies. The easiest way to handle this is by using the application MPCFill, a community-built app that lets you select art and handles the process of filling out an order at MPC.

The added complexity and additional application aren’t as convenient as the other sites, but you get rewarded for the effort: Proxies are far cheaper here. I primarily proxy for budget reasons, so I don’t mind the extra steps for a good deal. If you’re looking for convenience, I would recommend Printing Proxies over this site.

Buyer’s Guide

You need to consider a few points when purchasing proxies. Price is critical. When ordering in bulk from sites that print to order, you don’t want to spend more than $1 a card once you pass 50 or so. If you’re proxying a deck, consider the price of all the cards. If you’re purchasing a budget deck filled with Draft chaff, the most economical choice might be purchasing all the $.25 cards.

Custom proxies and alters might cost more, closer to what the actual Magic card costs. That’s a matter of paying more for unique art. I don’t have a good answer for that, you need to decide what you value.

The most important thing to research is dimensions. Especially if you mix your proxies with real Magic cards. If the proxies are of a different size, even just a few millimeters thicker, they’ll look distinct from true MTG cards and be marked in sleeves.

Legibility is king when it comes to art. There’s a firm argument for only printing proxies with official art so there’s zero mix ups, but custom art works so long as all players can tell what the card does. If only WotC would follow this with their Secret Lairs….

Is It Illegal to Print MTG Proxies?

Printing proxies is legal so long as the owner only uses them for personal use. Printing MTG proxies broadly falls beneath the fan content policy Wizards publishes. Make sure to only use proxies in casual play; they aren’t legal in sanctioned events and will lead to disqualification.

Proxies should never get passed off as counterfeits. The difference is intent; proxies are stand-in game pieces while counterfeits pretend to be the real thing. I highly recommend using alt arts or different card backs to ensure nobody mistakes your proxies for counterfeits; several of the sites on this list require unique card backs.

Wrap Up

Holographic Double - Illustration by Tyler Walpole

Holographic Double | Illustration by Tyler Walpole

Proxies let us play formats we might not have access to otherwise, especially with the Reserved List keeping Legacy, Vintage, and other formats beyond the reach of the average player. Proxy printing services make getting proxies a snap, so we can try all kinds of formats! Accessibility tools like these allow more players to join the game we love, strengthening our community through their presence.

Do you proxy any Commander decks or cards? What’s your proxy printing service of choice? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe and thanks for reading!

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