Last updated on May 14, 2024

Miming Slime - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Miming Slime | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

The rising popularity of Commander has led to a rise in the popularity of proxies for Magic’s most popular formats. Players doing personal play testing would use proxies, or stand-in cards, as would those interested in playing casual games of Legacy or Vintage.

But what’s the role of proxies in EDH and its sub-format cEDH? Are they acceptable or taboo? Why do they even exist, and where can you find high-quality proxies?

I’m tackling all these questions, so let’s get started!

Are Proxies Legal in Commander/EDH?

Printlifter Ooze - Illustration by David Szabo

Printlifter Ooze | Illustration by David Szabo

While proxies are not legal in WotC-sanctioned tournaments, nobody can stop you from playing with proxies in a casual setting. In my experience, most casual pods are cool with proxies so long as they’re legible. That said, not every player is down to play with proxies; you should always ask the pod before playing. I also know some LGS-run Commander leagues that might ban or restrict the proxies players can use to keep things balanced.

Talking about proxies should be part of the rule 0 conversation, for two reasons. The first comes from making sure the table’s cool with them, but the second has to do with power level. One of the most common arguments I see against proxies comes from players talking about how the proxy player rolls up with all sorts of fancy combos and massively expensive cards like Rhystic Study and Mana Crypt that blows the rest of the pod out of the water.

All respect to these players, but each time I’ve seen this argument, the issue never seems to be the proxies; the problem comes from the relative power of the decks. I doubt those players would have enjoyed the game more had the proxy player spent some $200 on the offending pieces. When asking about whether the pod is okay with playing proxies, make sure to discuss your deck’s power level and don’t misrepresent what it can do. Playing with those flashy cards is an appeal of proxies, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the table’s enjoyment.

What About cEDH?

The cEDH community welcomes proxies! The goal of cEDH is to play the most powerful, efficient strategies possible, which often involves dipping into older Magic sets and the Reserved List for cards like original dual lands, Lion's Eye Diamond, power niners, and so on. Many staples that aren’t even on the Reserved List cost a bundle (looking at you again, Mana Crypt!).

As such, the community embraces proxies to ensure all players can contend on that battlefield. It wouldn’t make much sense to play for the highest levels only to have most players drop out because the deck’s mana base costs more than their car.

Why Do Proxies Exist in a Casual Format?

Proxies primarily exist for accessibility. Magic’s an expensive hobby! Proxies allow players from all walks of life to join the fun and strengthen our communities. They also give players the freedom to explore different kinds of decks, spells, card types, and strategies; again, so many players simply couldn’t play cEDH if the community didn’t welcome proxies. It lets more people interact with the game we love—what could be better?

Where to Buy Commander Proxies

With all this in mind, you might want to find a place to get some proxies of your own. I proxy myself, so I have a couple suggestions about the best sites for MTG proxies.

First up, MTG Proxy offers an excellent service for players looking to proxy entire Commander decks. The pricing’s fair, the site’s easy to navigate, and they ship the product quickly.

MTG proxy

Printing Proxies has similar pricing, with a key bonus: They offer proxies for games other than Magic! It can be a great site to try out multiple games at once; perhaps you’ll get a Lorcana deck along with your Commander deck to explore the hot new game on the market.

Printing proxies

Wrap Up

Urza's Blueprints - Illustration by Tom Wanerstrand

Urza's Blueprints | Illustration by Tom Wanerstrand

Whether you play with proxies in Commander or not is ultimately a personal choice. If you do go down that route, remember to bring up your proxies in the rule 0 conversation to make sure your pod’s comfortable with it and your power levels are relatively even.

Do you proxy any cards in your Commander decks (or the entire thing?)? If so, what’s your favorite proxy service? Let me know in the comments below or on the Draftsim Discord.

Stay safe, and keep informed!

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