(Editor’s Note: TLDR: Don’t counterfeit Magic cards, but proxies definitely have a place in the community.)
We went to our “usual” place on Saturday for Free Comic Book Day. I put usual in quotes because this has only be a tradition for two years running but we have gone to the same place both times. After getting our comics last time (we were the dorks in line before the place opened), we watched some of the parade. If you know Northampton, then you know what kind of parade. If you don’t know Northampton, then I will just say that there were many rainbows and the mood was quite festive.
An article about Free Comic Book Day is coming tomorrow. I justwanted to set the stage. Bear with me just a little longer. You have to admit that this exposition makes for a better story. Now, back to that story.
I noticed during one of my morning commutes that the sign on the highway warned of potential traffic because of a parade scheduled again on the same Saturday as Free Comic Book Day. I filed the notice away, mentioned it to Christine because she’s usually better at remembering these things than me, and proceeded to hype myself up for a weekend of not seeing the Avengers, but making up for it with free comic books and Lego sets for the boys. Perfect nerdy guy weekend on the week before Mother’s Day. I also suggested the idea to ride bikes, and we had a party to attend, so Christine would not feel left out completely.
It’s a good thing that bike riding came up as Plan B. Not that I forgot about the parade, but I tried to circumvent the warning and the traffic. I failed spectacularly on both fronts and we ended up on quite the detour through downtown Northampton in search of a parking spot during one of the busiest days of the year. We never found that spot and decided to ride bikes instead. As we pulled into the parking lot for one of our new favorite trails, someone pulled out of their spot. I glibly remarked that it was meant to be. While the rest of the family went to the bathroom and otherwise got ready, I used the time to see if another, more accessible, store was offering the free books. Nothing materialized from the Google search, but I did find a link for Worlds Apart, a gaming store in Amherst.
I’d seen the store but never went in. Intrigued as to why Gogole wanted to send me to a store without comics (as far as I know) for Free Comic Book Day, I clicked the link. No comics as I suspected, but several other ideas grabbed my attention. After the bike ride and finally getting to the store for our comics, we came back home. I did more research into the store. What I found blew me away.
Drafts on Monday and Saturday, Modern on Thursday, EDH on Wednesday, Standard on the other days. What caught my attention the most and convinced me that this might be my new favorite store was their Tuesday event. They offer unlimited proxy Legacy. Chris and I play Legacy. Well, I think that it is technically more Modern, though we place no actual restrictions on card use other than trying to limit the damage on our bank accounts. Legacy or Modern, proxies open a whole new realm of possibilities at a reduced cost.
I got so excited by the news that I wrote to Chris first and then posted to the Magic group on Facebook. I got several responses. As I hoped, many of them expressed support and I got more excited by the prospects. Chris inquired more into the nature of proxies. He found a page that lets you print proxies. It is the same page that I’ve used in the past.
Perhaps it is time for disclosure. I have used proxies for Magic. I have not bought nor sold them under any pretense, but I have created my own. I made proxies for Liam’s and Aiden’s commanders because I didn’t want to pay the prices that people wanted for those cards. I’ve been trying to convince Chris to use them over the last few months, but he has resisted. After our conversation in which we agreed that it might be worth the investment to get a printer, he realized the potential savings. We excitedly discussed creating no limit Legacy Decks and I suggested Vintage because why not? He sent me a picture of his first creation, a Black Lotus and I almost fainted from the image. He then printed a Mox Sapphire and finally a full Vintage deck. I’m still in the process of narrowing down 20 years of Magic into a workable 60 card deck plus 15 card sideboard.
This also gives me and Chris the chance to try out of the ordinary (or completely net decked) standard decks without having to pay a penny. Our group nearly expanded to feature more players but it is still just the two of us. Spare me the Will Smith, please. Oh, all right, but I insist on the Austin Powers version.
I will still buy my usual box and fat pack for each set to support the game. I have also been thinking about dipping my toe into the competitive scene (which often frown upon proxies for obvious reasons), so I will need to fill in cards for those decks. Those purchases will be a drop in the bucket, though, and proxies will result in massive savings.
Additionally, the no limit on proxies in the Legacy weekly at the store is a good starting point to see if I have the chops to compete with other players besides just Chris. I am also planning to join some drafts at another store now that school is out, so that will be another relatively cheap way to test my skills against other people. However, the most tempting is definitely Legacy with no limit on proxies. You can make a deck for free. There’s no initial investment other than the entry fee and that is minimal when compared with the price of the cards required to build some of these decks.
I am, by no means suggesting that you buy or sell counterfeit Magic cards. However, some formats of Magic shut out a large percentage of the player base due to the sheer cost of entry. This might seem like a good thing and it might even be a good thing, but I argue that it is not. Sure, you want to have gated content in your games, but they should be skill gates. I might not be the best Vintage player in the world (in fact, I’d argue that I’m not even close), but I won’t even get a chance to prove that I’m not because I refuse to spend upwards of $10,000+ on pieces of cardboard. It feels like the worst case of pay to win I’ve ever seen in any game. Sure, some tournaments offer 10 or 15 proxies, but why not have more unlimited proxy events at local stores? It would pull more players into the game, give new players who weren’t lucky (because, really, that’s all it is) enough to have played when these powerful cards were released a chance to play the cards, and improve the experience overall. All a pipe dream, I’m sure, but one worth dreaming.