The player I most recently introduced into EDH at the shop built his first two decks with cards he had in his house from old decks, and bought a few new cards online to make them more competitive. He’s played a few times with me using my decks or borrowing other people’s cards and wants to have his own decks to show us his particular card choices are a valid competitive way of playing.

The other people in the shop that play EDH have months of experience playing different archetypes, and have moved on from some of the more purely aggressive or tribal themed decks  he’s recently discovered and have shifted to different axis of play, such as combo decks, lock down control or basic recursion. My first decks were also based on putting out creatures and winning through combat, but these days my favorite decks manipulate the board state so that I can be put in a favorable position without needing to attack until I know I can win.

Since the cost of trying out new ideas sometimes involves getting new cards to see how well they work, it can be an expensive learning process. The better, more proven strategies can be expensive propositions too, with card prices set by demand, and the most demanded cards being the most expensive. Since some cards are unavailable at the online stores in Korea, you can either seek out harder to find cards and pay a ridiculous premium for them, or proxy the cards until the real things are available. If you proxy something and it ends up not working, you can take it out without paying. Some people just write the names of the cards on old lands, but sometimes people make more of an effort and print things out instead.

As long as you intend to order the good cards eventually after a few games, it’s a tolerated way of testing out a new deck. No one plays with permanent proxies in the EDH group in the store. If someone knew you won because of a card you proxied instead of buying, they’d be pretty annoyed. People would rather play with less competitive cards than have proxies at the store from the players I’ve talked to who play often. Several of the Korean players actually pooled money together to spend a few hundred thousand won on cards for their EDH decks. These are non-competitive decks we play for fun, and they’ve gone to the trouble of ordering cards from the United States to make their decks more obnoxious. They’ve all got real cards, and some of them have spent a ton of money. I don’t think their tolerance for proxying cards is very high. The only proxies I’ve ever seen Korean players use were for cards people owned but were in other decks at the time, but even that was rare.

Anyway, this new player wants to try out his cards, and wanted to see how well he could make proxies with some photo shop and some are from around the Internet. People put up alternative art for cards, or post pictures of the alters they’ve made to share. He picked through those cards and printed off some for his decks, and a few for other people in the shop to say “thank you”. I think it’s because he wants tacit permission for the proxies, but it is also a way to show off his mad photoshop skills.

Since he made some cards for me, I’ll have some alternative art when someone asks me what my commander does, but much like the “oversized” cards, it’s rarely a problem to just tell someone instead. I’ll probably put these proxies into hard case sleeves and use them as dividers between decks in my deck boxes. They do look great from the pictures. I don’t think I’ll play any of the proxies in decks if I don’t own the originals. These cards aren’t printed to pass themselves off as being legitimate in any way, simply as placeholders. I own all of the cards he proxied for me, and I paid for every single one of them, despite balking at some of their prices.

Some people take a different approach, and none of the EDH games are played for prizes or money, so knowing in advance and asking if people think it is okay might be enough for now. I think if people complain, he will either stop bothering to play, or promise to buy the cards sometime in the future.