Tournament Tuesday: Head Judges and Proxy Cards

So I’m sure plenty of you are familiar with proxy cards, or just ‘proxies’. For those of you who aren’t, they’re basically a stand-in for a card you might not have; they’re very commonly used in playtesting, where someone will just scribble “THRAGTUSK” in sharpie over a janky draft common, or a spare Plains, and sleeve it up. In this scenario, you’re proxying a card you don’t own yet, or one that’s busy in another deck, while you test and tweak before you go out and pick up cards for your final list [after all, how awful would it be if you bought a bunch of pricy cards and then they worked horribly in your deck?!]. Proxies are also sometimes used in Commander where I live and thrive, because you might only have one copy of Underground Sea between your 5 decks and you have neither the money to buy 2 or 3 more, nor the desire to keep switching that one copy around.

However, proxies at a sanctioned event are a super no-no, most of the time. You can’t show up to a DCI Sanctioned event with proxies, no matter how well-made they are, because you have to play with real, actual Magic cards! There are two exceptions to this: The first one a lot of you may know, are the checklist cards from Innistrad and Dark Ascension (which actually aren’t proxies at all). It’s A-OK to use a checklist card rather than the real Double-Faced Card [and you actually kinda have to if you aren’t using sleeves, or your sleeves aren’t opaque!]. You must own a physical copy of the card that it represents, though, so if you only have one Huntmaster of the Fells, you’d better only have one checklist card that says Huntmaster as well.

The OTHER exception is the one in today’s post title: a proxy issued by the Head Judge. It is possible, though unlikely, that your cards may become damaged in some way during the tournament. Maybe you pulled a severely miscut card in your Sealed pool, or one of the cards came out of it already damaged so badly you can’t use it in your deck for fear of Marked Cards. Maybe somebody spilled water on your field [insert Seachrome Coasters/Drowned Catacombs Head Judge groaner here!] or your card fell and you accidentally tore it when scooting your chair back to get it. These things CAN happen, though they don’t happen often! In such a case, the Head Judge has the option to issue you a proxy of some sort. It -must- be issued by, and okayed by, the Head Judge; you can’t proxy your own card without permission, nor can a Floor Judge issue you a proxy. If something happens to your card, you should go find the HJ and talk to him about it. If he feels that it’s a situation where that’s acceptable [remember, it is at his discretion!], then he will issue you a proxy. In the past I’ve had to issue a few, but mainly lands: At the Gatecrash prerelease, we ran out of Plains! The TO and I had to sit down with a big box of all the extra Islands and scribble a big fat P right in the middle and issue those as proxies to the players. A few little stipulations about the proxy process, also: We can’t, and won’t, issue you a proxy for a card that you intentionally damaged yourself. The proxy must clearly BE a proxy [so expect a basic land with a scribble or the like], and if your real card is still recognizable, you should use the real copy as a ‘stand in’ when the card is in a public zone [it helps the board to be clearer!]. Finally, and probably most importantly: A proxy that is issued to you is valid for that event -only-. You can’t just haul that scribbled Plains around with you to another event and have that be okay!

Today’s Tournament Tip written by Trevor Nunez

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