Tuesday, January 26, 2016

WOTC Stance on Proxies

As the 800 pound gorilla in the gaming industry, pretty much anything Wizards of the Coast does is news, as I pointed out in last week’s column regarding the coming changes in the Organized Play program for Dungeons & Dragons and the controversy that erupted last week when the company announced players could no longer use proxy cards in non-sanctioned in-store Magic tournaments (see "Rolling for Initiative--WotC's Changes to 'D&D' OP a Death Knell for the Program?").  Near as I can tell, after the resulting tizzy, tournament proxy use remained at status quo (see "WotC Clarifies Proxy Position on 'Magic'").

Players, as before, still cannot use proxies in sanctioned tournaments, except under VERY restricted conditions.  Players, as before, can use "playtest cards," cards clearly marked as representing another card in a deck in non-sanctioned play (i.e., writing "Black Lotus" on a Swamp card and using that in an unsanctioned tournament).

WotC wants to discourage its players from using the high quality counterfeits that have hit the market in recent years, often listed as "suitable for proxy use," thus trying to legally skirt the counterfeiting issue.  WotC wants it made extremely clear that this form of "proxy" violates its copyright, infringes on its intellectual property and damages tournament play and the value of collectors’ legitimate cards by adding counterfeit cards to the available pool.  With a moderately played Unlimited Black Lotus selling for between $3000 and $5000, collectors have a vested interest in stopping the introduction of counterfeits to the available card pool.