I have investigated a lot but I'm still not sure if I can use an altered art card in a tournament. I know that the golden rule is: The head judge will determine if the altered card is legal or not. But I don't want to paint my card if it will obviously be rejected.

To be more specific I want to make a border extension of my commander. The tournaments in which I am interested are mainly FNM and local shop little tournaments.

If someone doesn't know what border extension is, here is an example:

border extension

Here, Iona, Skithiryx and Thundermaw Hellkite have a pure border extension with no further modifications.

I have read a related post in this site but it doesn't clarify if this can be done or not because for one side it says:

If the card is legal then the card has black or white borders

and then it says:

Artistic modifications are acceptable in sanctioned tournaments, provided that the modifications do not make the card art unrecognizable, contain substantial strategic advice, or contain offensive images. Artistic modifications also may not obstruct or change the mana cost or name of the card.

Moreover I've read that if I use sleeves the card is most likely to be accepted by the judge. Considering that Commander is a more casual format and the commander(or general) almost never go into the deck I would like some help to decide if I do this art extension or not. Maybe one judge can point me in the right direction.

  • I'm not sure you're reading that other post correctly. The black/white border restriction is part of the list of base attributes of tournament-legal cards, meant to exclude silver-bordered cards. The artistic modifications go on top of that; they're okay if they don't make it unrecognizable, cover up the mana cost, etc. Painting the border of a black-bordered card doesn't turn it into an Un-card, any more than it turns a genuine card into a non-genuine one.
    – Cascabel
    May 19, 2016 at 19:59
  • It seems like you have already answered your own question. You quoted the relevant rules, and you even did some research about what is most likely to be accepted by a judge.
    – Rainbolt
    May 19, 2016 at 20:05
  • Also isn't commander by definition not sanctioned and thus not actually subject to the tournament rules?
    – Cascabel
    May 19, 2016 at 20:07
  • It usually is, but stores can run sanctioned fnm commander May 19, 2016 at 20:11
  • 1
    @RenatoSanhueza What part of your question isn't answered by the other question's answer? Or what is still unclear, it is the part about needing black or white borders that these alterations sometimes cover up?
    – diego
    May 20, 2016 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


The image of the cards you sent are a perfect example of acceptable altering for tournament play. As far as commander games go, you can sometimes get away with not even having a legal copy of your commander and instead playing with an oversized version of the card. Commander is very lenient and you can usually get away with altering cards so that they don't have any rules text. So long as there is some way to identify that the card is what it is, people will be accepting of it.

Altered art mostly just falls in the category of DBAD. Don't draw porn on your cards, don't draw children being decapitated, don't try to alter your Misdirection to look like a Force of Will.

Misdirecting Misdirection

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