A friend and I got into Magic and get together to play a few games once a week. Each of us has ~110 cards, the bulk of them being a Magic 2012 intro pack, the rest boosters.

We thought we'd mix things up a bit with booster draft or sealed deck, but since our budgets are way too limited to make a cube or buy boosters every week, I thought we could improvise. The current entirely theoretical setup is to use a simulation website for those formats every time we play, then using a home-written program assign a number to each card that is chosen for a deck. The tokens representing the cards chosen with the draft simulator could be simple sheets with numbers 1 through 100 written to them (or as many as needed), inserted into card sleeves with a colored back.

Is there a better way to approach this, in particular the token creation?

  • Are you set on having physical representations of the cards? If not, there are a couple free digital platforms. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 20:12
  • Ideally we'd do it without a computer, but I reckon that's impossible. The physical representation is a must :)
    – Fadeway
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 20:18
  • 5
    Maybe your memory is 1,000x better than mine, but I can't imagine it being at all fun to try to play with a bunch of numbers in your hand and constantly having to look up what's what. Print proxies and stick them in sleeves.
    – Affe
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 1:33

3 Answers 3


A sensible method is to get hold of some commons - I know "your budgets are limited", but if there's a game store that does drafting near you, quite often people just leave their commons lying around on the tables for anyone who wants them, they're that desperate to get rid of them; and even if not, there are other ways to buy them in bulk for cheap - put stickers over the text box, and use cards with like casting costs as proxies. So if you want to represent e.g. a Primeval Titan (casting cost 4GG) you would use a Craw Wurm or Yavimaya Wurm instead.

Otherwise it seems like you'll end up doing WAY too much cross-referencing - what was a #73 again? The casting cost should be a useful cue for remembering which card you have in your hand, and you can write any extra information you need on the sticker of course...

  • 3
    Because of how Magic Online "cashout" works, you can find full 4x common/uncommon playsets of a set for the cost of a couple of boosters (I was able to get recent sets for $20-25). Check auction sites. It's probably cheaper than actually printing a whole pile of proxies for basic cards.
    – Alex P
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 2:16
  • The store visit is a great idea, I'll ask at a local one this Monday. Indeed, if I get enough commons cheaply/free there, they'd be perfect substitutes. Do you think the stores themselves store the cards left over?
    – Fadeway
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:23
  • @Fadeway Most stores will probably take them to resell them, either individually or in bulk. You'll likely still be able to get them cheaply, even from the store.
    – Hyppy
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 23:16
  • When I used to play, the shop near me sold commons for 5p(~7c)/each which is pretty cheap!
    – Nick
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 13:45

Magicprinter.net should solve your problem. They are running code that is found here, in case you'd rather just run it on your own computer. Print off what you need and put it in front of land / commons.

Hope this helps!

  • This is definitely cool, but do be aware of the costs of supplies, especially if you're using card stock, and an inkjet printer - you might only want to do it for harder to come by cards, if you can find cheap bulk commons and uncommons.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 16:39
  • In my opinion an Ink Jet B&W printer on ordinary paper could do the work. Just cut and sleeve them, using your currently owned cards as a backbone. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 13:26
  • Yep, I use my inkjet on the fast draft B&W setting on cheap paper. I then replace the proxies with the real cards as I trade for them. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 20:09

What it sounds like you're proposing:

  1. Google up a card list for the set you want to "draft" from.
  2. Roll a random booster pack worth of cards.
  3. Write a proxy version of each card rolled on a scrap of paper.
  4. Insert that scrap in a sleeve with a magic card.
  5. Then draft and play with those proxies.

Sounds like a plan. The only trick I see is rolling up the decks. The easiest approach I see to that just takes some percentile dice and persistence, as you re-roll cards that have the wrong rarity. That is, if you're rolling for an 8 card booster pack with 2 uncommons and 6 commons, after 4 rolls you might have 2 uncommons and 2 commons. From then on, you'd ignore & re-roll any uncommon cards you rolled until you filled the remaining 4 common slots.

If you wanted the draft to be 100% accurate, you'd need to simulate the sub-rarities in Magic. That is: If there are 100 rare cards in a set, and 121 cards on the printed sheet of rares before its cut, some of the rares will be double printed. (Likely 21 of them.) They take up the rare slot in a deck the same as any other rare, but show up twice as often. For this You'd need a list that had two entries for each of these "R2" cards that are double printed.

For example, if you were simulating Beta Set Magic, you might have a spreadsheet of rares that started like this:

  1. Island
  2. Island
  3. Black Lotus
  4. Mox Pearl
  5. Mox Sapphire

...and so on.

(Trivia: Two islands were on the rare sheet in alpha and beta. Rares were supposed to be so rare that some boosters might have none! WotC also thought that the decks would be shuffled prior to packing, so the players wouldn't know which cards were rare when they opened the pack. So you wouldn't know that you'd gotten an island in your rare slot and feel gypped. It would only be after seeing hundreds of packs opened that you'd be able to deduce which cards were the rares, which were the uncommons, and which where the commons.)

  • Actually I was planning on using a website (for example, magicdraftsim.com). Rolling for an an entire deck manually every time would be unnecessarily slow.
    – Fadeway
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 5:44

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