Tests to tell if a card is real

Beyond Dominia: The Rumor Mill: Tests to tell if a card is real

By Eron the Relentless on Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 10:31 pm:

Does anyone know any good tests to tell if a card is real or not? I picked up a bunch of stuff from beta (very cheaply), and some people (most of them newbies) are saying that they are fake.

Is there anyway I can find out? Also, is the weight of cards from beta any different than the weight of cards from other sets?

Thanks in advance.

By Silver Dragon (Silverd) on Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 10:41 pm:


Hope this helps!


By Andy T. on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 01:32 am:

I'm not sure if the address silverdragon gave you is the same one or not, but there's a site dedicated to identifying fake magic cards. I think it's called "fake magic cards" or something simple like that. A good search engine should find it for you.

This site shows you different test and print oddities to determine if your cards are real or fake. If they are real and you did get a good price, let us know where you got them from. If they turn out to be fakes, let us know as well, please...I may be interested in getting them from you if they are indead fakes....

Andy T.

By Silver Dragon (Silverd) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 09:19 am:

The site that I gave is the most definitive one that I know of. I have searched the web forever to find some of the best magic links.


By Shadow (Shadow) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 10:05 am:

I remember the bend test: you can touch the top and bottom ends of a real card to eachother without creasing the card. But most people don't take to kindly to having that one administered on their cards.

By jasonbeauchene on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 12:56 pm:

That nifty crease it leaves is nice to-just a common but fresh out of the pack.

By Eron the Relentless on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 12:58 pm:

Well, they passed the bend test and the ink test. They appear to be real...

Andy T.: I got 14 beta Scrublands, a Tundra, a Taiga, a Volcanic Island, and a Badlands from this 11 year old kid in a trade. He really wanted my foil DCI Soltari Priest, so he traded me a Shadowmage Infiltraitor and a few duals for one of them :). Then I got the rest for some 7th edition cards he wanted for a set or something like that.

He said he got the cards from a friend of his for free...That is kind of suspicious...

By Silver Dragon (Silverd) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 01:15 pm:

You could pick one and rip it. See if it has blue ink on the edge of the rip. It is defenitely worth one card to find out if they are real. I think that is the most accurate test. Also, I'm not sure if this is the same one that you mean, but you could use a magnifying glass on the ink. If it is printed with little o's all over it, then it might be real. I would really consider the rip test, but you may not agree :).


By Aragorn on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 03:25 pm:

the bend test works, if you can bend it corner to corner w/o leaving a crease than its real, I know i tried it on my beta ancestrial:)

By Gzeiger (Gzeiger) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 03:39 pm:

Don't rip one. The best thing to do is get a real one and look at them side by side.

The most likely way to fake those cards is to re-back Collector's Edition stuff. Even if you can't find a copy of the same card, you will be able to see that the CE has a certain gloss to it that real Beta doesn't. Beta is more dull in a way.

By Redman, Relentless Leader of Scrubs (Redman) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 03:42 pm:

Sliver Dragon: I've heard of the rip test before. I've heard stories about tournaments many years ago where people were accused of using fake cards, so they applied the most accurate test they could: rip it. Of course, I think back then it was possible for WotC to replace the card if in fact it turned out to be real.

(You don't think they sold *all* the cards they ever printed, do you?) :)

Bend test is usually sufficient though. If it passes that, it generally doesn't matter beyond that, as if it's that good a fake, probably might as well be real. :)

By BWM, phyrexin infiltrator on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 03:49 pm:

if they didn't sell them all, where would the missing Lotuses be???

By Silver Dragon (Silverd) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 04:09 pm:

Let's go raid WOTC! Then everyone can play Type One!

Well, if you don't want to rip it, there must be an alternative. But for crying out loud, the bend test? You must be kidding me! With Magic being around for so long, you don't think someone would have come up with a way to stop a card from creasing? How about pasting a picture on to file folder stock? Well, probably double folder stock would be better. Check the site for an alternative.


By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 04:59 pm:

I've often thought about whether or not they sold all the cards. My hunch is that they kept some.

On a seperate note, if Wizards printed the cards originally wouldn't it be possible to duplicate the process. The only question is how expensive it would be. But you figure that printing machines (or presses or whatever they used) from 1993 have got to be outdated, which means that they could probably be had at quite a discount (I mean it's obvious that Wizards has updated their printing process). They only problem left would be obtaining the original thing they used for each card (I would imagine this to be some sort of metal plate or something). There has to be someone somewhere out there who is familiar with printing processes, paper stock, etc. How expensive could it be to make counterfeits that are almost exact replicas of the original Beta cards?

Just some thoughts on the matter of counterfeiting Magic cards.


By Matt the Great (Matt) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 05:33 pm:

Wizards didn't print their own cards, I believe the company was called Carta Mundi. Or else it was some other company and then they switched to Carta Mundi, either way, Wizards didn't print their own cards, though they probably kept the plates.

And I believe I've heard about "God Binders" somewhere in Wizards with one of every card ever printed.

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 05:35 pm:

If I'm ever absurdly wealthy I'm gonna print my own Beta cards. :)

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 05:35 pm:

And perhaps commision some original artwork.

By Silver Dragon (Silverd) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 05:35 pm:

They must have had at least 8 extra Black Lotus(es) for the Invitational! Wasn't that supplied by WOTC?


By pseudosoldier on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 06:27 pm:

The invitational decks' cards are supplied by the players, except for (this past time) the Auction of the Peoples' decks, the cards for which were supplied by Starcity Games.

By Matti Nuortio (Thaurwylth) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 06:50 pm:

Last year, Auction of the Champions decks were
supplied by Starcity Games for the Magic Invitational
as well. By then, there was a note in the coverage
that WotC themselves did not own sufficient cards for
reconstructing the champion decks. So they needed
external sponsors.

I do think WotC really sells most of their stuff,
also the old stuff. Why wouldn't they? They don't
hassle in the secondary market or single cards
market, so every booster not sold is lost profit.
However, I guess they hoard special cards like
promo foils like no end.

Team Extreme

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 07:27 pm:

I would think that they would keep at least one copy (and perhaps more) of each card ever printed so they could set up some 'Magic Museum' at WotC headquarters. You know, like how all these large companies have exhibits in entrance halls or reception areas having to do with the company's past.

By Henge Wolf (Wolf) on Monday, January 21, 2002 - 11:15 pm:

Hey Rico, I'll sign on for that counterfeit Beta run! We can even use the Rebecca Guay artwork for the Serra Angel! :)

Seriously though, has anyone on this thread ever printed up their own cards using the CCGMaker? I've got the program, but my printer is just . . . not a REAL color printer, the colors are probably just there to print fancy graph charts or something. I was wondering just how real they look when you put them through a quality laser printer. On the subject of counterfeits, if I could print my own cards and make them look decent . . . it'd be great, what else can I say.

Whatever you do, don't rip any of those cards. If you cannot tell any other way, then they are as good as real. Even if they're rebacked CE, if they pass the bend and ink test, they are basically legal.

I shouldn't really talk about it [looks over shoulder . . .], but I've been informed that the number one reason for CE prices even being as high as they are, is due to a near fool-proof rebacking process. A friend of a friend of mine claims a high-level judge certified the very cards he basically "created" in his basement. It's not like they are ever 100% foolproof, but they can be so effective that there's just no reasonable means of exposing them. The coloration is slightly different, but when you've owned a lot of beta, that's really not much to go on. The set has as much or more variation in color density than any of the newer sets.

I know nothing more, I swear . . . :)


By NAV on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 05:06 am:

Eat the card. Blue ink tastes bad.

Trust me I know.

By Andy T. on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 07:41 am:

Believe me mon chere, (the cajun comes out in me when I get excited) all the proxies I've been printing lately have really got me thinking about how to make "better proxies" (nudge, nudge).

I've gone through two color cartridges just in the last 3 weeks. I've even been looking at top quality laser printers (gulp), but then I keep reminding myself that I'm a cop and just keep sticking the cards in sleeves...

However, I am facinated by the fact that you can reback/reface the cards and would be interested to hear if anyone knows how....might be best to send me an email instead of posting...I read at the same fake card web site about how it's done, but is was not nery clear.

We need to hear from someone who KNOWS about printing and paper stock...

Also, if you know someone who has quality counterfiets, I would be interested in them...just for the uniqueness...

Andy T.
P.S. Are you guys taking in more partners for the new beta run?

By BWM, phyrexian infiltrator on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 09:57 am:

why faking beta cards... Ppl will get suspicious about Beta's take cards that are no SUPERcards but no shit either... Type II suboptimal cards (not Absorb, Rage, Finkel or Call, but Thraumatize, Deso Angel, Lightning Angel, stuff like that) or in type I no moxes or Loti (what's the plural of lotus anyway?), try stuff like Academy, Cradle, Y@wgmoth's will, cards like that...

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 11:01 am:

I would love the Rebecca Guay artwork on a regular sized Serra Angel. That would really make my week. I would seriously consider ways to get that picture on a regular size cards. Anyone got any ideas?


By Henge Wolf (Wolf) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 11:50 am:

Well, I wasn't actually serious about a beta run . . . or was I? Although I love the idea of counterfeits, as I said above, I am totally not in a situation to make any.

Rico, if you want that artwork on a normal card, you might try to create it on the CCGMaker. Go to CCGMaker.com, although the downloadable is "allegedly" only a demo, it's actually the full version disabled with a password. You can read into that statement any way you want. :)
Then, you'd want to find a scan of the big card, and import the art into the CCGMaker. I'm sure with a little work it'd be pretty decent. With the CCGMaker, you can even add your very own flavor text! Actually, if you do get a nice scan of the Guay Serra, I'd be quite happy if you could e-mail it to me. Some people hate it, but I am an absolute sucker for Rebecca Guay artwork.

I've been formally debriefed about how to re-back cards, although I'm yet to try it since I don't have a hand-sander. Also, I spend more time talking magic on the net than I do playing it at this point, so it's been filed away for future reference.

If you try this, work on some total crap cards until you're sure you can make it work. Oh yeah, and you didn't hear this from me.

Get an electric hand sander, and tape the card you want to sand to a flat surface using double-sided tape. You must cover the entire taped side
evenly, or it will mess up, as the card will not be perfectly flat. Use 180 grit sandpaper and sand until you can almost see the blue light-shield. Switch to 220 and take it down practically to the blue. It's better to err slightly heavy than light, at worst you might have a tough thick card, but if you go too far you'll end up with something so weak it'll never pass for anything. You actually have to do this to two cards, because your goal is to make two cards into one. I heard that a Glue-Stick works the best for adhesive, and you might have to trim some corners. The guy who told me about this claimed that when he made a couple CE cards this way, he couldn't tell the difference even looking straight at them. If you're really good at it, it'll be dead on, although I don't find it ethical to sell them. The point of this is not to rip someone off, but to make your CE cards tourney legal. If done right, no judge is going to question your work. It's not like they'll whip a real beta lotus out of their pocket for comparison, grab a microscope, and say "Hmm, the print looks just a shade brighter . . . sir, we might have a problem."

Hope this is helpful . . . oh yeah, and Rip the System! What has the game come to when you have to perform elaborate surgery on a card just to make it "legal".

As for regular "proxies", I've got a Jet and a Ruby that are pretty good. They are high-res stickers on real beta cards, so the double-black border is actually real. You have to use them in sleeves, but the ruby is so good you can almost see the "dots" from the original printing process. The jet is miscolored a little, like maybe the printer was running out of ink, but it still fooled tons of people. Both of them are almost guaranteed to fool people from across the table. Of course I don't use them anymore now that I've got the real thing . . . I heard they came from Amsterdam but that's all I'm allowed to say.

-HengeWolf, Shady Magic Player

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 02:31 pm:

I'm definately gonna try the Serra Angel thing. If things get real bad I'll just buy a copy and make the scan myself. Too bad nobody's selling any currently on Ebay. It'd sure be nice to have a big one just to look at.


By gizzard on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 - 07:10 pm:

What people who are serious about counterfeiting have done is make a professional run on a printing press. The cards produced this way are practically indistinguishable from real cards. The most popular items a couple years back were Beta's or foreign BBs; Dual Lands, Armageddons, Wraths, etc (big T2 cards at the time) and the T1 power.

Any sort of "homemade" fakes will not stand up to serious scrutiny, although they are still produced from time to time by interested amateurs as curiosities. (The hand sander trick mentioned above is a good example of this. Its a lot of time and work to get it right, too much effort to do on a large scale.)

And, really, the counterfeits I *have* heard of, they are the ones who either talked too much about their operation, or got greedy and sold too much through an implausibly small channel, or who did a sloppy job and left telltale markings. But for each of these things which has been exposed, I suspect there are two more which continue to operate.

By Thoughtlace (Tlace) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 12:58 pm:

In most cases, making these counterfeits is so much work and money that it's more efficient (not to mention more ethical) to spend the time working a second job and buying yourself a set of the real thing. I also question the ethicality of creating counterfeit cards as "proxies"--even if you say you're not going to rip people off, there will always be that temptation. And unless you (and your children, and your grandchildren, etc) are going to keep your collection forever, you will end up selling or trading the proxy. I hope you have the integrity to reveal its inauthenticity...

By Matti Nuortio Thaurwylth on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 01:55 pm:

You people have been pissing me off long enough. I hereby resign as moderator of this mill.

Team Extreme

By Henge Wolf (Wolf) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 03:06 pm:

Why is someone impersonating Thaurwylth on this thread? Hmm, as if we wouldn't notice the lack of parentheses . . .

More on this whole proxy thing, I'm mostly in it for a variety of reasons. As far as the rebacking thing goes, yeah it is time-consuming, but if you only have maybe 10 cards that need it done, you will save a ton of money. It's by definition a project for those who are personally dedicated to the game, not for the sort who just want to rip someone or sell some fakes. I'm not recommending it to anyone, but I have considered it myself. That is, if I ever get motivated to do it. It does raise an ethical dilemma, but I'm prepared to take the karmic heat for that. I can't guarantee I'd NEVER sell one to someone, but it'd have to be someone I really didn't like. :) Seriously though, if I really wanted to compete in Type 1, I'd consider rebacking some CE cards (assuming I could do it right), just because my hypothetical "second job" would have to pay me $25.00 an hour for me to afford "the real thing" in a similar amount of time.

I can't help it, I WILL cut corners when it comes to owning overpriced pieces of cardboard. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Contrary to popular belief, it is HARD to make a totally convincing fake magic card. I once had some "mafia" moxes that were obviously done on a real printing press (ironically, all my fake moxes have been Ruby and Jet). Thing is, they were transparent! Even at that, the printing just wasn't the same. Unless you have access to the original master plates, you're always going to end up with "copy of a copy" syndrome. They're still fun to make, and they can really look quite good. However, if you're vigilant, you should be able to pick one out if someone's trying to rip you off. Take the card out of a sleeve and examine it closely. My best fake mox WILL NOT EVER hold up to that kind of close scrutiny. It's for playing, not trading or selling, unless someone knows what they're getting. Unless they are a complete moron, they will know what it is.
If there are truly fakes so good that they can completely avoid being detected, then congratulations, they are de facto real cards in my opinion. We're talking about a game, it's not like it's U.S. dollars or anything.

As far as other proxies go, I have absolutely no problem with them. Anyone who's willing to put the time in to make a proxy that's better than "Marker + Spare Plains = Any card I don't own", is free to play it against me. There's just no comparison between 10 minutes and $2 worth of ink from your laser printer, or spending $20, $50, or even $100 on the real thing. I'm talking about casual play here, I've actually thought that if I had the right set-up, I'd never buy another real card, as long as I'm just going to play with my friends anyway.

I guess it's the anarchist in me. Why should I pay to subsidize the Pro Tour, which I don't support, and why should I pay for newer sets when I don't like 98% of the cards that are printed?
With my CCGMaker, every card is good, and every card has good art. Can I think of a new card, or a way to alter an existing card to make it better? I can do that in about 20 seconds (if that). Call me crazy, but I think we'll still be seeing "counterfeit" magic long after the real game has bit the dust.

Now having said that, before anyone flames me: Yes, I own plenty of real cards, and no, I currently don't own more than 3-4 proxies, none of which are in use. I think my favorite thing to do with the CCGMaker is to make existing cards with new names and new art. In one case, I made Pine Barrens (the crappy Tempest B/G dual), into a functional "Bayou", complete with that new "fade" background for the text box. I've got tons of cards with "novelty" pictures as well, my favorite being Vampiric Tutor, renamed Foresight of Hel, with a creepy picture of Bjork! Her face is half in shadow, and I thought it evoked the old norse death goddess quite nicely. In the cases of cards like these, I genuinely intend to use them as "proxies" for the real cards (Bayou and Tutor), which I own. I can't see anything wrong with this . . . as soon as I get a better printer, I'll never get bored with magic again!

"In my world, I am Carta Mundi AND the DCI!"

By Warrior Soul on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 03:32 pm:


By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 04:49 pm:

I have to agree with that assessment of indistinguishable proxies being effectively 'real' cards. If the real and fake cards are so similar that nobody anywhere can tell the difference, the fakes become 'real'. They perform the same function and nobody can tell them apart so.....

For the record I do not make proxies and I never have. However, that does not mean that I will not make them in the future. :)

-Rico is contemplating the risk/return trade off of making proxies

By Rico Jones, Elfman Extraordinaire (Rico) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 12:58 am:

On the topic of fake cards, I just recieved my first fake cards in the mail today. They were two Mana Drains from some guy named Petes-cardsandcomics on Ebay. They weren't even good fakes. They didn't pass one of the tests and they were already creased when I recieved them. All I can do is laugh. I suppose I should take this as a sign or something but I'm not because I am going to have this guy's ass. :)

-Amused Rico

By Andy T. on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 03:43 am:

My proxies are printed from essentialmagic.com's website and are just pieces of paper(cut out actual card faces--not black and white crap like from magic suitcase) the actual size of a MTG cardface slipped into a sleeve with another card in back for rigidity.

They play perfectly!!!I just got back into MTG after selling my entire collection about 6 years ago. My wife would kill me if I tried to buy ANY card over $40.00 today. So, I'll just keep printing out cards and putting them into sleeves. Nobody around here cares because the proxies are just as good as playing with the real cards.

I don't care about or support the Pro-Tour either and the only tournaments around here are boosterdraft anyway, so constructed deck play is only reduced to casual non-tournament environments.

I currently have two type1 decks and one extended deck that are about 95% proxies in the deck. If I didn't tell you, however, you might not know it until you tried to take the cards out of the sleeves...

I do still buy MTG booster packs (for now) because I want to increase my collection and the real things are always better than proxies. But I will be hard pressed to ever buy another single MTG card from anywhere unless it's simply a great deal.

I'll have a few days off soon and will likely try the rebacking thing then on some commons to see what they look like. Does anyone have any cards they know are rebacked and look really good?

Henge wolf...do you still have the "mob" moxes.....hmmmm.....

Also, has anyone ever done a formal rebutal article about the reserved list? If you read the entire document on WoTC website, the statements included present some interesting questions that I would like answered. If you've ever read such an article, let me know where to look for it, please. I'm thinking about writing one myself is no one else has...

Andy T.---reprint duals---

By Erik (Erik) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 06:15 am:

Essential magic is really an awesome site. Half an hour of printing and cutting and you have a complete t1 deck to have fun with. Spending absurd amounts of money for cardboard when you have a family to feed doesn't quite cut it, so for me it's proxies all the way :)

We regularly hold proxy tourneys, play emperor, pentagram, anything we can come up with. We've even done booster drafts with proxied Beta/An/Legends boosters (took some time to make the cards, but man was it fun). I say screw this big-brother-is-watching mentality and have fun with the game any way you want. If people want to shell out thousands of dollars to compete in "serious" tournaments, let them...

Now when do we start saving up for that printing press? ;)

By Henge Wolf (Wolf) on Friday, January 25, 2002 - 03:00 pm:

Erik, that's exactly what I'm talking about!

Andy: I lost those moxes years ago . . . Well, didn't exactly lose them, but rather traded them at 40% of their "real" value. The guy knew what they were and wanted them anyway. I forget what I got out of it . . . oh yeah, an Alpha Mox Pearl. It was back when Alpha wasn't legal . . .

As far as the reserved list, at one point Rico and yours truly were going to attempt a full rebuttal. Then I think we both realized we had lives outside of magic! :)

Seriously though, you might want to check my Reprint Petition thread, and if you want to write anything on that subject, well, at the very least you'll get a thumbs-up from me. I've written multiple articles on StarCity relating to reprints, including a really good one about dual lands that was in their monday (1/21) edition. Unfortunately I think it got overshadowed by the whole Magic: Online 'crisis' . . . so I don't even know if anyone read it. Maybe I'll post it here if I get a chance.

In my honest opinion, they have very little reason not to reprint hardcore restricted cards, and they've got absolutely no reason whatsoever to not reprint dual lands. There are arguments for and against the Power9, etc. Duals on the other hand are victims of a retarded corporate policy, pure and simple.


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