What Kind of alter do I want?

There are so many different types of card alters that you can choose from. Plus there are a ton of different names that they are called. Here is a short list of common terms used in the Mtg altering world. All of these terms are being depicted in the most commonly used way they, may be different with your alterist.

Image result for hurly-burly mtg

Let’s start with our base card.

Border Extension

Border Extensions cover the entire border of the card. Leaving the name plate and text box empty. This is the most popular type of alter for people to get when they want to keep the card “judge friendly”.


Textless alters cover the textbox. I have found there are two main types of textless alters. Fullart textless, this covers the borders and the textbox, and Promo Style, which leaves the borders and only covers the Textbox.

Full Art
Promo Style


There are times when you don’t want all of the art extended out. Maybe just some flames or wings. These are simply called extensions. The degree of what is being done is up to you and your artist!

Floating Border

Floating borders are most commonly done with the Old Border cards. The further most border (usually black or white) is painted to extend the art of the card. This leave the colored frame of the card giving it a unique 3D floating effect.


There’s a bunch that you can do within this category. Cracking and aging is the most popular. However, you can also do things like vine overgrowth, flames, oozing, ect. I think that this type of alter adds just the right amount of flavor to the cards without getting a full borderless alter. But if you want to go all out, this is a great addition to a simple border extension!

Box Topper Style

These extensions simply extend the card’s art out horizontally with a little bit of fading in the top corners.

There is so much more that you can do with card alters!

  • Galaxy Alters – Usually add a spacey themed background to the card’s art.
  • Custom Characters – Add new original art to the face of the card.
  • Seasonal Playsets – Usually done as border extensions with each card representing a different season.
  • Border Change – Changing the border of the card to a different type. (Ex: Modern Border -> Future Sight Border)
  • Language Change – Changing the text of the card to a different language. (EX: English -> Japanese)

I hope that this will help you as you decide what type of card alters you would like to get in the future. There may be types of alters that I missed, but these are the most common ones. If you think I did miss an alter type please comment below and I’ll get it added to the list!

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