Trading card games like Magic and Pokemon have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. The pandemic and other outside influences made the value of cards skyrocket into the stratosphere. Being the first trading card game ever, Magic: the Gathering has some insanely expensive cards from its past. There are also certain cards like one-of-a-kind “life moment” cards that Richard Garfield made for times in his life. Those cards are exempt from this list because they’re basically priceless. We’re going for cards that you can *actually* buy.
Separating the cards from each other on this list is sort of cheating as well. The “Power Of Nine” are some of the most powerful cards ever created. The list is Time Walk, Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister, Mox Pearl, Mox Jet, Mox Emerald, Mox Sapphire, and Mox Ruby. We’ll kind of cheat by grouping these cards together in the case of the “Moxen”, but others will still get their own separate entries on the list.
Buying these cards isn’t really for playing, but consider them to be like physical stocks that you can own. These cards will never see a reprint, and they’ll very likely hold their value or keep going up as the years go on. Remember, these prices fluctuate like stocks do, so just because the last sold one goes up or down, that doesn’t mean these cards aren’t any less expensive or rare.
From the first set, Alpha all the way to the most recent set released, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, these are the five rarest Magic: The Gathering cards and their prices!
5. Underground Sea – Limited Edition Alpha – Last Sold: $7,669.00
You might think: “But why is a land so expensive?” In the case of Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Revised, these original “dual lands” were printed. They all have two land types on them, and they tap for two colors. Underground Sea is the best of both worlds because it’s the most used in the oldest and most powerful formats in Magic, Legacy and Vintage. Blue cards are exorbitantly powerful, so being able to cast those spells without a drawback like “entering tapped” or “taking 2 damage” like other variations on dual lands, makes this one among the most expensive and desirable for collectors.
4. Time Walk – Limited Edition Alpha – Last Sold: $10,700
The ability to take an extra turn for just two mana makes Time Walk incredibly powerful. It being from the first-ever Magic set makes it that much rarer. When you compare this card to other effects that are similar, like Time Warp, Temporal Mastery, or Temporal Manipulation, they all have at least three extra mana attached or some drawback similar to Savor The Moment. Time Walk is our first card that’s restricted in the Vintage format, which means that it can only have one copy in your deck. That restricted tag allows players to still play the card, but you can’t max out with four copies. Cards like Time Walk can range from merely giving you an extra land drop and a new card, to outright winning the game if you have a commanding board state.
3. The Moxen: Ruby, Sapphire, Jet, Emerald, and Pearl – Limited Edition Alpha – Last Sold: Sapphire: $13,766 Ruby: $6,300 Jet: $10,000 Emerald: $7,400 Pearl: (Beta) $6,888
We’re grouping these all together because while they might have different prices, they all do the same thing. They all tap for their various colors of mana, the only thing that separates them, is how useful that color of mana is. In Vintage, you need all of these to compete. They’re restricted to one copy in every deck, but you still use them even if you don’t have a certain color in your deck. If you’re playing Blue, Black, and Red, you’ll still want Mox Pearl and Mox Emerald in your deck to help you ramp. These cards all allow you to break the fundamental rules of the game by having more mana sources than you should in the early turns of the game.
2. Ancestral Recall – Limited Edition Alpha – Last Sold: $14,899
Don’t be fooled by that text of “force opponent to draw 3 cards”, you’ll always be drawing three with Ancestral Recall. The most powerful blue spell ever printed is among the rarest MTG cards out there. it’s not only rare from its first printing in Alpha, but it’s incredibly desirable for Vintage play. Most one mana cards that draw you more cards only give you one card, or they might allow you to manipulate the top cards of your deck. in Ancestral Recall’s case, you draw a full three cards, and it’s instant speed. So if you’re trying to Counterspell that Shivan Dragon, you can play this at your opponent’s end step. The play possibilities with this card are endless, just like the power level.
1. Black Lotus – Limited Edition Alpha – Last Sold: $46,000
This is the big one. If you had the chance to tell your past self to buy something, it would probably be Apple Stock or Black Lotus. This price isn’t even the highest it’s ever sold for. In some cases with the condition and a wealthy buyer, Black Lotus has gone up above $100,000. At that point, it’s more of an event for people to come to your store to see a nice conditioned Black Lotus. This one is so rare and powerful because it fundamentally breaks the rules of Magic. Like the Moxen, this one allows you to make more mana than the game should allow. Having access to 3 mana for no cost on the first turn of the game is extraordinarily powerful. Also like the Moxen, this one is restricted, so you have to make good use of your one copy in those Vintage decks.
These are among the rarest Magic cards in the history of the game. In most cases, you’re only allowed to use them in the extremely niche format, Vintage. Underground Sea has more applications in formats like EDH and Legacy. No matter what, owning one of these cards puts you in rarified air among MTG collectors.