Over the years, the rarest Magic: The Gathering cards haven’t changed much. You’ll find that a lot of the legendary cards from the Alpha era are still some of the most elusive and valuable. In MTG‘s card market, rarity is tied closely to cost.
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We ranked which cards are the rarest by comparing their prices on two reputable card-selling websites: Card Kingdom and Face-to-Face Games. With that said, the cost of cards in the MTG market fluctuates, so the prices you see in our list are only accurate as of the publishing and updating of this article. To order this list as fairly as we can, we’ve assigned a value to each card based on its combined prices from the aforementioned card-selling websites.
Also, we’ve left out different editions of cards—we only consider the highest-valued version of each. Otherwise, this list would have multiple entries featuring the same few cards over and over.
Mox Emerald (Alpha) & Mox Pearl (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 29,599.98
That’s right, we’re starting off with a tie for the tenth place! Appropriately, this entry features two of the Mox Gems: Mox Emerald and Mox Pearl respectively. Cards featuring gemstones feel like they should come at a high price—much like real-world gemstones. Even more importantly, these two cards, while expensive and powerful in their own rights, pale in comparison to the other Mox Gems—but more on that later.
Both of these cards are mighty artifacts that are free to play since they cost no mana to cast. Every turn, you can tap them to gain one green mana (Mox Emerald) or one white mana (Mox Pearl). In that regard, they’re like having a land card that’s also an artifact.
Interestingly, both of these cards are valued at the same price on both of our source websites. To collectors the world over, they’re equal in terms of rarity and strength. It can be debated that all of the Mox Gems should be of similar price since they’re virtually identical in power; however, the market has a mind and will of its own.
Volcanic Island (Beta)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 31,199.98
Lo and behold: a Beta set card on a top-ten rarest Magic: The Gathering cards list! Why is Volcanic Island valued so much more than most Alpha set dual land cards? No idea. As we’ve said before, the card market has a mind and will of its own. Stare into the hypnotic text box on Volcanic Island and try to argue—we dare you!
In terms of effect, this card can be used as if it’s an Island or Mountain land card—but not both simultaneously. When you tap it, you choose to either add one blue mana or one red mana to your mana pool. These days, dual lands are pretty common; however, they are only commonplace today due to cards like Volcanic Island and its brethren paving the way for this useful tactic.
Underground Sea (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 35,799.98
By far the most expensive land card in MTG, Underground Sea holds the title of “most sought-after dual land in existence.” Like its Beta set little brother (Volcanic Island), you can tap Underground Sea to get one mana—either black or blue. However, with the lack of bright colors, the text box of this card is much easier on the eyes…and mind. The downside is that you can’t use it as part of your hypnotist act (at least not as effectively as Volcanic Island).
Mox Jet (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 40,599.98
Despite being the darkest of the Mox Gems, Mox Jet ironically has the most vibrant card art. Like the previously mentioned Mox Gems on this list, Mox Jet is an artifact. When you tap it, you get one black mana added to your mana pool. It’s pretty much always worth playing this card if it’s drawn, as it costs no mana to cast. Let the darkness flow forth…
Time Walk (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 41, 999.98
This card is simple, intuitive, and incredibly broken. For the meager cost of one colorless and one blue mana, you get another turn after your current one. The only way to deal with Time Walk is to counter it with something like Counterspell. However, if you don’t have any instants that have a counter effect, you’re out of luck…or rather, out of time.
Mox Ruby (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 42,599.98
The Mox Gem for the color red: Mox Ruby—it’s just as powerful as its fellows. For no mana cost, you can cast this artifact and then reap the rewards every turn with a simple tap.
While we’re on the topic of Mox Gems (again), we’d like to point out that Face-to-Face Games does its best to fairly match the prices of all the Mox Gems with a decent degree of success. With that said, this is the last time such a thing will occur on this list. You’ll see why three entries down from this one…
VGKAMI Value Rating: 47,999.98
In an MTG game, Timetwister is a great way to advance multiple tactics while frustrating your opponent. In one fell swoop, you redraw a full hand and put all cards from your graveyard back into your deck. When you do so, your opponent has to do the same. If they were holding onto their game-winning card, it would have been all for naught.
There are so many strategies for which you can use this card: milling tactics, graveyard play, triggering draw effects, and much more! No wonder Timetwister is banned in so many formats. It’s simply too strong to be left alone.
Ancestral Recall (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 49,999.98
Easily one of the best cards that focus on drawing, Ancestral Recall lets either you or your opponent draw three cards. Since it only costs one blue mana to cast, this card has a crazy cost-to-effects ratio.
Alternatively, if you don’t need to draw three cards, you can force your opponent to do so. While this can help your foe in many cases, if they have a full hand, they’ll be forced to discard three cards—which can really screw up their plans.
Mox Sapphire (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 53,999.98
Definitely the most desired of all the Mox Gems, Mox Sapphire is a powerful card for any blue deck. It’s free to play, since it costs no mana to cast, and lets a player tap it for one blue mana.
It’s no coincidence that the most expensive Mox Gem is the one for blue mana; blue-oriented cards are always more sought after due to being the most versatile. Take another look at this list and you’ll find that most of the cards mentioned are blue or give blue mana. As such, if you’re after the rarest Magic: The Gathering cards, your wallet will most certainly have the blues.
Black Lotus (Alpha)
VGKAMI Value Rating: 318,399.98
No article about the rarest cards in Magic: The Gathering would be complete without mentioning the legendary Black Lotus. Since the inception of the renowned card game, no card has been more sought after than this one.
It all started with Black Lotus’s powerful effect of giving you three mana of a single color for simply tapping and sacrificing it. What’s more, Black Lotus is free to cast—it requires no mana to be played. If you draw this card in your opening hand, you’ll gain a massive advantage early on.
Even after people got used to its impact on games, myths of its power and exclusivity began echoing throughout the various MTG communities worldwide. Don’t expect to get your hands on an Alpha edition Black Lotus unless you have tens of thousands of dollars to spare.
We’re you expecting such a big price difference between the second-place and first-place spots? If you’re as astounded as we are that the price difference is still so high (it’s been that way for a long time), then drop a comment below to share your thoughts!
We doubt we’d ever be able to afford any of these cards—even if their sellers accepted Monopoly money. Thankfully, gaming doesn’t always have to be expensive. There’s nothing stopping you from playing a casual game with a friend while enjoying the cards you already have. Leave the budget-busters for the collectors to muster.