What are the rarest Magic The Gathering cards?
Since 1993, Wizards of the Coast has released new Magic The Gathering cards. But because of the way that valuable cards are distributed, certain cards will never be printed again.
Every time more cards are released, the most valuable Magic cards get a bit of a boost. But valuable doesn’t always equal rare, nor vice versa; “valuable” Magic the Gathering cards are dependent on both rarity and also usefulness.
We’ve rounded up a list of the rarest Magic The Gathering cards on the market, so you can see exactly what’s what.
The Rarest Magic The Gathering Cards
Our ranked lists are created by researching and rounding up information from the most reputable web sources.
Here’s our list of the 15 rarest Magic The Gathering cards:
15. Bazaar Of Baghdad
From Arabian Nights, the Bazaar of Baghdad lets you take two cards from your library. You then must immediately discard three from your hand to your graveyard—or your entire hand, if you don’t have three or more cards.
Between drawing and discarding cards, no spells may be cast. This card’s price has increased tremendously in price over the first few months of 2022.
The Bazaar of Baghdad is valuable because it’s a reusable, non-counterable draw-discard engine and a critical card for two strong combos.
“Expensive” and rare Magic cards can vary from $1,000 to $100,000, the cost of a high-quality gaming PC vs. the price of a house.
When you get to the “$100,000” side of the spectrum, you usually start to encounter banned cards that are rare and interesting but can’t be played.
When you are more toward the “$1,000” spectrum of expensive MTG cards, you tend to see cards that are useful, that can have decks built around them, and that tends to be a little more powerful than most.
14. The Tabernacle At Pendrell Vale
A legendary land card from Masters Edition III, the Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, makes all creatures require an upkeep cost of 4 in addition to any other upkeep costs.
If the upkeep cost is not paid, then the creature is destroyed. Not only is this card rare, but it’s also very powerful (and it’s one of the most expensive Magic cards out there).
Only about 19 of each card were printed during the print run, which means the Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is a very rare card.
This card is one of the “playable” rare cards on this list; it’s expensive because it’s a pretty useful and rare card, not because it’s irretrievably broken. As we get down the list, we’ll start encountering cards that can’t even be played.
13. Mishra’s Workshop
Mishra’s Workshop is from the Antiquities expansion. A valuable magic card, it’s another land: this one, when tapped, adds three mana (colorless) to the mana pool.
This colorless mana can only be used for artifacts. Mishra’s Workshop is considered a very powerful land, but it can also be very variable in value. It’s one of the major “investment cards” that is volatile in cost because it’s being used as an investment.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very rare card and a very powerful card due to the colorless mana it produces.
12. Time Vault
Vintage Masters’ Time Vault is an artifact that enters the battlefield tapped. It doesn’t untap during the untap step. However, when you start a turn with an untapped Time Vault, you can skip the turn entirely.
And when you skip the turn, you untap the time vault. Importantly, tapping Time Vault means you take an extra turn after that turn.
Essentially, Time Vault gives you deep control over when you take your turn. A mythic rare, it’s considered to be one of the most overpowered cards, as well as being incredibly rare.
This Gathering card has only been going up in value, and it’s already one of the most expensive cards out there.
11. Underground Sea
From the Revised Edition, the Underground Sea is a card that counts as both swamp and island. If a spell destroys either of the land types, the card is destroyed; if a spell affects either of the land types, the card is affected.
One of the original dual land cards, this is highly sought-after. It is on the Reserved List, which is a list of cards (frequently overpowered cards) that will never be printed again.
A 3rd edition card, not only is this one of the most expensive cards, but it’s likely to continue to go up in value because of its rarity. A dual land card produces mana of both types.
Further, they are often seen as a pretty good investment because (unlike a lot of the other rare cards), they can actually be used in both games.
The cost of the Underground Sea is actually very volatile, and there are times that you can find copies of the Underground Sea for less than $1,000.
10. Mox Pearl
This Unlimited Edition artifact, the Mox Pearl, is one of the most expensive Magic the Gathering cards from the early game. The Mox Pearl will add one mana to your mana pool.
Further, you can tap the artifact as an interrupt. Mox cards, in general, are often banned because they can accelerate mana.
You can play multiple Mox cards in a single turn, which can quickly spiral. At the same time, it’s such a powerful card, and it’s such a rare card that the card sells for quite a lot.
Because it is so frequently banned, this card is primarily an investment. You might notice that Mox Pearls aren’t as expensive as the other Mox cards; that has less to do with rarity and more to do with what each color does.
9. Time Walk
Of the Vintage Masters expansion, the Time Walk lets you just take an extra turn. The Mana cost of the Time Walk card is 1U.
Time Walk is, of course, extremely powerful, and it’s one of the Magic cards that’s banned from Commander. It’s easy to see why this card is so powerful, though.
Time Walk is one of the Power Nine, which lets you pay a colorless and a blue and just take an extra turn. As one of the rarest and strongest cards, it’s understandable that it is also an expensive Magic card.
But because it is banned in Commander, it also has some limited utility.
While it’s impossible to know exactly how many cards there are in circulation, people can make an educated guess based on Magic’s extensive secondary market.
There are only ever a handful of these cards available, which is part of what makes it rare. As we dig into older cards, it also becomes an issue of condition.
8. Mox Jet
The Mox Jet, from the Unlimited Edition, is an artifact that lets you add one black mana to your mana pool.
You can also tap the artifact to play it as an interrupt. It’s precisely the same as the Mox Pearl except for the type of Mana.
Mox cards are, of course, incredibly powerful. They are banned in Commander and Legacy, and they are restricted in Vintage because they are so strong. Part of this is also the fact that they cost zero mana to play.
When it comes to rare Magic cards, if you see one of the Mox cards, you should grab them.
It should also be noted that prices are based on the cards in the best condition and that every time there are significant changes, such as new releases, prices tend to fluctuate. Magic isn’t a closed system.
7. Mox Emerald
Another Mox card, the Mox Emerald, is a zero mana cost artifact that will add mana to your pool, this time green mana. The Mox Emerald, like the other Mox cards, lets you cheat on your mana.
And because you can use a bunch of these cards at once, it can become one of the most powerful combos in Magic card games. It’s extremely hard to work against cards that can be stacked for free mana.
Because of that, these powerful cards are (as mentioned) banned from most versions of the game.
6. Chaos Orb
Who doesn’t like something called the Chaos Orb? From the Unlimited Edition, the Chaos Orb has a two mana cost.
If the Chaos Orb is on the battlefield, you can flip the Chaos Orb onto the field from a height of at least one foot.
If the Chaos Orb flips over completely at least once, you can destroy all non-token permanents that it touches. Then you destroy the Chaos Orb.
It’s easy to see why this gimmick card would become one of the most expensive Magic The Gathering cards… and one of the most fun cards to draw in the game.
Technically, it’s also one of the most powerful cards, but that also depends on your dexterity.
The Time Twister from Vintage Masters is a three mana cost card that causes each player to shuffle their hand and graveyard into their library. Then, everyone draws seven cards.
Timetwister is then put into the graveyard itself. One of the most powerful spells, the Time Twister, can quickly swing battles.
While it may seem as though it’s a disadvantage to both (it impacts both players), when it’s played in the right situation, it can spark a reversal.
Time Twister is part of the Power Nine. And, as with the most expensive baseball cards, a lot of their value is based on rarity rather than strictly their play value.
4. Mox Sapphire
Here we are back at the Mox again, this time the Mox Sapphire. The Mox Sapphire is another zero mana cost artifact that will just add mana to your pool.
Like the other Mox cards, it’s banned; if you have it in your deck, you can’t play a lot of things like Commander.
Part of why the Mox cards are so precious is because they aren’t just a powerful card; players of any skill level can use them to gain a clear advantage.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the rarest cards in the game. If you want to play a game with the Mox Sapphire and the other Mox cards in your deck, though, you’re going to have to play an unofficial game.
3. Mox Ruby
The Mox Ruby is yet another of the Mox cards, with nothing different about the card except the type of mana it produces.
The cost of the Mox Ruby is very closely tied with the Mox Sapphire; when one of the cards goes up, the other card usually goes up.
They can be assumed to have essentially equal rarity and equal levels of power, and it’s inarguable that the Mox Ruby is an excellent card in any deck.
But it has the same flaw as the other Mox cards, which is that it is banned in Commander and other game modes.
Many of the most popular Magic cards, however, aren’t playable in the conventional sense. A lot of them are banned from organized play.
And if you do want to play with these powerful cards, you can always just do proxies in a casual game.
2. Ancestral Recall
Ancestral Recall can just be considered to be broken. Not only is it one of the most overpowered cards (and one of the rarest cards), but it isn’t easy to defend against.
It’s an instant card that allows the target player to draw three cards. That’s it. Ancestral Recall lets you play a four drop on your first turn. You can play a combo that obliterates your opponent.
Originally supposed to be called “Ancestral Memories” (and made a common card), Richard Garfield later decided to make it rare. Ancestral Recall is banned anywhere except for Vintage, and it’s a restricted card in Vintage.
It’s just a very powerful Magic card that could help you kill your opponent in a single turn.
1. Black Lotus
Everyone knows about the infamous Black Lotus card, even those who don’t know much about Magic. Not only is the Black Lotus one of the rarest cards in the game, but it’s also one of the most powerful cards in the game.
You can build an extraordinarily powerful Magic deck around the Black Lotus.
The Black Lotus is a zero mana cost card. You can sacrifice the Black Lotus to add three mana of any color to your mana pool. This is powerful because if you draw the Black Lotus on turn 1, you can get up to 4 mana total.
You can cast a huge spell and potentially win the game right away.
Black Lotus is powerful for a similar reason to Ancestral Recall; it’s a turn one winner. These are cards that can win the game at the very start.
It may not have seemed that powerful to begin with, but when pulled very early in the game, it can cause a profound disadvantage.
It’s this luck of the draw that’s led to the Black Lotus being the most expensive, most valuable Magic card in existence. It’s believed that there are about 5,000 Black Lotuses in existence, but of course, again, not all of them are accounted for.
Many of them may be hidden in sealed packs. There have been people online who have been made famous by pulling a Black Lotus.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 15 rarest Magic The Gathering cards.
Magic remains an incredibly popular game. Over the last couple of decades, rare Magic cards have continued to grow steadily in value.
Those on the reserved list are likely to always appreciate in value; being on the reserved list means they will never be printed again.
Here’s a quick recap of the 15 rarest Magic The Gathering cards:
- Black Lotus
- Ancestral Recall
- Mox Ruby
- Mox Sapphire
- Chaos Orb
- Mox Emerald
- Mox Jet
- Time Walk
- Mox Pearl
- Underground Sea
- Time Vault
- Mishra’s Workshop
- The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
- Bazaar of Baghdad
Which one of the rarest Magic The Gathering cards is your favorite? Leave a comment below.
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