Out of all the fantasy-based card games to hit the market over the years, there is none that is quite as respected as Magic: The Gathering. And a big part of what has made it so popular since it premiered in 1993 is the amount of strategy that goes into it.
With five different types of mana (swamp, plains, island, forest, and mountain), innumerable creature types, artifacts, enchantments, and other types of spells, there are so many ways the game can be played and so many combinations for decks that it ensures no two games will play out the same way. You can keep your Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering is definitely the most in-depth card game out there.
And just like every collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering is home to all manner of rare and expensive cards. Some of them are rare because of their incredible abilities and advantages they can give a player over their opponents. In fact, seeing some of the cards on this list in a deck you're facing off against should cause you to panic. Others, however, are simply rare because they could only be found in the original set of cards printed in 1993. And then there are some that are rare because of both facets.
If you own any of the following cards, you should count yourself lucky. And then immediately put said cards in a safe place. Here are 25 Magic: The Gathering cards that are impossible to find and how much they’re worth.
25 Jace, The Mind Sculptor: $90 - $360
Getting a Planeswalker out onto the field is a really great way to cause extra mayhem for your opponents. While they can’t attack, adding or taking away counters each turn can give you certain advantages.
For this particular one, Jace’s -12 ability makes him a huge target as soon as he comes out.
It can essentially cause one of the players to lose as it exiles all cards in their library, but Jace’s other abilities are really useful too. He appeared in the Worldwake expansion, and while the more common card is valued at $90, the foil version is $360.
24 Rishadan Port: $60 - $550
Land is essential to play the game, but one with a strategic bonus is something that every player should want in their deck. Although, you might want to look for one that’s a bit easier to find than Rishadan Port.
It can tap for one colorless mana. But, more importantly, you can pay one mana to tap it and tap a target land. This can come in handy when trying to stop your opponents from playing their spells. Originally from the Mercadian Masques set, a regular card is valued around $60 but the elusive foil version is $550.
23 Wheel Of Fortune: $100 - $2,200
There are many cards from the original set in 1993 that were reprinted a few times, making for wide price ranges depending on which version the card is. Wheel of Fortune is such a card.
It’s a sorcery card that forces every player, including the caster, to discard their hand and draw seven new cards.
The revised edition (black-bordered third edition of the original cards) is valued around $100, but the alpha edition (first printing of the original cards in 1993) is valued around $2,200. There are several other printings of the card that fall somewhere between.
22 Ravages Of War: $105 - $200
Ravages of War is an extremely risky card to have in your deck as this sorcery destroys all lands, including your own. But if the game isn’t going well, it can help to have this little reset.
It was part of the Portal Three Kingdoms expansion released in 1999. These cards were specifically released for the Asian market, while the only English language translations were sold in Australia and New Zealand. This is why it’s a little hard to find and valued at $200. It was also reprinted for Magic: The Gathering Judges, and that version is valued at $105.
21 Liliana Of The Veil: $75 - $350
Another Planeswalker, but one whose abilities can be achieved much more quickly than Jace’s. Adding a counter will cause each player to discard a card. But if one so chose, they could play her and immediately have an opponent sacrifice a creature. Her -6 ability, however, would cause a player to frustratingly sacrifice half their permanents on the field.
Originally from the Innistrad expansion, Liliana’s value can range depending on what set you found her in. But the foil version from that set has been known to sell for $250 - $350 depending on condition.
20 Mox Jet: $235 - $3,200
There are several cards from the original 1993 set that were way too powerful and were thus banned from most competitions. Mox Jet is one of them. It’s an artifact that you can play without tapping any mana, and it also taps to add one swamp to your mana pool.
Unlike lands, you can play as many artifacts during one turn as you are able.
This resulted in early mana ramping, letting players get spells out much more quickly. It hasn’t been reprinted since the early 90s and one from the Beta or Unlimited printings can go for $3,200.
19 Mutavault: $600
There are a few versions of Mutavault without full art, but the one with it is the card that’s worth some money. It was given out as a Champs Promo card for players that won competitions so not many exist, hence the price. It being foil only makes it extra special.
It’s also fairly useful to have in your deck. It can tap to add one colorless mana or you can pay one to turn it into a 2/2 creature with all creature types until end of turn. Maybe pick up one of the far cheaper, non-full-art versions though.
18 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite: $290
Any card that can give all your creatures +2/+2, and all of the creatures your opponents control -2/-2, is a good card to have. This 4/7 Legendary creature does that, and it also has vigilance. Needless to say, it’s pretty powerful before boosting it with any number of cards.
It’s normally only worth about $15, but the foil version given out to judges is the one for collectors.
That one goes for about $290. It’s not as old as some other cards on this list as the expansion premiered in 2003, so it’ll probably keep going up in value.
17 Moat: $775
If you’re running a deck that heavily features creatures with flying, this enchantment would no doubt be a welcome addition as it stops all non-flying creatures from attacking. And if your opponents don’t have any creatures with flying or reach, this means they can’t block you either.
Yes, it would be a fantastic card to have if only it wasn’t $775 and had ever been reprinted.
It appeared in the Legends expansion, which was the third expansion ever printed in 1994.
16 Mox Pearl: $188 - $3,714
Before this list reaches its end, you’ll have seen all five of these Moxen cards as they’re incredibly overpowered yet very hard to find. Mox Pearl works exactly like Mox Jet, just with white mana. It has been reprinted a couple of times but that doesn’t make it any easier to find.
All five of these artifact cards were reprinted within the first expansion and within the first couple of years of Magic’s creation.
The international version of the card is the cheapest at $188, while the original alpha version is valued around $3,715.
15 Underground Sea: $155 - $8,000
Yes, that is quite the price range. Value of some cards can range drastically depending on condition or, in the case of Underground Sea, the printing and border color.
At it’s cheapest, this land card is valued around $153 for the international reprinting.
At it’s most expensive, the alpha version is $8,000 and the beta (second printing) is $6,000. Revised versions with different border colors can range from $275-$800. It’s purely a collectible because it was one of the first instances of a land being more than one mana color.
14 Tarmogoyf: $90 - $860
Not only does Tarmogoyf only cost two mana to cast, but its power is equal to the number of card types across all graveyards while its toughness is that number plus 1. Casting this later in a game could result in an extremely intimidating creature for an insanely low casting cost.
So it’s no wonder this card is worth a decent amount of money. It’s been reprinted a couple of times with different artwork and those versions are valued around $50. The original card from the Future Sight expansion is valued at $90, while the rare foil version is $860.
13 Tropical Island: $150 - $1,900
Similar to Underground Sea, Tropical Island is one of the earlier occurrences of a land counting for two types of mana. This would become a more common thing in later expansions so it is purely for collectors these days.
Just like many other cards in Magic: The Gathering, the value of this card can depend on the number of printing as well as the border color. The cheapest is the international reprinting at $150. Strangely enough, TCGPlayer.com currently lists the second printing at a higher value than the original. The alpha version sits at $1,045 and the beta at $1,900.
12 Chains Of Mephistopheles: $500
This handy enchantment could be really useful when playing against a deck with a lot of draw power like Blue. If you play this, it causes any player to discard a card every time they draw one. It doesn’t count the player’s main draw phase at the beginning of their upkeep, but it could still really hinder certain players.
It was only seen in the Legends expansion and hasn’t been reprinted, which is why its value is somewhat high at $500. But condition is everything; a graded 8.5 card is currently on eBay for $900.
11 Candelabra Of Tawnos: $800
It can be much easier to narrow down the value of a card if it hasn’t been reprinted. Candelabra of Tawnos comes from the Antiquities expansion, only the second expansion Magic: The Gathering ever saw and was released in 1994.
Since this is the only version in existence, it has made it rather rare. It’s also a fairly useful card as you only have to pay one mana to cast it and you can pay X amount of mana to untap X separate lands. It’s valued at $800.
10 Mox Sapphire: $282 - $3,000
That $282 is for the international reprinting. Beyond that, this card skyrockets in value. Similar to the other Moxen cards, Mox Sapphire lets the caster tap to add one blue mana to their mana pool and you don’t have to pay any to cast it.
Blue focuses in card draw and control, stopping opponents from casting their spells.
So, you naturally wouldn’t want those players to get a lot of mana quickly and Mox Sapphire allowed them to. The third printing is valued at $1,200, the beta at $2,200, and the alpha around $3,000, though it can sell for more.
9 Bazaar Of Baghdad: $1,200 - $1,600
Bazaar of Baghdad can be a very useful land if you have certain cards in your hand that don’t apply to the strategy you’re currently going for and need some draw power. Instead of using it as mana, you can tap it to draw two cards and discard three. Although, if you don’t have three or more cards in your hand, you just discard the whole hand.
It was from the Arabian Nights expansion, which was also the very first one, in 1993. It hasn’t been reprinted so it’s valued around $1,200 but can sell for more depending on condition.
8 Mishra's Workshop: $1,500
This special land from the Antiquities expansion could be really useful in an artifact-heavy deck as it lets the player tap for three colorless mana as long as it is used to cast an artifact. And in a deck that heavily features artifact creatures, it’s even more beneficial.
Which is probably why it hasn’t been reprinted and is currently valued at $1,500. It made it entirely too easy to ramp in those kinds of decks, so similar cards that aren’t as useful have been printed for later expansions.
7 Mox Emerald: $193 - $2,700
The international reprinting of the Mox cards have been banned in all competitions, which is probably one of the reasons why they are so much cheaper to purchase than the first or second printings. Though those are only allowed in vintage tournaments.
Mox Emerald is one of the less expensive of these artifacts to find, even though at its most expensive it is still valued at $2,700 for the alpha printing. The beta is valued at $1,600 while the third printing is valued at $900.
6 The Tabernacle Of Pendrell Vale: $1,600
This legendary land could be useful against someone running a creature-heavy deck but the caster would need to be careful. It makes it so all creatures require 1 mana to be paid in order to keep it on the field. But it could stop some players from playing more spells if all their mana is tapped out in order to keep their creatures from being destroyed.
It was featured in the Legends expansion and is valued at $1,600. Useful, but certainly not worth it outside of a collecting standpoint.
5 Time Walk: $226 - $3,000
Just like the Mox cards, the international and cheaper reprinting of this sorcery card is banned from use in tournaments and it is very easy to see why. You only have to pay two mana to use it and it lets you have an additional turn. In 60 card decks, where players are allowed to have more than one copy of a card, this is an extremely overpowered spell.
The beta version is valued around $1,200, the unlimited (third printing) is a bit higher at $1,725, and the alpha printing is close to $3,000.
4 Time Vault: $100 - $5,900
This artifact is similar to Time Walk in that it only costs two mana and gives you an additional turn. But as a permanent, it can be used as many times as it is available. It’s a bit balanced out by having you skip your next turn if you use it.
Still, if you know you’re strategic enough or can win in the next two moves, this card is highly useful.
The cheapest is the international reprinting that’s banned from use in tournaments at $100. While the second printing is worth $1,295, the alpha is much more pricey at $5,900.
3 Mox Ruby: $130 - $2,700
The fifth and final Moxen card is the Mox Ruby, which lets players tap for an additional mountain. While you wouldn’t want to go up against an opponent with any of these five artifacts in their deck, players that run red decks usually rely on a hefty amount of power, meaning ginormous and scary creatures like dragons.
Just like the others, the international reprint is only worth $130. But if you had one of the first few in print like the unlimited ($2,300), beta ($2,200), or alpha ($2,700), you’d be well off.
2 Ancestral Recall: $80 - $6,500
Ancestral Recall has one of the biggest leaps in value between first and second printings. The $80 refers to the international reprinting while the third printing is valued around $2,000 and the second around $2,500. But the alpha is the big one at $6,500.
For only one blue mana, it lets the caster draw three cards or force an opponent to draw three cards. And since, under normal circumstances, players are only allowed seven cards in their hands, this could force an opponent to discard on their next turn.
1 Black Lotus: $545 - $26,000
Quite possibly the most famous of the rare and expensive Magic: The Gathering cards is Black Lotus. This artifact (i.e. permanent) can be cast for free and lets the player add three colorless mana to their mana pool, which is discarded after use. Basically, it’s three mana without paying any.
Its international reprinting is more expensive than most at $545, but the original printing is currently valued around $26,000. That’s some serious dough until you consider that a graded 9.5 Black Lotus sold earlier this year for $87,000.