The 25 Rarest Magic: The Gathering Cards (And What They’re Worth)

Magic the Gathering is all about gathering the right cards, and these ones are the most rare and expensive.

Magic: the Gathering is a popular trading card game that started producing cards back in 1993. Since then, other similar games have come out based on the Magic setup. Popular ones include Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon. Playing is pretty simple. You have your land cards which serve as mana (or magic) which fuel your attacks. There are also all sorts of monsters readily available to whittle your opponent’s life points down to zero. You start with 20 life and go till either someone’s life points are down to zero or a certain number of artifacts are collected. You also have about 60 cards to use in each deck, so balancing out between land, monsters, and artifacts are important. Expert players tend to have certain decks they favor, but are versatile in nearly every color.

That’s right; the decks all have certain colors they are based on: red, blue, green, black, and white. Each color stands for something. For example, blue is island and red is mountain. There have been several editions of the cards, as well as booster packs based on specific ideas.

The cards themselves are usually incredibly beautiful. Wizards of the Coast (the owners of the game) hire artists to create their idea of what each card would look like in the world of the plainswalkers. Now, because the game has been going on for a quarter of a century, it’s no surprise that some of these cards are incredibly rare and worth a lot of money. Shall we see what they’re worth?

25 The Price Of A Soul

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In Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus, Mephistopheles agrees to give the titular character unlimited power for 24 years in exchange for his soul in the afterlife. For those 24 years he is in servitude, which is part of how the Magic card Chains of Mephistopheles got its look. The card allows a player to discard a card every time they draw, which can help gain mana or a monster while getting rid of unwanted spells. The card’s price runs between $400 and $700.

24 A Diamond In The Rough

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If your play style depends on the usefulness of artifacts, Mishra's Workshop is a card you NEED in your deck. This card automatically gives you extra mana, but it is only to be used in playing artifacts. Mishra's Workshop is considered rare and can cost a pretty penny.

This card gives you free mana.

The price has fluctuated and of course is based on overall condition. You can get your own Mishra's Workshop from anywhere between $600 and $1,500. Perhaps you should aim for a different strategy until you've hit it big.

23 An Accurate Fortune

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Being one of the most powerful of the planeswalkers (think of them as the 'chosen ones,' incredibly strong and can move across dimensions), Jace the Mindsculpter is a rare card that has been banned from official play. He lets you look at and move around opponents cards to their deck, otherwise known as the library. Knowing what your opponent's cards will be can give you the edge needed to win the battle. While unusable in competition, you can snag one of these cards for the price of around $600.

22 Search And Rescue

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If you're in a battle and have plenty of life to sacrifice, the card Imperial Seal may just be the card you want. For the price of 2 life, it allows you to grab any card from your deck and put it on top, ready to be drawn in the next turn.

Rearrange your deck for $800.

At only one mana cost, it can turn the tables on any battle, provided you know your deck well enough and have a good strategy. It is a great card to have when you're in a bind. It can be yours for around $800.

21 Sweetness In Victory

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Part of their Arabian Nights expansion, Magic: The Gathering’s Drop of Honey is a fairly rare card. It is an enchantment that destroys the weakest creature. Seeing that Magic is a strategy game, this could work in your favor should the situation present itself. Most of the cards rely on each other in order to be effective, so you should look for other cards that give you an opportunity to really go after your opponent. It is part of the first expansion for the game and worth between $700 and $1000.

20 A Shell Of A Card

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For the pretty penny of around $1500, the card Mox Pearl can be yours. For beginners, Mox Pearl doesn't seem to be as helpful as all it does is give you an extra bit of mana. For expert players though, this can be a life saver. You can gain that mana whenever, even on your opponent's turn. The extra mana can be the thing allowing you to cast a spell to protect yourself and it doesn't cost anything. Luck favors the prepared.

19 Manifest Destiny

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Badlands is a card you can get fairly cheaply depending on the edition. The one we're referring to here though is the beta edition, which is in the ballpark of $1700. This card gives you free mana for either swamp (green) or mountain (red) cards.

Lands provide much-needed mana.

Similar to the next entry, this can be a huge help when you run into some trouble and need just a little more juice. The difference is that this card can also be negatively affected, should your opponent have a card that takes away mana of that color.

18 Preventative Measures

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For around $1800, you can get yourself a copy of the Forcefield card, which lessens the amount of damage that you take for a small cost of mana. If there's no other way to avoid the hit, you can at least save yourself some grief. It is important to note that the card in question is the Limited Edition Alpha version, so if you like the support this card gives, there are cheaper alternatives that will suit your deck just fine.

17 Fresh Start

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Being one of the more rare cards in the game, Time Twister can be a great help to both you and your opponent. You both must shuffle your deck and your graveyard together, allowing for a fresh start.

Shuffling your cards is a double-edged sword.

The art was done by Mark Tedin, and can cost around $1950 for a mint condition card. If you've run out of useful things in your hand, this will give you the chance to restart your strategy. Best start saving for it now!

16 It's Not Easy Being Green

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Another one in the series of mox gems, the Mox Emerald is exactly like the Mox Pearl, except that it gives you mana for swamp (or green) lands instead of white. And just like every other precious gem in this series, it'll cost you some green. Depending on condition, these cards can run around $1950, and are quite rare. Usually when building a deck, you focus on one or two types of mana to best utilize the deck. This should only be in your deck if you favored the swamp lands.

15 Take A Chance

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While most of the cards tend to base themselves on specific ideas based on color (healing for white, destruction for red, etc) the Wheel of Fortune is different. It is a red card that acts like a blue card.

The Wheel Of Fortune may give you good cards in a new hand.

Each player discards their entire hand and draws seven new cards to play with. It's a double edged sword, but can put you in a favorable position. If you want to buy a Limited Edition Alpha version of the card, be prepared to cough up around $1900.

14 A Frozen Gift

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Similar to its real world counterpart, the taiga is a barren land that is usually covered by ice or snow. That's why it gives you mana for forest and mountain. The alpha version of the card is around $1998 according to mtgstocks.com, but there are other versions of the card to purchase if you want the sweet effect this card gives. Just like some of the others on this list that give the same effect, it is deck specific. Only use it if you have a deck focusing on one or both of the colors.

13 Seeing Red

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The third precious gem in the series on this list, the Mox Ruby is of course a buff for a red deck. Like its predecessors it gives a free red mana to be used at any time.

This card gives you a red mana.

It is a bit more costly than the emerald or the pearl though, as the Limited Edition Alpha Version of the Mox Ruby is worth about $2700, a thousand dollars more. Red decks are great for players who like to attack, so it's worth a look at other editions of this card.

12 Let's Do The Time Warp Again

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This card is downright broken. One of the original banned cards of the game, Time Walk allows you to take an extra turn per card at the cost of a couple of mana. There have been battles that have been won before the opponent even gets a chance to lay down their first card. Because it is banned, you don't get to see it all that often. If you happen to have  around $3000 though, you'll get to see it all you want.

11 A Sight To Behold

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Originally out in 1994, The Tabernacle At Pendrell Vale is a great card for players who understand the game and can read their opponent's movements. The card adds a mana cost to each card on the field.

This card makes everything more expensive.

If you're prepared it's not a big thing. But if you're caught off guard, chances are good that most of your mana will then go to upkeep, instead of new spells. The card can cost around $3000.

10 Blue Bayou

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According to mtgstocks.com, the beta edition of the Bayou card is quite the catch. Raising in price recently, you can find one of these bad boys at around $3195. The Bayou card is a land, so just like the Taiga on this list (amongst others) you'll be granted mana practically for free. So use it with your best judgement and hope that your opponent doesn't have a way to cut you off from your lands, otherwise you're going to have a bad time.

9 Frozen Wasteland

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Costing around $3201, the beta version of the Tundra card is a good asset to someone using a white or a blue deck. It gives a bit of free mana, and is susceptible to damage to those same mana colors. Land is incredibly important to the game, as it fuels all of your strategies. By having this card available, you're able to start playing your strategy to its fullest potential. Lands are your biggest support, and this is a support for your support.

8 Timey Wimey

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Similar to Time Walk, Time Vault allows for an extra turn at the cost of two mana. This one is a little different though, because you must skip a turn when you want to untap (or deactivate) the card.

You can add more turns with this card.

A skipped turn could change the course of the duel if you aren't careful, so use this card with caution. It’s still a great card though (and understandably banned) that can add a lot to anyone’s collection. The Limited Edition Alpha Version costs about $3500.

7 The Dark Crystal

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Another jewel for that beautiful Mox set is the Mox Jet. It gives extra black lands, which is great if you have a deck specializing in black mana. The black cards tend to have creatures in it such as vampires and demons, so its  design is incorporated in that idea. With each succeeding gem, the price goes up. A Limited Edition Alpha Version can cost you about $3700. It's worth it if you're a collector, but since it's banned in several types of play, this one is more of a piece of art.

6 Hit It Again

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There seems to be a running idea in most of these entries, and that is that most of these cards are banned from different official contests. Ancestral Recall is no different. The card allows the player to draw three cards.

You can draw three more cards.

Unlike some of the other card games that came out after Magic, there is no limit to how many cards you can have in your hands. This gives you variety and the upper hand at the small cost of $3700 of your own money.

5 Did Someone Say Vacation?

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Wouldn't you like a nice tropical getaway anytime you wanted? If magic were real, you could use your Tropical Island card and summon one for your relaxation needs. But since it's not, you could use your vacation money to buy the Tropical Island card and pretend it works that way. You'd be spending upwards to $5550 though, which could pay for an actual tropical getaway. The choice is yours, but I know what I’d be choosing if I were in your shoes.

4 Got The Blues

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The Mox Sapphire (which of course automatically tells you that it gives you blue mana) is one of the pricer ones in the set. It is about $3000 more than the last, at around $6100.

More mana equals more strategies.

My guess that this particular color gem is worth more because it is part of a blue deck, and those can be some of the most devastating decks in the right hands. Get the right edition and wow all of your friends, if you have the money.

3 Waterception

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From here on out, the price to obtain these rare cards is only going to grow exponentially. Turn back while you can. If you're still here, you'll learn that the alpha version of the Underground Sea is quite the catch. It can run around $7995, and is your typical free mana land type card. Painted by Rob Alexander, the card is a great asset to a deck that has a lot of cards that know how to break the system.

2 The Expected First

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For those people who follow prices for Magic The Gathering, you'll know that Black Lotus tops the list every time. I've seen prices range from a humble $30,000 to a whopping $150,000! Having only 1,100 ever released, it's really a no-brainer from an economics standpoint why this card is so pricey. It gives you three mana of any color, so of course it's going to be a good card. It is one of the earliest cards and can bring you quite a bit of respect on the gaming tables.

1 Say Hey To Pompeii

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The beta version of the card Volcanic Island is our number one pick for this list. Although it is not incredibly powerful as it is only a land card, it still is worth $10415 on mtgstocks.com. I can't say one way or the other why this card could be more valuable than Black Lotus, but somehow it is. My only guess is because of how popular fire decks can be, giving the limited amount of printed copies a higher price.

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