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Top 30 Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

The Power Nine in Magic

The Power Nine in Magic

The Power Nine in Magic

Magic: The Gathering remains the most popular trading card game in the Western World, having enchanted players since 1993. Cards from those days often fetch a pretty penny, especially the famed "power nine," nine incredibly powerful cards from the Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited sets.

Despite being banned in most formats, these cards maintain incredible value, as do several other cards from their era—which dominate the market? These are the 30 most valuable cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Juzám Djinn mtg

Juzám Djinn mtg

30. Juzam Djinn

Set: Arabian Nights
Value: $1560

A flying 5/5 who deals one to you at your upkeep is only okay by today's meta, but back then, it offered one of black's strongest creatures, and his lack of reprints keeps his value high.

Bazaar of Baghdad mtg

Bazaar of Baghdad mtg

29. Bazaar of Baghdad

Set: Arabian Nights
Value: $1900

Bazaar's an odd land that doesn't tap for mana. Instead, it taps to draw twice, then discard three cards from your hand. Not great for your hand since it actually decreases in size, but it's amazing for quickly filling your graveyard with fodder for flashback, delve, and other discard effects.

Gaea's Cradle mtg

Gaea's Cradle mtg

28. Gaea's Cradle

Set: Judge Gift Cards
Value: $1933

Any version of this legendary land will earn some money, especially the judge promo. Like a basic forest, Cradle can tap for one green, but it can also tap for one green per creature you control, providing incredible amounts of mana in swarm decks with no real drawback. It also isn't banned in commander format, so if you have one, go ahead and run it.

Plateau mtg

Plateau mtg

27. Plateau

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $1939

We'll be seeing many of these dual lands, basically two basic lands put together with no drawback. Counting as both a plains and a mountain, Plateau taps for either white or red.

Savannah Lions mtg

Savannah Lions mtg

26. Savannah Lions

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2100

For just one mana, a 2/1 with cat synergy is still useful today, but it was amazing upon debut, offering a far-stronger early-game play than other creatures could provide.

Bayou mtg

Bayou mtg

25. Bayou

Set: Beta Edition
Value: $2340

Green-black's dual-land, Bayou can be replaced with Overgrown Tomb, though both are legal in commander, so if you happen to own one, count yourself lucky and enjoy your color-fixing.

Sol Ring mtg

Sol Ring mtg

24. Sol Ring

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2375

Newer versions of this commander staple only run a few bucks, but the classic editions sell for thousands. No matter which you have, it's an amazing card, an artifact that only costs one but taps for two colorless.

Time Vault mtg

Time Vault mtg

23. Time Vault

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2400

Here's a Power Nine member banned in basically every format. Vault taps for an extra turn, but enters tapped and doesn't untap automatically; instead, you have to skip a turn to untap it. Even so, it's amazing because you can cheat its untaps with cards like Seedborn Muse or Amulet of Vigor.

Scrubland mtg

Scrubland mtg

22. Scrubland

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2400

Another dual-land, this one taps for either black or white and counts as both a swamp and a plains. For a much-cheaper alternative, try Godless Shrine, which does the same but only enters untapped if you pay two life.

Mind Twist mtg

Mind Twist mtg

21. Mind Twist

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2500

Twist offers one of the best discard spells in Magic. You pay one black plus X of any amount to make an opponent discard X cards randomly. Not many discard effects make the discards random, and if you have enough mana, you can make them toss their whole hand. Just note it works better in 1v1 than multiplayer.

Taiga mtg

Taiga mtg

20. Taiga

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2600

The red-green dual-land, Taiga's an amazing mountain-forest, but for players who aren't Jeff Bezos, try Stomping Ground instead.

Balance mtg

Balance mtg

19. Balance

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2600

You can find reprints of Balance for much lower prices, but keep in mind that it's banned in commander. Either way, it forces players to discard cards and sacrifice creatures/lands so they control as many as the player with the fewest, an outstanding equalizer to punish leaders.

Jayemdae Tome mtg

Jayemdae Tome mtg

18. Jayemdae Tome

Set: Beta Edition
Value: $2700

Of all today's cards, Tome holds up the worst; four mana base cost plus four for a draw is just too slow by today's standards (Arcane Encyclopedia does the same for only three). But in earlier days, it offered rare non-blue card advantage.

Mishra's Workshop mtg

Mishra's Workshop mtg

17. Mishra's Workshop

Set: Antiquities
Value: $2710

Workshop taps for a phenomenal three colorless, but it can only be used on artifacts or artifact abilities. While somewhat limited in use, in artifact builds, you're getting triple what most lands can provide for almost no downside.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale mtg

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale mtg

16. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

Set: Legends
Value: $2875

Unlike most lands, Pendrell Vale can't tap for any mana. However, it forces players who control creatures to either pay one mana per creature during their upkeep or sacrifice them.

This makes it challenging for opponents to maintain both their monsters and mana, and while the penalty impacts you as well, you've presumably built a low-creature deck to work around the effect.

Shivan Dragon mtg

Shivan Dragon mtg

15. Shivan Dragon

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $2900

While not as competitive today, Shivan justified his higher cost with a flying 5/5 body wielding firebreathing, letting you spend one red to give him +1/+0 for the turn. If you attain infinite mana and score a direct hit (or acquire trample), you've all but won.

Mox Jet mtg

Mox Jet mtg

14. Mox Jet

Set: Unlimited
Value: $3575

Like its fellow Mox cards, Jet belongs to the Power Nine. It simply taps for one black, but since it's not a land, you can play it and a land in the same turn, effectively boosting your mana ramp for no cost.

Mox Emerald mtg

Mox Emerald mtg

13. Mox Emerald

Set: Unlimited
Value: $3690

Green doesn't offer much artifact synergy, but it still enjoys Mox Emerald for its sheer mana acceleration.

Mox Pearl mtg

Mox Pearl mtg

12. Mox Pearl

Set: Unlimited
Value: $3815

White's artifact supports gear more towards equipments than generic artifacts, but still make Mox Pearl especially useful among its ranks.

Tropical Island mtg

Tropical Island mtg

11. Tropical Island

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $4125

Blue-green remains a popular EDH combo, explaining why many of its lands cost a more than other color pairings. For about 20 bucks, you can net the similar Breeding Pool counterpart.

Mox Ruby mtg

Mox Ruby mtg

10. Mox Ruby

Set: Unlimited
Value: $4180

Red has some artifact synergy, and it with the speed boost Ruby provides, it can overtake foes with aggro before they know what hit them.

Time Walk mtg

Time Walk mtg

9. Time Walk

Set: Beta Edition
Value: $4250

Banned in basically everything, Time Walk gifts an extra turn for just two mana. That's over half as cheap as cards that do the same for five, like Time Warp!

Tundra mtg

Tundra mtg

8. Tundra

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $4600

An island-plains perfect for Azorius themes, Tundra taps for blue-white. Budget players should try Hallowed Fountain instead.

Ancestral Recall mtg

Ancestral Recall mtg

7. Ancestral Recall

Set: Beta Edition
Value: $4945

One mana for three draws at instant speed? Geez, no wonder blue reigned supreme back in the day. The closest legal counterpart you'll find is Ancestral Vision, which does the same, but you have to suspend it for four turns before it triggers.

Underground Sea mtg

Underground Sea mtg

6. Underground Sea

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $5000

Life really is better under the sea; this dual-land provides the ever-popular blue/black control colors. Alternatively, run Watery Grave.

Chaos Orb mtg

Chaos Orb mtg

5. Chaos Orb

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $5200

Chaos Orb is more weird than good, offering one of few dexterity cards outside the joke Un sets. You pay one and drop it from a height of at least one foot. If it turns over at least once while falling, any cards it touches are destroyed.

By banning cards like this, players don't have to worry about grouping cards together (like the common practice of bunching lands).

Timetwister mtg

Timetwister mtg

4. Timetwister

Set: Unlimited
Value: $7205

Timetwister has all players shuffle their hands and graveyards into their library, then draw seven cards. This has several advantages; it protects against milling, resets your hand when running low, and works amazing with cards that prevent opponents from drawing multiple cards (like Narset, Parter of Veils).

Liliana Dreadhorde General (Japanese)

Liliana Dreadhorde General (Japanese)

3. Liliana, Dreadhorde General (JP Alternate Art Prerelease)

Set: War of the Spark (Prerelease Japanese Alternate Art)
Value: $7500

By far the most recent card on today's list, Dreadhorde General's special Japanese promo costs thousands more than its regular version. She's a great planeswalker; her default effect lets you draw when you monster is destroyed, +1 creates a 2/2 zombie, -4 has each player sacrifice two creatures, and -9 has an opponent choose a permanent they control of each type and sacrifice the rest!

Mox Sapphire mtg

Mox Sapphire mtg

2. Mox Sapphire

Set: Alpha Edition
Value: $11300

Blue best supports artifacts, and since it used to be (and arguably still is) Magic's most overpowered color, it's no surprise its Mox gem fetches the best price.

Black Lotus mtg

Black Lotus mtg

1. Black Lotus

Set: Unlimited
Value: $13000

The infamous Black Lotus provides an amazing albeit single-use mana ramp, sacrificing itself for three mana of any color. But since it's banned almost everywhere, even the very few who have a legitimate copy can't normally run them.

Checking a Card's Value

Today we only listed the most valuable versions of every card; other versions of Black Lotus will still fetch a pretty penny. Like any prices, today's values will fluctuate over time, so be sure to confirm a card's value on tcgplayer (and check you have the right expansion). But for now, vote for your favorite ace and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2021 Jeremy Gill

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