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10 Most Valuable Magic: The Gathering (Alpha) Cards

The most expensive and rare Magic: The Gathering cards come from the original Limited Edition Alpha set. With the famed Black Lotus and the complete set of Moxen, this is our most expensive “top 10 most valuable cards” article. 

Due to an abundance of errors and misprints, all of the cards originally released in Alpha were reprinted into Limited Edition Beta and Unlimited Edition sets that followed. 

Alpha set cards are easily distinguishable from Beta because the corners are more rounded than standard trading cards. Both sets were printed with a black border, while cards in the Unlimited set have a white border. 

Being the first set, Alpha cards generally have more value than the reprints of the same cards in Beta or Unlimited. Originally printed in 1993, here are the 10 most valuable cards of Alpha—many of which are the most expensive and rare cards in Magic. 

The 10 Most Expensive Cards in Magic (Alpha

10. Chaos Orb

Chaos Orb

Graded Price: $6,000 – $30,000

The rumor goes that a losing player won a tournament game by ripping the Chaos Orb into many pieces and throwing them up, so as to land on all of the opponents cards. The judges later disqualified him, on the premise that his deck then technically only contained 59 cards. Chaos Orb is a manual dexterity card that must be properly flipped for its effect to activate. This proved difficult for judges to decide during tournaments. Whether or not the legend is true, the card was likely banned due to these difficulties.

9. Timetwister

Timetwister

Graded Price: $17,000 – $40,000

This is the only card from the Power Nine that is legal in Commander; it is also restricted in Vintage and banned in Legacy. A truly unique card, it forces all players to shuffle everything that isn’t currently on the board back into their library. After that, Timetwister is placed into the player’s new graveyard. That’s insanely powerful in a milling or graveyard deck, which can simply return the card again and again, essentially resetting the game each time.

8. Mox Emerald

Mox Emerald

Graded Price: $10,000 – $50,000

Like many other members of the Power Nine, Mox Emerald is restricted in Vintage and banned in other formats. Moxen cost zero mana while providing one – it’s easy to understand why they are some of the most powerful cards in the entire game. As with many of the other cards on our list, Mox Emerald is on the Reserved List and will not be physically reprinted.

7. Mox Ruby

Mox Ruby

Graded Price: $10,000 – $50,000

Like Mox Emerald, Mox Ruby is restricted in Vintage and banned in other formants. The entire Power Nine is on the Reserved List, ensuring the Mox Ruby’s value and rarity. All of the Moxen have zero mana cost, making them all that more powerful and versatile in game play.

6. Mox Pearl

Mox Pearl

Graded Price: $13,000 – $50,000

The white Mox is yet another of the Power Nine that is banned in all formats except Vintage, where it’s restricted. Of course, this card is on the Reserved List too. Imagine how unstoppable a deck with four (or more) Moxen was when it was in its form of Standard. Playable for no mana, the Mox Pearl is simply too powerful outside of Vintage decks – even then, players can only include one copy. 

5. Time Walk

Time Walk

Graded Price: $14,000 – $50,000

Another one of the Power Nine, Time Walk allows the player to take an extra turn – for only one blue mana and one colorless mana. By comparison, Walk the Aeons, a card that functionally does the same thing (with the added ability of buyback), costs two blue mana and four colorless mana. No surprise that this card is banned in all formats except Vintage, where it is restricted. 

4. Mox Jet

Mox Jet

Graded Price: $15,000 – $50,000

Mox Jet is currently the most valuable of the Moxen available, with a grade 9 mint Alpha card reportedly having sold on eBay for $39,500 last year. It is only legal for restricted play in Vintage. Don’t expect the price to drop either; with a seat in the Power Nine and upon the Reserved List, the entire series of Moxen will hold their value, if not increase in value. 

3. Ancestral Recall

Ancestral Recall

Graded Price: $18,000 – $60,000

With one blue mana cost allowing a player to draw three cards with no penalty, Ancestral Recall is often considered blue’s most powerful card. Alpha included a series of five boon cards – one for each color – but only Ancestral Recall is classified as rare, while the other boon cards are uncommons. The card is banned in all formats, except Vintage where it is restricted. 

2. Mox Sapphire

Mox Sapphire

Graded Price: $15,000 – $100,000

One of the rarest and most valuable of the Moxen, Mox Sapphire creates out-of-balance mana acceleration for the color of intellect and illusion. It’s easy to see how powerful it would be for a control player to utilize free instant mana – luckily, Vintage players are still able to include one copy in their decks. Of course, this member of the Power Nine is banned in all other formats and firmly planted on the Reserved List.

1. Black Lotus

Black Lotus

Graded Price: $60,000 – $500,000

When the game debuted, Wizards of the Coast did not limit the amount of copies of a card that could be played in a deck. With zero mana cost, this mana-boosting artifact made it possible for early players to win in a single turn. Quickly, the four-card rule was implemented.

Black Lotus has since been banned from all formats except Vintage. It is, of course, part of the Power Nine – making it one of the most powerful cards in the game. Not only is it the most valuable card in Alpha, it’s the most valuable card in Magic. 

Honorable Mention: The Original Dual Lands

The most valuable cards in any set will always fluctuate. However, in a set with so much value, we inevitably left out some of the most valuable cards in Alpha: the dual lands. 

TundraUnderground SeaBadlandsTaigaSavannahScrublandBayouPlateauTropical Island

 

Graded Price (Each): $3,000 – $25,000 

A large part of what makes the original dual lands highly valuable in game play are the named subtypes on the card (Underground Sea names Swamp and island, for example). This allows fetch lands to grab the card from a player’s library and mana fix two colors for the price of one.  

The original dual lands are still legal for tournament play in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander. As highly valued land cards that are on the Reserved List, owning the set of these lands would be a dream for any Magic collector. 

Note: Volcanic Island is also one of the original dual lands, but it was accidentally left out of the Alpha print.

Would You Buy an Expensive MTG Card?

These cards will hold their value so long as the game of Magic: The Gathering is played and loved – they may even become far more expensive in the future. Would you ever invest in one of the Power Nine? Or what about an original Dual Land? We’d love to talk about it in the comments below!

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