20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

I'm a bit of a collector for Magic: The Gathering Cards. I've been playing for what has seemed like forever, and as such I've been privy to price fluctuations, spikes and dips of various cards due to the ever changing nature of the game.

One thing I like to do is check out online sites and see what different cards are sitting at. The following is a list of some of the most expensive cards in the game.

To keep things interesting, I narrowed my search results to adhere to the following conditions:

1) Card prices are taken from StarCityGames.com Near Mint prices (That means take these values with a grain of salt. SCG likes to bump things up a bit, so these are not necessarily 100% accurate to the current secondary market value. Also, since it's Near Mint pricing, BSG graded card prices are not included.)

2) Only English (and Phyrexian, see #11 below) cards have been considered.

3) This list does not include cards printed in Alpha/Beta/Unlimited sets. Otherwise, this would just be a power 9 list.

4) This list does not include misprints and oddities.

Magic: The Gathering Top 20 List - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

Magic: The Gathering Top 20 List

I'm a bit of a collector for Magic: The Gathering Cards. I've been playing for what has seemed like forever, and as such I've been privy to price fluctuations, spikes and dips of various cards due to the ever changing nature of the game.

One thing I like to do is check out online sites and see what different cards are sitting at. The following is a list of some of the most expensive cards in the game.

To keep things interesting, I narrowed my search results to adhere to the following conditions:

1) Card prices are taken from StarCityGames.com Near Mint prices (That means take these values with a grain of salt. SCG likes to bump things up a bit, so these are not necessarily 100% accurate to the current secondary market value. Also, since it's Near Mint pricing, BSG graded card prices are not included.)

2) Only English (and Phyrexian, see #11 below) cards have been considered.

3) This list does not include cards printed in Alpha/Beta/Unlimited sets. Otherwise, this would just be a power 9 list.

4) This list does not include misprints and oddities.
#20 Revised Underground Sea ($350) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#20 Revised Underground Sea ($350)

Underground Sea is the most expensive revised dual land in Magic. It sees play in Legacy, Vintage and EDH formats and is a staple in just about any blue/black list it can be legally run in. If you're not overly familiar with dual lands, these are a set of 10 2-colour lands with basic land types and no drawbacks.
#19 Innistrad Liliana of the Veil [Foil] ($350) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#19 Innistrad Liliana of the Veil [Foil] ($350)

By far the best Liliana planeswalker, the foil version fetches a hefty price due to legacy players' affinity for pimping their decks out. It's a staple in the format due to it's 3 mana cost and ability to protect itself, and the dual discard mechanic is easily abusable. This is one of the more recent additions to the expensive-as-fuck list as the card is a mere 3 years old.
#18 Player Rewards Promotional Wasteland [PR Foil] ($350) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#18 Player Rewards Promotional Wasteland [PR Foil] ($350)

Another eternal staple, this promo Wasteland is worth top dollar due to the fact that the original print was in Tempest, a set that predated foil printings. As a result, if you want to foil out your deck, this is what you need to do it.
#17 Antiquities Candelabra of Tawnos ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#17 Antiquities Candelabra of Tawnos ($400)

An odd card from a bygone era, the candles are a staple in some very niche deck lists. Antiquities cards are hard to come by these days, and as a result anything that sees heavy play from the set winds up carrying some value. This is easily the best card from the set in terms of competitive playability as the card is easily abused when combined with things like High Tide, which doubles your islands' mana production for a turn, allowing you to combo off.
#16 Arabian Nights Bazaar of Baghdad ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#16 Arabian Nights Bazaar of Baghdad ($400)

Bazaar is banned in Legacy due to its power, and is a staple in Vintage dredge lists. It may not look like much from a glance, but ask any veteran player if drawing cards with lands is good or not and they'll look at you like you've grown an extra head. Add that to the fact that you get to discard cards which can get dredged up later and you've got yourself a free engine for a deck that can win on the first turn. Oh, and did I mention it's from Magic's very first expansion set?
#15 Legends Chains of Mephistopheles ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#15 Legends Chains of Mephistopheles ($400)

This sucker has been going up in price over the last few years due to some sideboard legacy play (read: Jund), but the fact that it's another Legends card and almost impossible to understand the first time reading makes it both a visual oddity and quite rare to come by. Interestingly enough, Italian print Legends cards are more common and worth less as a result, so it's not uncommon to see these foreign printings, making the card even more incomprehensible. Oh, and it's pronounced "Mef-iss-toff-el-ease".
#14 Legends Moat ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#14 Legends Moat ($400)

Are we sensing a theme with Legends cards yet? This is another one of those odd cards that does something no other card in its colour really does, so it fills a niche role in the formats in which it is legal in its colour pie.
#13 Onslaught Polluted Delta [Foil] ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#13 Onslaught Polluted Delta [Foil] ($400)

The most expensive foil fetchland, this is another one of those pimp pieces that players and collectors alike are so fond of. Also works well with Underground sea and other dual lands, since they have land types this sucker can fetch for. For the uninitiated, there's a cycle of 10 of these for each 2 colour combination.
#12 Portal: Three Kingdoms Ravages of War ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#12 Portal: Three Kingdoms Ravages of War ($400)

Portals rares are all over priced due to their extremely limited print runs. To provide some background, the three portals sets were never released in North America, and were designed as a standalone series to introduce new players to Magic. Ultimately, the valuable/useful cards like this one wound up becoming collector's pieces, further driving up the prices.
#11 Judge Foil Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite [JG Foil] ($400) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#11 Judge Foil Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite [JG Foil] ($400)

The judge foils are pretty, but this one in particular stands out due to it's "Phyrexian" text. Wizards really outdid themselves with this one, as it's the only card in Magic that's been printed in a language that does not exist outside of Magic lore. Very flavour. Much compleat.
#10 Modern Masters Tarmogoyf [Foil] ($450) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#10 Modern Masters Tarmogoyf [Foil] ($450)

Oh, Tarmogoyf. What would we do without you? Tarmogoyf, for the uninitiated, is the go-to green creature in Magic. It's under-costed (mana-wise, obviously not price-wise or it wouldn't be here) for its stats, and can quickly close games in aggressive deck lists. It's legal in Modern too, which means that it has double the playability of most other cards on this list. Wanna turn dudes sideways? Why not Tarmogoyf?
#9 Antiquities Mishra's Workshop ($600) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#9 Antiquities Mishra's Workshop ($600)

Now we're getting into the big guns. Workshop's another card from a bygone age, before Magic really had a handle on their power creep. Workshop is essentially a 3-for-1 as most lands only produce one mana per turn. The fact that it's limited to artifact spells only only means that you'll be playing those spells. Not a big deal for Vintage players considering all the best combos and ramp spells are artifacts.
#8 Future Sight Tarmogoyf [Foil] ($600) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#8 Future Sight Tarmogoyf [Foil] ($600)

Wait - didn't we already see Tarmogoyf? What gives? Well, this is the original print of the card, so it's worth more. That's just how Magic works, barring some promos. Also, the Future Sight border might have something to do with it. Either way, he's a pricey little foil regardless of which version you're trying to track down.
#7 Mercadian Masques Rishadan Port [Foil] ($600) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#7 Mercadian Masques Rishadan Port [Foil] ($600)

Another land that does things no land should do, this foil is another Legacy staple that fills a niche role, and without being locked into a particular colour. Goblins absolutely love the port! (Odd, since I don't recall them being particularly font of the seas...)
#6 Summer Magic Island ($600) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#6 Summer Magic Island ($600)

Ok ok, before you ask, yes this is an Island. A white-bordered, ugly looking Island. WHY IS THIS $600 you ask. Well...technically it's a misprint oddity. I know! I promised no misprints! But here's the thing: Summer Magic prints were all the same. They were the first print run for Revised, and there were a couple of universal errors made to specific cards in the set.

You know what, I probably shouldn't have even included this. It's not even the most expensive Summer Magic card. YOU DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING.

(If you're curious about Summer Magic cards and prices, here's a link to a site that's currently selling a few of them: http://www.abugames.com/set156/Buy-Summer-Magic-/-Edgar-Checklist-Magic-The-Gathering-Singles-Cards-For-Sale.html)
#5 Worldwake Jace, the Mindsculptor [Foil] ($600) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#5 Worldwake Jace, the Mindsculptor [Foil] ($600)

Also known as Jace the Walletsculptor, this guy effectively broke the whole concept of Planeswalkers by being the first walker printed with 4 abilities. Additionally, his power creep caused quite the stir during his time in Standard in that not only was he eventually banned from the format (a first for the format in years) and subsequently banned in Modern upon the format's creation. Still, he sees massive play in EDH and eternal formats, and as a result carries a high price tag for his foil variant, despite also being available as a foil from the vault card (which is currently worth $100).
#4 Extended Art Promotional Foil Mutavault [EAP Foil] ($700) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#4 Extended Art Promotional Foil Mutavault [EAP Foil] ($700)

Mutavault is not an extremely expensive card on its own, but damn if this specialty foil isn't sexy as all hell. The full art design and limited availability as a promotional card has led this to become one of the most expensive promos Wizards of the Coast has released to date. However, it's not the most expensive. That award goes to...
#3 Judge Foil Force of Will [JG Foil] ($750) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#3 Judge Foil Force of Will [JG Foil] ($750)

Being a very new promo, this price is likely to change a bit in the coming months. That said, this is the only foil printing of Force of Will, another Legacy/Vintage staple that sees massive play in just about any deck that runs blue. The fact that Wizards just handed these out to their judges is incredible, as the secondary market has been going nuts with players trying to get their hands on a full playset.
#2 Legends The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale ($800) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#2 Legends The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale ($800)

Here it is. The penultimate Legends card. While Legends as a set was very hit and miss, the entire set's prices are often augmented by the fact that this sucker exists. Having an upkeep cost on all creatures basically kneecaps any aggressive player, creating situations where control decks (most notably the iconic 43Lands.dec, named for the fact that the deck basically plays nothing but lands that do stupid things like this) can single-handedly lock the game out without even having to cast a spell. As a result, it's expensive as hell and will only continue to rise as it becomes more scarce.
#1 Portal: Three Kingdoms Imperial Seal ($800) - 20 Of The Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Cards

#1 Portal: Three Kingdoms Imperial Seal ($800)

The fact that this isn't even the best black search spell in Magic makes this price tag astounding. Then again, this is Portals, so it's more of a collector's piece than anything else. With that said, serious EDH players will salivate over an extra blind tutor spell, and the fact that Vintage has restricted all the good search spells forces you to run singletons of everything that IS available. It just goes to show how serious some players will get just to get that extra advantage.