Brainstorm | Secret Lair Showdown
19, Mar, 24

The Rarest MTG Cards of All Time

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When people discuss Magic’s rarest cards, there are a lot of common candidates that players quickly bring up. The one of one One Ring, currently owned by Post Malone, certainly takes the crown for most expensive MTG card in the world, but it doesn’t necessarily take the crown for the rarest one. It actually shares the throne with a few other candidates.

Ironically, the most iconic rare MTG card in existence, Black Lotus, isn’t even that rare in comparison to a lot of other MTG cards. Some of these are recent creations while others have been lost to history.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the rarest MTG cards in the world – strictly in terms of quantity. Variants are game for this. Even if a card has been widely printed, there are some variants for individual cards that have less than ten of them in existence!

It may seem crazy, but the Power Nine don’t even make the list! While these are definitely the most powerful cards in MTG’s existence, and are incredibly rare collectibles, they are not the rarest cards in the world, at least in terms of pure quantity available.

Do note that we will not be taking playtest cards into consideration with this article.

Secret Lair Showdown Prize Cards

One of the more recent MTG printings that has an absurd level of scarcity are the rarest of the Secret Lair Showdown Prize Cards. These events started appearing at Magic Cons back in 2023. Four events were hosted, with each event offering an exclusive variant of an existing card as an entry promo, an exclusive variant of an existing card for the top 32, and a final exclusive card (not mechanically unique) for the winner of the event.

While all of these variants fetch attractive prices on the secondary market, the tournament prize is much rarer than all of the others. Since there is only four of these tournaments per year, and the promos offered are refreshed yearly, this means that only four copies of each of these cards currently exist.

Here are the Secret Lair Showdown Prize cards per year:

2023:

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    Fatal Push (Participation)
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    Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (Top 32)
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    Brainstorm (Prize Card)

2024:

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    Spell Pierce (Participation)
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    Murktide Regent (Top 32)
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    Dark Ritual (Prize Card).

Interestingly, all four copies of Brainstorm were recently gathered by one player, who is currently looking to sell the playset for $100,000. Considering that there are only four of these in the world, we’re surprised that the value of these four cards are so low. That said, these Brainstorms truly are for those who want to collect a piece of Magic history.

As a game piece, Brainstorms are not too difficult to come by, being printed as a common repetitively. The same goes for Dark Ritual, which is this year’s prize card. While four of these will eventually be in circulation, at the time of writing, only one has been released to the wild.

Shichifukujin Dragon

Interestingly, two of the rarest cards in MTG history appeared quite some time ago. 1996 was a popular year for timeless MTG stories to surface. Both Shichifukujin Dragon and our next selection were printed that year. This, and the next two selections in this article, all only have one copy of the card in existence.

Much like the 1996 World Champion, Shichifukujin Dragon was a card awarded as a tournament prize. At the time, Magic was still expanding its worldwide reach, but was taking off in Japan pretty aggressively. According to an article from Magic Untapped, a “Duelists’ Convocation International Tournament Center was in the works in Tokyo.” This dragon, designed by Mark Rosewater and Christopher Rush, was given as a way to make the opening something truly special. However, because of the timing of the request, Rosewater was given one hour to design the card.

Similar to our next selection, after this card was approved for print, Wizards of the Coast destroyed all but one copy of Shichifukujin Dragon to make it a truly special card.

Read More: Wizards Announces Massive MTG Arena Changes!

1996 World Champion

1996 World Champion

We would not be surprised if many players were unaware that this MTG card even existed. Wizards of the Coast wanted to gift the 1996 World Champion something truly special. As a result, they were gifted the above MTG card.

There is only one copy of the 1996 World Champion in existence. Interestingly, printing technology at the time required that, in order to print this, an entire sheet of this card needed to see print. Wizards of the Coast destroyed all the other copies of the 1996 World Champion, leaving this final copy for the real 1996 World Champion.

In terms of gameplay, 1996 World Champion is quite deadly. A creature with Shroud that is guaranteed to take your opponent out is already quite powerful, but the 1996 World Champion can also appear in your hand during any turn that you desire. You need to discard your hand to do this, but you can essentially always find the card on time.

This is one of the three cards that share the ‘rarest card of all time’ title for MTG. The 1996 World Champion was sold back in 2001 to a private collector for $17,500. It reportedly remains there to this day.

Serialized One Ring

Unlike the other one-of-one cards that have been somewhat lost to history, The One Ring released recently, and became a media sensation. Akin to finding the Golden Ticket for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, this serialized copy of The One Ring was hidden in one pack for someone in the world to find.

This hiked the prices of Lord of the Rings Collector Booster boxes until it was found. Even though this One Ring variant was discovered very early on into the set’s release, it took some time before the card was revealed to the world.

Eventually, MTG player Brook Trafton would find the card and sell it to MTG personality and rapper Post Malone for about 2.6 million dollars.

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