Someone spent $27,302 on eBay for the most magical of Magic: The Gathering cards, the super-rare Alpha Black Lotus. It is believed that only 1,100 of these cards were printed during Magic’s very limited first run in 1993, and this specific Black Lotus brought such a high value because it was in near-pristine condition. It received a 9.5 out of 10 from the Beckett Grading Service, the ultimate authority when it comes to telling people with very large wallets when it’s okay to open up said wallet for something silly, and the seller claims it is “the holy grail of non-sports cards in the finest condition ever graded.”
But is this card anything more than a collector’s item? Could it elevate your Magic game to levels worthy of $27,000? No, says Steve Heisler, Gameological’s resident Magic enthusiast. “It’s completely banned in all tournament formats except for one, appropriately called ‘Vintage,’” Steve says. “Only really rich people play Vintage. And even then, it’s restricted to one per deck, instead of the usual rule of a maximum of four.”
A second batch of 3,300 Black Lotuses, referred to as “Beta,” was later printed, but according to Steve, those aren’t nearly as cool. He explains: “Any Black Lotus works the same in the game, but collectors like the old one because it looks old, and sometimes you can have too much money.” Tell that to the outfit that’s trying to sell one of those second-edition Black Lotuses for $100,000, Steve.