What is Black Lotus? MTG’s most valuable card

Magic the Gathering Black Lotus

Black Lotus is one of the priciest trading cards in the entire world. We’ll break down exactly what has earned this MTG card its absurd price tag.

Unlike many other TCGs suffering from power creep, a number of Magic: The Gathering’s earliest cards – especially the Power Nine – are among its most powerful and sought-after. But even within those early offerings, Black Lotus stands apart.

So, what exactly is it, and what makes it so powerful and costly?

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MTG’s Black Lotus explained

To date, Black Lotus has only ever been printed in MTG’s first three sets; Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited. Its place on the reserved list ensures that the existing copies of the card are the only playable versions of the card that will ever be available. This scarcity is part of the reason for the card’s exorbitant price, along with its overwhelming power when played.

Black Lotus is a zero-cost card that can be tapped and sacrificed for three mana of any color. Playing a card for free and getting three mana out of it is an overwhelmingly useful tradeoff that has never been repeated since. While subsequent cards have echoed the design, they come with significant limitations to curb their power.

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A clever early use of it can quickly put its player into a commanding lead that the opponent may be unable to catch up to. If it weren’t for its prohibitive cost and scarcity, the majority of all MTG decks would be running as many copies of it as possible.

How much does a Black Lotus cost?

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TCGplayer lists the current price of the Black Lotus from the Beta set as $29,995.00 – and that’s for a copy listed as damaged. The median price of a Beta version is recorded by TCGplayer as $44,650.00. The current highest price a copy has sold for is 540,000.00 at auction. This was an Alpha variation, the rarest of the bunch.

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While the hype around it may have been temporarily eclipsed by Post Malone’s multi-million buyout of The One Ring, rest assured that Black Lotus remains the king of valuable MTG cards. The One Ring is singular by design, but dwindling copies of it are out there to be sold and collected.

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