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Black Lotus MTG – Price, Power, Similar Cards + More!

Black Lotus is famous in MTG as being one of the rarest and most expensive Magic cards. In this article, find out why Black Lotus is so expensive, how many are in circulation, why it’s banned, similar cards, and more!

black lotus mtg card over jace beleren and chandra nalaar

Why is Black Lotus so Expensive?

After all, Black Lotus is just a piece of cardboard, right? How can one piece of cardboard possibly be so expensive?

Well, it’s first important to understand the Reserved List. The Reserved List is a list of MTG cards that Wizards of the Coast has promised never to reprint in the future. When a card gets reprinted in a new set, its supply increases, therefore its price decreases. But since cards on the Reserved List can never be reprinted, they are essentially protected from these price drops.

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As you may have guessed, Black Lotus is one of the cards on the Reserved List. If you take a look at the list, you’ll find that many other cards on there also boast high prices, although none of them quite as high as this infamous artifact.

As for why Black Lotus is more expensive than the other cards on the reserved list, it has to do with its limited printing upon release and its raw power level. We’ll go over those details in a bit.

How Much is Black Lotus Worth?

It’s hard to give a straight answer to this because each copy of Black Lotus has a different price. First of all, the condition of the card matters a lot. If a copy of Black Lotus still looks brand new, it’ll have a much higher price tag than one that looks like it’s seen heavy play.

The set is also important. Black Lotus has been printed in several sets, and each set printed a different number of them. A Black Lotus released in Alpha is much more expensive than one released in Unlimited, for example.

The most expensive Black Lotus sale to date was $511,100 on eBay in an auction by PWCC, the trading card investment company. It was signed by the late Chris Rush, the artist for the card, which increased its rarity and value.

If you’re looking for a range, expect a Black Lotus to cost anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000.

Buying and Selling Black Lotus

In terms of buying Black Lotus, you can technically buy a copy from a site such as eBay, but there’s a high risk involved in doing so. Counterfeit Magic cards do exist (they’re called proxies), so it’s extremely important that you can verify a card’s authenticity before buying it. Retailers such as TCGPlayer are your best bet since they verify the authenticity of the product themselves.

How Many Black Lotuses Are There?

The exact number of Black Lotuses in circulation is unknown, but some rough estimates have been made. A widely accepted estimate is that there are a total of 22,800 Black Lotuses in existence, with 1,100 coming from Alpha, 3,200 from Beta, and 18,500 from Unlimited.

Is Black Lotus the Most Powerful Card?

Black Lotus card MTG

Many players agree that [c]Black Lotus[/c] is one of the most powerful cards in MTG’s existence. However, it is not powerful in and of itself. After all, it just adds mana to your mana pool, that’s it. What makes Black Lotus so powerful is that it puts you ahead on mana so quickly it lets you play cards that cost three or four mana as early as turn one!

Why is Black Lotus Banned?

Black Lotus is banned in most formats due to being too powerful. When you play it, you’re way ahead of your opponent when it comes to mana, and that advantage often leads to quick games in favor of the player running this artifact. If playing Black Lotus was legal, you’d want to run it, since every possible deck archetype, whether that’s aggro, control, or combo, would want to have it in their deck.

Black Lotus Legality

Black Lotus is banned in all formats apart from Vintage, and even then, you’re only allowed to have one copy of it.

Similar Cards to Black Lotus

We all have different budgets for MTG, and some of us might have varying definitions on what makes a card “expensive”. Some players might think that a $10 card is expensive, while others might not. But I think we can all agree that Black Lotus, currently on the market for a whopping $50,000, is expensive!

If you aren’t willing to pay Black Lotus’s price tag (which is totally understandable) or you’re playing in a format where it is banned, that’s ok! Over the course of Magic’s history, several cards have been printed as similar (but not quite as powerful) versions of Black Lotus. Here are a few of them.

Lotus Field

MtG card Lotus Field. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

While not an artifact, [c]Lotus Field[/c] is a land with a similar ability to Black Lotus. Even better, it gets around the main risk of having a really good land in play – land destruction. Lotus Field has hexproof, and so doesn’t risk being destroyed at all! Instead, it consistently taps for three mana of any color. 

It’s like using a Black Lotus every single turn. So, Lotus Field slots well into nearly any multicolor deck. 

Lotus Bloom

Lotus Bloom

[c]Lotus Bloom[/c] is almost exactly like [c]Black Lotus[/c], only it only enters play three turns after you play it. If you’re playing a deck that needs its cards right away, Lotus Bloom might not be the right card for you, but if you’re willing to wait, then it just might be what you need.

Jeweled Lotus

Jeweled Lotus

In certain situations, [c]Jeweled Lotus[/c] is functionally identical to [c]Black Lotus[/c]. The restriction is that you can only use mana created by Jeweled Lotus to cast your commander, meaning this artifact is only useful in one format: Commander.

Gilded Lotus

Gilded Lotus

[c]Gilded Lotus[/c] costs five mana, so it isn’t quite the powerful artifact that [c]Black Lotus[/c] is, but you don’t have to sacrifice it for mana. This lets you create three mana of any color every turn!

Lotus Petal

Lotus Petal

[c]Lotus Petal[/c] is exactly what it sounds like: a mini [c]Black Lotus[/c]. It only gives you one mana, but sometimes one extra mana is all you need to win the game!

Dowsing Dagger // Lost Vale

MTG cards Dowsing Dagger and Lost Vale. Image: Wizards of the Coast
MTG cards Dowsing Dagger and Lost Vale. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

With a little more effort, you can get a Black Lotus effect every turn cycle by the way of [c]Dowsing Dagger[/c]. It’s an equipment that gives a creature +2/+1 at the cost of giving your opponent a pair of very underwhelming 0/2 defender creatures. Even though they might have free blockers now, Dowsing Dagger has still got you covered and can easily defeat them when equipped to one of your creatures.

If the equipped creature successfully deals damage to your opponent, Dowsing Dagger transforms into [c]Lost Vale[/c], which gives you the effect of [c]Black Lotus[/c] every turn cycle! It’s one of the best lands in MTG, and when equipped to an evasive creature, it’s easy to get out too.

Conclusion – Black Lotus MTG – Price, History, Power + More!

That’s the history of Black Lotus, Magic’s most expensive card. Was it everything you thought it was going to be? Just as powerful? Just as expensive?

Don’t worry if you can’t afford such a card (most of us can’t!), because it’s banned in most formats anyways, so you won’t really need it. Plus, there are plenty of Black Lotus alternatives to choose from.

If you’re interested in building your own MTG deck, check out How to Build an MTG Deck and How to Build a Commander Deck in MTG.

More MTG articles

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Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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