Top 10 Most Expensive MTG Cards from The Dark

Don’t be kept in the dark on these prices.

The Dark was one of the very earliest Magic expansions, released almost exactly one year after the first-ever set, Alpha. Most of the cards in it are… not great, to say the least, but some have gained and held value (often with a little help from the Reserved List, it has to be said). Today, we’re going to have a look through the 10 most expensive cards from The Dark, and see how they hold up these days!

10. Exorcist


The Dark, Rare

Exorcist - The Dark - magic

Setting a precedent for many of the cards in this article, Exorcist is a weirdly expensive card that sees no play whatsoever – and its price is due, as you might have guessed, to the Reserved List. I can’t reasonably construct a use-case for Exorcist in Magic today, unless you want to teach a lesson to a hardcore mono-black mage who only ever turns up to Commander nights with K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, Tergrid, God of Fright and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse decks. Exorcist is not worth $18, and it has been trending down pretty steeply after a spike to $50 last year. Stay away from this card.

9. Stone Calendar

Stone Calendar

The Dark, Rare

Stone Calendar - The Dark - magic

Stone Calendar feels a lot like your mum telling you “we have The Immortal Sun at home.” It’s cheaper than The Immortal Sun, in both dollars and mana, but that doesn’t really make up for the fact that you are dumping five mana into a useless artifact that needs you to cast five spells before you get a return on your investment. Its $18 price tag is, of course, due to the Reserved List, as the card itself hardly sees a lick of play anywhere. Like Exorcist, it too is trending down in price – it has more than halved in the last two years. Another one to keep away from.

8. Mana Vortex

Mana Vortex

The Dark, Rare

Mana Vortex - The Dark - magic

Finally, an expensive old Reserved List card that actually has a conceivable use-case: non-Boros land destruction! Sleeve this up with Sinkhole and, er… Beast Within? I guess? You’re well on your way to Sultai LD. Some people include this in their Zur the Enchanter decks to make them extra miserable, some people play this in Lavinia, Azorius Renegade just to be really hateful, but broadly speaking Mana Vortex is a big whiff, once again. It costs you a land to play it and hits your lands each upkeep, so from the outset you’re way behind – and you’re behind financially, too, because you paid $27 for a Mana Vortex.

7. Maze of Ith

Maze of Ith

Dominaria Remastered, Rare

Maze of Ith - Dominaria Remastered - magic

First appearing in The Dark as an uncommon, Maze of Ith dodged the Reserved List and has been reprinted a few times since then. Eternal MastersDouble Masters and most recently Dominaria Remastered have made Maze of Ith a readily available card, but the original version still commands a price just below $30. Some people are ready to pay a premium for the old versions of cards, as we’ll see as we keep going through this list. Maze of Ith is popular in both Commander and Legacy (it’s an important part of Legacy Lands), but you can get a newer printing for under $4 instead of under $30.

6. Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch

The Dark, Rare

Season of the Witch - The Dark - magic

What is going on with this card? Even the Oracle text doesn’t help all that much. “At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Season of the Witch unless you pay 2 life.” Okay, got it. “At the beginning of the end step, destroy all untapped creatures that didn’t attack this turn, except for creatures that couldn’t attack.” What? So… creatures with vigilance are destroyed, even if they attack, but what about effects like Propaganda or Ghostly Prison? This card asks more questions than it answers, and one of those questions is “who would like to pay $30 for a reading comprehension assignment?”

5. Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning

Jumpstart, Rare

Ball Lightning - Jumpstart - magic

The Dark’s version of Ball Lightning tells a similar story to Maze of Ith: despite being reprinted plenty of times over the years, despite newer copies being far cheaper, the original still holds significant value. The weird thing is, Ball Lightning is so much less playable than Maze of Ith (it’s good in Greven, Predator Captain and maybe Brion Stoutarm) but still costs more. $42 for a card you can get for 80c, if you’re happy with the M10 version? I know which one I’m picking. Old cards are cool, but I’m not paying 50 times the asking price of a card just to have a specific version.

4. Preacher


The Dark, Rare

Preacher - The Dark - magic

Preacher is cut from exactly the same cloth as Exorcist, Stone Calendar and Mana Vortex. Expensive, largely unplayable, on the Reserved List. It costs almost $50 and doesn’t see any play anywhere outside of fringe inclusion in mind control decks like Rubinia Soulsinger and Merieke Ri Berit. Like these other Reserved List cards, it spiked a few years ago, presumably due to a buyout, and I am very much enjoying watching all these cards shed value as time goes on, as after an initial spike to $70, Preacher is now $50.

3. Goblin Wizard

Goblin Wizard

The Dark, Rare

Goblin Wizard - The Dark - magic

Aha! Unlike these cards we’ve just discussed, Goblin Wizard does see play. Not enough to justify a $55+ price tag, mind you, but it does get played in games of Magic. As an Aether Vial for Goblins, it is played in Muxus, Goblin Grandee, Krenko, Mob Boss and other Goblin decks – not in huge numbers, but that’s probably due to price rather than power level. It offers a nice little effect and has a cool line of flavor text – “Target Goblin gains protection from white until end of turn” – but you’d rather spend $55 buying half an EDH Goblin deck rather than just one medium card for it.

2. City of Shadows

City of Shadows

The Dark, Rare

City of Shadows - The Dark - magic

The Oracle text once again comes to our rescue in explaining what this card actually does: “{T}, Exile a creature you control: Put a storage counter on City of Shadows. {T}: Add {C} for each storage counter on City of Shadows.” So – in a deck that has creatures you’re happy to exile (not sacrifice!), City of Shadows can provide a decent amount of value. But the question is this: which deck wants to exile its creatures or tokens instead of sacrificing them? Hazezon Tamar? There isn’t all that much demand for City of Shadows, and even with its position on the Reserved List, I don’t understand it costing almost $75.

1. Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Double Masters, Rare

Blood Moon - Double Masters - magic

A classic Magic card, a timeless way to punish anyone trying to get away with a greedy mana base, Blood Moon has been making people regret not bringing along enough basics for almost 30 years. Blood Moon is a sideboard staple in Modern, and even sees play in hateful Legacy decks like Mono-Red Prison. More recent versions come as cheap as $10, but the value placed on original printings means that The Dark’s Blood Moon is almost $90. I wonder how much of that is because rusted-on Blood Moon players enjoy having mismatched playsets?