Counterfeit Card Alert: Mana Drain

Posted on 2/7/2024

This MTG Mana Drain was encapsulated by another third-party grading company, but CGC Cards' graders noticed inconsistencies that revealed the card to be a fake.

In 1994, Wizards of the Coast released Legends, the seventh Magic: The Gathering set and third expansion set. Legends’ release, however, was unintentionally flawed — some Legends booster boxes only contained half of the possible uncommon cards, while other booster boxes contained the other half. This caused a disparity in the MTG collecting scene, frustrating players and collectors alike.

Wizards of the Coast implemented the Legends Exchange Program as a solution, which allowed players to exchange up to 100 uncommon cards from one group for an equal number of cards from the other group.

One of the elusive uncommon cards from Legends was Mana Drain — an instant that let players counter spells and add that spell’s mana value to their own mana pool. Mana Drain is the most powerful hard counter spell ever printed (without an alternative cost), and it remains a very popular card to play in decks.

An authentic Mana Drain graded CGC Gem Mint 10
Click images to enlarge.

Mana Drain from the 1994 Legends set commands a premium online, and high-grade examples can sell for hundreds of dollars. It’s no surprise that counterfeiters want a piece of the pie. CGC Cards recently received this counterfeit of Mana Drain as part of a CrossOver submission. During careful examination, the grading team noticed inconsistencies that revealed the card to be a fake.

A counterfeit Mana Drain
Click images to enlarge.

Some obvious flaws with the counterfeit card are its color and surface. When comparing the counterfeit card to a genuine example, it’s clear that the fake’s colors aren’t consistent with other genuine cards in the set. Meanwhile, the counterfeit’s surface is much glossier than a genuine piece. This is slightly visible in the card’s photo.

There are even more obvious inconsistencies on the back of the card. The counterfeit Mana Drain fails the green dot test — there is no “L” pattern of red dots within the light shadow of the green dot. Meanwhile, in “Magic: The Gathering,” the “T” in “The” has a slight wave towards the middle on genuine MTG cards. This counterfeit Mana Drain does not have this wave, revealing it to be fake.

Click images to enlarge.

Finally, the wear present on this counterfeit Mana Drain seems forced and does not match the normal wear present on Legends cards.

It’s important to exercise caution when purchasing ungraded cards, especially valuable cards like Mana Drain. Every card certified by CGC Cards is guaranteed to be authentic and not overgraded under the CGC Guarantee. For more information, click here.

About CGC

Since revolutionizing comic book grading in 2000, CGC has grown to include certification services for many other types of pop culture collectibles. These divisions include CGC CardsCGC Video Games and CGC Home Video. CGC Cards provides expert card grading for TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards. CGC Video Games is dedicated to video game grading for the most popular consoles, including Nintendo, Sega, Atari, PlayStation and more. The newest division of CGC, CGC Home Video, provides expert VHS grading in addition to other types of home media.

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