CGC Trading Cards Certifies Excessively Rare Magic Invitational ‘Sealed Deck’ Cards

Posted on 2/15/2022

These extremely rare Magic: The Gathering cards are coveted by the most ardent collectors.

With the recent announcement that CGC Trading Cards™ is expanding its card-grading catalog into other popular trading card games, it is only fitting to show respect to Magic: The Gathering (MTG), the original trendsetter. Rewind the clock to 1997 — the world’s top MTG players were summoned to take part in a customized annual tournament. Coined the “Magic Invitational” and hosted by Wizards of the Coast (WotC), this event featured several special formats designed to challenge the sharpest of competitors.

The overall victor would be gifted the prestigious opportunity to design a Magic card that would be included in a future set. In fact, Dark Confidant, more commonly known as “Bob,” from the set Ravnica: City of Guilds was a card created by the winner of the 2004 Magic Invitational, Bob Maher, who is featured in the art!

These Magic rarities are from the Autumn 2000 session’s “sealed deck” tournament. Identical 90-card decks were handed out to each of the 16 participating players, who then crafted decks for the tournament. This card pool is believed to have been Ryan Fuller’s, a legend of the community. During the tournament, Fuller clashed with his longtime rival, Jon Finkel, in round one. Finkel would go on to win the title of the entire event.

Magic rarities are coveted by collectors as the low number produced is very far outside the collecting norm for trading cards. The Limited Edition Alpha set, the first printing for MTG, saw just under 1,100 copies of each rare card printed, while these Magic Invitational cards are roughly at 16 — the number of participants. Cards with populations under 100 are generally considered ultra-rare, and those under 20, such as these Magic Invitational cards, are deemed Excessively Rare.

At first glance, one will notice that these showcase cards are far from traditional. Rather than printed, they are covered by stickers, which represent many famous Magic staples. Another important detail is the mana values. All 90 cards strayed from the usual and forced the players to really think outside the box when deck building.

For example, unlike the typical low cost of zero, this reworked Black Lotus requires THREE colorless mana to cast. Some other favorites that CGC had the honor to grade include the iconic powerhouses: Demonic Tutor, Mana Drain, Coat of Arms and Sword to Plowshares. If these tweaks were legitimate, it makes you wonder how the game would be impacted and how valuable the cards would be today.


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