Chaos Orb, one of the most bizarre cards from Magic: The Gathering’s Alpha set, is up for auction online with a $14,000 bid and climbing.
Magic: The Gathering is the most popular and successful trading card game in the world. Created by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast, the very first MTG set (called the Alpha Edition) was released on August 1993. Since then, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons have become billion-dollar brands under WoTC and parent company Hasbro.
One of the most unusual cards from the Alpha set is the Chaos Orb, not just for its artwork but also for the mechanics that can destroy anything it touches once it is used after flipping it above the table. But while the Alpha version of Chaos Orb has usually commanded respectable values on the secondary market, a highly graded copy is currently selling for a record price.
Posted on the PWCC Marketplace website, the auction for the Alpha copy of Chaos Orb was announced on the PWCC Twitter and other social media:
These MTG Alpha PSA 10’s in Premier may never surface again. 😯
— PWCC (@PWCCmarketplace) April 17, 2023
According to the description on the PWCC listing for the Chaos Orb up for grabs:
Released in 1993, Magic the Gathering set the foundation as the first Trading Card Game with their first set Alpha. One of the most well-known wild cards, the ball of shenanigans known as Chaos Orb became one of the first cards players could summon from Alpha. Only legal during Magic’s "wild" phase, Wizards banned the card in all formats in 1994 when they released the first "Banned and Restricted" list. Chaos Orb reads "Flip Chaos Orb onto the battlefield from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb turns over completely at least once during the flip, destroy all non-token permanents it touches." This effect simulates the feeling of dropping a giant object onto the playing field swarmed with creatures.
The rest of the description at the auction site relays the bizarre scenario that actually happened during a Magic: The Gathering tournament involving a "creative" use of the Chaos Orb mechanics. Rumor has it that at one point during a Magic: The Gathering tournament, the player using Chaos Orb ripped up the card and dropped the pieces on the table.
This is an unusual attempt to bend the rules as written on the Chaos Orb card, but this was ultimately ruled as illegal. The card requires the Chaos Orb to be flipped. Ripping the card up meant it was no longer a Chaos Orb. Moreover, by ripping the card up, the player’s deck was now short of the 60-card minimum requirement for the deck, thus forfeiting the match.
While this rumored event is unconfirmed, the story did inspire the creation of the Chaos Confetti card from Magic: The Gathering parody set Unglued. And if it did actually happen, that player must be mourning the fact that he ripped up a very valuable MTG Alpha card. With the high graded Chaos Orb copy hitting $14,500 as of the time of this writing, this is one of the highest bids for it.
Although it will not reach the prices of the Black Lotus or The Lord of the Pit that were also auctioned through the PWCC Vault, the Gem Mint 10 Alpha Chaos Orb will likely influence future auctions of its kind.