MTG Unlimited - Third Print Run of Magic's First Set

Unlimited Edition

We are continuing our time travel adventure into Magic's oldest expansions with the famous Unlimited Edition. Now, Unlimited was very similar to Alpha and Beta in many ways, but there's at least one huge difference between them.


Let's take a look at the Unlimited Edition. 


Now we want to give new and experienced players an overview for collecting this iconic third print run of Magic's first expansion.

We'll aim to answer a few very important questions:

  • Why is Unlimited so valuable?
  • What are the most expensive cards?
  • Graded vs. ungraded cards?
  • What misprints to look out for?
  • How to spot fake Unlimited cards?
  • Where to buy Unlimited cards?

Set Information: Unlimited

The Unlimited was released on December 1st, 1993, only two months after the release of the Limited Edition Beta in October. It consisted of the same 302 cards and that means the rarity distribution was also the same:

75 commons, 95 uncommons, 117 rares and 15 basic lands.

What's the Print Run of Unlimited?

The print run of Unlimited was way bigger than the print runs of Alpha and Beta. As we already mentioned in our previous posts, Alpha had a print run of 2.6 million cards and Beta had a print run of 7.8 million cards

Now there's a big jump in the print run of Unlimited: 40 million cards! With the same rarity distribution, that means there are 1,100 Alpha Black Lotus, 3,000 Beta Black Lotus and a whooping 16,000 Unlimited Black Lotus

Although not unlimited, there are way more cards from Unlimited Edition available than for Limited Edition Alpha and Beta. Therefore, the copies from Unlimited are of course more affordable. 

Most Expensive Cards: Unlimited

To no surprise, the most expensive cards from Unlimited follow a similar pattern than Alpha and Beta did before it: Power Nine, all ahead the Black Lotus, are the most expensive cards of the Unlimited Edition.
The Power Nine


These nine cards will always be up top with the most expensive cards, no matter what. Nonetheless, there are a few honorable mentions that can get very close to the price of a Power Nine piece.

Expensive Unlimited Dual Lands and Other Cards

The most expensive Dual Lands, for example, a Volcanic Island can be worth over €900, and that's only in Played condition! In better conditions, these Duals can be worth as much as the cheapest Power Nine cards. 

Another very high contender for the most expensive cards in Unlimited is Chaos Orb. The Unlimited Orb is also the cheapest Chaos Orb you can get, if you ignore Collectors' Edition and International Edition. Similar to the Dual Lands, it can scratch the bottom of a Power Nine card.

Old School Format, a Driving Force?

When we are talking about Alpha, Beta and Unlimited, we always have to keep an eye open for the Old School format. That's why Chaos Orb is expensive, and that's also why Time Vault is pretty valuable! Both cards are rare and highly playable in Old School, which drives their price in very high categories. 

Graded versus Ungraded Cards

Starting with the condition of the cards and then graded versus ungraded cards, there can be huge price jumps.

Although grading random Unlimited cards is not as popular as grading any Alpha or Beta card, it can still be profitable for higher value cards. 

You won't find the same price jumps you see with graded Alpha and Beta cards, but you can still find that even average graded Unlimited cards are traded for a higher price than non-graded cards.

Important Unlimited Misprints

Overall, the same misprints from Limited Edition Beta are also all present in the Unlimited Edition, although we couldn't find any information on the famous Nightmare misprint in Unlimited! 

What are Hickeys?

There's one easy to spot misprint that especially often occurred in expansions up to Ice Age, called Hickeys. It's not really a misprint, but rather foreign material, such as a little stone or dirt that got onto the printer plate. The result could be a small dot, line or blurred "spots" on the card itself. Travis King has a great video on the topic over on Youtube!


(Source: Hickey on an Unlimited Dragon Whelp)

The Problem with Unlimited and Roller Lines

Unlimited suffers from a series of misprints that Alpha and Beta were mostly untouched of: Roller Lines. Roller Lines are lines perpendicular to the length of the card, which normally appear two at a time at 1/3 or 2/3 down the length of the card.

Roller Lines are an imprint, which means there was light pressure used to give the card a mark. Imagine someone tapping their fingernails on a card, this would leave small relief. Similar to this, Roller Lines are pressure marks in the form of a straight line left by the printer. 

(Source: Sold Unlimited Armageddon)

How to Identify Fake Unlimited Cards?

On our blog article about Beta, we already mentioned the two most common practices for faking Beta cards: Inking and Rebacking. Both of these are rather uncommon for Unlimited, although Inking still gets done on real cards to hide imperfections on the back of the cards.

There are Counterfeit Unlimited Cards Among Us

Although Unlimited cards are cheaper than Alpha or Beta cards, that's no reason for criminals to not counterfeit certain Unlimited cards. Only recently, on March 3rd 2023, CGC Cards got their hands on a fake Unlimited Black Lotus. Untrained eyes might not have spotted this fake, but if you know what to look out for, it's very hard to counterfeit these older cards authentically. 

Where to Buy Unlimited Cards?

You already collected all the Alpha and Beta cards and want to get going with Unlimited Edition next? Start by going through our very own webshop and see if there are any cards you want. Here you can find all our rarest Unlimited cards, like Timetwister or Black Lotus

Next up, you will want to fill the blanks with all the cheaper Unlimited cards. You can find those cheaper cards on our Cardmarket page (if you are located in Europe) or on our CardTrader page (if you are located somewhere else in the world). 

The next thing you need to do when looking for Unlimited cards is:

Subscribe to our New Arrivals Drop

Every Wednesday, each week of the year, we get new High-End cards. That includes new Unlimited cards, and you'll be the first one to know when the cards you are looking for are available!

Set review