How A Magic Card Ended Up On eBay For $19,100 (And Counting)

Last weekend was one of the biggest weekends in Magic: the Gathering history. 14,715 players took part in four Grand Prix tournaments in Chiba, Japan, Utrecht, Netherlands, and Las Vegas, America. And in the top eight, one pivotal moment has led to no small amount of drama, and one of the most expensive cards ever being sold on eBay. Here's how it got there.

From one moment in the final stages of a competition, to a card gathering over $US19,000 worth of bids on eBay. The card in question, the Tarmogoyf, is below.

These tournaments were so large that they had to be broken up just so that the software could handle the numbers.

Players who made the cut for the second day of these events played with decks drafted from the recently released Modern Masters 2015 set. In Magic drafts, players are separated into pods of eight and given three booster packs. They will simultaneously open a booster pack, take a card and then pass the remaining cards to the next player. This process is repeated until all cards have been drafted and players will then construct a deck from these cards. Players will then play several matches where the winners will move on to another draft and then the top eight will do one more draft.

Pascal Maynard, a Canadian professional player, won his way into the top eight draft of one of the GP Vegas main events. As part of the coverage for the event, his draft was broadcast live to thousands of viewers on After the first pack, Maynard was putting together an aggressive red and white double strike deck. Then he opened his second pack.

It had a foil Tarmogoyf. (seen below at 5h40m)

Tarmogoyf was originally printed in 2007 as part of the Future Sight set and has been a staple of high level play ever since. It is also the most valuable card currently in print with an approximate value of $US175. A foil version is worth at least twice that. Maynard was presented with a difficult choice: take the card appropriate for his deck or take the guaranteed money? He did what most people would do, he took the money. Maynard lost in the semi-finals.

Rare drafting, or money drafting, is a common occurrence in Magic. With the high value of some cards in the secondary market, opening the right card can be worth much more than potential prizes on offer. High level players look down on this practice as they consider the benefits of winning far greater than the value of an individual card. This is particularly true for players like Pascal Maynard who earn Pro Points for placing highly in tournaments. Players that accumulate enough Pro Points can earn appearance fees up to $US3,000 and be invited to tournaments where their travel and accommodation will be paid for by Wizards of the Coast.

Fellow pro players were quick to state their opinions.

Several days later, in response to the criticism, Maynard posted his thoughts on Facebook:

I had under 1 minute to take into account everything and I believe Martin Jůza had the best way to resume my quick thought process. He said, “Would you pay $US500 to have Burst Lightning in your draft deck.”

Jensen, Turtenwald and Duke have all publicly apologised for their comments.

The Tarmogoyf has been listed on eBay with half of the proceeds going to the Gamers Helping Gamers charity.

In the secondary market of Magic cards, $US12,000 could buy you the infamously expensive Black Lotus. At the time of writing, however, the current bid for the Tarmogoyf is over an astonishing $US19,000.


    You would have to be mental not to take it, regardless of how helpful it is in your deck. Drafting is always going to give a few cards you can't use that round, may as well make it something useful later.

    ran into a pack of nerds...I mean, Magic players in Honolulu a while back. They had a tournament over there apparently. I joked it was Magic: The Gathering The Gathering.....wasnt received very well. Screw you nerds, im going to the beach.

      This is an odd website to make that comment on :P

        Well as a massive nerd....I feel slighted by my own comment.

      It probably didn't go down very well because they had probably heard that joke at least ten times already.

      "Screw you nerds"
      > is on Kotaku

      I would find this amusing if it wasn't for the fact this is a very very very veeeeeeerrrrry old gag =P

    If I was buying a $19,000 magic card, I'd want it covered by more than $5 worth of postage!

      It is - it's five American dollars!

    All day, the bids have been rising dramatically. Now the price has dropped down to a measly $16,000. What the final price will be is a complete mystery.

    Cards drafted in high level tournaments are stamped as an anti-cheating precaution and some people were speculating that this could drop the price. Boy were they wrong.

      Apparently another eBay user put in a 19k bid, then messaged Pascal to specifically tell him it was a bullshit bid because he didntl like him. Pascal just showed the comments to eBay who reverted the auction for him. The 16k bid is legit though.

    I actually thought it was pretty funny watching a pro player rare pick a draft, ethics and selling out aside taking this dive would draw more attention to the game than doing the right thing, everybody loves a scandal.

    Take your money, Ill take playing MTG at a strip club over a good card any day. (The best part was 3 of the girls knew what we were playing and wanted to join in)

      But did you tap her land?

      If you know what I mean ;)

        The real question is was the land played tapped?

          Awwww shiiiiet

            I have never played a game of Magic. I am a massive nerd in other things. But this right here, this just scared me.

            I feel unclean.

              It had to be said. Lol

                It did, I just forget that there is more to nerd culture than my obsession with Firefly haha

    I find it odd that they keep the cards for themselves in a tournament like this. I get it when you're doing it with your friends or at a local store/club, but this is some serious level stuff here, do they really need to keep the cards they use (well, in this case clearly they do! surely not allowing them to keep the cards would fix this though)?

      The problem isn't that they get to keep the cards. The problem is that the set they were playing with has cards that are so valuable. Modern Masters 2015 is full of reprints that are heavily used in Modern format tournaments. Some of those cards are worth a pretty penny and Tarmogoyf is worth the prettiest penny of the lot.

      In a normal set, the highest value card is worth maybe $50 and when you're at the point in a tournament where each win will net you at least another $500, it's easy to let it pass.

      After this controversy popped up, there's been a lot of talk about if the prize support from Wizards of the Coast is enough.

    If he hadn't have taken that card and passed on the booster then the next player would have or the next and you don't know what type of deck they're building. You're better off taking a card like this out early.

      Not really. Most pros would tell you that you never worry about other peoples decks when drafting, certainly you would never consider hate picking from the first pick of pack 2 rather than taking a card for your deck. In addition, in spite of it's price tag, "Goyf" is a very mediocre card in the limited format of this tournament.

    Who cares man they would have done the same thing but at least he did it on cam they do it when not on cam and lash out to Pascal.
    I would take the card aswell fuck them all money over crybabys ;)

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