Magic: The Gathering Rarities: The "Phoenix Heart" Of Koni Kim

Hello and welcome, players, collectors, and fans of Wizards of the Coast's premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering! Through this article series, we have covered quite a few firsts from this mega-popular card game. We covered many cards that celebrated industry achievements, as well as a few cards that commemorated the various major life events of Magic's creator, Dr. Richard Garfield, Ph.D.. This particular article is not necessarily about a marriage proposal, the birth of a first child, or even the birth of a second child. No, this piece covers a second marriage, namely Dr. Garfield's marriage to Koni Kim. This topic seems at first to be a weird subject, but thinking deeply enough about it will let you realize that it's about rebirth of a sort. Read on, and we will go further into this.

The full art for Phoenix Heart, a Magic: The Gathering card celebrating Dr. Garfield's marriage to his second wife, Koni Kim. Image attributed to Wizards of the Coast and illustrated by Drew Tucker.
The full art for Phoenix Heart, a Magic: The Gathering card celebrating Dr. Garfield's marriage to his second wife, Koni Kim. Image attributed to Wizards of the Coast and illustrated by Drew Tucker.

Much like Fraternal Exaltation, the card in the pseudo-series that came before this one, Phoenix Heart does not have a lot of public information behind it. However, there is even less info on Phoenix Heart than the other three cards in this series of life-event cards for Dr. Garfield. All we really have to go by are accounts by websites dedicated solely to rare cards from Magic: The Gathering, such as The Magic Librarities, as well as some information from Reddit that came long after the card was made. However, truth be told, this may be enough.

Dr. Garfield married his fiancée Koni Kim on August 29th, 2015. We do not know how many copies of Phoenix Heart exist but they were used as inserts within the wedding invitations for their friends and family attending the wedding. Furthermore, the art, illustrated by the incredible Drew Tucker, was commissioned back in 2014.

Phoenix Heart, a Magic: The Gathering card celebrating Dr. Garfield's marriage to his second wife, Koni Kim, in 2015. Image attributed to Wizards of the Coast.
Phoenix Heart, a Magic: The Gathering card celebrating Dr. Garfield's marriage to his second wife, Koni Kim, in 2015. Image attributed to Wizards of the Coast.

The flavor text for Phoenix Heart is attributed to the 13th-century poet Rumi, who writes of love and the lessons learned therein. Dr. Garfield's first marriage to Lily Wu did not work out, but his marriage to Koni Kim has persisted so far. That makes his love a rebirth, in that it has been rekindled like a Phoenix.

A few years later, in 2019, a copy of Phoenix Heart surfaced on Reddit's r/mtgfinance page. Through helpful advice and counsel, the owner got it graded (at a resounding 9.5!), and sold for a whopping $15,000 USD. It is unknown who bought the card or where it is now, but it remains a very rare card if that price is any indicator.

People like Magic: The Gathering Senior Lead Designer Mark Rosewater have seemingly half-joked that the day that Dr. Garfield inevitably passes away, Wizards of the Coast in conjunction with his estate will release a card called Eulogy. It's a dark joke if so, but if it isn't a joke, we surmise the card will be black, so as to complete a cycle of sorts. What do you think, though? Would Wizards of the Coast release a card eulogizing Magic's creator, Richard Garfield? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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