One Dozen Magic: The Gathering Eggs, Reviewed

Fun fact: There has never been an egg planeswalker.

The sun may be setting on Egg Week here on Fanbyte, but there’s always enough day left for a little Magic: The Gathering, right? As the grand-pappy of all CCGs, Magic has been around for 26 or so years, and in that time pretty much anything you can think of has been turned into a Magic card. That obviously includes the incredible, edible egg, otherwise this article wouldn’t exist.

And as luck would have it, a standard dozen eggs have been printed for Magic: The Gathering since 1993, which is so serendipitous that I couldn’t not present these magical eggs to you, my beloved readers. Since these cards were released gradually over a huge chunk of time, my perception of each egg’s actual usefulness may not accurately represent what was true at the time of its debut. So! In order to provide a fair score for each egg, I’ll also evaluate them based on whether I’d get the art airbrushed onto the side of my van, and whether or not I would eat the egg if given the opportunity. These values will be boiled down into a composite score, which is then assigned to the egg in question. So! Let’s make an omelet, shall we?

Darkwater Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 1 Mana (Converted)

Darkwater Egg was one of five artifact eggs introduced in 2001’s “Odyssey” expansion, each of which does basically the same thing: Pay two mana, tap the card, and then sacrifice it, and in return, receive two mana back and draw a card. The type of mana received after sacrificing the egg depends on which egg it is — in this case, the player receives one blue and one black mana.

This isn’t very good! You’re basically drawing a card for the cost of sacrificing the egg and the one mana you used to cast it, but that math only checks out if the blue and black mana you receive are as useful as whatever two mana you used to sacrifice the egg. That may not always be the case, and there are plenty of less complicated, faster ways to draw a card. From a gameplay perspective, Darkwater Egg isn’t worth the trouble.

Darkwater Egg’s artwork is undeniably badass. It’s a sick fanged skull holding a magical black egg, surrounded by ominous fog for cryin’ out loud! Art like this is why God invented vans and airbrushing.

That being said, I would not eat the Darkwater Egg, or any of the Odyssey eggs, for that matter, because as best I can tell, these dang things are made of glass! The card itself is an Artifact, first of all, which means that it’s non-biological, and secondly the flavor text is attributed to “Watnik, master glassblower,” which strongly suggests that the egg is, in fact, made of glass. I am not a fan of eating glass, especially for such little benefit as what Darkwater Egg provides when broken.

Usefulness: Not Very
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Hard Yes
Would Eat: Heck No
Final Score: BAD EGG

Mossfire Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 1 Mana (Converted)

The problems I have with Darkwater Egg also apply to Mossfire Egg and the rest of the Odyssey Artifact eggs, so we’re all gonna save some time and only talk about the art on these next few eggs.

Mossfire Egg’s illustration rips, but in a much different way than Darkwater Egg’s. It’s an image that caries a lot of symbolic weight with regards to fertility and temptation, and while that makes it perfect for say, the cover of an album by Poison, it’s a bit too heady for the side of my van.

Usefulness: Still Bad
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Too Smart
Would Eat: Maybe a Little Less No Because It Kinda Looks like Candy but Still No Overall
Final Score: BAD EGG

Sungrass Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 1 Mana (Converted)

While beautiful, Sungrass Egg’s artwork would not find a home on the side of my van. This incredible illustration by David Martin — who did the art for all of the Odyssey eggs — could easily adorn the side of a barn at a commune, or could perhaps serve as a beautiful mural in the nursery of a child named “Aurora Sunshine,” but it is nowhere near rockin’ or radical enough to be airbrushed onto the side of my van.

This isn’t surprising really, since the green/white mana combination has always embodied the gentle, nurturing side of Magic, but the rules are what they are.

Usefulness: Oops! All Bad
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Too Wholesome
Would Eat: Somehow Both Glass and a Vegetable
Final Score: BAD EGG

Skycloud Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 1 Mana (Converted)

Alright, now this is what I’m talkin’ about! You can already tell from Skycloud Egg’s glowing, fractured exterior that it’s struggling to contain the immense power held within. But to then go and strike it with lightning, and balance it on some kind of sweet, mystical pedestal — heck y’all. Heck.

Usefulness: Not Even a Little
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: You Bet Your Sweet Bippy
Would Eat: Glass That’s Still Plugged In
Final Score: RAD, BAD EGG

 

Shadowblood Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 1 Mana (Converted)

As the final Odyssey Artifact egg, Shadowblood Egg is the only one that has basically nothing going for it. It’s called “Shadowblood,” but it looks like it’s made out of molten rock, which causes enough confusion to cancel out how cool molten rock would be otherwise. Is its inexplicable vampire collar supposed to be the Shadowblood part? The fog kinda falls off the front of the card and makes a cool smoke waterfall, but really that’s the only positive I can call out for Shadowblood Egg. Just a big disappointment all around.

Usefulness: Bad City
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Lameopolis
Would Eat: Hot-Pocket Mouth Burn County
Final Score: WORST EGG

Chimeric Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 3 Mana (Converted)

Chimeric Egg is easily the first playable card on this list — at least in formats where a card from 2004 is legal. Once you’ve got this thing on the board, almost anything an opponent does adds a charge to the egg, and you can remove three charges to temporarily transform the egg into a creature with six strength and six health. That may not sound like much to all you Hearthstone players out there, but that’s pretty beefy by Magic standards. Not to mention that the egg’s temporary creature form also has Trample, which means that, if blocked, leftover damage that wasn’t absorbed by the blocking creature still makes its way to the target player.

The best thing about this card, at least in my opinion, is that there’s no cost for removing the counters and transforming the card — you just do it. Were this a contemporary card, you’d have to pay a mana cost or sacrifice the egg or something. As written though, this card just comes into play, bides its time, causes a big problem very briefly, and then goes back to sleep. Beautiful.

The illustration for Chimeric Egg is interesting, I’ll give that to artist Michael Sutfin, but it’s way too complicated for the side of my van. It’s difficult to tell what’s going on at a glance, which is a critical consideration for airbrushed van artwork. It would, however, make a great Moody Blues album cover.

I do consider Chimeric Egg to be slightly more edible than any of the Odyssey eggs, but only just. It looks like it’s made out of a bunch of scotch tape and garbage, and if it were a choice between that or actual glass, I guess I’d take the scotch tape and garbage. Under voluntary circumstances, however, it’s a no.

Usefulness: Top Tier
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Bottom Tier
Would Eat: Garbage Tier
Final Score: SAD EGG

Dingus Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 4 Mana (Converted)

I can’t really speak to the extremely early days of Magic from whence Dingus Egg originated, but these days there aren’t a ton of ways to remove a land from the board. Since Dingus Egg explicitly states that it only activates when a land enters the graveyard “from play,” that means the land has to be played first — lands that move directly from the library to the graveyard don’t count. Still, if you were playing some wild Modern deck that ran Boiling Seas, Numot, The Devastator, or Ajani Vengeant, Dingus Egg could be very useful.

All that said, Dingus Egg ain’t going anywhere near the side of my van. The exposed bones are pretty rad, but everything else about its illustration is so brown, and you can barely see the egg at all. It would take up far too much space, be far too expensive to have airbrushed, for far too little payoff.

Based on the flavor text, one could assume that eating a Dingus Egg would essentially be like eating a universe that had yet to be born. I can think of no delicacy more decadent, rare, or wasteful than this.

Usefulness: Pretty Good!
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Too Brown
Would Eat: Once in a Lifetime Eggsperience
Final Score: GREAT EGG

Roc Egg

Type: Creature — Bird | Cost: 3 Mana (Converted)

Well would you look at that, an egg that isn’t an artifact! I’ll be danged! Since this semi-transparent egg has Defender, the idea is that you’ll play this li’l guy and use it to block an equal-sized or larger guy, and instead of the egg just dying, you replace it with a flying creature that has three strength and three health. Flying creatures are rad because they can only be blocked by other flying creatures, or creatures with the “Reach” ability, which isn’t especially common. For three mana, you’re getting to block three or more damage, and get a 3/3 flying creature out of it, which is pretty solid bang for your buck.

And as you can clearly see, Roc Egg’s artwork is metal as hell. The creature inside the egg looks positively menacing, and the egg itself rests upon a nest of bones — there are very few three-word phrases more metal than “nest of bones.” But would I have this airbrushed onto the side of my van? Friends, I would not. It is far too bleak. A properly airbrushed van should inspire awe, not despair.

Likewise, eating a Roc Egg would be a terrifying experience. Getting one in the first place would probably be its own harrowing tale, given the number of bones amassed by its mother, and instead of a delicious and tasty yolk, your meal would be the unfinished remains of … whatever that is.

Usefulness: Very
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Too Scary
Would Eat: Eraserhead Dinner Scene
Final Score: HORROR EGG

Dragon Egg

Type: Creature — Dragon Egg | Cost: 3 Mana (Converted)

Dragon Egg is the latest model of Magic: The Gathering eggs, and it’s basically a reworked version of Roc Egg. For three mana, the user gets to block two (or more) damage, and create a 2/2 red Dragon creature token with flying, and the ability to pay a mana and increase its attack by 1 for the rest of the turn. This may sound like a downgrade from Roc Egg since a lot of the numbers are lower, but the key difference here is that the egg specifically creates a Dragon-type token, which means that it can benefit from any spells that apply to Dragon creatures. Red is positively festooned with Dragon synergy right now, so under the right circumstances, the Dragon token that pops out of this egg could be much bigger than a 2/2, or enable other spells that require the presence of a Dragon. Pretty good for a measly three mana!

Dragon Egg replaces Roc Egg’s nest of bones with a dragon’s hoard of treasure, but there are still a few skulls thrown in for good measure. The dramatic lighting and inner-glow from the egg itself, along with the silhouetted swords and flames that frame it, make for some Grade-A Certified™ van artwork. This is exactly the right kind of fantastical.

Unfortunately, the egg’s glow appears to be coming from the baby dragon inside — specifically, it’s big ol’ round tummy tum, which makes this egg far too adorable to eat.

Usefulness: Extreme
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Absolute Yes
Would Eat: Must Protect
Final Score: BEST EGG

Rukh Egg

Type: Summon Egg | Cost: 4 Mana (Converted)

Rukh Egg dates all the way back to Magic‘s very first expansion, 1993’s “Arabian Nights.” It was reprinted for 8th and 9th Edition in 2003 and 2005 respectively, but for the purposes of this list, I’ll be evaluating it based on its original form, seen here.

Rukh’s Egg served as a prototype for later cards like Roc Egg and Dragon Egg, and as one might expect from the first instance of an idea like this, it’s pretty straight-forward. Once the egg blocks three or more damage, destroy it and create a 4/4 red flying creature token. Not fancy, but not bad either!

What I love about this card, and early Magic cards in general, is that the card text still tries to maintain some aspect of fantasy role-playing. The card doesn’t create a token, but rather a Rukh comes into play at your side. You’re in this battle too, you know! And now you’ve got this flying friend to fight with you. Aside from the occasional flavor text, which is explicitly separated from the rules text, contemporary Magic cards just don’t have this kind of built-in roleplay. I’d love to see Wizards of the Coast start doing this sort of thing again.

Anyway, as far as a mural for my van is concerned, Christopher Rush’s illustration is good, but not great. All of the art in this list is beautiful and expertly crafted, mind you, but as far as an airbrushed van mural goes, this only checks a couple of boxes.

Assuming that I’d be able to get my hands on a Rukh Egg before it was fertilized, I’d probably eat one. It’s pretty normal-lookin’, aside from being red!

Usefulness: Groundbreaking
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Only on My Backup Van
Would Eat: Yeah Okay
Final Score: HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT EGG

Summoner’s Egg

Type: Artifact Creature | Cost: 4 Mana (Converted)

Summoner’s Egg puts a spin on the mechanics established by the last three cards, by allowing the player to decide what is “in the egg”, so to speak. When Summoner’s Egg enters the board, you can select any card in your hand, regardless of its mana cost, and remove it from the game. When Summoner’s Egg enters a graveyard, the card you picked goes directly onto the board as long as it’s a creature.

This means that, for the 4 mana required to cast Summoner’s Egg, you could actually summon a creature that is far more expensive and that might not be playable otherwise. Plus, since the chosen card is removed from the game face down, your opponent has no idea just how deadly the thing in the egg may or may not be.

In the art department, Summoner’s Egg has the messiness problem of Chimeric Egg, and the bland color palette problem of Dingus Egg. Sorry Jim Nelson, it’s a cool piece in context but this ain’t goin’ on the van!

The eat-ability of a Summoner’s Egg is difficult to consider. Since the card is classified as an Artifact Creature, one might assume that the egg itself is inorganic, and that the Creature part comes from whatever is inside. However! The egg can contain any spell, which means that it must still be an Artifact Creature even if it contains a non-creature spell, like Artificer’s Intuition or something. So! The question then becomes: What laid the Summoner’s Egg? And folks? I don’t wanna find out.

Usefulness: Exponential
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Negatory Good Buddy
Would Eat: Too Many Questions
Final Score: SOLID EGG 

Triassic Egg

Type: Artifact | Cost: 4 Mana (Converted)

Originally introduced in 1994, Triassic Egg was likely the inspiration for Chimeric Egg and Summoner’s Egg, as it’s basically a halfway point between those two later cards. By paying three mana and tapping the card, the player adds one counter. Once there are at least two counters on the card, it can be sacrificed to summon any creature from your hand or graveyard.

So! Just like with Summoner’s Egg, Triassic Egg’s real utility is in summoning creatures that are very expensive. Unlike Summoner’s Egg, however, Triassic Egg requires a huge mana investment — 10 total mana are required to play it and activate its ability. The creature you summon might be huge, but it probably costs less than 10 mana. The utility, then, comes from the fact that you can spread out those 10 mana over several turns. You’ll probably end up paying more than what the summoned creature is actually worth, but you get to do it in chunks that are far more manageable. This is also how financing for big purchases works in real life!

As interesting as Triassic Egg is mechanically, it’s pretty dang boring in the looks department. As much as I love little baby dinosaurs, the side of my van is not where such things belong. And hey, you know where else such things do not belong? My stomach.

Usefulness: Four Easy Payments of $19.99
Airbrush on the Side of My Van: Too Cute
Would Eat: Little Foot Has Been Through Enough
Final Score: CUTE FINANCIAL EGG

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Jordan Mallory

Jordan Mallory is a 10-year games industry veteran with more heart than sense. Lover of frogs and dedicated Girls' Generation S♥NE. Mr. August, Men of Game Development 2015.

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