Eggs is a combo deck that has been played in Legacy and Modern for a millennium (not quite) and every once in a while crops up in Commander. It’s a combo deck that dumps a bunch of cheap artifacts (eggs) that either produce mana or draw cards, often when they are sacrificed. You then sacrifice them all either to themselves or a card like Krark-Clan Ironworks and try to get them back onto the battlefield with Second Sunrise or Faith’s Reward and do it again. By finding a way to draw into another way to reform your board, or into a way to get one from your graveyard, you can loop through your deck to generate card advantage and mana before finding a win condition.
Since its banning in Modern, many Eggs players like myself haven’t been able to find their fix playing in other formats, as playing eggs can be very addictive. Eggs has been a somewhat viable (though some will argue antisocial) deck design in commander for a while and can come in a number of flavours. Personally, I have built Mono white with Yosei, the Morning Star and U/W with Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, and I have also witnessed people using Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and even Angus Mackenzie! They all fell to the same thing though; without a solid back up plan, any interruption at the right point, be it graveyard hate, removal of a key piece, or a counterspell, could spell doom. They all have ways to rebuild but it often takes a few turns leaving them both open to be killed and with a huge target on their head for playing Eggs in the first place.
Sydri offers us the solid back-up plan eggs players have been looking for. When left with nothing else to do, we can animate our artifacts and start beating face. We also have Mycosyth Lattice so we can animate our opponents lands and keep them off their mana. It also can help fight aggro by having lifelink and deathtouch blockers at the ready. While beating down with a bunch of 1/1 deathtouch lifelinkers can take a while to actually win, it still offers you another out if your rebuild spells get countered.
Now for a fair warning: this isn’t really a deck to play at casual tables. Turns take a long time and winning won’t come instantly. Some may think this is antisocial or against the spirit of commander, so make sure you know what the deck is like and that your playgroup will be okay with it before trying it out with them. It’s as much an experiment to see if eggs can work as it is a serious deck list. I’m currently building mine in paper for my playgroup to play around with, but even then most of the fun is lending it to someone to see if they can figure out how the deck works on their own!
Sydri, Eggs for Breakfast by Stuart Whyte
The main combo is just sacrificing artifacts and then casting a ‘rebuild’ spell.Second Sunrise and Faith’s Reward – These are our main rebuild spells. They bring back all the permanents we have sacrificed this turn at instant speed. Sac off all your artifacts for card draw or mana, sac some fetchlands or ghost quarter your own land, and cast one of these to get them all back. If you get Archaeomancer involved in the loop and can produce enough mana, you have an infinite loop! This is the main win condition. These can also be used at the end of an opponents turn if they try to wrath your board to early. Without Archaeomancer, it’s possible to get these back in your library with Conjurer’s Bauble and with enough card draw, draw back into it again. It doesn’t happen often as you’ll usually have another win condition by then, but its possible! Open the Vaults – We can use this just as we use the other two to get back our artifacts, but it won’t loop with Archaeomancer. More importantly, it doesn’t care that they went to the graveyard this turn. It will get things back from previous turns making this often more powerful than Second Sunrise and Faith’s Reward if you have had your board wiped or your other rebuild spells countered. Watch out though as it also brings your opponents’ pieces back. Roar of Reclamation – An expensive and much worse Open the Vaults, but it also won’t be returning your opponents’ Rest in Peace by mistake. It’s the last pick for the rebuild spells and, at 7 mana, is often pretty bad, but it’s still worth including to help chain from one rebuild spell to another until we find a win condition, or in the late game if our board has been wrathed a few times. Yawgmoth’s Will – Unlike the other spells, this isn’t used as part of a combo because it will exile spells that would go to our graveyard. It can, however, be used to rebuild in the late game if we were stopped for some reason by casting spells out our graveyard. It can also be used once we have already tried to go off and if we have spare mana to cast a win condition. For example, if after generating infinite mana, our Exsanguinate gets countered, we can just recast it. While it’s often the best card in other decks, it’s not at its most powerful here, so don’t keep holding it back for that awesome turn when you could just cast it turn 4 to get back 3 or 4 eggs and mana rocks. It’s still pretty useful to rebuild if you failed to go off. Auriok Salvagers – This is one of our other main win conditions. With Lion’s Eye Diamond, we can generate infinite mana of any colour at the cost of discarding our hand. From this, with any card draw egg in the graveyard, we can turn it into infinite card draw to draw into another win condition, be it Tendrils of Agony (we also make infinite storm this way) or Exsanguinate, or Disciple of the Vault. We can even combo off with the Salvagers, Krark-Clan Ironworks, and Mox Opal by sacing the Mox Opal each time, though this will just make infinite colourless mana. Mycosynth Lattice – This can let us start sacrificing any permanent to Krark-Clan Ironworks and getting them back with the rebuild effects making it easier to make an infinite loop or just to generate more mana. It can also let us turn infinite mana, or just spare mana, into land destruction with Sydri out. By allowing us to spend mana as though it were any colour, we can also combo off in other ways more easily without worrying about mana fixing. For example, it means Auriok Salvagers can combo with a Sol Ring and Krark-Clan Ironworks instead of LED.
The Card Advantage EnginesSensei’s Divining Top and Magus of the Future – These can be used together to draw a card for 1 mana. With a cost reducer, you can even draw your entire deck. Magus of the Future also lets us cast a lot of cards we couldn’t otherwise by using the top of our library, and we can often shuffle away cards we can’t cast with tutors or fetch lands. It also makes the top of library tutors much more powerful. Memory Jar – Our best draw engine, Memory Jar draws us a whole new hand. More importantly, it’s an artifact to bring back with the rebuild spells. Vedalken Archmage – Turns the little baby eggs into a huge card draw engine by drawing each time you cast an artifact. Combine this with cost reducing effects and we can often draw enough cards to go off, especially as a lot of the eggs draw cards on their own anyway. Riddlesmith – Not as good as Archmage, but still very powerful, and when combined with Archmage almost always spells game. Discard the spells you don’t want, or if you have an Open the Vaults or think you can draw into one, just discard the artifacts you can’t immediately cast. Null Profusion – A somewhat risky card if you are hit with discard and left with an empty hand and no draw step, but normally you can win the turn it comes down off the card draw it provides. You draw a card each time you play one, and when half of those cards draw more on their own, this can be an absurd engine. With the Divining Top, you can often draw even more cards than normal by casting the top and drawing a card, drawing a card with the top, then casting what you drew to draw top. With a cost reducer, this synergy can be pretty potent. People often seem to think Null Profusion isn’t very powerful until they witness it in combination with Top — or any other draw engine in this deck really — mostly because its really REALLY bad against discard without a way of drawing. “Yeah sure, that can resolve, you’ll end up with no hand”, they giggle. And then you win that turn from the huge amount of cards it draws you.
The card draw engines all look decent enough on paper, but you really have to see them in action to see how powerful they are, especially when you have more than one.
The Sac OutletsKrark-Clan Ironworks – the most important card in the deck, this lets us generate absurd amounts of mana by sacrificing a bunch of artifacts to generate mana before returning them to the battlefield to do it again. This is often the main method of comboing out with the amount of mana it can generate us, as well as letting us sacrifice tapped artifacts to get them to return untapped. Zuran Orb – This lets us sacrifice our lands, which may not seem good at first until you realise you can sacrifice them and get them back untapped with Second Sunrise and Faith’s Reward. Ashnod’s Altar – Mostly a way to sacrifice Archeomancer and Snapcaster Mage but it can also be used to sacrifice other creatures to generate mana before a rebuild effect.
The Win ConditionsTime Sieve – Once we have a loop going, we can sac some of the artifacts to Time Sieve to give us infinite turns as part of the loop. If we don’t have another win condition, or if another win condition gets countered. It can also be used early game to get another turn to try to go off, mostly when we have Open the Vaults in hand so we can get the artifacts we sacrificed back to the battlefield. Thopter Foundry – Can be used to make us a huge army of Thopters, normally with Sword of the Meek once we have infinite mana, but it can use any old artifact if we have a loop with the rebuild spells going. Disciple of the Vault – Once we have a loop going, we will be able to sacrifice artifacts indefinitely to bring them back making this kill everyone at the table. Mindslaver – Yup, that horrible card has found its way into this deck as well. If you can recur it you can take multiple opponents turns to make sure they don’t interrupt you if you can’t win that turn, or if you have nothing better to do with your mana on a turn you don’t manage to go off you can waste your opponents turns make making them doing nothing relevant either. Once you can recur it multiple times each turn, it normally spells good game though. Goblin Cannon – A silly, cheap card that can let us sink mana into damage by activating it over and over to kill all our opponents. You can also use unused mana in each loop before recurring it, or use it early game to kill annoying creatures like Gaddok Teeg. Do not underestimate this little cannon!
The rest of the cards can be put into a few categories and all have fairly obvious reasons for their inclusion.
There’s the Eggs – the cheap artifacts that help us draw cards and generate mana. We need enough of these that our draw engines are unlikely to fizzle and stop drawing us cards the turn we want to go off. These are cards like the Baubles, Chromatic Star, or the actual eggs, Darkwatter Egg and its ilk. They are the cards that ‘cycle’ themselves, drawing a card when sacrificed or when they enter, effectively replacing themselves. When combined with a rebuild card or one of the card draw engines, they help us draw through our deck for a win condition.
Then we have the mana rocks. These are the artifacts that produce mana like the monoliths, keyrunes, signets, moxen, and Coalition Relic. These produce mana, and if we get Krark-Clan Ironworks out, we can sacrifice them for more mana and return them to play untapped to produce even MORE mana with the rebuild spells.
We then have the cost reducers, such as Cloud Key and Helm of Awakening to name a few. These help reduce the cost of the rest of the artifacts so we can cast many of them for free, and with the mana rocks, start to generate mana. With a few cost reducers and either Null Profusion or Vedalken Archmage out, you’ll often be able to cast a bunch of artifacts for free, draw more artifacts, tap the rocks you cast for mana, sac the eggs for more card draw, and keep going through your deck.
We then have some tutors: Mystical, Enlightened, Lim-Dul’s Vault, Demonic, Fabricate, and Transmute Artifact. These let us find key pieces to help us get a combo together or find a win condition. They can also be used to find answers to your opponents threats like Aura of Silence.
There’s a few cards that don’t fit these categories. Time Spiral is for replacing a bad hand with a new one and untapping the lands you used to cast it, hopefully making it free. It gets rid of your graveyard so it can sometimes be a hindrance, but its still very useful if you have a bad hand later on and need to shuffle up for a new one. Aura of Silence is basically for blowing up opposing Rest in Peace‘s or Null Rod‘s, which can often be deadly for us.
The lands are all pretty straight forward, but watch out for the Ghost Quarter tricks. You can Ghost Quarter your Darksteel Citadel to turn your Quarter into a basic land if you need the fixing, or to it to a normal land the turn you are going off to get a basic and have the Ghost Quarter and the other land return untapped to a Second Sunrise. The Artifact lands can be sacrificed to Krark-Clan for mana. Academy Ruins and Buried Ruin can get back important artifacts for you. Cephalid Coliseum can turn bad cards in your hand into better ones. You can also save the fetchlands until the turn you plan on casting Faith’s Reward or Second Sunrise to get them back!
Notable OmissionsAcademy Rector – We don’t have enough sac outlets for Rector to be at her best. Sadly, she will often just sit there until someone exiles her, or worse, steals her and kills her off. If you can get her to die, you can go grab Null Profusion, but without sac outlets she is lackluster. She can definitely be abused if you want to build a version with more sac outlets and a few more enchantments though, Future Sight and Omniscience are good ones if you need ideas! Omniscience – Without Rector, it’s pretty hard to get out. Granted, you can discard it and get it back with Open the Vaults, but other than that its rare we get to 10 mana except the turn we are going off, and the turn we are going off we don’t need Omniscience since we can produce enough mana anyway! Salvaging Station – This can be a pretty powerful card in certain decks, but unfortunately this one doesn’t have enough creatures to make it worth while. Its great if you are already looping Archaeomancer and a rebuild effect, but normally it will just be used once a turn and not untap unfortunately! I used it in Mono-White where there was a lot more creature sacrifice, including Sun Titan and Fiend Hunter for infinite sacrifices (or Sun Titan and Angelic Renewal, Fiend Hunter and Karmic Guide, Karmic Guide and Reveillark) Trading Post – Much like Salvaging Station, we need more creatures to get the most of Trading Post. You can make some with it yourself I guess, but it’s generally too slow to be worth of including. It’s okay the turn you are going off where you can sacrifice it to itself or Krark-Clan Ironworks and return it untapped to use it again, but without creatures to get artifacts back it’s not at its best. Mnemonic Wall – If your playgroup soon realises how important Archaeomancer is to the deck you may want to consider adding Mnemonic Wall. Having tested mostly online, I found it wasn’t necessary as by the time you are looping Archaeomancer, you should have a sac outlet to help him dodge being exiled. If you play in a regular playgroup, it may be wise to find room for this guy to help in case Archaeomancer goes bye-bye. Tezzeret the Seeker and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas are both too slow for this deck. Tezz, Agent of Bolas is pretty decent in 1v1, where you can animate an artifact to beat down, use his +1 ability for card advantage and to dig for important artifacts, and his ultimate to kill your opponent with enough artifacts on board. In multiplayer, he doesn’t do enough, his ultimate only hits one opponent and his -1 is rarely used. His first ability is still good card advantage and dig, but normally he’ll last a single turn and be a 4 mana card draw spell. Unfortunately he isn’t worth it. Tezzeret the Seeker is also just too slow. He was almost always used as a 5 mana tutor for Krark Clan Ironworks in my Grand Arbiter list, and sometimes used to untap artifacts to generate 4-6 mana. It’s too slow for this deck, and though his ultimate can be deadly, it’s only good when you have a field full of artifacts, at which point you can normally win anyway!
There are plenty of other cards that have been in and out of the deck, from things like Windfall to different eggs and mana rocks. Most of them just didn’t make the cut, either for being too slow or being outclassed, or costing more mana than the alternatives. There is plenty of wiggle-room though for testing and potentially improving the deck. Even recent cards like the Cluestone cycle could find their way in there, but for now I thought the signets were better at 1 mana less, meaning you can keep greedier hands with fewer lands.
How to Play
Now this may just look like a pile of bad cards put together, but boy do they synergise together well. It may be something you have to witness before you believe if you’ve never seen an eggs deck before, but if you have seen the Modern deck in action you’ll probably be able to figure this one out pretty quick. It’s a blast to play and to try to figure out how to win each game, as there are always multiple paths to victory and a lot of decisions to make along the way.
The general idea of the deck, as mentioned before, is to play as many eggs and mana rocks as you can and sacrifice them all in one turn. You then cast a rebuild spell and sacrifice them again, netting cards and mana. From the newly drawn cards, you can cast even more eggs and rocks to do the same thing again until you find a win condition. The win condition is normally just looping with Archaeomancer — you will generally have infinite card draw and mana if you can loop him indefinitely, so its just a matter of showing your opponents Exsanguinate, Disciple of the Vault, Time Sieve or Goblin Cannon. The other win condition is getting Aurkiok Salvagers and generating infinite mana. Then, with an egg in the bin, you can normally get infinite card draw on the go and again just show your opponents a win condition.
While it sounds simple — and the idea behind it is — the deck is very complex in that there is a huge amount of decision to be made every turn, like when and what order to sacrifice artifacts, whether to sac for card draw or mana, whether to play your rebuild effects early, how to bait out counters, and whether to stop early and wait another turn to go off. Then there’s also when to stop trying to combo and just animate some eggs and beat down. There are plenty of tricks, like sacrificing Sensei’s Divining Top in response to using its card draw ability to get it in your bin and net a card before casting a rebuild spell, not sacing all your artifacts so Phyrexian Metamorph has something to copy, using Hurkyl’s Recall in your turn to get more mana and card draw or saving it to save your board from a wrath, and when to use your tutors and what for to name a few. For the first handful of games you will find so many interactions in the deck, it will likely get some getting use to. I recommend goldfishing the deck a lot before trying against opponents.
If you are interested in ‘puzzle’ decks, I recommend giving this one a go. Its not the most sociable deck as turns can take you quite a while, but its capable of winning turn 4-5 with some regularity, and possible even sooner than that with a god hand. Be warned: it’s not a deck for casual circles as many will dislike the time it takes to win and the combo nature of the deck. Others may really enjoy how complex it is, and that while it is a combo deck, it’s not just tooth and nailing for two creatures, but playing a huge number of synergistic cards to tell a story.
Building Eggs in different colours
I’ve built a few builds of eggs in the past few years, and I’ve seen other play a few too. Here’s the most notable decks I have built and have encountered to give you ideas on how you could build eggs in other colours.Yosei, the Morning star was my first eggs deck, using Yosei as a way to slow your opponents down and make you harder to stop, and eventually as a lock piece. The deck also had other combos with Sun Titan and Fiend Hunter for infinite sacrifices, as well as tricks with Karmic Guide, Reveillark, and Angelic Renewal. It used eggs as an engine to find these cards, and Second Sunrise/Faith’s Reward to get back the eggs and the spent combo pieces. Salvaging Station was an all star, and without access to as many eggs and mana rocks, we had to find an engine in Grinding Station to help create an army, or just to untap Salvaging Station. It took longer to go off in Mono White, but Yosei was an all star and could keep opponent locked down while you found a combo. Turns out eggs is a good source of card advantage in a colour that normally doesn’t have much! Scroll Rack and Land Tax came in handy for card advantage too. However, without tutors, it was sometimes difficult to get the right pieces at the right time and the deck was open to interruption when your opponents realised what you were doing. Grand Arbiter Agustin IV was another good commander for eggs, offering a cost reduction himself, but only for coloured spells which didn’t help the artifact engine. The tax on your opponents could help stop them interrupting you, and the addition of the blue tutors made combo-ing off more reliable. Angus McKenzie is the best Bant commander for Eggs due to his ability to hold decks that use the combat step at bay. Green brings regrowth effects, creature tutors, Recycle and Praetor’s Council, as well as Eternal Witness as another way to recur your rebuild spells. It plays similarly to the Esper deck, but Sydri offers a decent backup plan you won’t find in this deck, and Disciple is a great cheap win condition you just can’t play in green. Mishra, Artificer Prodigy is a very interesting commander, and was used because of his interaction with Blood Funnel as another cost reducer. Red brings wheel effects as well as Grapeshot, and this deck was used by its creator mostly in 1v1′s. I never got a deck list from him, though I am led to believe it was called A Tale of Two Mishra’s, the other tale being a stax list. This was the first eggs list I saw a few years ago, and the one that inspired me to use eggs as the draw engine in my Yosei list!
Back to Sydri, she is much more than just an eggs commander. Next week I will be looking at a multiplayer Artifact Ramp deck with some unfair combos, ramp into big fatties, and just enough control to keep your opponents on their toes in Sydri – Blightsteel for Dinner!