Easter Eggs In Magic: The Gathering

The creators of Magic: the Gathering realize how awesome their game is (and how dedicated their fans are), and have upped the ante with cards that aren't just collectibles, but also secrets to be deciphered. Yes, many a Magic card has some weird, clever Easter egg hidden on it, and we're here to tell you about the best ones:

Chaos Lord Runes means I AM REALE MEAN

Magic the Gathering artists have some free rein when it comes to depicting the art on their cards. Some of them respond by, well, getting playful. Take, for instance, the Chaos Lord card. It depicts a cruel, Conan-esque character in the snow, his rune-covered shield laced with blood, a huge horde behind him. He's wearing the bones of some forgotten beast and staring into the distance, with a grimace. Also his name is Chaos Lord, so you know he's pretty bad news.

But did you know he's mean? Like, real mean? At least, that's according to the runes on his shield. Yep, if you know how to read Norse runes (and who doesn't these days?), you know his shield translates to "I AM REALE MEAN." In case it wasn't clear from all the killing, we guess? Yes, murderer with an army, we needed the Norse to let us know to be afraid. Thanks for that.

PHELDDAGRIF (or, Garfield PHD)

Doctor Richard Garfield, PhD isn't a character from our fanfic where Garfield the Cat finally stops being so lazy and goes to medical school, but rather the name of the creator of Magic: the Gathering. Naturally, he's got his own card, which makes sense since he owns all the cards.

Not that you'd know from looking at it. It's a weird, pretty hippo in the moonlight, with large green wings. Its name is Phelddagrif and, while it's pretty powerful, none of that hints at who it belongs to ... unless you're really good at anagrams, that is. That's because Phelddagrif is an anagram of Garfield, PhD. It's also just a dope card, besides that. It's even cooler than his other card, which is just flat-out called Richard Garfield, PhD. (what, the purple hippo wasn't enough for you?).

There's a card dedicated to a dead woman

If you're a super-hardcore Magic nerd, you probably know who Jamie Wakefield is. He was one of the earliest players of the game, and he wrote about the game for one of the earliest websites. He also was a skilled player who created decks that made the creators think differently about how the game could be played. He was one of the defining voices in early Magic, outside of the people who actually created the cards.

He's still a huge Magic fan, but he's also had some setbacks. For one, his wife, whom he referred to as the Lovely Mare, died of ovarian cancer in 2006. Magic creators decided that, if she wasn't alive in this world, she could be alive in their world, and thus they made Timbermare. It's a green card, the cards Jamie likes best, and it was a "fattie" — meaning it took a lot of magic to bring it to the field, which meant it was more powerful. It was the type of card Jamie revolutionized using in the early days of Magic. Its flavor text says, "Only nature wreaks such lovely havoc."

Jamie said of the card, "Marilyn's memory and I are extremely honored by this card. I know Mare is weeping with happiness in Heaven over this wonderful tribute to her ... now go serve some beats with it!" That makes this basically the cutest, and best, card Magic has ever made. No final joke — we're too busy trying not to cry.

The deck of evil has 666 cards in it

Magic releases cards every year, but it does so in blocks. These blocks all tell a small, contained story, and normally take place in different locations. Some of them are fun adventures about crusading armies and giant beats, some are about Eldritch monsters, and some are just jokes. Then there's Innistrad, a block dedicated to nothing but the darkest, most horrifying creatures in all of fiction. This was their horror unleashed series. In short, it's the best MtG block ever.

So how did they make the best even better? Well, by respecting the ultimate sign of evil: Mr. Satan. See, if you take all the Innistrad cards and add them up, you'll find six-hundred and sixty six cards. Yes, the deck of evil unleashed had the number of the beast: 666.

The stray mark that changed Magic forever

Next time you get near a Magic deck, turn the cards over and check out the back. Look near the bottom where it says [DECKMASTER]. See that tiny little stray blue mark underneath the E and the R? Ever wondered what the reason for that was? No, it's not just because it looks cool. It's actually an accident, one they made permanent because they had no choice.

See, the line was actually a stray pen-mark some big silly scratched onto an early card absentmindedly. Nobody noticed until the first batch of cards was let out, but by then it was too late. They replicated the scratch for every future card because Magic, like any card game, is dependent on people not knowing what cards you have from the back of them. Therefore, the back of every card must look alike, so the pen scratch was kept for all time. See kids, sometimes mistakes make Magic happen.

Spank the monkey

Monkeys are inherently funny. So naturally, a card depicting a monkey getting spanked by a rod with weird jewels is uproarious, but nothing weirder than that. That is, until you check Urban Dictionary and realize "spanking the monkey" is a euphemism for the ol, um, one-handed draw.

Yep, there is a Magic the Gathering card out there that has a full-on depiction of a euphemistic term for pleasuring yourself. Granted, the rod covers up the word "spanking," so you can't really tell what's happening ... unless you have any sense of context at all. After all, the card art shows a monkey leaning over, with a rod lifted, his butt bare, and him nervously sweating and looking back at it. It's obvious what's about to happen. Monkey BDSM: it's magical!

Two cards depict monkey love ... and its aftermath

The circle of life is a gorgeous thing isn't it? We create life, we grow, and we raise our children. This is true of almost all creatures, including apes and monkeys. So let us turn to the tale of the Uktabi Orangutan. Look how majestic the creature is, swinging from branch to branch and ... oh lord, there are two monkeys just straight-up doing it in the background. Wow, a pair of exhibitionists those two are!

This wasn't just a for-funsies romp, either. As we see later, on a card called Uktabi Kong, which again depicts the majestic Uktabi monster in the trees — the monkeys got pregnant. Who's a lucky father? Who's a proud mother? And aren't we lucky, being there from conception to pregnancy. We're now waiting on Magic to complete the trilogy, giving us a third card where the monkey gives birth.

There's a card based on a song, both called "Creepy Doll"

There's a really great Jonathon Coulton song called Creepy Doll that, as you might imagine, is pretty horrifying. It's about going to an empty and abandoned house, where you see something in the middle of the night. The chorus sings that "there's the creepy doll / that always follows you." You run and hide from the creature but it follows you, becoming part of your life, and when you try to kill it ... it ends up killing you. It's a great song if you never want to sleep again. Check it out. It's great, right?

Well, the creators of Magic the Gathering thought so too, because they made a card based on the song. Guess what it's called? That's right: Creepy Doll. It depicts a small doll coming at you, one shattered eye, staring as it raises scissors to you. Behind it, is another broken doll, in chains. And you know, you know, that that's what it wants to make you — broken... and in chains. Aw, innit cute?

Two cards are different parts of the same image

Magic the Gathering has a bunch of different card colors. White, for example, tends to represent things that are somewhat holy, but also still horrifying — white cards would represent the Crusaders. Black, meanwhile, represents darker things, but not necessarily evil one — like friendly zombies who would rather dance the Thriller than eat your brain. As such, black and white are forever set against each other, and nowhere is that more clear than in the cards Guardian Angel and Paralyze.

GA is a white card, depicting an angel of light shooting down and to the right — a beam of pure light flying off-screen. Then you turn to Paralyze, a black card, which depicts that same beam of light, shining down and hitting a centaur of darkness right in the chest. Yep, these two cards actually depict one single image — a battle between the forces of light and dark. It's like if the King and Queen cards in your poker deck got into a domestic squabble, only way cooler.

Hidden sharknado in a tornado

Magic art slowly progressed from "IDK, draw something, four-year-old-child-I-have-pulled-off-the-streets" to "beautiful works of art they should hang in galleries." Take for instance, the Desert Twister: it depicts a huge tornado — an unworldly one, obviously — burning across the desert towards a fleeing woman who, like Lot's wife, is gazing back in horror. Of course, these incredibly talented scribblers sometimes like to play around with their art. Check out the lower left side of the twister. See that weird thing jutting out? At first it looks like a piece of rubbage in the twister but then...

Still can't see it? Maybe your mind is blotting out the perfect horror that it us. Here, check out this zoom in — see it now? Yep, that's a shark. The artist confirmed he put a shark right up inside that tornado, because if someone's going to make an entire series like Sharknado, you might as well pay tribute to it's horrifying weirdness any way you can. Thus, a sharknado in gorgeous card form.

Time Warp card says, "Let's do it again!"

We all love Rocky Horror Picture Show, right? Or at least, you probably love the song "Time Warp." Yes, that's a link: go open it and sing along ... you know you want to. Even if you've never seen Rocky Horror live (ha, ya virgin) then you can still probably sing and even maybe dance along with the song.

Magic the Gathering immortalized this tune with a card called "Time Warp." The flavor text at the bottom has a goblin telling us "Let's do it again!" So what does that mean? Well, the main refrain of Time Warp is "Let's do the Time Warp again," so this card is straight-up telling you to dance. Sadly, players don't get extra points if they actually do dance, though they will earn plenty of mockery from the rest of the table if they jump to the right, not the left.

The answer to Hamlet's immortal question

Unsummon depicts a monster being dragged backwards towards the sky, into a hellish portal leading to nothingness. It's great fun, unless you're the monster. Like most cards, it has a weird little flavor text beneath the description of what it does. This one says, "Not to be. That is the answer."

Sooo, what was the question? Is there another card we're missing that this one's a sequel to? Well, no. It's not a card we're missing — it's an entire play. See, that's actually the answer to Hamlet's famous soliloquy in his eponymous play. He asks, "To be or not to be, that is the question," and this card provides the answer. Unfortunately for this monster, he learned he was not to be, way too late.