– Neo Discover
October 17, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s more than one way to cook a jurassic omelette, but there’s only one way to get a jurassic egg – from FOSSILS!!
Fossil Egg is an Item from way back in the day that lets you play a Pokemon that evolves from Mysterious Fossil – the very old Fossil evolution card – either directly from your deck or from your hand onto your Bench, treating it as a Basic Pokemon. Of course the catch is that you’ll have to flip a coin first and land on heads to do so.
This is a lot like Pokemon Research Lab, only instead of ending your turn after you’ve done the work, you’ve got to see if you’re gonna be able to do it in the first place with that coin toss. Arguably that makes Pokemon Research Lab better between these two cards, but really that’s in context of them addressing similar things. Pokemon Research Lab can’t be used on anything for Mysterious Fossil, and Fossil Egg doesn’t work with any of the Unidentified Fossil stuff, so it’s a bit of a moot point to compare the two directly. I’d say that Pokemon Research Lab is just better for getting things done, but Fossil Egg does open up your turn to do other things even if it fails.
Either way, Fossil Egg only gets you 1 Fossil Pokemon of sorts to work with. If you’re able to do more with it, good for you! An early Aerodactyl (Fossil) can be crippling for most decks, though Big Basics won’t feel too bad about it. Outside of that, maybe there are some other combinations with Fossil Egg. If there are good cards to play, maybe there’s hope for some modern inspiration with newer Pokemon!
Standard: N/A (wouldn’t really be great in the current Standard, unless it was adjusted for Unidentified Fossil)
Expanded: N/A (same here really, wouldn’t see play without a modern errata)
Limited: 3/5 (actually could be pretty good, since Kabuto and Omanyte are available in this set and have good Evolution cards)
Arora Notealus: Given that they’ve done Fossil Pokemon for so long, why wouldn’t they stick with Mysterious Fossil by name and simply upgrade it to include newer Fossil Pokemon? I know that’s being a bit of a stickler for details, and it requires a sense of future-proofing that the Pokemon Company couldn’t have had back in the 90s, but maybe starting with Cradily and Armaldo they could have done something in favor of servicing a future-proofed Fossil method? Not that Unidentified Fossil can’t be that, certainly, but it’s going to have to serve for a while if they want to stick with so much synergy to it.
Next Time: Charging back to the present, a hard-headed Pokemon for consideration!
Fossil Egg (Neo Discovery 72/75) released as a “normal Trainer”, what we now refer to as Trainer-Items, all the way back in July of 2000. Its effect has you flip a coin, and if you get “tails”, that’s it for Fossil Egg; you put it in your discard pile and continue with your turn. If you can “heads” you can Bench from your hand or your deck a Pokémon that Evolves from Mysterious Fossil.
What’s a Mysterious Fossil? The aptly named Fossil expansion (released in October of 1999) contained the original TCG “Fossil” Pokémon, Pokémon “revived” in the video games from a Fossil key Item, plus their Evolutions. Mysterious Fossil (Fossil 62/62; Legendary Collection 109/110; EX – Sandstorm 91/100; EX – Legend Maker 79/92; EX – Holon Phantoms 92/110; EX – Power Keepers 85/108) was almost our Throwback, but its full history is very confusing as its text received a major revision in Legend Maker, as did the rulings regarding it throughout its entire life.
What matters today is that this was another Item you put into play like a Basic Pokémon, originally having only 10 HP (but later upped to 50) and not giving up a Prize when it was KO’d. The monsters which Evolved from it were Aerodactyl, Kabuto, and Omanyte cards released prior to the DP-series (Gen IV had its own “Fossil” mechanic). As such, when Fossil Egg worked it would let skip the Basic Stage of the line, and if you didn’t have what you needed in hand you could search it out and play it from your deck. Even with a 50% failure rate that is very nice!
At least, it is if there are worthwhile targets… and there were. Too many to name all of them. I only remembered Aerodactyl (Fossil 1/62, 16/62), infamous because its Pokémon Power (they’re similar to Abilities) that prevented either player from playing further Evolution cards. By the time Fossil Egg released, this Aerodactyl was only legal for the Unlimited Format. I barely remembered Kabutops (Neo Discovery 6/75) had at least some merit during this time. I forgot about Omanyte (Neo Discovery 60/75) had a Pokémon Power that was almost the same as Fossil Egg… and more compatible Pokémon would keep releasing until Gen IV!
Fossil Egg did release at a time when anti-Trainer effects were strong; Chaos Gym, Dark Vileplume and Slowking (Neo Genesis 14/111) were all legal during this time, though the first two would rotate out while Fossil Egg remained, and Slowking would eventually be banned. Professor Elm was the main draw-Trainer, which hurt both Fossil Egg and Mysterious Fossil usage. Gust of Wind was legal in the Unlimited Format and Double Gust in the Modified (Standard) Format of the day. This matters because Fossil Pokémon from this era had low HP scores, so what might seem like great TecH by modern standards wasn’t because it was an easy OHKO.
I haven’t even played a game in the Unlimited Format in 10 years, nor do I have tournament results from it, so I don’t know what things are like right now. Around the time I stopped, decks that won on a player’s first turn were the norm, and while the T1 rules have changed since then, some of these decks didn’t need to attack. So we won’t be scoring this card for the Unlimited Format. During the Unlimited Format when the card was newer, it was a nice little trick but only for certain decks… and I’m surprised I don’t remember it being used more in the Standard Format of the day.
So are we looking at Fossil Egg because it was amazing in the Limited Format? No. I do think it is a must-run, but because its a 50% chance of looking at your deck even if you run no compatible Pokémon. You’ll need to pull the full Kabutops line, or maybe Omastar (Neo Discovery 43/75) line for Fossil Egg to be great. I had us review Fossil Egg because it was only reviewed once, back in 2002, and because the effect is one that should have been good but wasn’t.
I also wanted to consider this card in the present. A straight-up reprint is not an option because the Fossil Pokémon mechanic is different. If we just take Fossil Egg, re-release it with modern attributes and wording, but have it work for Unidentified Fossil instead of Mysterious Fossil and… it looks really good. Renamed after a character and working without a coin flip, it might be good enough to function as a Supporter. Of course, let it fetch two Pokémon that evolve from Unidentified Fossil, don’t let it work on targets in your hand, and have it end your turn instead of requiring a coin flip and you’ve got Pokémon Research Lab.
Fossil Egg looks like a very powerful card, though a bit fickle, yet I don’t remember it seeing a lot of play. Of course, this is far enough back that I could easily be forgetting when it was a power play, or just was unaware of how it was being used outside of our local metagame.
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