Ancient artifacts, filled with ancient powers. Legend has it that these MacGuffin’s are incredibly valuable and of course, that means they’re also very – and vaguely – powerful. We couldn’t help but look deeper into the mysteries of these artifacts – So much so, that we thought we would share our findings with all of you. As acclaimed archeologists, it’s our duty and your privilege that we share with you our Top 10 Artifacts.
10) The Chaos Emeralds – Sonic
Starting with a strange pick, the Chaos Emeralds are indeed ancient, magical emeralds of various colours. These emeralds are able to grant the wielder a variety of powers, including transformation, time warping and even the most dangerous of all – Powering machines… I mean considering these emeralds are supposedly ancient, that last one’s dubious at best. Nevertheless, it gives the game and indeed cartoon series a much needed purpose.
Dr. Eggman, or Robotnik (depending on what version you watch or play), is often depicted trying to obtain the emeralds. It’s up to Sonic to stop him – Gathering all seven chaos emeralds grants the wielder the “ultimate power”, albeit it’s somewhat shaky as to what that even means. None of this matters however, as Sonic and pals are always able to save the day, by gathering the chaos emeralds – and then losing them conveniently before the next game.
9) Infinity Gauntlet – Marvel
Unusual to dump something of such narrative importance and incredible power so low in a list, especially as ten years of cinema history have been pouring into this moment, and it remains one of the most powerful instruments in the comic universe as well. Forged by the blacksmiths of the gods in the heart of a dying star, to hold the very remnants of creation that a single, powerful being might wield them all at once.
There are some artifacts in this list with a great deal more personality than the gauntlet, but few have driven entire universes of people wielding godlike power to focus their efforts to either gather the stones, or keep them apart. The Illuminati attempted to will it out of existence, but failed, thus resolving one omnipotence paradox.
The forbidden tome penned by a mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred, somehow finds its way into practically every library and bookshelf of anyone who could be seen as “up to something”, be it dabbling in affairs of the extraterrestrial, extradimensional, or reaching beyond the boundaries of mortality.
Within its forbidding cover, the Necronomicon has spells, incantations, and detailed information on things that should bend and break the mind, and those few who read it and come out sane are inexorably changed. While the Evil Dead version may have some notable differences to the original, it seems to have had a very similar effect on Bruce Campbell. Not Ash, Bruce.
7) The AllSpark – Transformers
One of the three items capable of creating the entire Transformers race, the AllSpark holds the energy of life itself, the force that possesses the living metal of Cybertron and grants it personality, vibrance, passion, and the robotic equivalent of a soul.
The item is coveted heavily by the Decepticons, and rather than allow it to fall into the hands of the enemy, Optimus Prime ordered it thrown into space, far from the reach of any Cybertronian. Naturally it landed on Earth, of course it landed on Earth, that’s how we ended up in the mess we’re in! A bunch of tiny flesh creatures in the middle of a war between huge metal terrors, and all we did was catch their life-box.
6) The One Ring – The Lord of the Rings
Whilst The Lord of the Rings and indeed The Hobbit have a plethora of other artifacts, such as the mighty sword, Sting – We couldn’t forget The One Ring. Sure, technically this one may have been better suited for a Top 10 Jewellery list, which we may or may not do in the future should you choose it one day. However, when you consider our definition of an artifact is basically an ancient object of some cultural or historical significance – Well, The One Ring fits this perfectly.
The One Ring offers the wielder invisibility, which isn’t to bad unto itself. However the ring was created by main antagonist, the dark lord Sauron, who wants to use the ring to effectively take over the world. The One Ring takes centre stage throughout the entire trilogy of films and books. Trust me when I say this then, it’s an obvious choice, but it certainly has the power and the importance to back its position on this list.
5) The Deck of Many Things – Dungeons & Dragons
There is no more iconic deck of cards, no tarot deck holds as much sway over your future, no poker game can break you, and if you have played D&D – hell, if you’ve role played enough – you hear the words Deck of Many Things and shiver. Within these twenty-two cards are the power to conjure magic items of incredible power, incredible riches, to vault you to the pinnacle of power and ability. You can also find cards that will earn you a nemesis from the very depths of hell, destroy every magic item you have, or simply kill you outright.
You also may draw the ability to erase a single event from history, rewriting all events around it, making the inclusion of such an item in a campaign a very brave move on the part of a dungeon master, no other artifact can rewrite a campaign both forward and backwards in quite the same way, and of all the many famous items – the bag of holding, the wand of Orcus, the hand and eye of Vecna, the ten foot pole – none are so remarkable, or deserving of a place in the list.
4) Genie’s Lamp – Disney’s Aladdin
Genie, depicted by the late Robin Williams, was one of Disney’s most beloved characters. Indeed, few could capture the spirit of the magical djinn as well as Robin Williams did – and for that, I think we should all reflect on how great he was. But, Genie wouldn’t have been around in the films, if it were not for the magical lamp in which he resided. A prison for this powerful being to be contained within.
The lamp was much sought after and once the riff-raff street-rat Aladdin finds it, the film picks up. You notice I’m not going with the original Aladdin for this pick, but specifically Disney’s version of events. The lamp is treated as something of power, which was the right thing to do – Even though it was effectively what shackled the Genie down (Along with his bracers, but that’s another story). Besides, who wouldn’t want to rub a lamp to get three wishes?
3) The Deathly Hallows – Harry Potter
You may think this one cheating a little bit, but the Deathly Hallows is by far the most iconic artifact within the Harry Potter franchise. Why is that cheating then, you may ask? Well, the Deathly Hallows, as the name implies, is more than one item – It’s three different items: The Elder Wand, the invisibility cloak and the resurrection stone. These three items, each created by Death, are amongst the most powerful artifacts within the world of Harry Potter.
Individually, each are brilliant – We see the invisibility cloak a lot throughout the series. The elder wand is so powerful, it is, apparently, ‘unbeatable’. Finally, the resurrection stone is so powerful, it can call forth an army of the dead. Those who wield all three objects has brought together the Deathly Hallows – Highly desirable, especially as the wielder of the Deathly Hallows becomes the Master of Death.
Excuse me, I’ve got some artifact hunting to do.
2) The Holy Grail
The Cup of Christ pops up in many places around geekdom, from Indiana Jones to Heroes of Might and Magic, it has reached beyond the point of being a mere vessel for immortality, and has become a metaphor for those things at the pinnacle of achievement and acquisition. How often do we hear that rare, precious, and wondrous object described as “The Holy Grail of _____”
If you seek that divine relic, be it that thing most precious to you, or perhaps the actual sacred chalice, remember, only the penitent man will pass, walk in the word of God, and a leap from the lion’s head to prove your worth. Even then, I’m pretty sure the French have got one. I asked, they said it was very nice.
1) The Horadric Cube – Diablo
Stay a while and listen to how the Horadric Cube is indeed the most powerful artifact here – A strange pick, perhaps. Both Joel and I had settled on the Horadric Cube being in this list from the get go, which is a rare moment. It was the first entry that was put down and the more we thought about it, the more powerful it was. This hugely significant cube which takes up quite a bit of space can combine your items for you.
You can use it as extra storage, if you want, or you can use it the way it’s intended – As a cube that can magic things together. You have to go through a grueling battle to get the cube, but once you’ve got it, the magic you’ve got is simply overwhelming. So much so, you can combine Wirt’s Leg with a Tome of Town Portal to get to the most rewarding level in the game – The Secret Cow Level. Now, I don’t know about you, but whilst all of the other artifacts are beloved and desirable, I think one that can create portals for you is way more impressive.
Ah now that we’ve finally cleared up all of these ancient ruins, we’ve stumbled across a couple more artifacts that we felt deserved to be mentioned. In these scrolls, we’ve had tales of power, of greed… and… no, no that’s about it really.
Karn – Magic: the Gathering
Okay, so this is actually a living being, which makes the term artifact a little bit harsh really. He’s a golem that was created by Urza and Barrin, for their time travelling experiments. A heartstone was added to the golem to give it sentience, as well as having a body made out of silver. The decision to make Karn a living being was so that he could learn, develop and make decisions for himself.
So it’s a weird choice to have in here, but all of Karn’s cards are represented as an artifact (Albeit an artifact planeswalker). Furthermore, Karn really likes to mess with artifacts in his abilities. All in all then, if there was one artifact that could, understandably, rule them all – It may be Karn.
The Golden Fleece
So far as symbols of authority go, the classics are always hat, stick and chair, with varying degrees of polished metals and shiny rocks, but to be a king of Iolcus, one must wear the fleece of a winged ram, a companion of gods. The ram became the constellation Aries when sacrificed, and the fleece was hung in a sacred oak to be guarded by fire breathing bulls and a dragon. Any fool can pull a sword from a stone. Who’s ready to kill monsters for wool?
It was the focus of Jason’s quest, his reason to gather mighty heroes to him and go to sea for years, undertaking tasks that have become part of legend to this very day. He faced death, overcame curses, grave temptations, and terrible monsters, all in the name of claiming a throne that is his by rights. The fleece itself has no power, despite being a product of a holy beast, but it is an object of great importance, worth a mention at least.
You can put down your brushes now, these artifacts are truly magnificent. It’s time for us to take these artifacts back to our own country, so they can be kept in a museum – Especially that one we call Karn. For now though, whilst we take that long flight back home, you should choose what secrets we unravel next month, by voting in the poll below:
Did your favourite artifacts make the list? Should we have put the Triforce in this list? What do you think about our list – And would you change the order of any of the picks? As ever, share your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.