Skip to content

MTG Embalm Mechanic

MTG Embalm Mechanic


Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is a game filled with intricate mechanics and strategies. One such mechanic, introduced in the Amonkhet expansion, is the Embalm mechanic. This ability allows players to “eternalize” a creature card in their graveyard, turning it into a powerful enchantment creature token. With its unique operation and strategic depth, Embalm has become a popular and influential mechanic in various MTG formats.

Key Takeaways: MTG Embalm Mechanic

  • Embalm is a unique mechanic from the Amonkhet expansion in MTG.
  • It allows players to “eternalize” a creature card from their graveyard.
  • Embalm creates an enchantment creature token with the same stats as the original card.
  • The mechanic offers strategic depth, allowing players to reuse key cards.
  • Embalm can be combined with other mechanics for creative gameplay.
  • Understanding Embalm is crucial for both utilizing and countering it in games.
  • Various decks, from aggressive to control-oriented, can benefit from Embalm.
  • It’s essential to be aware of common mistakes and best practices when using Embalm.

What is Embalm?

What is Embalm?

Embalm is a keyword mechanic from the game of Magic: The Gathering, first introduced in the Amonkhet expansion. It is an ability that allows players to “eternalize” a creature card in their graveyard by turning it into an enchantment creature token with the same name in the same colors. This token can be used indefinitely and has all the same stats as the card it was created from.

The Embalm ability also operates differently than traditional types of counters or recursion effects. Rather than simply returning the card to play, Embalm places a copy of it into play that can’t be removed by non-exile effects. This means that players have a way to secure their creatures that would normally get countered or destroyed. As an icing on the cake, the creature also scries when it enters the battlefield. This allows for better set-up and tactical decision making.

How Embalm Works

Embalm is a mechanic introduced in the Amonket set of the Trading Card Game (TCG). It has become increasingly popular in various formats, from Standard to Commander. Embalm allows players to take a creature in their graveyard and cast it as a copy of itself without having to pay its mana cost.

Embalm is a great way to revive some of your creatures that have been destroyed earlier in the game and use their abilities once more. You can play those powerful creatures again and again, at any point in the game. Not only does it save you from having to keep spending resources but it also activates any abilities of the creature, such as removal abilities or bonus effects. You can even utilise embalm to get some really huge creatures onto the battlefield. Embalm makes it easier to assemble the perfect set of cards for any given strategy.

Benefits of Embalm

Embalm is a great way for players to get value out of cards that otherwise wouldn’t be playable. With embalm, players can gain card advantage while also building powerful decks with the ability to continue reusing key cards. This can be particularly useful when dealing with board stalls, since the ability to recur key cards can break through those stalls.

Embalm often functions as a sort of pseudo-card draw for players, allowing them to get additional cards from their graveyard. If players plan correctly, they can often use this extra card to trigger powerful effects, draw other cards, or lay down powerful creatures. Additionally, embalm can even be used to gain control of an opponent’s creatures for a few turns, allowing players to gain tempo and board advantage.

Overview of Cards with Embalm

Angel of Sanctions

Cards with Embalm let you preserve a creature card from your graveyard for some extra value. Rather than granting you an extra creature outright, Embalming a card gives you a token version of the creature you chose. You can use this clone to concentrate your forces to slowly increase your presence on the board or as a way to pressure your opponent.

Currently, White and Blue tend to have the most cards with Embalm, however Black and Red do have a few cards that can benefit. Some examples of cards with Embalm include “Angel of Sanctions“, “Shadow of the Grave”, and “Sunmare”. All these cards provide some value from a creature that would normally be placed in your graveyard. All the cards with Embalm feature some unique ability and are well-suited for many different deck archetypes.

Strategies for Embalming

When it comes to strategies for utilizing embalm, the key is to identify the right opportunities to use it. Consider when the graveyard may become a useful resource, and how embalm can work to your advantage. Additionally, you want to look for cards that can work with embalm spells, such as those that regenerate creatures or multiple support spells.

In most cases, the best play is to wait until your graveyard has at least four creatures before using embalm. This way, you’ll be able to maximize the amount of creatures you’re able to bring back. Additionally, look for ways to use embalm to protect your creatures from being destroyed, such as cards like Embalmed Exarch or Hallowed Spiritkeeper. Finally, consider the impact embalm has on board control and removal, as it can often be used to preserve your board state and create positive trades.

Pros and Cons of Embalm

The advantages of using Embalm include its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and power. Embalm cards can be used multiple times, allowing you to reuse them over and over again. It is also an inexpensive way to add some extra power to your decks, as most of the cards with Embalm are relatively cheap. The mechanic also adds an extra layer of complexity, making it easier to outplay your opponent.

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to using Embalm cards. They often have a slower power level, so they may not be helpful in faster formats. Additionally, many of the Embalm cards are weak when compared to other similar cards without Embalm, which can mean they may not be very effective in combo-oriented decks. Finally, playing Embalm cards requires you to think several turns ahead, so it may not be the best choice for new players.

Popular Combinations with Embalm

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

When combining embalm with other cards, you have endless possibilities. One popular combination is the hand-loop with robes of sacred fire and Ra’s Disciple. The loop enables you to keep resurrecting Ra’s Disciple from the graveyard and continuously gain lifepoints with each resurrection.

Another great combination is with Palladia-Mors the Ruiner and Mausoleum Secret. This allows you to use her effect twice in one turn and flood the field with powerful monsters. Here are some other combos you can use with embalm:

• Blaze ofdestruction and Ra’s Disciple: Allows you to destroy any one monster on the field to resurrect Ra’s Disciple from your graveyard.

• Supreme ARk Knight and Curse of Anubis: A great way to revive a monster from your graveyard, equip the monster with this card and turn them into a powerful field nuke.

• Mezuki and Mask of Restrict: Allows you to side in powerful monsters from your graveyard with Mask of Restrict that you may have otherwise missed out on summoning.

Overall, embalm offers a wide variety of options for amazing combos, ensuring that your deck is always full of potential. With the right combination of cards, you can put together some formidable strategies that will be difficult to counter.

Mausoleum Secrets

Best Practices for Embalming

Caring for the newly-created Embalmed creature is essential to getting the most out of it on the battlefield. To do this, players need to pay close attention to their opponent’s graveyard and play their spells and abilities accordingly. One of the best practices to follow is to play spells that hit the graveyard before summoning creatures with Embalm, in order to elude removal spells. Committing fewer resources to the board can also make it easier to play reactive cards in anticipation of any Embalm-based strategies your opponent may have.

Players should also be careful not to commit too many cards to the battlefield or overextend. Having a few cards in hand can help ensure that Embalm creatures always have an active target, while leaving open the ability to summon additional tokens with other spells and abilities later. Additionally, players can use their graveyard as a resource to enhance their plays, as some cards can have powerful effects when their creatures are Embalmed, such as granting them additional damage and effects. By using these strategies, players can quickly maximize their Embalm potential and be ready to take their plays to the next level.

Types of Decks that Utilize Embalm

There are a variety of decks that make use of embalm creatures, ranging from aggressive midrange decks to control-oriented decks. Aggressive decks that can utilize embalm cards include various forms of mono-white aggro, based around synergizing with cards like Sanctum Seeker and Brightclimb Pathway to ramp into creatures like Pride Sovereign and Bastion of Remembrance. Mono-red aggro can also make use of embalm cards, like Champoin of the Flame and Earthshaker Khenra, to improve the midrange gameplan and allowing for more mid-game pressure.

Control decks often turn to embalm cards to supplement their later game power. Builds such as Jund or Bant Superfriends can use embalm cards like Champion of Wits and Vizier of Many faces to provide additional card draw and built in removal protection. Other decks, such as Naya-Midrange or UB Reanimator, can give their bigger plays more staying power through cards like Reaver Ambush and Solemnity. Embalm cards are flexible enough to be applied to many decks and archetypes in the current Standard meta.

Common Mistakes with Embalm

Considering its prevalence, there are surprisingly few mistakes that players commonly make when using Embalm. The most common issue arises when trying to understand how the ability works with cards that raise your life total. Embalming a creature requires discarding a card with exactly the same name as the creature that will be Embalmed, which can be difficult to do when raising your life total as a result of using one of those cards.

Another common mistake is playing non-token creatures with Embalm as their Battlecry ability, which can be easily rectified through the use of token enhancing cards. Additionally, some Embalm creatures, such as Hostpeters, can only be played from the graveyard. Persistent players should remember to maintain board presence after banishing their Embalmed copies of Hostpeters. Finally, Embalm players should be mindful of timing when attempting to Embalm and when an automatic trigger attached to the creature occurs. Being off by even a turn can mean the difference between Embalming the creature or not.

Combating Embalm Decks

When battling an Embalm deck, the first thing to look at is their card draw options. Knowing what cards they have in their hand or can draw into will be key to figuring out how to counter these decks. There are plenty of ways to combat the speed and extra card advantage afforded by Embalm.

The most common way is to play a control deck with plenty of answers to their threats. Having cards like Hand destruction is a great way to get rid of any additional cards those deck can draw from using Embalm. On top of that, cards with useful bounce effects, such as Boomerang, can help disrupt any combats or strategies they put together. Decks with access to cards like Quarantine Field or Stasis Trap can also help slow a deck utilizing Embalm by preventing them from accessing their extra cards. These types of cards can come in very handy when trying to battle an Embalm deck.

Advanced Tips for Embalming

Advanced Tips for Embalming

One advanced tip is to build a deck around the embalming mechanic. This means you’ll want to combine cards with various strengths and capabilities. Look for cards that can increase the effectiveness of other cards, such as those that add extra power or those that give you access to a specific effect. Having an arsenal of cards that serve the same purpose can be particularly helpful, allowing you to play an “all-in one” strategy with embalming.

Second, be aware of how quickly you embalm. It’s important to use embalming strategically. Consider the cost of embalming verses its pay-off. If the cost-benefit ratio isn’t there, then it’s best to wait until you have a more advantageous situation. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that embalming should be used when it will have the greatest impact, as well as to anticipate what your opponent may do and make the most of your cards.

Embalm in Standard and Modern Formats

Standard format is the main arena for showcasing the abilites of cards with embalm. The limited format offers the perfect environment for players to try out unique strategies, embalm inclusive. In this format, embalm cards allow players to have more versatile creature options, trap their opponents and amass a swarm of undead tokens.

Modern format is a less popular choice for embalm strategies, but this does not mean the mechanic is not viable. Embalm cards allow players to build around new strategies while still relying on staple cards like Path to the Grave and Raise Dead. With this in mind, it is possible to create control archetypes or midrange builds focused around the use of the embalm mechanic.

Budget Decks Featuring Embalm

Using Embalm cards in a casual or budget deck is a great way to play this mechanic on the cheap. Like most Yu-Gi-Oh! decks, there are ways to craft powerful strategies without breaking the bank. Embalm can feature prominently in a budget deck, offering low cost monsters that are often quite powerful. This is especially great for newer players who may not have fully built out a deck or may not have access to all of the rarer cards. Additionally, many older or more dedicated players may opt to craft budget decks with Embalm for tournaments.

To create a budget Embalm deck, players should begin by looking at the cards they already have access to. Monsters with the Embalm mechanic are usually moderately priced, while other cards that support the deck may cost more. A budget deck will require players to plan out strategies ahead of time, as it won’t contain all of the best cards needed to assist a powerful Embalm deck. With careful strategizing, picking the right cards, and a bit of luck, budget Embalm decks can make it far in a tournament setting.

Combining Embalming with Other Mechanics

It’s important to be creative when using Embalm, and combining it with other mechanics can be a great way to maximize its potential. One of the most powerful combinations is when you pair it with graveyard mechanics, like Flashback. Being able to ‘Embalm’ a card from your graveyard makes it an incredibly versatile tool. Additionally, combining it with cards like Afterlife can make your creatures come back with an even greater effect, as you can bring back more tokens with it.

Creativity is key when using Embalm, as there are many different combinations you can make with it. Pairing it with cards like Abzan Charm gives you the flexibility to choose whether you want to exile the creature, or Embalm it for future use. Another powerful combo is combining it with Investigate, which can help you draw cards and fill your graveyard. Ultimately, the combinations you can make with Embalm are endless!

Creative Uses for Embalm

When considering creative strategies for using Embalm, there are a few key elements to consider. One of the most powerful cards that utilizes Embalm is Aten of Heliopolis, allowing you to double the resources available to you on your turn. This can be used to fuel powerful combos that can end the game in a single turn or press an aggressive board state early on.

Using Embalm also offers an opportunity to bring back two different monsters for two separate effects. This allows you to capitalize on different abilities to use in different scenarios. For example, you could bring back Ra’s Disciple to prevent your opponent from attacking or Recruiter of the Guard to search your deck for needed cards. Along with that, Embalm cards can be used as a two-for-one, providing an advantage by allowing you to play more cards with one card slot.

Why Embalm is so Popular

Why Embalm is so Popular

Embalm has quickly become one of the most popular mechanics in Magic: the Gathering, for good reason. It allows players to bring cards back from their graveyard, for a second chance at victory. Not only does this help players make use of creatures that have already been defeated, but it also opens up a whole new range of potential strategies.

One of the great things about Embalm is that it’s versatile. Any creature card with Embalm can be brought back and used in many different ways. You can use it to beef up your army of creatures, get quick card draw, or even be an offensive powerhouse. It gives rise to unique and interesting decks that often feature unexpected combinations of cards. Besides this, it also adds a layer of unpredictability to the game. So, it’s easy to see why players of all levels have become so smitten with Embalm.

Popular Embalm Cards in the Meta

There are a variety of cards that feature the Embalm mechanic. Some of the most popular cards used in competitive play include Leonin Arbiter, Cipher Expertise, Resolute Survivors and Midnight Reaper.

Leonin Arbiter is an effective two-mana creature that stops your opponent’s search effects. Cipher Expertise is an exemplary card for its versatility. It can act as both a control card, allowing you to put your best permanent into play for free, or an aggressive card, by allowing you to draw a new card and attack. Resolute Survivors is a great card for adding some extra blockers to protect you from aggression. Finally, Midnight Reaper can draw you tons of cards to keep your hand filled with resources.

Examples of Embalm in Action

One of the best examples of Embalm in action is in the Spellbook Deck. The Spellbook deck is a Control deck that relies significantly on setting up a board state with powerful and impactful monsters and spells. Embalm is an integral part of this deck, as it allows the player to strategically set up multiple monsters in the graveyard and use them as resources to make plays, maintain board control, and ultimately come out of the game with a victory.

Other popular examples of Embalm that can be found in the current meta include Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV 8, The Winged Dragon of Ra, and Gravedigger Ghoul. These monsters all have the Embalm ability, allowing them to be summoned from the graveyard for much less cost than they would normally require. This allows the player to keep their hand size up, make sure they have the right resources and cards on the table, and keeps their strongest monsters safe from destruction. This allows for a wide range of possible strategies and game plans, from resource generation to board control.

Wrap-up: Embalm in Summary

Embalm is an incredibly versatile and powerful mechanic that has been around for several years, and it has become even more popular in recent years. It allows players to turn small creatures into incredibly powerful effects, and it’s made major inroads into nearly every format. Embalm offers players a way to gain power and tempo on the board while also maintaining a degree of resourcefulness and card advantage.

The main downside to embalm is that it can be somewhat difficult to master, especially for newer players. Additionally, there are a lot of different strategies and ways to utilize embalm, so it can be quite confusing to figure out which ones work best for your particular deck. It’s important to read up on embalm strategies and look for examples of successful decks to make sure your choice is the correct one. Overall, embalm is an incredibly powerful mechanic that can offer quite a bit to any deck.


The Embalm mechanic in MTG offers players a unique way to leverage their graveyard, bringing creatures back to life as enchantment tokens. Its strategic depth, versatility, and synergy with other mechanics make it a favorite among players. Whether you’re building a deck around Embalm or looking for ways to counter it, understanding this mechanic is crucial for any MTG enthusiast.

Related Reading: MTG Embalm Mechanic

Embalm – MTG Mechanics Explained – Card Kingdom Blog
Creature flashback, kinda! Except that the new creature is a white zombie token…we’ll explain everything about Embalm here. Embalm is a creature keyword that works from the graveyard. When a creature with it is in your graveyard, you may pay that creature’s Embalm cost. When you do, you exile the creature from your graveyard and create a token copy of that creature, except that it’s white, has no mana cost, and is a zombie in addition to its other types.

Amonkhet Limited Mechanics, Part I – Hipsters of the Coast
Carrie breaks down the new Amonkhet mechanics and how they will influence Limited in both sealed and draft. Part I talks embalm, exert, and cycling. Embalm is a new graveyard mechanic that riffs on flashback and unearth, as well as other creature recursion mechanics like persist and undying, and generic death triggers. The embalm mechanic provides a new way to bring back a creature from the graveyard. The flavor captures mummification pretty well. Instead of getting the creature card back into play, you get a token that is mostly the same: they are white zombies (mummies) without the embalm mechanic and no converted mana cost, and tokens instead of cards, but otherwise the creature is the same.

Embalm – MTG Mechanics Explained – Card Kingdom Blog
Embalm is a creature keyword that operates from the graveyard. When a creature with this keyword is in your graveyard, you can pay the creature’s Embalm cost. This action exiles the creature from your graveyard and creates a token copy of that creature. However, the token is white, lacks a mana cost, and is classified as a zombie in addition to its other types. Essentially, it’s a creature flashback variant that modifies the creature in specific ways. The token enters the battlefield as usual, retaining the same text box as the copied creature. This means any abilities related to entering the battlefield are triggered when the creature is embalmed. The article also mentions that while mechanics like Embalm that offer an additional use of a card are always popular, its return might be challenging due to its strong flavor connection to Amonkhet and the requirement of numerous different tokens.


What is Embalm?

Embalm is a mechanic found in the Magic: The Gathering card game that allows a player to cast a spell from their graveyard. It works by returning a creature card from the graveyard to the battlefield with an embalmed copy of the same creature, allowing players to benefit from the effect of the spell and the creature itself.

How does Embalm work?

Embalm allows players to cast a creature spell from their graveyard as an instant. The creature card is returned to the battlefield as a token with the same name and stats as the original, but with the embalmed keyword. This allows players to benefit from the spell, and also from the creature itself.

What are the benefits of Embalm?

The main benefit of Embalm is that it allows players to cycle creatures from their graveyards, allowing them to get value from their creatures even after they have died. Additionally, it allows players to take advantage of graveyard synergies, as well as allowing them to have more creatures on the battlefield.

What are some popular combinations with Embalm?

One popular combination with Embalm is to use it in combination with an instant spell. This allows players to get value from the creature without having to wait for their next turn. Additionally, it can be used in combination with graveyard recursion, allowing players to recur their creatures multiple times.

What are the best practices for embalming?

The best practices for embalming include making sure to use it on creatures that have a powerful effect when they enter the battlefield, or are able to generate card advantage. Additionally, it is important to keep track of the creatures that have been embalmed, so that players can make sure to get the most value out of them.

What types of decks utilize Embalm?

Embalm is most commonly used in midrange and control decks, as its ability to recur creatures allows those decks to maintain board presence. Additionally, it is also used in combo decks, as the ability to recur creatures can provide the cards needed for the combo.

What are some common mistakes with Embalm?

One of the most common mistakes made with Embalm is not accounting for the mana cost of the spell. When casting a spell with Embalm, players must remember that they will be paying both the mana cost of the spell and the mana cost of the creature, and should plan accordingly. Additionally, it is important to remember that the creature must be returned to the graveyard after its effect has been used, so players must be aware of what creatures they have in their graveyard.

How do I combat Embalm decks?

When facing an Embalm deck, it is important to focus on removing the creature tokens before they can be used. Additionally, cards that exile creatures from the graveyard can also be effective at preventing the creature from being embalmed. Finally, cards that can disrupt the opponent’s mana can help prevent them from being able to cast the spell with Embalm.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from MTGA Central

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading