Trueheart Duelist - Amonkhet Spoiler

Trueheart Duelist


  • Color: White
  • Type: Creature - Human, Warrior
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Set:

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Embalm is an activated ability you can activate if the creature card with embalm is in your graveyard. Notably you’re not casting the card from the graveyard, so things that counter spells won’t work against the embalm ability. The original creature spell can be countered, of course, but that just puts the card in the graveyard.

To activate an embalm ability, simply pay the embalm cost and exile the card. You do this any time you could cast a sorcery, meaning during your main phase when nothing else is happening. When the ability resolves, you create a token copy of the card, but as you’d expect, going through the process of mummification causes some changes. It’s got that whole undead thing going on, so it’s a Zombie in addition to whatever creature types it used to have.



  • PAOLO VACALA

    what does embalm mean?

    • BusinessmanGinger

      The actual definition or for the game?

    • TheAweDude

      It’s essentially a creature-flashback. While this card is in your graveyard, you can pay the embalm cost and exile the card to put a token that’s a copy of the card onto the battlefield. Except it’s a zombie in addition to any other types. You can only embalm as a sorcery.

      • PAOLO VACALA

        oh so thats why they have a Trueheart duelist token as well.

        • mehngo

          It’s also important in some cases to note that the token copy does not have a mana cost.

      • Pandancules

        So it doesn’t trigger Prize Amalgam? bummer

        • Random Guy

          I consider that a good thing. Prized Amalgam and Haunted Dead were in every Standard graveyard deck (although there haven’t been many gy decks)

      • Avery Standley

        Better than unearth

        • TheAweDude

          Not necessarily. Unearth gives the creature haste, and it removes the card itself from the graveyard, which can be very important.

          • kmk888

            Haste is true, but Embalm also removes this card from the graveyard.

        • Zombie

          Uh… no. Unearth is the stronger of the two mechanics.

          It’s objectively worse than Unearth overall, but situationally better in a small number of cases just because it has minute differences from Unearth.

          Unearth doesn’t create a token (and tokens are far more exploitable than creatures when it comes to removal), Unearth gives creatures Haste, etc…, Unearth triggers ETB-from-Graveyard effects, and so on.

          Embalm removes the creature’s CMC, and Unearth also doesn’t change the creature type or the card’s colors. Every single Embalm token is a Zombie in addition to all previous types, and every single Embalm token is White, regardless of their original colors.

          • kmk888

            You may be missing something fundamental: the token lasts beyond the end step with Embalm. Avery Standley is right, Embalm is better.

          • Zombie

            No, it’s not. Unearth is objectively better, just not strictly better.

            And I didn’t miss that, I just thought that was the most obvious difference from Unearth, an ability which everyone already knows and can compare to Embalm.

            There are several key factors Embalm lacks that makes it worse than Unearth:

            – It provides zero graveyard-to-battlefield triggers. The Token is Created, and it is not a creature entering the battlefield from the graveyard, like Unearth would be. This matters greatly both within Standard and outside of Standard, severely limiting Embalm’s usage to strict Creature-Version-Flashback.

            – Embalmed creatures, unless the original creature already has it, are not provided Haste, like Unearth. This means you’re giving your opponent a huge window of wiggle room to work around the ability if you can’t Embalm a creature immediately the turn it dies or enters the graveyard another way, and even then that Embalm Token is still Summoning Sick.

            – Embalmed creatures gain an extra type, effectively adding a double-edged tribal sword to the creature. They also lack a mana cost for fringe effects that care, and for cards like Engineered Explosives. Embalmed creatures that have multiple copies are also hosed by Declaration in Stone, a premium and highly played removal spell in Standard. Declaration in Stone’s sorcery speed works fantastically well against Embalm, where it is useless against an Unearth threat.

            Embalm lacks all of the offensive and tempo advantages of Unearth and the only pro it has is that it makes a token.

            Unearth is just simply a stronger ability overall, plain and simple.

          • Giby86 .

            Dunno. I’d always go for “keep the creature” over “it has haste but you lose it eot” except when I need some crazy tempo boost. We’ll also have to see how aggressively it will be costed, as that was a huge factor for unearth, but overall this feels more impactful. There’s so much value in having them spend resources twice to remove one creature. I would agree on the flavour fail though.

          • Zombie

            Unearth is a huge deal for trigger reasons. Unearth would bring back your Prized Amalgams, Embalm can’t.

          • Giby86 .

            Yes, in the right shell and with the right interactions it has a small edge. In the vast majority of cases I’d prefer to keep the creature around (and still trigger the vast majority of ETBs). It’s sustained value versus tempo.

          • Aurore

            Guys, we’ve seen one Embalm card. Let’s wait to pass judgment. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and will be played in fairly different decks I assume.

          • Zombie

            We’re talking about the mechanic. This isn’t a card power issue. This is a mechanic issue.

            Embalm is just Unearth-Lite. And that’s 100% fine for Standard.

            Unearth in Standard with Prized Amalgam would be literally cancerous.

          • the mad seer

            i don’t think it is right to compare it to unearth, though they work similar their trade-offs matter more or less depending on the deck they are in. unearth is strictly better in an aggressive deck due to haste, but staying on the battlefield matters to control ramp and combo. in addition, though being a token against declaration in stone and engineered explosives is bad, if you have populate or intangible virtue then a token is much better.

          • the mad seer

            and declaration in stone is devastating to token decks because the tokens have the same name in large numbers, but that is not the case with embalm because it wouldn’t cause you to have more of the tokens of the name then you would have normally. it is just a token instead of the normal creature.

          • the mad seer

            also grafdigger’s cage

  • Scathain

    That is a neat card, I should pick up some for my warrior tribal deck.

  • Aurore

    Why does an ability this cool need to be called Embalm? I want to see it on more planes than just this one, Wizards!

    • Zombie

      Because flavor. And it’s a huge flavor win.

      Each creature with Embalm is getting its own special token as well.

      • Aurore

        I know, the flavor is great. But like with Bushido and Ninjutsu, the flavor might keep us from seeing it in the future since Embalm is pretty specific.

        • Zombie

          And why is that a problem?

          • Hedronal

            Because that might be the one part of it that doesn’t fit in some future setting that it would be mechanically good for.

      • Happy The Cat

        flavor win? you destroy the body(exile it) and then make a copy of it to fight even more, where, presumably, it will be destroyed again. that seems to be the direct opposite of what Embalming should do.
        I mean I guess I like the keyword, but the name seems… off. and unless they make a keyword lord or there are just some freakishly busted cards(like snaps busted, not vehicle busted) probably nobody will use this keyword after this set.(until we get some Commander card with it that is a lord and/or is snaps tier busted)

        • Kaiser

          Not destroy but transform the body. The reason that i thing this is a white mechanic is actually that the creatures are not exactly putrid zombies, they are embalm zombies. They are prepare to resurrect as zombies for serve event in deck. In “Egyp terms” that is very cool. But i agree this not seens like a evergreen mechanic

        • Tye

          Think of it this way: embalming preserves the body in your graveyard meaning you can use it again later.

  • So much added value for my R/W Humans deck! Can’t wait to see what other humans have embalm.

  • Jeffrey Zom

    Why is this full art? Don’t get me wrong, I really like it this way, it just seems off.

    • BusinessmanGinger

      Because it’s a Game Day promo?

    • Zombie

      This is the promo version.

  • Zombie

    It’s a Duelist that can fight two things. 100% flavor fail, literally unplayable.

    Wizards your lawsuit is in the mail.

    • Aurore

      Of course he can fight two things.

      …Wait, it’s “Duelist” not “Dual”ist?

    • Robert FakeLastName

      maybe gladiator would have been a more suitable name?

  • kmk888

    Not this card specifically (unless your opponent is trying to beat you with mono-removal) but this mechanic is great for my Cryptbreakers.

  • Happy The Cat

    So to Embalm… You destroy the body completely(exile it) and then put a zombie token that is a copy of it on the board… where the body can then be destroyed again… therefore not preserving the body whatsoever…ok…
    anyhow every card that is white and/or green is going to be abused by Rys. just saying. can’t wait to see what uncommon or rare lord white gets for this keyword.

    • RockGod

      It is clear you have no idea the relevance embalming had in egyptian culture, embalming is not detroying the body, its removing the person from the body (hence the exile) by removiang al internal organs, which is why the body turns zombie, or a mummy more specifically, so the person itself is sent to the underworld, and the body is brought back, as a zombie-like form.

      • Happy The Cat

        it seems you have no idea what the game mechanic is doing, see, when a creature is moved to exile from the graveyard normally it’s by destroying the body, for example Annihilating Fire, where if the fires where hot enough to kill it you burn the body to nothing. so, why would a process made to prevent the body from decaying have the mechanic to destroy the creature and make a clone of it?
        see, in ancient Egyptian culture they removed the organs from bodies simply because they believed that when you died the weight of your soul was judged and, since you no longer needed your organs in death, pulling them out made your soul lighter. But they wrapped the body and what have you because they thought you retained the appearance of your worldly vessel in the afterlife, so they wanted to prevent decay for as long as possible. and they would preform these in crypts so the body wouldn’t have to be moved far to it’s eternal resting place, so ideally the body would never be moved, especially by means of reanimation. (also unless the crypt-keeper was entering or leaving the crypt it was sealed to prevent angry souls or demons, who would want to take a body to attack the living)
        don’t try to pick a fight with someone who has WAY more years studying ancient culture for about almost every society than he would like to admit.

  • Deadly Berry

    Embalm does look like a nice ability. As for the creature itself, do not want.

  • wisdomseyes

    embalm: flashback for creatures

  • Dominic Ng

    I get how people are comparing embalm with unearth, saying embalm is the objectively worse. I have to disagree, as I see this set being slower than usual, thus long term value is more important than tempo. We have got a 3 mana 1/5 in blue, 2 mana 1/4 in black, 4 mana 3/4 in red, and a 4 mana 2/4 reach in green. All of them in common.

    And for the card itself, this isnt the first time we see a weak uncommon, right? Plus, this card means we are gonna get token support in WB like Intangible Virtue, which is nice.

    • Kaiser

      Embalm seens to be focus on white creatures to me, so have sense that being focus on long term value

  • Kaiser

    i fall in love with the art. In any case, a turn 2 that can return has a not good turn 3 seens usefull in limited and can see play in standard. Also embalm zombies still are trival relevant cause they not lose their types. That makes them better than normal zombies, for other colors.

  • the mad seer

    i see a lot of complaining about it not having haste like unearth and instead being a token makes it worse, but i don’t think that is exactly true. the purpose of unearth was to gain short term tempo advantage in an aggressive deck. the purpose of embalm seems to be to re-use effective blockers to delay without needing to add another creature card. this means a deck that is defensively waiting for the right card, control/ramp/combo, can have more blockers without displacing its favorite removal/land fetch/combo pieces. in other words, it is similar from a rule standpoint but it is not similar in a strategic standpoint. the difference is that this card has the potential to block multiple large attacks, 2 in most cards but in this specific cards case it could block 4 creatures, a big boon for a defensive deck.

    • David Meyers

      Exactly, this feels like drawing out card advantage by using the same creature twice. Whether it’s another blocker, eats another removal spell, it’s still in your favor even if it’s not instant speed.

  • Random Guy

    This kind of graveyard recursion has been around a long time. My only complaints about it being a mechanic are

    1) it seems like a non-mechanic, an excuse to simplify the set (same with exert, clues to a lesser extent, devoid). We could have stuff like transform, madness instead.

    2) Since it’s egyptian-themed we won’t see it coming back for a while. Which is silly because it’s a standardized mechanic. Same with clues, maybe same with colorless (non-generic) mana.

    • NC

      Landfall effects exist outside of Zendikar without the keyword, and SoI had a creature with non-keyword Landfall. It shouldn’t have any effect on other creatures having effects like this, which are rare to begin with, and it wouldn’t be the first time a mechanic was keyworded due to prevalence in a set and for the sake of flavor. Flavor is very important.

      • Random Guy

        Landfall wasn’t used nearly as much pre-Zendikar. Part of the problem with keywording this is that it’s taking up space that could be used for off-the-walls mechanics like Transform, Vehicles, so it’s a bit disappointing. There might be some unique ways to interact with the mechanic like Mummy Tribal, but it seems like most of it will boil down to 10 cards with the same ability as Gravecrawler.

        • Hedronal

          Maro has confirmed that WotC is trying to lower the number of mechanics introduced per set, to get better use out of the ones they do put in.

          • Random Guy

            That actually supports my point that this takes up mechanic space that could be used for “real mechanics”.

          • Hedronal

            Alternatively, it means that this will get enough support to be one.

          • Random Guy

            Oh, I see. Well, I think I would rather have Vehicles over “you may cast basically every card from your graveyard”. If this was evergreen it would make sense tho, since it’s convenient.

          • Hedronal

            If you’re just going to oversimplify it like that, it’s not worth talking to you about.

    • the mad seer

      most of those other recursion cards had downsides like unearth exiling the card or entering tapped. you can use it to gum up the works against aggro decks, in this case up to 4 times.

      • Random Guy

        This is just very similar to Haunted Dead in purpose.

        • the mad seer

          only it can block during your opponents next turn

          • Random Guy

            What’s your point? I just change my argument to Stitchwing Skaab then. This is just a standardized version of the mechanic, but since they’re only using it for one set it seems quite pointless.

  • Nathan Harviala

    So it’s a longer lasting Unearth? Interesting, though so far not too impressive unless they come up with something good for it. Plus, it seems like having an additional blocker would make a better combat trick, rather than only coming back as a sorcery.

    • Giby86 .

      Doubling season. Just sayin’.

      • Nathan Harviala

        Interesting point, one I hadn’t considered. If embalm turns out to be attached to some decent creatures, or we get a Sedris for it, that could turn out interesting, especially embalming a Terastrodon. Whoot for 9/9 green zombies with a LOT of popping!

        • Giby86 .

          An embalm Sedris would be RIDICULOUS. It’s a completely insane idea that will never be done. And I want it so bad.

          • Nathan Harviala

            Sort of like a more costly Seance, keeping in mind that Sedris does have to pay full CMC to unearth?

          • Giby86 .

            And except you get to KEEP THE TOKEN

          • Nathan Harviala

            True, you do, but Doubling Season makes for better ETB triggers, so it’s all up to what you want to do.

  • the mad seer

    i just read the story and it implied something interesting; the dead on amonkhet always come back to life unless completely destroyed. i think this is why white has zombies, it is being the honored undead instead off the cursed undead.