Overcharged Amalgam – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.42
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s not always a given that we’re going to revisit “third set abilities” from the old blocks, even when they’re good – so it’s very cool to see Dragons of Tarkir‘s exploit keyword coming back. And Overcharged Amalgam might be one of the more powerful examples of the keyword, in any set. Counterspells on creatures have been strong down the years, with the likes of Mystic Snake and Spellstutter Sprite seeing constructed play. While the Amalgam is a little less exploitable (heh) due to the additional cost for its comes-into-play ability, there are plenty of cards in the same set that generate zombie tokens, and plenty of cards in constructed that care about creatures dying. And being able to hit activated or triggered abilities is a nice bonus: I can’t think of a more demoralizing response to a planeswalker ultimate.
The stitchers of Innistrad are very sinister and menacing, and this is reinforced by their look, but for some reason, I can’t look at many of the plane’s skaabs without thinking of Young Frankenstein.
Disallow was quite a nice countermagic maneuver back in its Standard, so seeing it back in some form is nice. And by “some form”, it’s attached to a 3/3 body. Exploit makes its return, allowing you to sacrifice a creature you might not want for an effect you might want, and turning something into a 3/3 with flying that also counters something is quite legit, indeed. It’s even a Zombie, and it plays well with things that trigger off of deaths; and, of course, it itself can be sacrificed to the exploit trigger. I feel like this will see a lot of play; it’s an effect blue decks love to have with plenty of upside, and while it’s a bit pricier than Disallow, I’d say the upsides are fair enough to justify its inclusion.
Limited: 4.25 (a flier with upside is nice)
This is a fun card in Blue/Black or even Blue/White control. For starters a Flash/Flying 3/3 creature for 4 is pretty good, but then it has the exploit mechanic on top of it can hard counter an opponent’s spell and give you a creature that can attack on the following turn. The reason I say this would be good in Blue/Black or Blue/White is solely because of the exploit mechanic and the ease of getting token creatures in Black and White over just straight mono blue. Exploit requires you to sacrifice a creature, if you have a blue creature you’re generally using it for something, or it has served its purpose and you can sacrifice it. Where this can get fun is combined with cards like Unsummon so you can bring it back to your hand and get another counterspell if you need in a pinch. Definitely worth exploring in token decks that run blue in constructed, outside of that it might be too difficult to get out and gain full advantage of the exploit mechanic (which in all honesty is the whole point of the card).
I like it in commander and limited, but it has to be in the right decks that are going to run tokens. If you’re going for a Blue/Red aggro strategy you might want to pass up on this card (although the flash effect might help here depending on the other cards you have gathered). In a Blue/Black zombie commander deck this is a shoe-in, I’m thinking of ways to combine it with Strixhaven’s White/Black house to use the inkling tokens to your advantage in an Esper build.
Casual and limited I don’t love it, inherently it is a complex card that requires some strategy and play skill to use fully. Newer players or kitchen table players may not want to sacrifice their resources in order to use this card or they might sacrifice the wrong card to use the exploit mechanic.
Constructed: 3/5 (only in token strategies)
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