I seem to be out of my numerical neighbours period and happily only have one card to look at today. There were three new cards in my booster including Silhana Wayfinder and Azorius Skyguard; this isn’t bad going bearing in mind I only need 32 more cards to complete the Ravnica Allegiance set. Anyway, today I’m looking at another rare Orzhov card:

Teysa Karlov

Teysa Karlov is a 2 Generic ManaWhiteBlack legendary 2/4 creature with two abilities:

  • If an ability on one of your permanents is triggered by any creature dying, that ability triggers twice
  • Creature tokens you control have vigilance and lifelink

Well this is certainly a good card for anything built around the Orzhov afterlife mechanic. Let’s say you have a Ministrant of Obligation that dies; when it does, you now get four 1/1 flying spirit tokens with vigilance and lifelink which is very nice. That trigger doubling also works on things like The Haunt of Hightower; if an opponents creature goes into their graveyard because it was killed, your Haunt will now get two +1/+1 counters placed on it.

There is also a whole load of fun you can have if you manage to duplicate Teysa, perhaps with Lazav, the Multifarious or Helm of the Host; for every extra copy, the ability trigger goes up once more. For example, if you have two Teysa’s then a creature dying causes abilities to trigger three times; three Teysa’s extends that to four triggers, and so on.

It is also important to note that this is a creature, not an enchantment. You’re getting a 2/4 body on the board which may be able to soak up a bit of damage. It is open to being zapped by Lava Coil but an enchantment isn’t really that much safer. I would have liked to have seen this card have the afterlife mechanic on it itself so it can give you at least 2 spirit tokens upon death but maybe that would be too much.

You may remember from my write up of Persistent Petitioners that Teysa is of the “advisor” type. I said at the time:

Unfortunately [Teysa] is a legendary creature so you can only have one of those in play at a time which won’t add a huge amount of help to this ability

I stick by that and think that in most petitioners decks you’re going to be served better by an extra petitioner rather than shoe-horning Teysa in, especially as there is no synergy with her token and death trigger abilities. I have talked about duplicating her in this article but even then you’re just wrecking your mana base when you likely want to be playing mono Blue to make petitioners work.

This week of booster packs seems really intent on pushing me to an aristocrats deck and I think this card is the one that will finally get me there. I can see a huge amount of potential in the ability triggering mechanic and whilst it’s a shame that only tokens get the vigilance and lifelink1 that definitely works incredibly well with afterlife.

  1. When I first read it I thought “vigilance and lifelink to all creatures for 4 mana!!!” — got to be careful to notice crucial words like “token” 🤣 ↩︎

This post is part of a weekday series where I open up a booster pack and pick a card to discuss. Whilst these are often the best cards from the set, I'll often pick one that is a bit niche or one that has cool artwork or flavour text. If there's a particular card you want me to take a look at, get in touch or join my Discord community.