This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Let's Kill

Hayes There are two Teysas in the universe, only one of which you should be afraid of. The Envoy of Ghosts isn’t fear inspiring. Her ability is only defensive and even then doesn’t protect you from attacks that put you to 0. While she has protection from creatures and can vigilance her way through a crowded board, her cost and ability hinder her near unplayable.

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts                                        Teysa, Orzhov Scion


Orzhov Scion should ring fear into your ears. She can disrupt other creature based decks while still being able to combo off from long range quite easily. Having access to black and white gives her potent tutor capabilities while at the same time being able to recur her threats. You’re not going to beat people down with spirits easily with this deck but you can chump block all day until you find another tutor to go and win the game. The deck is modestly cheap cash-wise to get the core components, and you can put in a heavy financial investment if you want a more complicated package. Yet surprisingly enough she sees very little play. I think her presence as a tier one combo deck goes largely unnoticed. Let’s look at why.

The Buddy System, Combos

Putting one worthless card up with another worthless card and magically getting an infinite loop with them is all what combo EDH is about. Teysa uses so many obscure combo cards that even veteran EDH players can’t really sense when the Teysa player is about to ‘go off’.

Darkest Hour

This card allows Teysa to make an infinite amount of creatures as long as there is a sac outlet. The creatures are black, you sac them, you get a white guy that instantly turns black as a state based action. With this loop you can kill everyone in a number of various ways.

Here are some of the sinks that we can pour our infinite supply of spirits into:

Phyrexian Altar

Altar of Dementia

Ashnod’s Altar

Twilight Drover

They all go infinite with Darkest Hour, but that’s not why the deck gets dangerous. She’s dangerous because unlike other traditional combo decks her combos can find great synergy (sometimes other infinite combos) within each other. Teysa can be built to have so many powerful black and white recurring permanents that it can render all creature based strategies totally worthless.

Recursion is the name of the game. Spirits is her game. Black has many creatures that can come back on their own like Bloodghast or very little cost Nether Traitor. With the many mana and alternate sac outlets like Viscera Seer Teysa can start to stock up silver bullets for a rainy day. The key to knowing how to play or play against Teysa is all about her spirits and white creature count. It represents a shield that the Teysa player has in a similar manner that a blue player might have a counterspell. If you want to pierce a Teysa player’s shield as a creature deck it almost always has to be when they can’t generate 3 white creatures.

Even when a Teysa deck can’t threaten an infinite combo it can still recur stuff and kill you without attack damage. Kokusho, the Evening Star and Yosei, the Morning Star are never far away from a Gift of Immortality. Necromancy and Animate Dead can get back a number of family favorites like cloudgoat ranger or a deadly blood artist. Sun titan wrecks face in this deck.

The consistency of Teysa is only improved with her black/white splash. She has access to all the black expensive tutors, Demonic tutor, and the white enlightened tutor. This makes the deck more versatile as well as more potent. When you don’t have a sac outlet, you find one. When you don’t have a recursion target, get it. Alternatively you can find a Disenchant to clear out any rest in peace in play.

How do I fight against Teysa?

Well its kinda boring. You either run graveyard hate or you smash her face in. Alternatively you can race but I wouldn’t be on being able to beat a deck with combo pieces that have a lower converted mana cost and more ways to search for them. Smashing her face in is also always a slower than expected process because of her ability to make your creatures nonexistent. A pithing needle can stab her really well because it takes away the most common sac outlet: Teysa herself.

Until next time, thanks for reading. If you have any references or suggestions feel free to leave them below.


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