MTG Character Profile: Teysa Karlov

Alex KatzMagic Story

The story of Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance revolves around the politics of Ravnica’s guilds and leaders. Some of those officials, such as Vraska and Tajic, will be familiar from recent Magic story; others, like Domri and Lavinia, haven’t been seen in a while. In this post, we’ll look into the life and adventures of Teysa Karlov and tell her story in the form of a decklist.

Teysa is no ordinary Orzhov official. She’s a hundred-plus-year-old baroness, so one might expect her to buy into and happily profit from the Orzhov Syndicate’s money-lending schemes. Instead, Teysa uses her privileged position to try to expose the Orzhov’s corruption and destroy the Obzedat, the council of ancient ghosts that rules the Syndicate.

Teysa’s Story

Teysa began her career as an advokist, a kind of Ravnican lawmage. Known for putting the good of the city before her guild, she famously helped foil a plot by the rogue Izzet magelord Zomaj Hauc to assassinate Niv-Mizzet and take over Ravnica. After the breaking of the Guildpact, Teysa used her experience with the law to play a major role in creating a new Guildpact, and made herself the Grand Envoy of the Obzedat. In this new position, she could mediate between the Obzedat and other guild leaders. Most importantly, she managed to manipulate Jace Beleren, the Living Guildpact, into declaring the Obzedat’s practices illegal.

But Teysa couldn’t resist taking matters into her own hands. With the help of the Boros guildmage Tajic, Teysa broke into the Obzedat’s record room to find evidence that could be used to prosecute the council. However, she could not collect the evidence because of Orzhov magic that negated the effects of the Guildpact. The ghost of her grandfather, Karlov, foiled her plot; subsequently, Teysa was stripped of her title and sent to prison.

Now, at the time of Ravnica Allegiance, Teysa is free once again. She and new guild leader Kaya both disagree with the Syndicate’s practices, but their thoughts on how to run the guild are at odds. Nonetheless, Teysa continues to wait for an opportunity to take back control of the Orzhov from this new outside influence.

Till Debt Do Us Part

The following decklist tells the story of Teysa’s rise to power within the Orzhov Syndicate. It uses creatures with Afterlife and sacrifice outlets to create an army of Spirit tokens that no choice but to do your bidding.

4 Imperious Oligarch
4 Maw of the Obzedat
4 Seraph of the Scales
2 Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts
2 Teysa Karlov
2 Teysa, Orzhov Scion
4 Tithe Taker

Noncreature spells
2 Divine Visitation
2 Ethereal Absolution
2 Final Payment
4 Immortal Servitude
2 Kaya’s Wrath
2 Mortify

4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Godless Shrine
6 Plains
6 Swamp