Torpor Orb has no interaction with undying.

I hate zombies. Kill them once and they never seem to stay dead. One Zombie card that has been seeing some Standard play is Geralf’s Messenger, a 3/2 with undying that deals out 2 points of life loss every time it enters the battlefield. Luckily, there’s a rather unique card in Standard, Torpor Orb, that can stop these shenanigans. However, if I thought I could use Torpor Orb to stop the undying ability, I’d be sadly mistaken.

Here is a list of things Torpor Orb can and cannot do in this case:

  • Torpor Orb CANNOT prevent the undying ability from happening. This is because it only prevents triggered abilities whose trigger condition is a creature entering the battlefield. Undying causes a creature to enter the battlefield as part of its effect, but the trigger condition is a creature dying.
  • Torpor Orb CANNOT stop undying from putting a +1/+1 counter on a creature. Adding the counter is not a triggered ability, but rather an additional effect that occurs as part of undying’s resolution. No player gets priority between the creature entering the battlefield and the counter being put on, because that all happens as one action.
  • Torpor Orb CAN prevent other abilities from triggering as a result of an undying creature re-entering the battlefield. The Orb doesn’t care where the creature entered from, and it stops all abilities that would trigger off this event, not just that creature’s own enters-the-battlefield abilities. For example, a Flayer of the Hatebound on the battlefield would not trigger when Geralf’s Messenger comes back via undying, and the Messenger’s own enters-the-battlefield ability also would not trigger.

Today’s Rules Tip written by
Jen Wong, Level 1 judge from Irvine, CA

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