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A $40 BUDGET VERSION OF THIS DECK CAN BE FOUND HERE!

Consider checking out this version if Allies are new to you or if you're building on a tight budget. More information concerning this decks pricing can be found at the end of this guide.

ALLIES: ASSEMBLE!

allies assembled

Allies use heavy ETB effects to increase power and take down the opposition.

Pros

  • Commander allows for tutor of "need now" effects.
  • Creatures provide repeating effects.
  • Most creatures grow larger as game progresses.
  • Plenty of interactive/fun spells/abilities.

Cons

  • Extremely casual playstyle.
  • 5 colors can cause mana problems.
  • Board wiping hinders deck functionality.
  • Torpor Orb will ruin your entire day.

TACTICS AND WARPLAY

inspired charge

The biggest gameplay tactic involves finding ways to actuate your Allies on your opponents turn. Stunt Double , Cackling Counterpart , Join the Ranks , Wake the Dead , Kindred Summons , and even Divergent Transformations can be used to achieve this effect.

If you manage to imprint an Ally onto your Mimic Vat or Soul Foundry , consider using its activated ability during your opponent's combat step. From the simple +1/+1 counter and Lifelink to the overpowered Protection and Indestructibility, a single Ally hitting the field can completely ruin your opponent's offensive actions.

The same is true for any sacrifice land like Bant Panorama or Terramorphic Expanse in congruence with Retreat to Emeria . Sacrificing the land on your opponent's turn will cause Landfall to trigger, summoning an Ally.

Vedalken Orrery or Leyline of Anticipation will provide Flash effects continuously. In a multiplayer game, don't be afraid to disregard Leyline of Anticipation's "start on the battlefield" effect in the case that it's in your opening hand. Casting it later in the game will give it a slightly higher survival chance and make you less of a target from the get-go.

Mirrorpool can also be pretty versatile in a pinch. You can double up on a Cackling Counterpart or Join the Ranks , increasing the Ally count as they enter the battlefield. If you don't have a spell to copy, its second ability can trigger Allies, as well.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to let your opponents have their fun while you wait to respond. Sit quietly until the end of the last opponent's end step to see if someone is going to drop a board-wipe before throwing down that Hero of Goma Fada via Vedalken Orrery . If you know an opponent wants your board clear, and you already have Hero of Goma Fada down, save an extra for your Mimic Vat just in case they respond to your Flash Stunt Double . Always assume your opponents have an answer to your shenanigargles and formulate accordingly.


BATTLE OPTIONS

munda ambush leader

General Tazri 's ability to tutor Allies upon ETB is invaluable. Knowing what you need and when you need it can turn an imminent defeat into a stunning victory. Jwari Shapeshifter , Progenitor Mimic , Stunt Double , Rite of Replication , Kindred Charge , Cackling Counterpart , Flameshadow Conjuring , Splinter Twin , Blade of Selves , and Mirrorpool 's second ability can all be used to safely create copies of Tazri. While the copies will be put into the Graveyard (or original will be put into the Command Zone, depending on preference.) as a state-based action, you will still benefit from her tutor effect as well as an Ally trigger (The copy won't be counted once all triggers resolve, mind you.). Progenitor Mimic will create a tutor effect every turn on your upkeep if you put Tazri into the Command Zone instead of sacrificing the shapeshifter (The token it creates will die as a state-based action.). However, remember that being a Commander is not a characteristic and that it is a property of the card and tied directly to the physical card. As such, shapeshifters won't copy the "Commander-ness", disallowing you from inflicting Commander damage until your actual Commander is recast.

Grabbing Munda, Ambush Leader will ensure you have a steady stream of Allies every turn when you want (Just remember: His ability is optional. If you need lands/non-creature spells, ignore his ability for a couple turns!). If your running low on card advantage, Sea Gate Loremaster is a great option to fill your hand (Just be careful with how many cards you'll be drawing. It's easy to deck youself when the figurative snowball starts rolling.). Searching for Hero of Goma Fada prior to a major combat maneuver and/or board wipe can be devastating (Best used with Flash effects!).

Always remember that most Allies' abilities are optional (i.e. You "may" choose to perform those actions.).

Know you options. And use them.


ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

angelic captain

The second biggest deck element is knowing what should be played first and foremost based on your current available options. Allies that enter with +1/+1 counters tend to be best played before Allies with static abilities that become redundant in excess.

Example 1: Casting Kazandu Blademaster before casting Unified Front (Fully converging it by spending .) nets you a 6/6 with First Strike and Vigilance along with four 1/1's. However, casting Unified Front first only yields a 2/2 with First Strike and Vigilance, along with four 1/1's.

Example 2: Casting Hero of Goma Fada before a Kazuul Warlord will ensure the Kazuul Warlord is not destroyed immediately upon entering the battlefield. However, casting Kazuul Warlord first yields both a bigger Warlord and Hero.

Never think about what you might draw into (i.e. "Heart of the cards."). Formulate decisions based on cards in your hand and on the battlefield.

Know what you have, when you want it, and when it would best be used.


THEY'LL BE BACK

march from the tomb

The bounce ability of Ally Encampment can be used to "save" an Ally if a kill spell is targeting it. Some spells - such as Divergent Transformations - can also take advantage of the death of you Allies (It's dead anyways, so might as well trigger the rest of your Allies off of its attempted death.). This - of course - means you'll have to keep some mana open to perform these actions. Try to think ahead and ask yourself, "Is this Ally an imminent threat to my opponent? What are the chances of a kill spell targeting it in the near future?"

Cauldron of Souls can be used as an "infinite" resurrection tool when targeting any Ally that enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it (Examples are Kazandu Blademaster or Nimana Sell-Sword .). The +1/+1 counter and -1/-1 counter will cancel each other out, allowing the Cauldron to be used again. If Kazuul Warlord is on the battlefield, all Allies will perform this action of negating the -1/-1 counter.


C-C-C-COMBO MAKER

unified front

Once you have amassed a small army of Allies, managing all the triggered abilities can become complicated. If you're having trouble keeping up with all of them, try keeping them in the order - from left to right - that they entered the battlefield. When you put another Ally down, go through each Allies' effect one at a time. You don't want to skip over anyone!

For instances involving March from the Tomb , Wake the Dead , Unified Front , Join the Ranks , Kindred Charge , Kindred Summons , Rite of Replication , Blade of Selves , or Divergent Transformations where multiple Allies would enter the battlefield all at once, the algorithm is:

[Number of Allies Entering the Battlefield] x [Number of Allies with the Ability] x [Number of Allies the Ability Looks For]

This can be a bit confusing and misleading at times, so here's several examples:

Example 1: You kick Rite of Replication on your Ondu Cleric and he's the only Ally you control at the time. 5x6x6 = You gain 180 life.

Example 2: You kick Rite of Replication on your Kalastria Healer with Agadeem Occultist also on the battlefield. Since Kalastria Healer's ability doesn't scale for each Ally you control, [Number of Allies the Ability Looks For] = 1. 5x6x1 = Each opponent loses 30 life and you gain 30 life.

Example 3: You cast a fully converged Unified Front with Hagra Diabolist and Jwari Shapeshifter (Copying Hagra Diabolist.) on the battlefield. 4x2x6 = You can have one opponent lose 48 life, or have up to 8 opponents lose 6 life each (Or any combination of 6 life loss up to 8 times.).

Example 4: You attack 1 out of 6 opponents with your 4/4 Kazuul Warlord equipped with Blade of Selves , putting 5 tokens of the Warlord onto the battlefield. Since Kazuul Warlord doesn't put a +1/+1 counter for each Ally, but rather on each Ally, [Number of Allies the Ability Looks For] = 1. 5x6x1 = 30 +1/+1 counters on each Ally you control.

No, the math isn't wrong. If it all seems a little ridiculous, it's because it is. You'll notice that Allies printed after Worldwake have abilities that seem far less overpowered. That's because they don't concern themselves with the number of Allies you control at the time their ability resolves.

Ready for the quiz? Try and solve this one yourself!

Example 5: You control a Hagra Diabolist , Halimar Excavator , Jwari Shapeshifter (copying the Hagra Diabolist), Kazuul Warlord and Tajuru Warcaller . You cast March from the Tomb , returning Harabaz Druid , Kalastria Healer , Kazandu Blademaster , and Ondu Cleric to the battlefield. What happens? (Answer at the end of the guide)


TAKE 'EM DOWN

outnumber

Knowing how to do the math makes the rest simple: Bring in as many Allies into the battlefield at once to cause the most damage. Join the Ranks and a fully converged Unified Front won't provide any amazing effects by themselves, but if you already have a number of Allies on the battlefield waiting, the finished product can be deadly.

March from the Tomb and Wake the Dead or activating Cauldron of Souls just before a board-wipe can have a similar effect. Just be wary of any effects that exile cards from graveyards. If your opponent is focusing heavily on making sure the creatures they kill stay dead, you might need to divert your focus elsewhere or sideboard in some counter magic.

Kindred Charge , Kindred Summons , a kicked Rite of Replication , and even Blade of Selves when facing enough opponents can simply end games if your presence on the battlefield is large enough. These should be the cards you gun for late-game. Increasing Ambition can help fetch for them if you have yet to draw into them, and Praetor's Counsel can grab them if you were forced to use them before being able to set up decent formations.

Divergent Transformations will normally fulfill the role as removal, but if two Allies entering the battlefield can get a fair amount of damage or gain the upper hand, don't be afraid to trade two tokens or Allies with sub-par abilities for a chance at the win.


PREPARE ACCORDINGLY

gideon jura

Keep a large sideboard with various options. For example, in a 1v1 game, Blade of Selves is worthless. Swap it out with Helm of the Host or Captain's Claws . If your opponent is packing heavy creature removal, consider bringing graveyard recursion effects like Seance , Back from the Brink , or even Phyrexian Reclamation .

A kicked Rite of Replication can quickly end games, but in multiplayer you might want to consider more interactive/fun substitutions. Clone Legion can be devastating in a different way by evening out effects and making a single-sorcery victory feel more justified due to reliance on board-state. Tempt with Reflections creates extremely interesting politics and plea bargains.

Xenograft and Arcane Adaptation works great for turning opponent controlled creatures (Taken by Agadeem Occultist or donated.) into Allies to increase the number count for triggers. It also creates "infinite" Wolf Ally creature tokens if Turntimber Ranger hits the field afterwards (As well as an "infinite number of triggers for all your other Allies.). But try not to focus too much on infinite combos. They tend to have little interactive gameplay and result in bitter losses.


DECK & CARD PRICES

greed

Cavern of Souls ? Really?

Relax. I didn't put Cavern of Souls in because it makes the deck more competitive, I put it in because I had one on hand. If you don't have a Cavern of Souls, please don't drop $70 trying to recreate this deck. Rupture Spire , Transguild Promenade , or Gateway Plaza fulfill the same role while only offsetting your mana a bit. Ancient Ziggurat is also a great substitution with the only drawback being conditional mana. And in a casual environment, this isn't necessarily going to kill you.

The same can be said for Mutavault , Gideon, Ally of Zendikar , or any card over $10. While they might make the deck run better by giving more options, they're not deal-makers/breakers.

Remember that this deck is extremely casual and won't fair well at competitive 1v1 EDH events. Construct accordingly.

A $40 BUDGET VERSION OF THIS DECK CAN BE FOUND HERE!

This version lacks the sudden power drops like Kindred Summons and Rite of Replication , but still offers an easy intro to those interested in trying this deck without dropping mad cash. If you enjoy the play-style of Allies, you can expand upon it by following this guide or looking for your own ways to improve upon it.




Answer to example 5 of section 6:

4 Allies are entering the battlefield at the same time. You'll control 9 Allies in total. All of these abilities will resolve in whichever order you choose:

Hagra Diabolist & Jwari Shapeshifter : 4x2x9 = You can have one opponent lose 72 life, or have up to 8 opponents lose 9 life each (Or any combination of 9 life loss up to 8 times.).

Halimar Excavator 4x1x9 = You can have one opponent put the top 36 cards of his/her library into his/her graveyard, or have up to 4 opponents put the top 9 cards of their libraries into their graveyards (Or any combination of 9 cards up to 4 times.).

Kazuul Warlord 4x1x1 = Put four +1/+1 counters on all nine Allies you control.

Tajuru Warcaller 4x1x1 = All nine Allies you currently control get +8/+8 until the end of turn.

Kalastria Healer 4x1x1 = Each opponent loses 4 life and you gain 4 life.

Kazandu Blademaster 4x1x1 = Kazandu Blademaster gets four +1/+1 counters.

Ondu Cleric 4x1x9 = You gain 36 life.

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