Copies are far better than flickering when it comes to Allies; it's astonishing how little that seems to be known. Not only do you get the ETB trigger from the one entering, but the thing it copies ALSO sees it entering, and often enough each one is counting up the number of Allies on the field to provide the effect.

This deck isn't as streamlined as Food Chain Tazri; there are absolutely no infinite combos in this deck, on purpose. But it doesn't fall into the trap that so many non-Food Chain Tazri Ally decks seem to fall into, which is, essentially, "pack as many Allies into one deck as is feasible, sliver them up with keyword abilities, and try to win through combat damage." Instead, this deck uses the power of cloning (usually with tokens, to great effect with token doublers) to win in an explosive and extremely satisfying manner.

Something that is actually rather important to this deck is the interaction between Allies that enter the battlefield simultaneously: in these circumstances, each Ally sees the other entering and triggers off of it. So, if, say, an Ondu Cleric and a Hagra Diabolist enter the battlefield simultaneously (perhaps due to being flickered by an Eerie Interlude), the Cleric will trigger twice and the Diabolist will also trigger twice - once for itself, and once for the other Ally that it sees entering the battlefield. Each triggered ability goes onto the Stack at the same time, and then each ability resolves by counting the number of Allies that are on the battlefield upon resolution. The result would be gaining 4 life off of the Ondu Cleric (2 triggers x 2 Allies on the field upon resolution of each trigger) AND causing 4 life to be drained from opponents thanks to the Diabolist.

This is quite different from what happens with one creature entering at a time. If an Ondu Cleric enters the battlefield and is then followed by a Hagra Diabolist, the Cleric will only gain you 3 life (1 when it enters plus 2 from the Diabolist entering) and the Diabolist will only drain 1 opponent for 2 life. It is pretty much always better to have Allies enter simultaneously whenever possible, if only so that each one can count towards the total number of Allies on the field upon the resolution of triggered abilities.

And yes, this can get way out of hand wherever multiple token copies of the same creature are entering the battlefield simultaneously.

Win Cons

Halimar Excavator and Hagra Diabolist are the main win conditions through milling and life loss; pretty typical for Allies, but they get the job done extremely efficiently, particularly as the copies begin to hit the field and the cards milled/life lost increases exponentially. (The Diabolist is also a Shaman, and this deck has a surprising number of those, which can be useful for cheating things out via the Cryptic Gateway even with some of the non-Ally creatures that follow.)

The Turntimber Ranger can also be a win con through drowning opponents in wolf tokens, or else provides basic defense through chump blockers - note, however, that I deliberately left all Conspiracy-esque abilities out of this deck. While I was already careful to avoid infinite combos with this deck, two-card infinite combos in particular are just no fun - especially when you can just tutor out one of the components from your command zone. That said, the Ranger can still be a potent force when left unchecked, and is a worthwhile target for your cloning abilities.

The Ondu Cleric deserves a mention here as well - while not a wincon, he can pump your life to insane heights and put you reasonably beyond the reach of decks that win based on regular damage - at least long enough to pull off the victory some other way.

Ramp

Harabaz Druid is the undisputed MVP in this domain, and frequently the first card I tutor out with Tazri. She turns all Heat Shimmer-esque token spells into mana ramp spells, all normal cloning spells into ramp with the help of Lightning Greaves or the Chasm Guide, and is just generally a formidable dork. Sucks that she's just a 0/1 and hence VERY vulnerable to pingers, but I guess they had to nerf her somehow.

Beastcaller Savant and Farhaven Elf are nowhere near as explosive as the Druid, but they can also serve this purpose. Since we're already oriented towards getting as much value as possible out of creature ETB triggers, it's worth remembering that not every basic utility ETB effect in the deck needs to be an Ally; the Farhaven Elf is still a worthy source of ramp and fixing, an entirely reasonable target for cloning and flickering when mana screwed, and even useful for getting her fellow Elves out with a Cryptic Gateway.

And the Birds of Paradise is purely for the fact that it's one green mana for both ramp and fixing, which is about as efficient as it gets.

The rest of the ramp is all artifact-based, and besides the Sol Ring can at least theoretically tap for any color. I did this because 1) having a purely generic casting cost means it doesn't matter what color the lands you use to cast it are, and 2) Brago, King Eternal can flicker them (can't do that with lands!) and unlike the Harabaz Druid they don't need a haste enabler to be used again on the very same turn.

In its own way, the Herald's Horn both falls into this category and that of

Card Draw

This was not really the best version of five-color card draw available; I sort of slapped together what cards I had.

The Sea Gate Loremaster, like the Harabaz Druid, is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition here, drawing fistfuls of cards with every tap with zero downside. Also a prime candidate for copies (especially hasted copies), he can also provide minor defense with his respectable 1/3 body and can even withstand an opposing Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. The Malakir Soothsayer is much less potent than the Loremaster but stll provides reasonably consistant card draw every turn. And she's an Ally, and a Shaman to boot, which helps with all the tribal synergies going on in the deck.

Mulldrifter, like the Farhaven Elf, is here despite not being an Ally. Panharmonicon, Flameshadow Conjuring, and the Bramble Sovereign don't care about whether a creature is an Ally or even if it's been Evoked, and a non-Evoked Drifter can be used over and over again with additional abilities like Twinflame or Conjurer's Closet.

Painful Truths escaped my notice for the longest time but is actually a very efficient draw spell in five colors, and even counts as a flavor win.

The rest of the draw spells are nothing special. If you get enough mana going with the Harabaz Druid I guess you could turn Stroke of Genius or Damnable Pact into kill spells but at that point you're probably going to win anyway.

Board Wipes

Just two: Heaven / Earth and Dusk / Dawn. Most (not all) Allies can survive the Dusk and be brought back by the Dawn; meanwhile, something that continues to bother me about this deck is the general absence of air defense. Heaven is the main tool this deck has for wiping the skies, and then Earth can be protected against using Kabira Evangel or the Hero of Goma Fada (who protects against Dusk as well.) Should probably expand this category a bit but would need to figure out what to cut first.

Targeted Removal

Murasa Pyromancer is expensive and can be easily outclassed by creatures with Indestructible or just sufficiently high toughness. That being said, he can be tutored out with Tazri, he's a Shaman who works with other Shamans and the Cryptic Gateway, and when he really gets going (read: with enough copies or just other Allies entering the field) he can function as a sort of one-sided targeted-damage-based board wipe.

The Tuktuk Scrapper is artifacts only, but he deals with them and their owners quite brutally; and as might be expected, he absolutely shreds through artifact-based decks. One reason I might consider adding a Mycosynth Lattice to the list...

The Reclamation Sage, like the Mulldrifter and the Farhaven Elf, is here purely for having an ETB trigger that does a lot of good. This one is both an Elf AND a Shaman, and so is of particular use with the Cryptic Gateway.

Other targeted removal is spell-based - the Allies just don't have much naturally-occurring removal within their ranks. However, being in five colors does expand your options quite a bit. Besides, having an answer to that one guy who brought a Torpor Orb or a Hushwing Gryff can be crucial for your survival, as those kinds of cards can otherwise completely hose this deck.

Of note is that Sundering Growth can also Populate one of your tokens; this card can be used at instant speed in a pinch to copy an Ally token and obtain a Rally trigger right when you might need it most.

Speaking of tokens, let's take a look at the

Token Producers

A few tokens this deck produces are standard vanilla Allies of various sorts who are nevertheless useful for Rally triggers, as well as adding to the total number of Allies counted for some effects. Retreat to Emeria turns every land drop into an Ally, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar pops a new Ally for free every turn, and Unified Front and Join the Ranks are just solid Ally token-producing spells. (JtR has the added benefit of being at Instant speed, in case your Hero of Goma Fada needs someone to help him give all your guys Indestructible for weathering the latest board wipe.)

But of course, what you're REALLY after here is the copies. Creating a copy of an Ally with a Rally ability is one of the most valuable things you can do, since the number of triggers that land on the stack literally grow exponentially; not only that, but once the abilities resolve, there are additional Allies on the battlefield that are included in the total being counted, which inevitably means good things for you and bad things for your opponents.

Four of the copy-token producers create Heat Shimmer-esque tokens with haste that disappear at the end of the turn:

Mimic Vat - doubles as very selective graveyard hate, since it can be Imprinted with your opponents' cards as well.

Twinflame - cheap and useful; if you've got the mana, I would particularly recommend springing for the Strive cost if you have a Harabaz Druid out, since you're guaranteed to get the mana back.

Flameshadow Conjuring - at least 2x value on every Ally entering the field basically, and that's not even getting started on the madness that is Panharmonicon.

Kindred Charge - a game-finisher, since Rally triggers are going off all over the place and every Ally entering sees every other Ally entering simultaneously, and then most of the effects (the ones you care about, anyway) resolve with tallying up the number of total Allies on the field regardless of whether they go away at end of turn.

Although they don't add to your Ally count in the long run, these tokens can nonetheless be potent. A hasty Harabaz Druid token is pure mana ramp, and a Sea Gate Loremaster or Malakir Soothsayer is card draw. If you do it properly, you might even win before reaching your End Step anyway.

The rest of the token copies are and stable and persist beyond turns, adding to your Ally count and probably also to the number of Rally tiggers that go off whenever one of them or another Ally enters the battlefield. Although these do not have Haste, never discount the utility of a Lightning Greaves or a Chasm Guide to enable their tap effects anyway.

Cackling Counterpart - instant speed, and has flashback, which can make for some especially fun plays once your opponents have forgotten that it lies dormant in your graveyard. (Just don't forget about it yourself.)

Rite of Replication - as with Kindred Charge, this is often a game-finisher, since a Kicked RoR results in five tokens that enter SIMULTANEOUSLY. Remember what was said earlier about things entering simultaneously? Well, a Hagra Diabolist on an otherwise-empty field that is targed by a Kicked RoR triggers 5 times (once for each Ally it sees entering) and drains 6 life for each trigger (1 for each Ally on the field) - and 5 HAGRA DIABOLIST TOKEN COPIES DO THE SAME THING, resulting in a whopping 180 points of life being lost (in 6-point increments) by all of your opponents. And that's with no other Allies on the field and nothing else to bump up the number of triggers hitting the Stack.

Soul Foundry - I was honestly unsure about this but it seems to have proved useful when the creature Imprinted is sufficiently cheap. A Jwari Shapesifter is probably the best thing to put on here, but the Harabaz Druid and Halimar Excavator have also led to some entertaining results. It also helps that the Vault can be used at instant speed and requires only generic mana.

Progenitor Mimic and Vizier of Many Faces - Card-copies that can nevertheless CREATE token-copies; being cards themselves, they can also be flickered to adopt more useful forms. The Vizier is also technically a Cleric, which is good news when you have two Ondu Clerics and a Cryptic Gateway.

And on the subject of copies, while it nowise creates tokens, the Jwari Shapeshifter is tutorable with Tazri and doubles up on whatever effect you need most of at the low low cost of only two mana. (And copying a Progenitor Mimic that is in turn copying another Ally actually DOES let it create tokens. The more you know.)

Enablers

Time to talk about some of the more interesting things you can have lying around on your battlefield. By themselves they do nothing; with the right combination of cards, though, they will win you the game before your opponents have even realized you were a threat.

The Panharmonicon would already be a staple in a deck built on ETB triggers; however, it even has the sneaky hidden ability to doubling up on the effects of Flameshadow Conjuring and Bramble Sovereign, allowing you to pay a little bit extra to get a SECOND token. A token which then gets its own ETB ability (and the abilities of those it Rallies with) triggered an additional time thanks to Panharmonicon being on the field.

Mathy Rules Stuff Show

Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives are also overperformers. They don’t double up on triggers per se, but they DO double up on the tokens produced; tokens which enter SIMULTANEOUSLY and SEE EACH OTHER ENTERING, as touched upon previously. I shan’t bore you with the complexities: I will, however, say that the same scenario presented earlier that replaces the Panharmonicon with a Parallel Lives will have 7 triggers which each see 3 Allies on your battlefield, which translates to 21 life lost for only one extra mana spent. Not bad at all. Then play your land for turn with Retreat to Emeria out, and you get TWO tokens entering simultaneously, equalling 2x3x5= AN ADDITIONAL 30 life lost. These are not unrealistic scenarios, either; they can and have won games.

Flickerers

Although I much prefer creating copies of things, I haven't disavowed ALL flicker abilities, in no small part because having a card ETB creates triggers to create token copies of that card!

Brago, King Eternal is the ONLY creature in the deck that is MEANT to attack. When he lands a hit, however (and you can usually find one guy at the table who has no fliers or reachers), you can flicker whatever nonland permanents you like and have them enter the battlefield simultaneously. The utility of having things enter simultaneously has already been mentioned, but it is also worth pointing out that Brago can also flicker your mana rocks and have them enter untapped for a nice little mana boost in your second main phase - or you can just use them to pay for Flameshadow Conjuring/Bramble Sovereign and get some token copies of the cards you just flickered.

Conjurer's Closet is basically a free flicker outlet; after a one-time investment of five mana, it pays free dividends on just about every turn until your opponents wisen up and remove it (costing them a removal effect in the process).

Eerie Interlude - Simultaneous entering AGAIN, plus instant-speed protection against board wipes.

Eldrazi Displacer - replaced Deadeye Navigator after I decided to take out all the infinite combos; his ability can also be used to tap down your opponents' troublesome creatures.

Recursion

March from the Tomb and Grave Upheaval - the latter can be used in the early game to provide fixing as well. Very useful card.

So there you have it. Questions or recommendations are welcome.

Suggestions

Updates Add

Comments

62% Casual

38% Competitive

Date added 9 months
Last updated 9 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.63
Tokens 2/2 Wolf, 0/0 Zombie Shapeshifter Cleric, 2/2 Knight Ally, 1/1 Kor Ally, Gideon, */* Generic, 1/1 Soldier Ally
Folders Uncategorized
Votes
Ignored suggestions
Shared with
Views