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Join the Ranks
Put two 1/1 white Soldier Ally creature tokens onto the battlefield.
Join the Ranks Discussion
4 months ago
Marshal's Anthem is one of my favourite budget cards in my Tazri deck being fantastic for late-game recovery to make a final push or worst case it's just a nice anthem.
I would argue that Deadeye Navigator is so good in this deck that it's worth spending a few bucks for even for a super-budget build but if you don't want to buy it, Flickerform is another decent choice for the deck. For example, in a similar price range, I would say Deadeye is a lot better than Brago, King Eternal in this deck due to the amount of flexibility it provides, being able to cause rallies BEFORE combat, not to mention going infinite with Chasm Guide and Harabaz Druid .
One more suggestion would be to try to include at least a couple more flicker instants such as Illusionist's Stratagem or Acrobatic Maneuver . Being able to flicker allies while you have Hero or Evangel on the field for protection is almost vital so you want to be able to do this consistently during other players' turns. Join the Ranks is in a similar position: never underestimate being able to get allies to hit the board at instant speed!
10 months ago
I have been making some changes based on suggestions, so I'm not being bloody minded about this exercise.
The same can't be said for Allied Reinforcements.
10 months ago
I know join the ranks is instant, but to be honest I'm not sure it's worth to not play something on your turn.
Anyhow it's all a matter of preference / combat tricks
10 months ago
I would also suggest adding red if 3 colors is on the table. The speed that Akoum Battlesinger, and Reckless Bushwhacker; along with the added evasion that Firemantle Mage provide could really help. It also provides the ageless Lightning Bolt, and can provide some nice sideboard tech. I have also had luck with Claim//Fame.
As for the creatures you do have, I would absolutely up Hada Freeblade to 4. As someone who has played Allies since OG Zendikar, It is and always will be your best turn 1 play outside of Aether Vial (which should also be included if you do not want Collected Company or Hardened Scales. And it plays so nice with Ally Encampment!).
I would also play a full playset of Expedition Envoy. Yes it does not have any triggers itself -- but it is a mildly aggressive body that triggers all your other ally's abilities for one. In Allies, I like to think of it as a sorcery (that can be played with vial) that reads "put a 2/1 token into play. Trigger all of your creature's ETB abilities again." For one Mana? Now it suddenly becomes a busted card. In my experience, you want as many cheap ways to trigger your ally abilities, and Expedition Envoy does it. It also increases the number of hits you have on Orzhov Charm -- another card I have had a fair amount of success with as a 1-of.
I can also tell you that Drana, Liberator of Malakir + Kor Bladewhirl can be a bit of a non-bo at times as the +1/+1 counters will be placed on the other creatures after they do damage. The first strike damage is also not as effective on the offensive side if you already have evasion. I can see 1 or 2 bladewhirls as a neat combat trick on your opponent's turn with vial -- but the creature that will likely be untapped and can block, Kazandu Blademaster (which should also be an auto-include 4 of), already has first strike.
I see you also have some of what I refer to as the combo allies. These are Kalastria Healer, and Zulaport Cutthroat. I refer to them as this as without some enabler, they do not really do much. Now, you have in your sideboard their best enabler in Rally the Ancestors, but if you want to play a Rally the Ancestors, we are starting to look at a wildly different shell. To abuse Zulaport Cutthroat, we likely need some sacrifice engine. Kalastria Healer does not have quite the same constraints, but I feel there are often cards that do its job better. Need life gain? Go with Ondu Cleric. Want more aggression? Go Bojuka Brigand.
In conclusion, I would likely drop some number of Bladewhirls, Dranas, and maybe a Gideon. I would cut Join the Ranks, and Zulaport Cutthroat. I would also consider cutting Kalastria Healer -- but I can see some merit there in its ability to do damage and heal shrug off some damage. Especially if you do not feel like splashing another color. I would up Kazandu Blademaster to 4, add a playset of Expedition Envoy, up Aether Vial to 4, play with a Orzhov Charm or 2, and then play around with number of Bojuka Brigand and some Metallic Mimics. If you want to splash red, I would definitely add 4 Akoum Battlesinger, 3-4 Reckless Bushwhackers, and at least 1 Firemantle Mage.
For the record, I also do not like the idea of Vault of the Archangel. The mana can already be a little tight to cast non ally spells. No need to make it worse.
10 months ago
Lol. Ok, here's the TL;DR:
- Concealed Courtyard = Better than Isolated Chapel.
- Brave the Elements = Bad. I'd run them in the side, if at all.
- Your current sideboard = REALLY bad. I'd replace the whole thing.
- Aether Vial = Good. I'd run them instead of 3x Join the Ranks +1x 3- or 4-drop. And that may allow 21 Lands.
All the details, of course, are above.
10 months ago
So, I ran some tests ... nothing rigorous by any means, basically just a bunch of abbreviated matches (with sideboarding) vs. a few decks from wyquem's Modern Gauntlet. In no particular order (and with all the caveats that come with limited testing), here are some thoughts:
- It felt like the deck wanted to go just a little faster than the mana-base allowed. In particular, there were a few times I wished the Isolated Chapels were Concealed Courtyard (or maybe even Caves of Koilos) instead. I know both of those are already on your 'Cards Already Considered' list, so maybe I'm just missing something ...
- Hada Freeblade was just soooo good. I really wanted to see it every draw, so I'd probably try to fit it in as a 4-of.
- I found Brave the Elements to be EXTREMELY high-variance. It was hilariously amazing in some matchups, but actively bad vs. boardwipes and Colorless Creatures (e.g., those in Hardened Affinity and Gx Tron ... plus Affinity and Eldrazi Tron, though I haven't seen them around much lately). I'm not sure what I'd swap around (and of course something like that is VERY meta-dependent), but it felt MUCH more like a sideboard card than a maindeck card to me. Kabira Evangel had similar challenges, though to a lesser extent.
Speaking of sideboard, I found myself REALLY wishing I had some more hate cards. Here are some thoughts ...
- Graveyard hate: In a current "generic" meta, I would want 4-5x for sure. Rest in Peace is amazing, and Surgical Extraction is a close second. Leyline of the Void is the fastest option, and 4x might be a necessary evil if your meta is overrun with Dredge, Hollow One, and the latest Arclight Phoenix hotness. Incidentally, RIP is amazing vs. Hardened Affinity, since it turns off Modular (from Arcbound Worker and Arcbound Ravager and Thopters from Hangarback Walker). Grafdigger's Cage is nice too in any meta with a bunch of Collected Company or Titan Shift decks.
- Boardwipes: 1-3x would have been nice (maybe zero, but only if we max out on graveyard hate ... and 3x are probably mandatory if Spirits is a thing in your meta, since they're very resistant to targeted removal. Settle the Wreckage is nice because it kind of doubles as graveyard hate, but Damnation/Wrath of God are fine too (and much harder for opponents to play around).
- Artifact hate: Stony Silence is amazing (watch out though if you end up running Captain's Claws, since it shuts down Equip). It doesn't stop everything though, so I like 2-3x Stony + 1-2x Disenchant or Fragmentize.
- Combo hate: The match-ups here were REALLY rough. 3-4x in some mix of Damping Sphere, Rule of Law/Eidolon of Rhetoric, Leyline of Sanctity, and Inquisition of Kozilek/Thoughtseize would have helped a TON.
- Tron hate: I struggled with Tron; 2x Damping Sphere (4x if I didn't also have Stony Silence) would have helped.
- Removal: I liked both Path and Push, but because they're dead vs. Combo and dead-ish vs. Control, I might back down a little from 4x of each in the 75. Maybe 3x of each and then 1-2x of a more generic removal (e.g., Oblivion Ring).
- General Utility: Auriok Champion, Aven Mindcensor, Blessed Alliance, Collective Brutality, Kambal, Consul of Allocation, Phyrexian Arena, and Runed Halo may be worth a look. You'll know it if you want them :-)
I also ran a few games with 4x Aether Vial. I cut 1x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and 3x Join the Ranks to make room, though I'm almost certain that was not the optimal place to find the slots. Nevertheless, it really felt like a huge upgrade.
- I never brought in Gideon, Ally of Zendikar from the side, so it kind of felt like 3x in the 75 was plenty. Taking one out for a Vial was probably not correct though.
- I had very mixed feelings on Join the Ranks, which is why I chose to put the Vials there. As you mention in your description, it can make a GREAT combat trick, and it definitely bailed me out of some otherwise very sticky situations. However, Vialing in another Ally often had the same benefit, plus it's much harder for an opponent to play around. It's also 4 mana, so it was at kind of an uncomfortable point on the curve. At 4 mana I generally wanted to slam Gideon, and that got me wondering if sacrificing the Instant speed for a 3-mana effect (i.e., Oath of Gideon) might actually be better.
- Vial is of course great vs. Control, but I never realized how good it was with Drana, Liberator of Malakir. Being able to Vial her in at the end of an opponent's turn (thus avoiding all their main-phase Removal) just felt GREAT. Vialing in Kabira Evangel won a couple games too.
- Since I swapped out 4x 4-drops for the Vials, I'm pretty sure I could have run 21 Lands. Not sure where the slots would best come from, but 21 vs. 22 Lands may deserve some special attention.
Anyways, hope that something in this Wall of Text was useful, and sorry for wasting your time with the pieces that weren't!
As always, draw well!
1 year ago
Kabira Evangel is a nice way to get your swingers like Hada Freeblade and Oran-Rief Survivalist through. Kazandu Blademaster is one of the best swingy allies in my opinion. I also would consider a few Captain's Claws for more Rally triggers.
If there's still space, I also would suggest a few Ondu Clerics. With one on the field when you play another Ally, you'll gain two life. With two, you'll gain 6. With three, you'll gain 12. With a full playset, you'll gain 20. Lantern Scout and Talus Paladin are nice as well.
You also could consider adding a slight splash of black so you can run cards like March from the Tomb.
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