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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tribal Theme – Join the Ranks

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Deck Ideas, FAQ, In-Depth FAQ

Join the Ranks

Need Help? Just Dial 555-ALLY.

Hi and welcome to yet another Tribal theme in EDH. Today showcased Tribe is a rather new Creature type which was introduced rather late in MtG history – Ally. They were not the traditional Creature types and were more like a Class Creature type rather than Creature type, with their main strength depending on their numbers. Most Allies are of a Creature Tribe with a class and the Ally class as another sub class. Now with initial inductions done, let’s take a deeper look into this group of Creatures and their potential in EDH.

 

Back History:

A Team Fights Together!!

A Team Fights Together!!

The Ally Creature was first made their debut in Zendikar block. They are people or Creatures that have joined together in an association for mutual benefits or to achieve a common purpose, sort of like a task party for a quest. So far they were mainly featured exclusively in both Zendikar and Worldwake set. Following the adventure and treasure hunting theme of Zendikar block and setting, Ally works better as their numbers grow. This is show in game term as a main theme among them with their enter the battlefield effects which will trigger when an Ally enters the battlefield. This will usually triggers the said Ally’s ability and abilities of the other Ally already on the battlefield; thus generating a huge trigger if you have huge army of Allies. Some of the Allies have activated abilities with effect range dependent on the number of Allies you control. Thus like forming an explore party; strength is their numbers to the Allies. The more you have the more powerful they are. No other Tribe emphasized as much on teamwork as the Allies. But as with all Creature based strategy, Allies are very vulnerable to board sweep too. One timely board sweep could cripple the deck since you be left with nothing after that and will have rebuild afterwards.

 

Grow in Strength:

Kazandu Blademaster

“If you hire a sell-sword, you’d better watch your back. Hire me, and I’ll watch it for you.”

A basic Ally are those that grow with +1/+1 counters as they or another Ally enters the battlefield. To allow them to be easily available in normal variant back then, they were quite evenly distributed among the colors. Thus in EDH, we are given more choices to choose which few to use. This group of Ally is usually the beatdown group and used as your melee attackers or blockers as they have the benefit of entering the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on them since they trigger on their own ability when they enter the battlefield and then goes on to grow with each new Ally entering the battlefield after them. This makes them cost effective attackers even when their base power and toughness are low as EDH multiplayer games are usually very long. A recommendation when choosing among this group would be to choose those that are of the lower cc range since beatdown Creatures are prone to board sweep. Choosing the low cc would allow you to start beatdown when you draw them early or cast multiples in a same turn when you draw them in the late game.

Name

cc

P/T after entering battlefield

Remarks

Bojuka Brigand

1B

2/2

Good low cc attacker but can’t block.

Graypelt Hunter

3G

3/3

Comes with Trample for better beatdown.

Hada Freeblade

W

1/2

Basic beatdown Ally for White. Recommended for its low cc.

Kazandu Blademaster

WW

2/2

Another basic beatodown Ally with added First Strike and Vigilance

Kazuul Warlord

4R

4/4

Acting Ally Lord which grows all your Allies as well as itself.

Makindi Shieldmate

2W

1/4

Ally Wall. Not too recommended due to it having Defender.

Nimana Sell-Sword

3B

3/3

Basic beatdown Ally for Black.

Oran-Rief Survivalist

1G

2/2

Basic beatdown Ally for Green. Recommended for its low cc.

Talus Paladin

3W

3/4

Grows himself while giving all your Allies Lifelink.

Tuktuk Grunts

4R

3/3

Basic beatdown Ally for Red. Comes with Haste.

Turntimber Ranger

3GG

3/3

Grows himself while giving you an army of 2/2 Green Wolf tokens.

Umara Raptor

2U

2/2

Basic Flying beatdown Ally for Blue.

 

I Help You, You Help Me:

Joraga Bard

Singing your victory all year round

Some Allies grant abilities to all Allies instead of growing in strength with their trigger abilities. Depending on the abilities you want, this group of Allies could be used to break through your opponent’s defenses when used. If you are able to cheat Allies onto the battlefield, this group of Allies can be combat tricks, making combat a tricky thing for your opponents.

Akoum Battlesinger

Pumps +1/+0 to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

Highland Berserker

Gives First Strike to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

Joraga Bard

Gives Vigilance to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

Kabira Evangel

Gives Protection from a color to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

Seascape Aerialist

Gives Flying to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

Talus Paladin

Gives Lifelink to all your Allies until end of turn when it or Ally enters the battlefield.

 

The More the Merrier:

Murasa Pyromancer

Need a fire? Call me ~

This is another group of Allies whose trigger abilities do not involve growing of Power and toughness but are effects which depends on the number of Allies. Their ability effects become bigger as you control more Allies thus making it a “the more the merrier” situation.

Bala Ged Thief

Target player reveal cards in hand equal to number of Allies you control, you choose and discard one.

Hagra Diabolist

Make target player lose life equals to number of Allies you control.

Halimar Excavator

Mill target player for each Ally you control.

Murasa Pyromancer

Deals damage equals to number of Allies you control to target Creature.

Ondu Cleric

Gain life equals to number of Allies you control.

Tajuru Archer

Deals damage equals to number of Allies you control to target Flying Creature.

Tuktuk Scrapper

Destroy target Artifact and deals damage equals to number of Allies you control to Artifact’s controller.

 

With Great Numbers Comes Great Abilities:

Vastwood Animist

Small creatures, Big Army.

A last but not least group of Allies are those that have a tap ability which effect depends on the number of Allies. As they are an Ally themselves too, their ability is at least 1 by default.

Agadeem Occultist

Steal opponent’s Creature in the graveyard if its cc is lesser or equal to number of Allies you control.

Harabaz Druid

X mana of any one color. X is equals to number of Allies you control.

Sea Gate Loremaster

Draw a card for each Ally you control.

Vastwood Animist

Animate a Land you control into an X/X Elemental Creature until end of turn. X is equals to number of Allies you control.

 

Instant Alliance:

Hunting Grounds

Joining in the hunt on the Hunting Grounds

Since they are Creatures, Allies can’t be cast normally out of your turns. Besides Join the Ranks, which is an instant which creates Ally tokens, it would be extra beneficial if you could cast the Allies instantly. Your opponents will be put on alert with these follow methods to put Allies onto the battlefield at instant speed. These methods could also be employed out of Ally Tribal theme if you need to cast spells which can’t be cast normally out of your turn.

AEther Vial

Put a Creature with cc equals to the number of charge counters on AEther Vial from hand to battlefield.

Aluren / Leyline of Anticipation / Vedalken Orrery

Let you cast Allies though they had Flash.

Belbe’s Portal

Put a Creature of chosen type from hand to battlefield.

Cryptic Gateway

Tap two Allies to put an Ally from hand to battlefield.

Hunting Grounds

Threshold – Put a Creature from hand to battlefield whenever an opponent casts a spell.

Mercadian Lift

Stores winch counters slowly and use them to put Creature with cc equals to winch counters used from hand to battlefield.

Mimic Vat

Repetitive summoning of dead Ally imprinted on it.

Quicksilver Amulet

Put a Creature from hand to battlefield.

Riptide Replicator / Volrath’s Laboratory

Creates customized Ally tokens.

Soul Foundry

Repetitive summoning of Ally imprinted on it. Risky as you lose the Ally if the Artifact is destroyed.

 

En Mass Recruitment:

As good as the Allies are with their abilities, you won’t be able to keep casting them over and over again as you will eventually run out of Allies to cast. One way to go about this is to blink them out and in of the battlefield. This way you could get their trigger abilities again as they reenter the battlefield. Besides blinking them, you could also reanimate those dead ones back in too. Another strategy famous with the Allies is to blink or reanimate them in mass. Since they will trigger into each other trigger abilities, it become very devastating when you bring a whole bunch of them onto the battlefield. If all else failed, you could just bounce them and then recast them again.

Blink

Cloudshift / Flicker / Ghostly Flicker / Liberate / Momentary Blink / Otherworldly Journey / Turn to Mist / Voidwalk

Blink target Ally or Allies.

Conjurer’s Closet

Blink target Ally at your every upkeep.

Flickerwisp / Glimmerpoint Stag / Restoration Angel

Creatures with blink attached.

Ghostway

Blink your whole army of Allies. Foil against board sweep.

Mistmeadow Witch

Can blink multiple times per turn.

Venser, the Sojourner

Blink your Ally as you build towards his imba ultimate.

Restoration Angel

Saving everyone asses from hardcore normal variant tournament to EDH 

 

Reanimation

Cauldron Haze / Cauldron of Souls

Gives Persist to all your Allies. Cauldron Haze is good surprise foil against board sweep.

Living Death / Living End / Patriarch’s Bidding / Twilight’s Call

Bring back all your dead Allies.

Endbringer’s Revel / Malevolent Awakening / Necromantic Thirst / Oath of Ghouls / Oversold Cemetery / Phyrexian Reclamation / Tortured Existence

Enchantments which returns fallen Allies to your hand for recast or directly onto the battlefield.

Karmic Guide / Phyrexian Delver / Reveillark

Creature which reanimates dead Allies.

Victimize

Sacrifice one Ally for two dead ones.

Volrath’s Stronghold

Return fallen Ally to top of library for recasting.

Friends don’t die alone. They come back and then die again together.

 

Bounce

Cloudstone Curio

Ally enters the battlefield and bounce another Ally for recast.

Crystal Shard / Erratic Portal

Bounce targeted Creature unless its controller pays 1.

Dust Elemental / Emancipation Angel / Stonecloaker / Stormfront Riders / Whitemane Lion

Nicknamed Rescuers as they all bounce one or more creatures or permanents back as they enter the battlefield. All except Emancipation Angel & Stormfront Riders have Flash. Their ability is also special for not targeting thus even Ally who had Shroud can be bounced.

Cavern Harpy / Doomsday Specter / Fleetfoot Panther / Horned Kavu / Lava Zombie / Marsh Crocodile / Sawtooth Loon / Shivan Wurm / Silver Drake / Sparkcaster

Nicknamed Portal Creatures, they bounce a creature back to the hand as they enter the battlefield, but only bouncing creatures which shared a color with them as well. These are a couple of the more worthy ones to take note of.

Sunken Hope

Bounce an Ally at your every upkeep.

Going back to and coming out again and again and again and again and again…….

 

Outsource:

Chameleon Colossus

We are everything and anything

If even with all the blink, bounce, reanimate methods and you still do not feel it is enough for you to abuse the Allies, perhaps it is time to outsource for other Tribal groups to help out. After all the Allies themselves are just a band of people who joined together for short term projects. Since most of the Allies triggers depends on the numbers of Allies present on your side when they enters the battlefield, the Changelings, Shapeshifters from Lorwyn block, fits the job description nicely. Not only do they enter the battlefield as Ally, they also count towards your number of Allies on the battlefield. Other Creatures like Clone and Phantasmal Image which enter the battlefield as copy of other Creatures could all be used too. Another good outsource will be the Artifact Creatures Adaptive Automaton and Brass Herald, both extra Lords with Adaptive Automaton counting as an Ally triggerer and Brass Herald a way to dig your library for more Allies. Below are some Changelings which are good for Ally.

Cairn Wanderer

Good beatdown Creature with high chances of gaining all abilities in multi-player games.

Chameleon Colossus

Good beatdown. Good way to spend extra mana.

Changeling Champions (Changeling Berserker; Changeling Hero; Changeling Titan)

Work two ways: Ally triggers and protect your desired Ally. It becomes a bonus too when they die as they return the championed Ally back to the battlefield for more trigger.

Mirror Entity

Good way to spend extra mana to pump up the whole army but beware of Mindslaver.

Taurean Mauler

Grows to enormous size in multi-player game.

 

Combos:-

Ally Conspiracy

Ally Conspiracy

Here are some combos to consider for an Ally Tribal deck: –

Cards

Combo

Allies + Conspiracy

Since Allies count their numbers for their trigger abilities, no other Enchantment help them better than Conspiracy. All Creatures which enter your battlefield triggers the Allies and count towards their activated abilities with the Enchantment in place. A worthy mention is that any Tribal Commanders could also be used with the Allies with this combo.

Ally + Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker / Splinter Twin + Intruder Alarm

This set of combo goes infinite when activated regardless of Tribe. There are very few opponents who could survive an infinite triggering of Allies’ triggers.

Agadeem Occultist + Conspiracy + Intruder Alarm

Each steal adds on to your rank due to Conspiracy and Intruder Alarm allowing you to do the whole thing all over again. You could easily empty your opponents’ graveyard of Creatures.

Cloudstone Curio + Aluren + 3cc Allies

Combo involve Cloudstone Curio bouncing your Allies when each enters the battlefield and then recasting them using Aluren; forming an infinite loop with their triggers. Combo could also work without Aluren but would then depend on as much mana as you could afford each turn.

Changeling Berserker + Changeling Hero + Changeling Titan

Combo chain which goes infinite when assembled; with each of the Changeling Champion championing one and other and triggering off the Allies’ triggers. The process could be shortened to only two Changeling Champions if the first Championed Creature is Clone, Jwari Shapeshifter or Phantasmal Image, since either will reenter the battlefield as a copy of the Changeling Champion.

 

Recommended Generals:-

Child of Alara – As there was no Legendary Ally created till date; Commanders chosen for recommendation are mainly 5c Legendary Creatures so as to allow the Tribal group to utilize all colors of Allies. The Child is pretty huge for a 5cc beater and is the worst Creature for anyone to destroy.Child of Alara

 

Cromat – Like Child of Alara, Cromat also poses as a beater but smaller which it make up for with its 5 activated abilities.Cromat

 

Horde of Notions – Combines Elemental Tribal as a sub theme. Also combos well with the Changelings. Good beatdown with its abilities of Haste, Trample & Vigilance.Horde of Notions

 

Reaper King – Like Horde of Notions, the King also combines its Scarecrow Tribal as a sub theme. Changelings could be used again here to utilize the King’s trigger ability. The King, like the Child of Alara, is also pretty huge at 6/6 for a 5cc.Reaper King

 

Sliver Legion / Sliver Queen – Although both are Sliver Tribal leaders, they are also the Sliver Commanders who could be use even out of Sliver Tribal deck. Hivestone can be use as side combo with Legion and Queen produces an army by itself plus the infinite combo with Mana Echoes.Sliver LegionSliver Queen

 

Jenara, Asura of War / Rafiq of the Many / Kresh the Bloodbraided / Uril, the Miststalker – If you would like to run lesser than 5 colors for Allies, then both Jenara and Rafiq are good Generals to use for their color identities and abilities. Most of the combo and control Allies are within their color identities. Kresh and Uril are on the opposite of the other two being more gear towards Aggro. Both tri-colors combinations are packed with good beatdown Allies.Jenara, Asura of WarRafiq of the ManyKresh the BloodbraidedUril, the Miststalker

 

Together We Stand:-

Numbers is the Allies greatest strength. The more you control, the more powerful the Tribal group will be. As many of their abilities are trigger base, this makes them sort of like Creature and spell combined. It became a whole lot better when you are able to let them enter the battlefield at Instant speed. Due to their late introduction to MtG, there are not a lot of them around. To counteract this, blink, bounce or reanimation could all be used to make them go in and out of the battlefield to trigger their abilities again. Also Creatures which copy other Creatures when they enter the battlefield could all be used to add to the numbers. Finally, to maximize the numbers of the Tribal group, it is recommended to use a Commander with many colors, going even up to 5c if possible. It is not a hard and fast rule to use a 5c General, but at least a 3c one so the choices of Allies will be many to choose from. So that’s all we have to share of the Allies. As mentioned, since there is no actual Ally lord for the tribe, everyone could and may use any Commander for their Ally Tribal EDH. If you have an idea or concept and would like to share with us, do leave it in the comment box below. So till next article……

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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