In the past three or so years, I’ve played two other Allies lists for Modern Monday articles. The archetype always seems to perform beyond my expectations, and the last time I piloted the tribe was back in 2015. Thankfully, even a few set releases can still impact a deck or archetype in Modern. Allies was one such deck as soon as Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch were released.
The list we’re looking at today was played about a month ago by Brian Habing in a Ready to Play Contender Series event where he made the Top 8.
Interestingly enough, since this event, there were also two other Top 8 performances by Allies. The configurations were a little different, but that’s to be expected with so many possible options. Of course, they all had 4 Collected Company, because let’s be honest, we’re not savages. One had a copy of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which is pretty nice when you remember that he makes Allies. One version had 3 copies of Metallic Mimic, because naming Allies with that guy is also pretty busted. He’s basically an honorary Ally! Or, I guess, an actual Ally, because that’s how he works? I don’t know how robots work.
Let’s see how allied we are as we try to attack our opponents out of the game.
(Worth noting is that I didn’t realize until the third round that I was recording with my webcam mic rather than my actual mic. I did remedy this for rounds 3, 4, and 5, so I hope it isn’t too bothersome!)
These matches went surprisingly well. While you may know that I’m not a huge fan of aggro decks, I do happen to love decks like Allies and Slivers that have a lot of cool interactions and synergies. Also, it doesn’t feel as aggressive when you’re attacking with 5/5s and 6/6s. Allies always ends up feeling like a midrange deck that masquerades as an aggro deck. Or is it the other way around? No matter!
Both of the other Allies lists had more Expedition Envoys, which is interesting because I felt like it was the weakest card in the deck. I mean, it’s almost quantifiably weaker than every other card in the deck. It has no trigger itself, and its only saving grace is that it can attack for 2 naturally and triggers other Allies. That’s not terrible, mind you, but I would much rather have any other Ally most of the time.
Like I said in the matches, while 19 lands seems low, you also have 4 Aether Vial, 2 Beastcaller Savant, and 3 Harabaz Druid, all of which produce mana. That’s 28 mana-producing cards, which is a bit much when you’re trying to aggro people out. The silver lining here is that 5 of those can make your other Allies larger, and 2 of them can at least attack. Still, they make pretty easy choices to board out.
While I love the idea of Captain’s Claws, and I think they’re a super cool addition, I’m not sure I like them more than another 2 Allies. I might, but I’m not 100% sure. Conversely, I was amazed at how relevant Ondu Cleric could be based on the ridiculous amount of life it was able to gain. I could definitely see going up to 3 in the main deck. Two or three triggers is often close to 10 life.
Allies has always been one of my favorite obscure decks in Modern, and it always performs well for me. It just makes me wonder why more people aren’t playing the deck (especially when it’s immensely customizable), and why it isn’t a larger part of the Modern metagame. Either way, I hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I did, and thanks for reading!