I’ve decided to try and force Allies for a few drafts to see how it would work out. In this pack there are two options: Harrow and Ondu Cleric.
I pick the Cleric as it’s necessary in the archetype and as I want to make it clear to everyone around me that Allies are not an option.
From what I’ve seen in the few times I’ve drafted this archetype the key is to take as many allies as possible. It doesn’t matter if several cards are much better and would fit in the deck (Lavaball Trap Gladehart)… the more allies you draft the stronger every single of them gets.
As you often need to play many mana sources to make an ally deck work and as it requires some time to become effective heavy drops are often good fillers in the deck. It’s the case of cards such as Heartstabber Mosquito but also as Iona.
If I’m correct all the White Ally creatures are Kors. Shieldmate’s Blessing could also be an option but it is not a card I should have that much trouble getting passed.
The Map is decent but even in an ally deck it’s still a card you’re not thrilled to play. It does fix the mana but it makes you lose one turn in order to do so. I’d still play it but I won’t pick it high while the Cage Trap’s surprise effect is a lot stronger when you show your opponent a deck in which he expects mostly ally creatures.
Probably the best archetype for this card as you can bounce one of your guys to pump all the others or to trigger Murasa Pyromancer Ondu Cleric etc.
You can also return your lands to block Bog Tatters or Cliff Threader or Journey to Nowhere when its effect is on the stack so the creature never comes back.
Savage Silhouette is good in order to protect your key guys and to stop the Adventuring Gear beatdown (the best non-flying way for them to pass your good draws).
Probably the best common for the deck.
The Raptor is about as good but you need to build up big guys pretty fast so you can stabilize the board before playing guys bigger than theirs. The Raptor costs three and it is Blue when an ally deck will usually have a GW core making it much less stable than Survivalist.
When you play a manabase which looks like 18 lands 2 Harrows Expedition Map no wonder it’s not such a big deal if the 2/2 is not an ally.
Pretty good when you get multiple Harrows and dual lands.
I’m not making the same mistake as last time when I passed the equipment and lost to flyers.
I feel like my mana should be stable enough not to need the Map while Shambler could end up being very useful.
The toughest pick so far. Sell-Sword would be great but I feel like the deck doesn’t need it that much and it could be more trouble for the mana than help in winning the games.
Then there are three options left: Makindi Shieldmate Sheperd of the Lost and Journey to Nowhere. I like the 3/3 more than the removal as it stops any troublesome guy just like the removal and it attacks and because flyers are the weak point for my deck. Then I also pick the Angel over the defender for because I think that ally or not it will be more useful in my deck. Also not only don’t I need to stop all the allies to send signals anymore this pack so good that there is actually a good hope the wall is wheeling.
The card which makes my deck go from good to very good.
And from very good to excellent.
Maybe a sideboard option.
A good blocker in the early game and efficient versus flyers. Everything the deck needs.
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1 Kazandu Refuge
2 Oran-Rief Survivalist
1 Highland Berserker
2 Kazandu Blademaster
2 Ondu Cleric
1 Makindi Shieldmate
1 Grazing Gladehart
1 Oran-Rief Recluse
1 Tajuru Archer
1 Mold Shambler
2 Joraga Bard
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Kazuul Warlord
1 Shepherd of the Lost
1 Expedition Map
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Narrow Escape
1 Baloth Cage Trap
1 Soaring Seacliff
1 Seismic Shudder
1 Armament Master
1 Grim Discovery
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Hagra Crocodile
1 Savage Silhouette
1 Goblin Shortcutter
1 Spidersilk Net
1 Mire Blight
1 Trapfinder’s Trick
1 Expedition Map
1 Celestial Mantle
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
2 Beast Hunt
In the first game my UW opponent has a very decent draw with turn 3 Umara Raptor turn 4 Machete attack for 4 turn 5 Sky Ruin Drake turn 6 Kor Skyfisher/Steppe Lynx. Of course it’s not the best draw I can face but facing an army of flyers is still what I fear the most.
However with double Ondu Cleric and Oran-Rief Recluse stopping them all is not a big deal. Then all I have to do is play Survivalist Blademaster and be a little patient as every spell I draw is awesome at this point.
The second game looks like the first; he has decent development but can’t stop my ally army.
In my second round I’m facing RG and win the first game as he has a pretty bad draws. In the second I’m having a lot more trouble. Even though I can remove his Rampaging Baloth with Journey to Nowhere he still has many big guys when I don’t have such big allies. And actually this will turn out to be a game I’ll win with all my non-ally cards.
At first the Oracle/Gladehart combo allows me to buy much time and then when he has eventually dealt with my 2/2s and put me on 11 I play my sideboard Celestial Mantle on Kazandu Blademaster forcing him to take one hit. From then he’ll never be able to get through my big first striker and will end up losing a few turns later after I cast a couple more allies.
Surprisingly the final ends up being my easiest match. The match is not so interesting that it should be written about but I’ll do so anyway. At some point while I’m controlling the game with Ondu Cleric and Oracle of Mul Daya (the second keeping me from drawing lands while the ally is making every single one of my draws a life gain spell) he decides to play his only removal on my last guy: Makindi Shieldmate! With my opponent maybe not being as dangerous as what I’d expect from an 8-4 final along with a couple of good draws I take this match without much of a problem.
What was really interesting about this draft is that I was able to keep it almost two colors. I didn’t have to lose time in order to cast Harrow Expedition Map Khalni Heart Expedition or anything while they would be developing and that’s what opened my path to success here.