Nissa’s Chosen Torch Slinger and Ondu Cleric are the three options here. There are several reasons why I picked the Cleric. The first of course is that drafting allies is more fun. Next it is the most complex archetype to draft in the format and therefore the most interesting. Finally it is the archetype I draft the least and therefore I need more experience in order to be able to draft it well if I need to do it at a real tournament someday or even just to figure out if the archetype is reliable enough to be drafted when it really matters.
It’s harder to make a decision when there is neither an ally nor a fixer in the pack. Grim Discovery would probably be the pick if I already had a Harrow or a fetchland (the card has gotten better with Quicksand in pack 3 too) but I don’t. Baloth Woodcrasher and Into the Roil are the two options left. I think the 4/4 would be okay but I like the bounce spell as it could end up turning into an ally if I could either save one of my guys from a removal spell or if I just needed to bounce one in order to get a bonus from it.
I would have picked the Map here if I hadn’t opened Hedron Crab in my first pack. With two of them and the possibility to get Halimar Excavator in pack three it could end up being the key card in my deck.
A second copy should make my deck defensive which is the best option if the first Crab does come back.
An ally deck has two typical winning patterns. Either you play several pumpable guys in the first turns and end up the game super fast or you take your time and build an army around Ondu Clerics and Makindi Shieldmates to end up optimizing your deck’s synergy and killing your opponent. In that second situation which is pretty likely to be our plan when I already have Murasa Pyromancer and two Ondu Clerics Spreading Seas is pretty good. Indeed not only is it a “cycler” (meaning running it won’t hurt the proportion of allies in the deck) it also slows your opponent’s development down and therefore helps you in your quest for tempo.
I need fixers even though I can’t tell for sure I’ll be Green. However as the deck often plays more lands that it needs (in order to make sure you’ll get the right mana all the time) and as you shouldn’t be using many expensive spells Magma Rift is a good card in the deck.
Even when it is in colors you can’t say for sure you’ll be using always pick the fixer when there is no ally or removal in the pack.
One of the two good cards I passed in pack one came back and it would probably be good in the deck but Khalni Gem is a card I absolutely need. Indeed even though the card is mediocre in most decks it is pretty good in an ally build. First you play many trigger lands which can combo with it. Then obviously you plan on playing from 3 to 5 colors so a card able to produce all 5 of them can’t hurt. Eventually and most importantly the card doesn’t really hurt your tempo as you’re often able to cast a spell on the turn you play it.
Needlebite Trap is pretty good against me but most people never think of bringing the card in. On the other hand I’ll probably have a weakness against flyers so I’d rather cut the Wings.
The last two cards in this pack would make it into the deck for sure as Narrow Escape is almost another ally. But once again fixers are one of the keys to making the deck work.
Hagra Diabolist should wheel as the card almost always does. So what’s the best from Living Tsunami and Conqueror’s Pledge? Even though the second Crab didn’t wheel the 4/4 flyer is still a good combo with the first Crab as well as with my two duals. It is also a good way to stop flyers as well as a way to win games without requiring I get a big ally. Conqueror’s Pledge may be a great card but in this kind of deck it doesn’t have the same offensive impact as I don’t have many cards to put my opponents under pressure right now.
The perfect pick; this card should be an auto-win.
I’m still not sure the Tsunami pick was correct but with two more Blue cards it surely worked out well.
Kor Skyfisher could be good and bounce an ally as well but with two bombs already (Loremaster and Pyromancer) I’d like my deck to be square and simply have as many true allies as possible.
Not the best card in this pack but probably the most annoying for me.
Allies are not coming as quickly as I thought they would; maybe that Diabolist is not even coming back. Kabira Crossroads would be good with Khalni Gem and Living Tsunami but the Scholar helps me search for the right lands and guys.
I don’t have enough Green cards to run the Expedition while a second Gem allows me pretty much any splash.
The Diabolist didn’t make it back but with 18 lands two Gems and Tsunami the card has to be decent.
This card has absolutely no reason to be here. It is very very good.
I’m now UWr but with two Black duals two Gems and a Joraga Bard I can be open to widening my colors if I get good allies and possibly extra fixers.
This is a pick I’ve been thinking a lot about. The choice would have been obvious if only I had gotten that second Crab but here it’s difficult. In the end I consider I’ve enough game-winning cards and what I need right now is stability and a cheap ally which also happens to be a good blocker can only help.
A good illustration of why Khalni Gem is good in this type of deck. I don’t care if the guy is not a turn 2 play or if he’s not strong in the deck… the plan is to get as many “creature: ally” as I can. As long as I do have some strong ones it’s all I’m asking.
Kazuul may be sexy but it is both a big gamble to my manabase (I mean I’m already splashing two RR spells) and a card which no matter how great it is is simply worse than the double tokens in my deck.
Nothing to take so once again I pick the more annoying guy which is once again the flyer.
Nothing I want to play but definitely a card I’m very scared of facing.
I don’t really want to play the card but I may end up a bit short on playables.
Wrong pick here as the Apes would probably be more annoying.
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1 Akoum Refuge
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
2 Akoum Battlesinger
2 Ondu Cleric
1 Halimar Excavator
1 Reckless Scholar
1 Stonework Puma
1 Umara Raptor
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Living Tsunami
1 Seascape Aerialist
1 Sea Gate Loremaster
1 Murasa Pyromancer
1 Searing Blaze
1 Treasure Hunt
1 Ior Ruin Expedition
1 Into the Roil
1 Spreading Seas
2 Khalni Gem
1 Join the Ranks
1 Comet Storm
1 Goblin Roughrider
1 Mind Sludge
1 Rumbling Aftershocks
1 Windborne Charge
1 Khalni Heart Expedition
1 Hedron Rover
1 Joraga Bard
1 Deathforge Shaman
1 Hedron Crab
1 Ricochet Trap
1 Nimbus Wings
1 Caustic Crawler
1 Caravan Hurda
1 Wind Zendikon
1 Spell Pierce
1 Grappler Spider
My first round opponent is also running an ally deck except he’s GWB. He wins the first to double Tajuru Archer when the only two good cards I draw are Umara Raptor and Living Tsunami. On game 2 he keeps a hand with no Black and it takes him quite a while to find it. When he eventually does I draw Spreading Seas stopping his only Swamp and drawing a Loremaster I’ll shortly win with. In game 3 he has to take two mulligans and when I cast my 1/3 on turn 5 he can do nothing but scoop.
My semis look exactly like my round 1. In the first he has the perfect draw to stop me as the only three spells I drew by turn 5 are Into the Roil and a pair of Ondu Cleric when he has opened with the 0/1 pinger. In game 2 he manages to play removal on my turn 2 3 and 4 allies. But on turn 5 when Sea Gate Loremaster touches the ground he stays there until the end of the game and gives me the win.
In the third he chooses to keep a hand with no Red on the play and still doesn’t have one by the time I cast my super 1/3 once more.
The first game of my final match has got to be the weirdest. My opponent keeps a one-lander on the play doesn’t find a second land until turn 6 but he still manages to play one spell a turn for the whole game (starting with 4 one-mana vampires Soul Stair Expedition and Disfigure)! As I have Comet Storm in hand I don’t hurry to race him and focus more on establishing my board than on racing him or stopping his beatdown in any way. At some point I play the Storm for 4×6 and take the first. In game 2 he has a pretty aggro start putting me on 7 life with Guul Draz Vampire on the board but Sea Gate Loremaster (yes again) is now active and finds on its first try Murasa Pyromancer. Two turns and no removal later he concedes the match.
Until next time…