11/5/2009 TD: "Evaluating Allies"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.

14-16 Kithkin made my one drop kithkin come out on first turn rather consistently.


I'm wondering what the number'll be for Allies. 

I dont believe Allies can work in Constructed. They are spread across too many colors and are too expensive.

Editors: Please stop Flores before he writes again.  This is embarrassing.  


 


To quote him: "When compared with other planeswalkers, Nissa has some really restrictive dependencies."


 


That makes no sense for numerous reasons and is just hilarious in the context of an article written about Magic.  


 


Please try less hard and maybe write something helpful and relevant.


 

I could see them working, but not the way they're printed right now. If we get a few more that are good in the next set or two then we could hit a critical mass of creatures to make the deck work. I think we'd need about 5-6 excellent ones, since in Pauper GW Sliver decks they play 24 creatures and work out fine.


Editors: Please stop Flores before he writes again.  This is embarrassing.  


To quote him: "When compared with other planeswalkers, Nissa has some really restrictive dependencies."


That makes no sense for numerous reasons and is just hilarious in the context of an article written about Magic.  


Please try less hard and maybe write something helpful and relevant.





Could you elaborate on the numerous reasons it makes no sense?  Because Nissa seems to rely heavily on elves in order to be worth playing.

 

I represent the organisation of cackling fiends who felt snubbed in this article . prepare for legal action

Blade master is the only ally playable in standard your deck just was just awkward with no answer a 4 drop.


Stop using a block constructed strategy and start playing lightning bolts like the rest of the world.



Editors: Please stop Flores before he writes again.  This is embarrassing.  


To quote him: "When compared with other planeswalkers, Nissa has some really restrictive dependencies."


That makes no sense for numerous reasons and is just hilarious in the context of an article written about Magic.  


Please try less hard and maybe write something helpful and relevant.





Could you elaborate on the numerous reasons it makes no sense?  Because Nissa seems to rely heavily on elves in order to be worth playing.

 




I doubt he can, or will. This guy only shows up at Flores' threads to bash him (with very weak, or non-existent arguments).

Don't feed the troll, Sir_Bruce.

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Surprising? Yes.

We are surprised a card like this can do anything at all because it is costed so funny. We aren't used to 2/2 creatures for four mana bothering anyone (at least outside the Wizards team); creatures have gotten so good over the last several years. But the fact remains: if you don't kill a Bala Ged Thief in a heavy Allies deck it will actually take away your ability to do so.



Surprising? No.


This was one of the allies I pegged as a possible constructed playable early on, along with the 2-mana 2/2s. Turntimber Ranger is another playable. Once you get beyond that, though, you end up in the territory of cards like Kazuul Warlord, Ondu Cleric, Umara Raptor, and similar - not really amazing. Bala Ged Thief allows you to avoid Day of Judgement, which is very bad for an ally deck and is a major argument for its inclusion.


The real flaw of allies is their colors and curve. Green has two good ones, white one, and black one. There is an okay white one, blue one, and two okay red ones. These don't really work all that well, especially given the good white one costs WW, and is clearly the best of the lot. That's the real flaw of allies.dec - to get four good allies, you need to be three colors, and you need to be able to hit WW on turn 2 consistantly. That rules out lands that come into play tapped, which limits you to the Magic 2010 lands and the enemy fetches. While you certainly can build the mana base (4x M2010 duals, 8x fetches), you don't have the enormous redundancy that Ravnica block had, where you could run 8 of each white/black and white/green.


As for the curve, you've got four two-drops, a four drop, and two five drops. And the best two-drops are white, green, and red, with Ondu Cleric being okay but not amazing. The four drop is black, the five drops green and red. Umara Raptor, the mediocre blue ally, costs 3. And with three colors, you could play the shards creatures.


Allies may become viable if they got some one-drops and 3-drops in the right colors, but as of right now, their only real use is to be thrown into other decks.


I doubt he can, or will. This guy only shows up at Flores' threads to bash him (with very weak, or non-existent arguments).


Flores writes competitive Magic articles not because he is good (in fact, he's been known as "bad player" Flores previously), but because he knows the right people.


That said, this article was actually much better written than most Flores articles, in that it is actually correct - allies aren't viable as an independent theme, and the only real use of them is to throw them into other decks where you can play a few good allies. Kazandu Blademaster and Turntimber Ranger can both stand alone, whereas the rest really need other allies to be worth considering.


Really, I see the most likely home for allies being a white/green deck running the ranger, blademaster, and survivalist, but if you're in white, you can play Baneslayer, which is usually better even in this context, and there's not really space at the top for 8 5-drops due to the absence of 3 and 4 drops and the lack of synergy between the grizzy bears and the 5-drops without a curve to them. The lack of a 1-drop ally also hurts; you can run out the 2/1s or 2/3s instead.


The other issue is you could just play three colors and play univerally good cards which don't require other allies, such as Meddling Mage and Rhox War Monk.


The way I see it, unless there is a complete curve in just a few colors, the cost of including allies is too great compared to the beneifts of your cards just working. Moreover, white itself is a problem because Turntimber Ranger has to compete with Baneslayer angel, GBR has broodmate dragon and putrid leech, and you just end up with the situation where you're constantly having to put in suboptimal cards and I don't think you can bring them up to the level where they are optimal again on the other side of the valley of "Not enough allies".


 


I doubt he can, or will. This guy only shows up at Flores' threads to bash him (with very weak, or non-existent arguments).


Flores writes competitive Magic articles not because he is good (in fact, he's been known as "bad player" Flores previously), but because he knows the right people.





"Bad player Flores" is an old and tired joke. And his success as a deckbuilder and well... as a valued Magic article writer is why he is still a high profile writer.


Of course, as a player he isn't as good as his numerous Pro friends, but you can be sure he's better than his haters hiding behind nicknames. Besides, being a top player isn't really a requirement for understanding competive play and deckbuilding, and writing good articles about them.

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