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Allies in Oath of the Gatewatch Draft


I have drafted Malakir Soothsayer and Drana's Chosen on multiple occasions in Oath of the Gatewatch draft, but have never ended up with enough Allies to consistently trigger either of them. Most of my Black decks in this format have been Blue / Black, which has only a few playable Allies. A quick glance at the Allies in Oath of the Gatewatch indicates White / Black is the only color combination that has enough Allies to support those two cards. Let's look at the Allies available in Oath of the Gatewatch and crunch some numbers to determine whether this is indeed the case. Perhaps other color combinations have enough Allies to reliably support Cohort Rally abilities? In the table below, bolded cards have Ally tribal abilities, and parenthesis indicate that a card produces Allies rather than being an Ally itself.

    1cc 2cc 3cc 4cc 5cc
Colorless (1) Rare   (Captain's Claws)      
White (13) ommon   Makindi Aeronaut Affa Protector Spawnbinder Mage  
      Ondu War Cleric Kor Scythemaster    
        Kor Sky Climber    
  Uncommon Stoneforge Acolyte     (Allied Reinforcements)  
          2WW: Relief Captain  
  Rare   Stone Haven Outfitter (Oath of Gideon)   Munda's Vanguard
  mythic         General Tazri
Blue (1) Common   Umara Entangler      
Black (4) Common     Vampire Envoy Zulaport Chainmage  
  Uncommon         Malakir Soothsayer
  Rare       Drana's Chosen  
Red (4) Common   Zada's Commando Akoum Flameseeker Goblin Freerunner  
  Uncommon     Reckless Bushwhacker    
Green (2) Common         Tajuru Pathwarden
  Rare   Sylvan Advocate      
Multicolor (4) Uncommon   RW: Weapons Trainer 1GW: Joraga Auxiliary 2WB: Cliffhaven Vampire  
  Rare       2RG: Mina and Denn, Wildborn  

previously computed the average number of Allies in each color in an eight-person Battle for Zendikar draft. On average, an eight-person Oath of the Gatewatch draft has about a third as many copies of these cards. We can combine that information with the numbers from the table to compute the expected number of Allies for each color in an eight-person draft.

  Oath of the Gatewatch Battle for Zendikar Total
White 17.3 4.8 22.1
Blue 2.3 1.1 3.4
Black 5.7 3.4 9.1
Red 7.7 3.1 10.8
Green 2.6 2.0 4.6
White/Blue - 0.1 0.1
White/Black 0.8 0.4 1.2
Red/Green 0.3 - 0.3
Red/White 0.8 0.6 1.4
Green/White 0.8 0.4 1.2
Green/Blue - 0.3 0.3

From these numbers, we can compute the average number of Allies available in each color pair in an eight-person draft.

Color(s) Average Number of Allies
Red/White 34.3
White/Black 32.4
Green/White 27.9
White/Blue 25.6
Monowhite 22.1
Black/Red 19.9
Red/Green 15.7
Blue/Red 14.2
Black/Green 13.7
Blue/Black 12.5
Green/Blue 8.3

As expected, Blue/Black does not have very many Allies at 12.5 in an average eight-person draft. It's not surprising why I haven't ended up with very many Allies in my Blue/Black decks. On the other hand, White has so many Allies that the top four color pairs all include White, and a Mono-White deck has access to more Allies than any color pair that does not include White.

While Green/White and White/Blue are playable color pairs, the other color contributes few Allies. Green/White used to be a four- or five- color tokens/Allies deck, but Oath of the Gatewatch has few token producers in those colors, with only Scion Summoner at Common and Allied Reinforcements and Birthing Hulk at Uncommon. It also has access to fewer copies of Tajuru Warcaller, Tajuru Beastmaster, Retreat to Emeria, and Inspired Charge.

Black/Red also appears to have an acceptable number of Allies. Unlike Battle for Zendikar, the color pair is no longer focused on Devoid (the only Black or Red cards in Oath of the Gatewatch that care about colorless spells are Sky Scourer, Eldrazi Aggressor, and Flayer Drone). Oath of the Gatewatch also has no Allies that need lifegain to be good (although Vampire Envoy does fit into the White/Black Allies/lifegain deck). If you have some Black or Red creatures with Cohort abilities and White isn't open, Black/Red Allies can be a feasible archetype. One advantage of that color pair is that it has access to both Zada's Commando and Zulaport Chainmage as finishers once its offense is stalled. I've also seen some people draft Red/White/Black Allies, but their manabase seems quite sketchy to me.

Conclusion

As in Battle for Zendikar draft, Red/White and White/Black are the color pairs with the most Allies. Green/White tokens/Allies is no longer a feasible archetype since there are few Green or White token producers at Common or Uncommon in Oath of the Gatewatch.

If you have some Black or Red creatures with Cohort abilities but White isn't open, Black/Red Allies is now a feasible archetype. It uses aggressive creatures and removal to get in some early damage and then uses Zada's Commando and Zulaport Chainmage as finishers.


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