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Budget Magic: $54 (26 tix) Standard rAllies

Yá'át'ééh Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we are heading back to Battle for Zendikar Standard for a deck that was destined to be ever since Wizards decided to print Allies in the same Standard format as Rally the Ancestors: rAllies! rAllies a Mardu colored Ally aggro deck that just so happens to play a combo kill with the help of Nantuko Husk, Butcher of the Horde, and of course, Rally the Ancestors! Probably the best part about the deck is how deceptive it is. When we curve out Expedition Envoy into Kalastria Healer into Drana, Liberator of Malakir, our opponents tend to think we are some odd beatdown deck, which makes it all the more satisfying when we suddenly kill them out of nowhere with a massive Rally the Ancestors to drain for 50 with Kalastria Healer, or beat down with a bunch of hasty Allies thanks to Chasm Guide!

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about the deck. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

rAllies Intro

rAllies vs GR Landfall

rAllies vs Jeskai Black

rAllies vs Atarka Red

rAllies vs 4C Sovereign

rAllies vs 4C Rally

The Deck

The deck is actually fairly complex because it works on three different levels. On one hand, it's a tribal deck built around Allies. In some games we'll just play a couple copies of Kalastria Healer, play a bunch more Allies, and drain our opponent to death. It can also be a pure aggro deck. We'll play Expedition Envoy into Kor Bladewhirl into Drana, Liberator of Malakir into a hasty Butcher of the Horde to beat our opponent down. Finally, it can also be a pure combo deck. We'll have games where we play a Kalastria Healer and a Zulaport Cutthroat, sac a bunch of creatures to Nantuko Husk, draw a bunch of cards with Grim Haruspex, and finish the game off with a massive Rally the Ancestors

The trick to playing the deck is to figure out which role you are in any given matchup. If you play like an aggro deck in a matchup where you should be a combo deck, you'll run into trouble. The same is true if you play like a combo deck in a matchup where you should be the aggro deck. Against Atarka Red, combo is almost always the best plan. Play some creatures, block and chump aggressively, and work your way towards winning with a big Rally the Ancestors. On the other hand, this strategy is unlikely to work against a control deck since they can counter Rally the Ancestors. In these matchups it's best to be the aggro deck and plan on using Rally the Ancestors as a Plan B if you can catch your opponent tapped out. It is this flexibility that makes playing this deck enjoyable. 

The Cards

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This group of creatures forms our aggro curve and allows us to get in a bunch of early damage. While Drana, Liberator of Malakir is in a rough place thanks to the fact that it matches up poorly with Mantis Rider, she is an extremely powerful card in other matchups. Her ability to pump our entire team allows us to pick up some easy wins. Expedition Envoy and Kor Bladewhirl are mostly just aggro creatures, except they have slightly more utility in the late game because they trigger Rally on Kalastria Healer and Chasm Guide

One thing I learned while playing the deck is that Drana, Liberator of Malakir and Kor Bladewhirl interact fairly poorly. Since Drana, Liberator of Malakir's Crusade ability triggers on first strike damage, it's actually better if the rest of our team is dealing normal damage since they will get the counters before their damage occurs. As a result, there are a lot of times where we don't want Kor Bladewhirl's rally trigger to give our team first strike. Unfortunately it's not optional. While this nonbo isn't enough to justify removing either creature from the deck, it is certainly something to be aware of while you are playing. 

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Our deck is overflowing with Allies. Zulaport Cutthroat and Kalastria Healer gives rAllies eight Blood Artist effects, which means Rally the Ancestors is especially devastating for our opponent. The other benefit of Kalastria Healer is that because her ability triggers when an Ally enters the battlefield, we can "go off" without a sacrifice outlet. There are some games where we play multiple copies of the Vampire Cleric Ally to drain our opponent to death without relying on our graveyard at all. Overall, the biggest benefit of playing both of these cards is redundancy. With eight copies floating around, we will almost always have at least one in our graveyard when it comes time to cast Rally the Ancestors

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This group of creatures probably looks familiar since they are fairly common in various Rally the Ancestors decks. While Butcher of the Horde and Nantuko Husk are helpful in our beatdown plan, their main purpose is to fill our graveyard for Rally the Ancestors and trigger the drain ability on Zulaport Cutthroat and the card draw ability on Grim Haruspex. This group is essential in allowing us to switch from being an aggro deck to being a combo deck at a moment's notice. Plus they do so in a way that doesn't take away from our aggro plan. 

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Rally the Ancestors is our combo finish. It can win us the game on the spot by giving us a huge pile of Kalastria Healer and/or Zulaport Cutthroat triggers. One thing that sets rAllies apart from other Rally the Ancestors decks is the presence of Chasm Guide. Chasm Guide allows us to win the game with Rally the Ancestors even when we don't have a sacrifice outlet by giving our entire team haste. Chasm Guide works really well with Drana, Liberator of Malakir, allowing us to give our entire team +1/+1 out of nowhere. 

Ultra Budget rAllies

The ultra budget version of rAllies is quite similar to the original, except we lose the three copies of Drana, Liberator of Malakir. While I really like Drana, Liberator of Malakir in this deck since she is strong when we are on the aggro plan, she isn't absolutely essential. On the other hand, if you have the money to spend up front, Drana, Liberator of Malakir is a good card to own. She has a combination of stats and abilities that could make her a tier one Standard card once her nemesis Mantis Rider rotates in April. There's a chance she ends up being worth a lot more in the future. Getting your copies now isn't a bad hedge. You may need her for future decks next spring or fall, and she may cost significantly more by then.

Non-Budget rAllies

While there are a bunch of different Rally the Ancestors decks to build, I decided to stick with the Ally theme. As a result, the changes to the non-budget build are not all that important to how the deck plays. The biggest addition is Hangarback Walker, which isn't an Ally but offers too much value to pass up in a sacrifice themed deck. Otherwise, we mostly just rework the manabase to include some creaturelands, fetch lands, and Battle for Zendikar duals. 


Anyway, that's all for today. I had a ton of fun playing this deck. While I think it would need more tuning to be ready for an SCG Open or Grand Prix, it's definitely strong enough to play at an FNM or Magic Online. If you enjoy tribal decks or big combo finishes, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

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