There are a lot of reasons to play Tribal decks in Modern. Obviously the top reason is that it means you could be playing Merfolk, the unanimous best deck in the format (joking, sort of). But more than that, going Tribal means you get the best access to Cavern of Souls, a truly insane card for such strategies. Being Tribal means a concerted game plan that is easier to build around and provides some direction in the deck building process.
There's also Ally Encampment.
Matched only by Sliver Hive, Ally Encampment does something that no other land in Modern can match for such a deck. Merfolk doesn't have an equivalent; neither does Goblins or Faeries.
That's what I wanted to take advantage of when I made a run at everyone's favorite adventuring tribe. I remember when a friend of mine showed me this Naya Allies deck he was tearing up Magic Online Standard queues with back in their original appearance in Zendikar. I brushed it off as a fluke and didn't believe him that it was really that good.
The next week it went 9-0 on Day 1 of a Grand Prix.
Since then, Allies has always been something of looming threat. It's seen spot success in small samples across Modern in different shells – either using AEther Vial or Hardened Scales to help supercharge its creatures – but it's always been on the fringe of playability.
Battle for Zendikar changed that. With new tools including the incredibly potent Collected Company, I believe Allies finally has what it needed to get away from the inconsistency that comes with Vial or Scales, and can now play a much more straight-up game that offers a number of benefits over other decks.
Let's break down some of those benefits. Ally Encampment is a big one, as the mana fixing provided by it and Cavern of Souls means that casting Allies is never a problem. Those Allies themselves have the benefit of all being substantial threats, even if their brethren fall around them. While a single Cursecatcher doesn't seem like much when all the Merfolk lords have died, Hada Freeblade can watch the follow-up creatures die and still be a 4/5. You can certainly expect your allies to draw removal, but it only takes one or two stray creatures to sneak through to take over a game.
That's where Collected Company comes in. Not only does it offer the usual 2-for-1 instant-speed value, it also gets to pull off some unique tricks in this deck. Whether it's instant-speed protection with Kabira Evangel or the ability to find two Akoum Battlesingers out of nowhere to end the game in a flash, Company does it all.
Speaking of Battlesinger, it's an absolutely silly card. Hitting two of these off of Company represents a bonus of +4 power to your entire board, and they get to swing immediately on top of it. Otherwise unwinnable games become winnable thanks to Battlesinger, and with eight 1-drops in the deck with Hada Freeblade and Expedition Envoy, the damage stacks up incredibly fast.
I hope you what we battled with this week. I explain more interactions and sideboarding choices in the videos, so enjoy! Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll be sure to answer, and until next week have fun with your Allies.