Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
The Best Ally Creatures in Magic
In Magic, allies are a versatile type of creatures, generally favoring the red, white, and black factions, but appearing throughout all five colors. They form strong combos since many strengthen depending on the number you control, letting them boost each other to fierce proportions, and they generally wield several subtypes, stacking with other popular groups like humans, vampires, and elves.
Many of your companion's abilities trigger both on their initial entrance and whenever you cast another ally, rewarding you for developing your theme, but some stand firm even independent of their clan. But with dozens of united soldiers, which cards reign supreme? These are the ten best allies in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Drana's Emissary
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
Needing black and white mana, Drana enters as a mediocre 2/2 (two power and two toughness) considering her cost of three, but her flying trait lets her soar over ground-based blockers.
Better yet, with three subtypes, Drana combos with vampires, clerics, and allies, strengthening several clan abilities, and she drains one life from each opponent during your upkeep step. Thus, even if Drana sits around and never swings, she'll be sapping life from your rival while replenishing yours, and since she can guard against both land and sky assaults, she makes a good throwaway blocker in the late game.
9. Bala Ged Thief
Black swamps may access Bala Ged, a four-cost unit with disappointing stats of 2/2. However, this thief bears human, rogue, and ally subtypes as well as an excellent trigger whenever Bala or another ally enters the field under your control. At that point, a targeted player reveals cards from their hand up to the number of allies you possess (which should be at least one counting Bala), and you select one for them to discard.
At worst, you'll have one ally, essentially letting them pick what to toss, but even then, they're still losing a card. At best, with several comrades, you'll get to peek at their entire hand, not only selecting what they lose, but gaining valuable information about their current spell options.
8. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder
Like many allies, Bruse's 3/3 stats are weak considering his mana price, but this legendary red and white warrior remains a great commander in EDH format. Whenever Bruse enters the field or attacks, you give a creature both double strike and haste until the end of the turn. Each of these are powerful traits; the former lets your creature hit twice with each attack, and the latter recovers life equal to the damage dealt.
Best of all, Bruse enjoys the partner ability, meaning you can pair him in EDH with another partner-bearing commander. This increases the number of cards you'll have available and offers extra color identities if desired, but we'll soon see a fellow red/white ally who makes a great teammate for Bruse.
7. Weapons Trainer
Red and white Weapons Trainer shares Bruse's colors, but not his legendary status. He also's much cheaper, costing only two mana and utilizing an excellent 3/2 for such a low fee. Additionally, as long as you control an equipment, Trainer boosts your other creatures by +1/+0, a subtle but appreciated bonus.
With several powerful artifact equipments (and white's numerous supports for them), you'll easily find weapons to blend with your deck, and Trainer's human, soldier, and ally subtypes offer several synergies. I can't be the only one who thinks he looks suspiciously like Nightwing from Batman. We're onto you, Grayson.
6. Kalastria Healer
For a utility unit as potent as Healer, 1/2 stats aren't awful on a two-cost unit, and his vampire/cleric/ally bloodline meshes beautifully with other themes. Still, Healer's impressive even on his own; his rally trait lets you steal a life from an opponent whenever Healer of another ally enters the field under your control.
Even if you only trigger it once, a 1/2 meat shield with a lifedrain is a bargain for two mana, and if you swarm your other allies, you'll continuously pilfer life and edge that much closer to victory.
5. Stone Haven Outfitter
Admittedly, Haven's obscure kor and artificer ranks are harder to build upon than her ally heritage, but having three subtypes is still nice, and her 2/2 power and toughness afford a fair trade for her inexpensive cost.
Better still, Haven adeptly supports equipment cards by promoting the stats of your equipped units (possibly including herself) by +1/+1 and letting you draw a card whenever one of your equipped creatures dies. These are excellent traits that reward playing weapons; utilize cheap spells like "Skullclamp" and "Sword of the Animist" to quickly take advantage of Outfitter's boosts.
4. Drana, Liberator of Malakir
An infamous monoblack commander, Drana bears 2/3 stats, decent on a three-cost unit, especially considering she brandishes flying and first strike, letting her deal combat damage first in battle (and avoid a counterattack if she kills her blocker).
Additionally, when Drana deals combat damage to your opponent, she places a +1/+1 counter on each attacking creature you control—including herself! Since flying soars over ground blockers and first strike discourages those that remain, many adversaries simply aren't prepared to defend against an early game Drana, whose supply of counters buffs your army to monstrous proportions and makes a commander damage victory more than possible in EDH.
3. Akiri, Line-Slinger
An excellent commander partner for Bruse, Akiri shares his red and white colors but only needs two mana. She enters as a 0/3, but gains +1/+0 for each artifact you control, quite a bargain for an inexpensive creature.
As if that weren't all, Akiri wields first strike and vigilance, letting her hit first and attack without tapping. These are both offensive abilities, so you'll definitely need to crank Akiri's power with her artifact synergy to make use of them, but they sculpt a superb early-game beatstick who skillfully partners with another general of your choice.
2. Sylvan Advocate
Sylvan Advocate serves as a rare yet fierce green ally who also harnesses the bountiful elf and druid subtypes. For two mana, you're getting a 2/3 beatstick with vigilance, letting you swing early while retaining your capacity to block!
With just that, I'm already sold, but when you have six or more lands, Advocate boosts herself and any land-creatures you control by +2/+2, scaling surprisingly well in the late game. Use cards like "Exploration" or "Nissa's Pilgrimage" to rapidly amass lands and quickly unlock Sylvan's latent powers.
1. Kazandu Blademaster
Yet another two-cost troop, Blademaster demands both his mana stem from white plains, so he's a bit tricky to mix into multicolor decks. At first glance, he looks average, bearing first strike and vigilance but arriving as a weak 1/1.
However, Blademaster gains a +1/+1 counter when he or another ally enters the field, so he really joins as a 2/2 with potential to improve further. What else could you ask for? A 2/2 with two keywords and three subtypes already impresses, and his ability to grow just adds icing to the cake. Blademaster is so good that he often joins the deck list even in my non-ally white decks, and I recommend snagging him while prices are cheap—he currently costs well under two dollars!
More Good Allies in Magic
Today we've examined several powerful accomplices, but don't forget to check out other notable troops like green's self-strengthening "Oran-Rief Survivalist" and mana-tapping "Harabaz Druid."
Some allies function superbly on their own, others rely on support from their kin, but either way, they offer a versatile and fun structure since you can blend them with whatever colors and subtypes you like. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of formidable ally spells, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill