One of the beauties of older formats like Modern and Legacy is that you end up finding unintended and incredibly interesting synergies between cards printed years apart. In Standard, most, although importantly not all, of the interactions between cards are planned and tested by our glorious overlords at Wizards of the Coast, long may they reign. It's a bit like hiking along a trail. The path is laid out for you, and while you have some agency in how you choose to explore the area, nothing is going to come as too much of a surprise.
The older formats are more like exploring the untamed wilderness or the heart of the Amazon. You don't know what to expect, but it's going to be awesome unless you get eaten by a bear or group of piranhas. Try to avoid getting eaten by a bear or a group of piranhas.
Today's deck features some cool cross-block synergies that blend a fringe Modern deck with a recently departed Standard deck by using Hardened Scales to pump up your Allies so much even Hans and Franz will be jealous.
The core of the deck is the package of Champion of the Parish, Hada Freeblade, Kazandu Blademaster, and Oran-Rief Survivalist. Champion may not have Ally in the type line, but in this deck it's an honorary Ally because most Allies are also Humans. Having eight one-mana creatures to start the engine as early as possible is important and allows you to seamlessly play Hardened Scales in your draws featuring two of them. The curve of turn 1 Champion, turn 2 Scales and Freeblade lets you start attacking for three while threatening explosive follow-up turns, which is exactly what you're looking for.
Beyond that, there are plenty of other synergies here to look at. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar gives you a resilient curve-topper that can also pump out Knight Ally tokens each turn to pump the rest of your team. Oath of Gideon plays nicely with its namesake planeswalker and contributes to the same gameplan. Collected Company has become a staple of the Ally deck in Modern and can do great work here as a supercharged Oath of sorts. Once your board is full, Drana, Liberator of Malakir can come down and provide another Anthem effect that synergizes with Hardened Scales, demanding an immediate answer lest the game quickly spiral out of control for your opponent.
Looking over the deck, it seems like there's almost too much going on here, which is understandable with so many synergistic cards available. The key moving forward with this deck will be isolating the components that work best and bolstering them while trimming or cutting entirely the elements that underperform. To my eyes, I would say the black splash is overly ambitious in a format where Drana is will too often eat a one- or two-mana removal spell before she can trigger. Cutting black allows you to play a smoother manabase, go to the full four Kazandu Blademaster, replace Birds of Paradise with Noble Hierarch, and find room for Gavony Township, which is B-A-N-A-N-A-S with Hardened Scales.
I'd also say that you ultimately have to focus on either being a Collected Company deck or keeping the Oath-Gideon package, since the latter limits the potential of the former. As for which one is best, I'm torn, since they are both quite powerful. Collected Company does require you play some subpar creatures and limits your ability to play removal spells because Hardened Scales is taking up valuable non-creature space, so that could be the tiebreaker.
Either way you choose, your creatures are going to be gigantic, so I wouldn't worry too much.
- 1 Abzan Falconer
- 3 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 4 Hada Freeblade
- 2 Kazandu Blademaster
- 2 Ondu Cleric
- 4 Oran-Rief Survivalist
- 1 Talus Paladin
- 2 Zulaport Cutthroat
- 2 Drana, Liberator of Malakir
- 2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang