Gala Greeters (Streets of New Capenna, Russian) | Illustration by Olga Tereshenko
We’re friends, right? Let’s form an alliance to make MTG the best game out there! Friends, allies, and even begrudging companions may all form alliances to achieve a bigger goal. But what is it in Magic, and what can it do for you?
Is alliance a keyword we should expect to return? Are there powerful creatures with alliance? Should I focus on the alliance keyword in my next build? All this and more as we build an alliance to make each other better at MTG. Let’s get into it!
How Does Alliance Work?
Rumor Gatherer | Illustration by Simon Dominic
Alliance is an ability that triggers whenever a creature enters the battlefield. Every card with the keyword is a creature, and they all have different effects.
The alliance mechanic been given the nickname “creaturefall” as a way to compare it to the mechanics and rulings of the landfall ability. The alliance abilities work with casting creatures, creating tokens, and any other way a creature ETBs.
The History of Alliance in MTG
The alliance keyword was first printed in Streets of New Capenna. It was created for the partying monsters of the Cabaretti, and has been linked to the social connections famed by the crime family. It’s an ability word that has only appeared in the Standard and Commander formats of SNC.
Many “creaturefall” abilities, including alliance, have tried to grab hold as the main Selesnya () mechanic. Alliance hasn’t been reprinted in any of the newer sets and hasn’t become an evergreen or deciduous keyword.
What if You Control Multiple Alliance Creatures?
If you control multiple creatures with alliance and a creature enters the battlefield, all the abilities trigger. They may be put onto the stack in any order, with the last one on the stack being the first trigger to resolve. An opponent may respond at any time as each alliance trigger resolves.
What if the Creature Entering the Battlefield Has an ETB Ability?
The ETB ability is placed on the stack in any order with the alliance triggers. Once again, the last trigger on the stack is the first one to resolve. The alliance ability doesn’t nullify any ETB effects.
Gallery and List of Alliance Cards
- Celebrity Fencer (regular and Alchemy)
- Sizzling Soloist (regular and Alchemy)
- Social Climber (regular and Alchemy)
- Attended Socialite
- Back-Alley Gardener
- Boss’s Chauffeur
- Devilish Valet
- Elegant Entourage
- Gala Greeters
- Rose Room Treasurer
- Rumor Gatherer
- Venom Connoisseur
- Witty Roastmaster
Best Alliance Cards
#6. A-Celebrity Fencer
I’m including the Alchemy version of Celebrity Fencer because I believe counters and creatures are a powerful combo. The rebalance gives this card one more toughness and makes it just a little bit more aggressive.
Make lots of creatures and grow Celebrity Fencer into a superstar!
#5. Back-Alley Gardener
Back-Alley Gardener is a great way to gain land advantage in Alchemy and Historic. It helps you seek a land and put it onto the battlefield tapped for every creature that enters. I believe the value here is the mana value, and the fact that it can be any land.
#4. Boss’s Chauffeur
Boss’s Chauffeur is an eternal format creature-centric addition. It can grow big by the number of creatures you own and creatures that ETB. You gain a bigger board presence based on the number of counters it had once this card dies.
This is a card to pair in decks with lots of creatures or creature tokens, maybe under a commander like Rhys the Redeemed.
#3. Rose Room Treasurer
Rose Room Treasurer is another eternal format alliance card. You can hoard Treasure tokens with it and do some direct damage if you can create or cast lots of creatures in a single turn.
This isn’t a meta-breaking card, but it may be fun in some creature and token-style Commander decks.
#2. Devilish Valet
Here we go! A doubling effect based on creatures entering the battlefield. The exponential growth and trample of Devilish Valet are where all the value lies. You can bring so many creatures onto the field that your opponent can’t defend against Devilish Valet with cards like Scute Swarm or Rabble Rousing.
#1. Gala Greeters
This is my favorite and, possibly, the best alliance card. Gala Greeters gives you a ton of versatility when creatures enter. You can build up mana, gain life, or grow it with counters.
I love this card for any green-splashed Standard decks, and it has a ton of value in lots of other Constructed formats.
Decklist: Allied Creatures in Standard
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar | Illustration by Bryan Sola
Gala Greeters x4
Devilish Valet x3
Rumor Gatherer x2
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar x3
Mondrak, Glory Dominus x3
Resolute Reinforcements x3
Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second x3
Jetmir, Nexus of Revels x2
Cabaretti Charm x2
Play with Fire x2
Charge of the Mites x2
Rabble Rousing x2
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker x2
Boseiju, Who Endures x2
Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire x2
Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance x2
Jetmir’s Garden x3
Lantern Flare x2
Rite of Harmony x2
Tamiyo’s Safekeeping x2
Gleeful Demolition x2
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
Wedding Announcement x3
I decided to take a stab at making a deck for this. I mostly play Standard so decided to go for a Standard allied creatures deck. The idea behind the deck is to overwhelm your opponents with cards like Devilish Valet and Jetmir, Nexus of Revels.
The main way to avoid board wipes and removal is to quickly win with the token-creating and card-fetching abilities of Rabble Rousing. The new addition of Mondrak, Glory Dominus from All Will Be One adds a great token doubling effect.
This deck can compete with the red aggro and poison counter Standard decks. You may need a little luck with the cards you draw and which ones your opponent draws to compete with some of the control decks.
Witty Roastmaster | Illustration by Joe Slucher
Alliance isn’t a deep and lasting keyword in MTG, but it does have some value. The mechanic is currently legal in Standard, and that should give players a few more reasons to take a look at these cards. Use your powerful creatures as triggers for even more benefits!
Which alliance creature is your favorite? Do you hope we see this mechanic again in a future set? I love to hear from my fellow MTG peers, so tell me what you think of this mechanic in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s official Twitter.
Stay safe, and keep grinding out those wins!
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