Angel of Renewal
Here’s a 4/4 flyer for 5W that gains you 1 life for each creature you control. That would seem to have good synergy with the “if you gained life” creatures in the set. It’s a bit worse than Goldnight Redeemer from Avacyn Restored, which gained 2 life for each other creature. This Angel does count itself. Conclave Phalanx from Ravnica was a 2/4 for 4W but it had Convoke and gained you 1 life for itself and each of your other creatures. Angel of Renewal is an Ally hybrid of those two. It’s OK. It only gives you a single lifegain trigger, so you can’t abuse it, but that’s fine for purposes of Limited play in this set.
Grade: C+ (gets better than that with a dedicated Ally strategy in Limited)
This is a worse Sunblade Elf. That could become a 2 / 2 if you controlled a plains, so the 4W anthem was gravy. This is just a 1/1 with the only upside being able to trigger Rally. You can play it in Limited, and it’s a relevant one-drop in the late game. But it's not good enough for constructed.
A 2/1 for one white seems to be a new thing in each set that is released now. This one is a vanilla ally though. Playable yes. Exciting no. But Savannah Lions is still a card. It's a good Ally one drop nonetheless. Hada Freeblade is a bit better in Modern, though, even though it’s a 0/1, because it can grow to a 2 / 3 upon playing just one other Ally once the Freeblade is on board.
Grade: B (for Standard Allies), C (for Modern Allies or non-Ally applications. There are better options.)
Indestructible is a cool keyword and I'm happy to have this topping out my curve in limited, but it needs a good number of allies to be good. It does make all creatures indestructible with its rally trigger, but you still need allies. It's pretty underpowered stat wise (4/3 for 5) to be much good in Constructed. First picking it in draft pretty much pushes you into allies. so not sure this is what I want to see in my first pack.
In Modern, Kabira Evangel giving protection more often than not will be more valuable, and he’s only 2W, so he can be cheated in with Collected Company and Aether Vial. This isn’t quite as good as Frontline Medic was in Return to Ravnica Standard, either, as the Medic only needed two other creatures attacking along with itself. Having the ability to sacrifice itself to become a permission spell for Rakdos’s Return and Sphinx’s Revelation was also quite relevant at the time. This doesn’t see Eternal play, unless someone wants to jam it into an Ally-themed Commander deck.
A 2/1 with a Rally trigger that gives your creatures first strike seems fine. It's very Limited playable. Whether this is good enough for standard play, I feel like it's not. One of the better kor Allies, though. It is, in fact, better than its Red predecessor, Highland Berserker from Zendikar. Bladewhirl has one more toughness and gives all creatures you control first strike, not only Allies.
3/1 for 1W and can't be blocked by Scions… Awfully limited in scope, but he’s a slightly better Oreskos Swiftclaw, and that saw actual Limited play. 3 power is nice, and with enough Rally triggers this can be okay, but it’s an option to round-out a curve, not any sort of Ally staple. Were this more like Daring Skyjek, which had the ability to gain Flying with Battalion (attacking alongside two or more other creatures) I’d really like it. Alas, R&D probably felt that was too good at common with Ally synergies.
Tapping opponent creatures is a fine effect. Strapping it to a 4/3 that costs 4W is mediocre. Yeah there are decently cheap ways to make Rally happen. This is fine in limited. However, Court Street Denizen did this on the cheaper side for white creatures in Gatecrash and it’s better than the one shot tap and freeze for a turn of Kor Hookmaster. It’s more Kapsho Kitefins than those, though, and I’d rather have Kitefins because it counted any creature. In any case, too slow for Constructed.
Lifelink isn't bad, but it's hardly going to win you games on its own. I really like this in limited with how many white allies are decent in draft. It also has nice synergy with all of the Black “drain” creatures in the set. In constructed, though, I'm not sure it makes the cut. Still, it’s one to watch, and if black/white Ally Drain can be a deck, this would be a key contributor.
Talus Paladin is strictly better in Modern and beyond, as its a 4-drop, but also grows with +1/+1 counters for each trigger. So it’s really a 3 / 4, too. Lantern Scout is cheaper, though, and does give all creatures lifelink, not only Allies. Also, it could be cheated in with Collected Company, so there’s that. Modern sideboard for Collected Company Allies against burn, perhaps?
Grade: C (if it remains a Limited-only card), B (if there’s a Standard deck for it)
Vigilance is cool but is that worthy of a Rally trigger? In Limited, maybe. In Constructed, certainly not. In all fairness, the Patrol is a slightly cheaper more functional reprint of the 3G 1 / 4 Joraga Bard.
While not technically an Ally card, the Landfall trigger lets you make an Ally token. It also can give your creatures +1/+1 until end of turn. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar does these things better for a similar mana investment. This Retreat is fine in limited to make chump blockers and get some random rally triggers. Not really a constructed card.
Grade C- (mostly because it's splash-able in limited)
This is one of those “whenever you gain life” cards, which is cool. Each time that you do, you get to pay one White mana and put a +1/+1 counter on a target creature. It’s not exciting, but a mini Cradle of Vitality is hardly awful. The Steward will find a home in the White/Black/X Drain decks likely to emerge in BFZ Limited (more on that later).
Grade: B- (in the right deck, even better)
Were this 3W spell at instant speed, I’d like the Converge bit a lot more. Alas, it is at Sorcery speed. It takes 4 different colors to get this card up to its full potential, then. Still, 4 1/1 Ally tokens that can create 4 Rally triggers can create some nice combinations in the right situation. That’s probably why this is sorcery speed. 4 colors in Allies is definitely not hard to do, and casting it for just 3 different colors is probably worth the investment. It’s basically Spore Burst with greater upside - as Saprolings don’t necessarily offer the benefits of Ally triggers - and that was Domain (counting basic land types).
Grade: B (in Limited, especially. It may even be playable in the right Standard deck.)
And no, I didn’t forget about that White planeswalker. I was simply saving the best for last.
Not only can Gideon become an Ally, benefiting from old school Ally triggers from “back in the day” but he also creates Ally tokens, which trigger both old and new Ally triggers. Becoming an ally with his loyalty ability sadly does not trigger Rally - which would honestly be silly - as he doesn’t actually re-enter the battlefield. The anthem emblem is cool and is not something that has to be limited only to Allies, either. He fits into a few strategies, actually. Allies certainly want him around. He’s a cool, solid planeswalker.
Averaging out all the grades gives us a C, but I bump it up a few points to count Ally synergies. There are some functional upgrades from older Ally counterparts and having Rally affect all of your creatures and not just Ally was a good design and development move for the archetype. Together in Limited, these could form the backbone of a very playable Ally deck. I don’t see tons of upside here beyond Gideon, though. Unified Front I think is pretty decent even at Sorcery speed. Token generators are usually pretty playable. It may be one of the better Converge cards in the set, actually.
How do you feel about the White Allies and how they match up with their past and present Ally counterparts?