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Legendary Ragavan


In 2019 I wrote about playing Azorius Legends at Grand Prix Vegas. At the Modern GP in 2018, I battled with Alesha, Who Smiles at Death and other Boros legends, utilizing the legendary synergy with Mox Amber and Urza's Ruinous Blast. Now we're back with Modern Horizons 2 and a new legend.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is everything the archetype wanted. (Learn how to pronounce his name correctly here.) Good 1-drop legends were in short supply, and that's what you need to accelerate on turn two with Mox Amber. Three mana is the sweet spot for power in Modern. To name one thing you can do at that converted mana cost: Blood Moon. To name one reason to play it: Urza's Saga. The card is likely the strongest one from Modern Horizons 2, and if you're not exploiting it, you should have a plan for it. (Blood Moon destroys the enchantment land outright as a state-based effect.)

Urza's Saga

Before we return to the legendary monkey, we should be confident that our legendary strategy is suitable to content with the top decks in the meta. Though I love obscure brews in Modern, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is expensive. True, he could be played in multiple decks, including ones in Legacy. But before I commit to the legendary archetype I want to be reasonably sure the strategy is sound. I played Azorious Legends because Lavinia, Azorius Renegade vetoed Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, and Urza's Ruinous Blast was perfect against the rest of the deck.

Let's look at the new hotness in Modern, which features Urza's Saga and many ways to search for it. We should consider if this deck is vulnerable to Urza's Ruinous Blast. Is Urza his own worst enemy?

Urza's Ruinous Blast

This Feasting Troll King archetype was innovated by d00mwake. I've subscribed to his Twitch channel, and if you end up savoring this brew, I suggest you do too. I changed the recipe somewhat, adding Traverse the Ulvenwald. Delirium is easy to obtain when you're playing artifacts and an enchantment land. The Green sorcery then allows you to tutor up another Urza's Saga, Asmo, Feasting Troll King, or Ovalchase Daredevil. Though I prefer this maindeck design, it bears mentioning it loses potency post-board against graveyard hate. I tend to side out Traverse.

This is the deck to beat. It floods the board with artifact tokens and diversifies its attack with Feasting Troll King. Urza's Ruinous Blast exiles all that. Not only do we have Blood Moon against Urza's Saga but also we can take vengeance on the busted card with Nahiri, the Harbinger. Four and five mana cards are expensive for Modern, but we can cast them ahead of curve with our acceleration. Another good way to punish Feasting Troll King and construct tokens is with Teferi, Time Raveler.

Teferi, Time Raveler

T3feri dominated Standard and Historic, but in Modern he merely keeps things fair. The card stops all cascading into Crashing Footfalls or Living End. The time mage synergizes with Suspend, as does my favorite legend, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. For a fuller list of what the private investigator does, see my prior article.

The main difference between my past legendary lists and the two I will show you today is Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. I've included more removal spells and selected legends that help clear the way. We are doing something uniquely powerful, and I am content with our win percentage against the evolving format.

Jegantha, the Wellspring

Our companion has additional synergy in our legendary deck, though Jegantha, the Wellspring does come at a significant deck-building cost. We cannot play incarnations nor Linvala, Keeper of Silence, which is great against Heliod and Asmo. For better or worse, the companion is always the correct choice. Jegantha can also give you a bit of help breaking free of your own Blood Moon. Once you have an Azorious legend in play, your Mox Amber can fix you, as can any treasure tokens.

This deck plays Blood Moon in the sideboard, mainly because we already have a potent 3-drop in T3feri. I love casting Prismatic Ending as an instant, let alone Urza's Ruinous Blast. Our deck is full of potent removal, which you can loot for and recast with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

The Naya version of the deck loses these powerful Planeswalkers. Snubbed by their colors, it will fill the sky with a vengeful Blood Moon.

Needless to say, there is some anti-synergy between Blood Moon and Urza's Ruinous Blast. Your hope is that one or the other will be strong enough to clinch the game. The ones you don't need you should rummage away with Nahiri, the Harbinger or Plargg, Dean of Chaos // Augusta, Dean of Order. Yes, I wasn't thrilled to add the wizard from Strixhaven, but truth be told he's needed. Not only do you need to find your relevant cards in the matchup, but you can also pitch excess land you pick up from Wrenn and Six.

Wrenn and Six

What we lose in those pesky Blue 'Walkers we gain in the brutal strength of Wrenn and Six, a card banned in Legacy. As long as it's still legal in Modern, we might as well play it. Wrenn is perfect at clearing chaff out of the way of Ragavan.

A few other card choices are less obvious. Declaration in Stone is a good way to stop an early Feasting Troll King or artifact tokens, and you can sweep away leftover clues later with Urza's Ruinous Blast. I also wanted Yasharn, Implacable Earth because the big pig puts the new Asmo food deck on a diet. True, Yasharn stops your treasure from working, but you shouldn't need those after putting two free lands in your hand.

If you're wondering which of the two decks to choose, check your card box. Already have four Wrenn and Six? No, then pick the much cheaper Raugrin colors. Ragavan is enough of an expense.

And if you are looking for an exciting way to play with a legendary monkey, why not cause a planar catastrophe with Urza's Ruinous Blast? Go ahead, bring about an ice age and upset the Multiverse's timelines. It's fun.

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