Escape from the planet of Ragavans: Winning the albino monkey in Legacy!

Magic: the Gathering

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Escape from the planet of Ragavans: Winning the albino monkey in Legacy!

In this week's article, we'll talk about Ragavan, the new Legacy staple that has been taking over the format and give some options to win the monkey menace!

By João, 07/26/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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Hello everyone! Another week and another article. Today we're going to talk about the impact of MH2 and how to survive the horde of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer that's been taking Legacy by storm.

Legacy's current Metagame

Like every good Modern-oriented set, Modern Horizons 2, aka MH2, had an even deeper impact on Legacy. This was to be expected, as Legacy's gigantic card pool combined with a power level considerably higher than Modern allows you to use and abuse the new bombs that are dropped with each set (I won't even mention the FIRE's design concept and how inadequate it tends to be in the face of eternal formats).

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The truth is that MH2 made a profound impact on the format, revamping the Metagame and already causing screams for bans in the four corners of the internet. A brief review of the current Legacy metagame shows us the depth and profusion of this impact. This week, our friend Romeu, which suffers from a terrible case of Omniscience, wrote this article of which he covers all of Magic's competitive format. We are particularly interested in his analysis on Legacy. If we take only the last two MTGO Legacy Challenges (always very symbolic to the metagame) the decks based on Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer were 50% of both the top 8 (4 decks in each) and the albino monkey was the most used creature in the top 32 of both tournaments. Izzet Delver and Jeskai Tempo, both decks solidly anchored in Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and which made their presence in the Top 8 of the two days already account for 15% of the Metagame. New builds to play around the monkey, like the Dimir version, have already started to appear in the top 32. The interaction between Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Urza's Saga hasn't gone unnoticed and the fact that our albino monkey generates treasure tokens has been explored in the new builds of Jeskai Tempo that abuses the advantage generated by him to "hide it" behind a Standstill, thus creating even more card advantage. The deck also abuses Prismatic Ending by becoming a sort of "pile deck"; that is, a "pile of good cards" that will tend to work together.
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In the case of Izzet Delver, the proposition is much more straightforward. An even more aggressive version of the old UR Delver that depended on Monastery Swiftspear and creatures like Sprite Dragon and the late Dreadhorde Arcanist (will live forever in our hearts), the new Izzet Delver is the most "intensive" deck in MH2 cards in the format, counting mostly with 13 cards from the new set, 4 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, 4 Dragon's Rage Channeler, 3 Murktide Regent and 2 Unholy Heat.
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Not only "Ragavan decks" use Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, the monkey has already become commonplace in the maindeck and sideboard of Sneak and Show, with the traditional player JPA93, which was present in one of the Top32, already surrendered to the use of monkeys. Some builds that are doing 5-0 results on MTGO are already using 4 on the main deck!!
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The monkey fever has already arrived in other combos, and the 9th place in the last Challenge, a list of Painter's Stone - deck that supposedly would win with the combo generated by the interaction of Painter's Servant and Grindstone, had 3 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer in the maindeck:
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So far, we've painted a grim scenario... are we stuck in Planet of the Apes? Is there any way to escape the horde of Ragavans that surround us? I believe the answer is yes.

Option 1 - Selesnya Depths

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The GW or GWx version is currently the best shell for the Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage combo. Often against tempo decks, the combo's own explosive speed is enough to "run" against the opponent's threats. If that wasn't enough, this Selesnya version brings the Delver of Secrets assassin, which was given to us by MH2, Endurance. The natural package of 4 Sword to Plowshares with the recent addition of at least 2 Prismatic Ending on maindeck creates an even tougher attrition match for the albino monkey and his colleagues.

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In addition to all of this, we still have the possibility that the deck doesn't even need the combo, since with endurance, 4 Knight of the Reliquary and 4 Elvish Reclaimer in the maindeck, many matchups will be resolved by the creatures themselves. The post-sideboard also facilitates the match up with the possibility of board in of the Prismatic Ending 3 and 4 in addition to the 3 Choke which, when played at the right moment, usually doesn't allow the opponent to recover and return to the game.

Option 2 - Big Eldrazi

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Big Drazi, or Eldrazi Post, is a deck that had a good in-person presence before the pandemic and that had fallen into oblivion since then. Lately, its presence has been increasing more and more on MTGO precisely due to the changes caused by MH2. The deck has several angles from which it can attack the variants of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer decks. The first one is by denial. The deck has 4 Chalice of the Void, plus copies of Warping Wail and a Walking Ballista in maindeck with the ability to fetch another in the sideboard via Karn, The Great Creator. The second is the lock from Karn, The Great Creator itself. In a deck abundant in lands, with 8 sol lands, 4 City of Traitors and 4 Ancient Tomb, plus 11 posts, 4 Cloudpost, 4 Glimmerpost and 3 Vesuva and 4 Grim Monolith, it's easy to cast the planeswalker which is a one-card combo (who fetches the Mycosynth Lattice on the sideboard). Usually, when Karn resolves, it's over. The third way is stomping the opponent with a river of Eldrazis. The deck has creatures on curves 3, 4, 5 and 6, which ironically with this mana base means turns 1, 2 and 3. On many occasions, the army of giant pan-dimensional creatures is more than enough to beat your opponents. The post-side can bring even more removal in the form of Warping Wail and Spatial Contortion, as well as putting a Ratchet Bomb in the maindeck while the other copy from the second Walking Ballista are always a Karn, The Great Creator away. If you like combos and huge creatures, Big Eldrazi is an excellent option.

Option 3 - Dragon Stompy/Big Red/Mono-Red Prison

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We old players still call the archetype Dragon Stompy, even though the deck no longer has "dragons" and is not just a "stompy" (an archetype that seeks, through cheap creatures, to finish the game as quickly as possible). The current version of Big Red, Mono Red Prison or Basuta Red (named after one of its creators) focuses less and less on lock pieces, abandoning the Magus of the Moon and Trinisphere in maindeck and focusing on the Blood moon and Chalice of the Void package to punish abusive mana bases, such as Jeskai Tempo, or restrict access to low-curve spells through chalices, as is the case with Izzet Delver. In addition, the deck has 24 creatures, eight of which also function as removals, 4 Bonecrusher Giant and 4 Fury. Even the addition of the MH2 elemental is absurdly synergistic with the ability of the Fireflux Squad which feeds on the tokens of Goblin Rabblemaster and Legion Warboss and can end up "spitting" a Fury on the battlefield, hitting 6 with its double strike and taking a blocker or planeswalker out of the way. It's exactly the fact that absolutely any spell in the deck is a "bomb" that makes the match up so good for Mono Red: whatever hits on the battlefield is profit. In addition, for a good player to "bypass" Dazes is something doable, leaving only the hard counters to do the job.

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Post-side we have Trinisphere, Leyline of the Void and Dead//Gone which serve to "turn off" the graveyard, increase the lock's potential and remove and bounce threats and blockers . If you like to punish mana bases and win by attacking, Mono Red Prison can be your deck.

Option 4 - Doomsday

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After the addition of Thassa's Oracle, Doomsday went from being a fringe deck whose complex stacks were the subject of vast treatises known only to its few lovers, to becoming one of the most resilient combo decks, if not the most, of the current metagame. In the last Challenge, there were two Doomsday decks in the top 32 with its players making 7-1 and 6-2 respectively, which shows the deck's full potential. The simpler stack that takes up fewer slots than the main can make the deck even more dedicated to disruptions and cantrips. This means that in the deck, anything that isn't a combo piece draw cards, or counters or discards the opponent's hand. It's so much recursion with so much counter to back up, that often Tempo decks just can't win the counter-war against Doomsday, which can also go off on Turn 0. Post-side, the deck can become even more dedicated to counters and discard, which increases the inevitability of the combo. Also, pieces like Fatal Push, an excellent spot removal, and Leyline of the Void that "turns off" Murktide Regent and Dragon's Rage Channeler can come in and allow an attrition game until you reach the combo. Although Doomsday is often resolved with a threat on the board, it forces the construction of a fast stack dependent on Edge of Autumn and Ideas Unbound with a counter backup, still Doomsday is currently the best unfair deck in the format. The Doomsday learning curve is certainly high, requiring its pilot to know how to adapt to the situations that are imposed and the draws, but once you master this deck, your chances of getting around the worst scenarios are almost endless.

Conclusion

The truth is that the current Legacy metagame, despite the dangerous growth of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer-based deck variants, is diverse and inviting, with aggro, combo, control and tempo deck options to suit all tastes. MH2 was a huge format shaker and brought several cards that little by little are finding their place in the most diverse shells of the format. The monkey is absurd, but it is not unavoidable. I know it sounds difficult, but resist the temptation...
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João

Autor, Podcaster e co-criador do @thecrepitos e @revolushow. Youtuber no /assimdisseojoao. Detrator n°32 da lista do M.E. Rebelar-se é justo.

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