Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer – Modern Horizons 2
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Fun fact: Monkey was a creature type for a while in Magic’s middle years, before it was merged with Ape around Eighth Edition, and re-instated around Kaladesh. I did not even notice when it came back, even though I remember thinking that Scrounging Bandar was kind of neat, which should imply that I had read it.
Ragavan is, of course, the most famous and possibly most interesting monkey in all of Ghirapur, and is also a notorious pirate – a concept captured almost perfectly by his game text. I can’t think of a more monkey-like fighting style than dashing in (using the keyword or otherwise) and grabbing something when he sees the slightest chance to, and I think it can be surprisingly effective in a lot of formats. He can act like a standard type of efficient threat early in the game, create synergy with artifact-friendly cards and ramp into bigger plays, and steal big plays later in the game. And sometimes he’ll do all of these in one game. I might be optimistic, or dazzled by the typeline Monkey Pirate, but I think he has real prospects.
Talk about a prime ape. After a brief cameo as a trick from Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Ragavan gets his own card, and it’s pretty entertaining. A 1-mana creature that can generate lots of advantage and chew up libraries is pretty fun, particularly since the treasure he gets can help foot the bill for an off-color card, and dash gives him both a bit of protection and a bit of speed (if you want to pay for it). While his fairly meager body is a slight impediment as the game goes on, Ragavan is an excellent early-game clock and solid weapon for red decks that could use a bit more help.
Plus, Monkey Pirate. If nothing else, he’s awesome for that alone.
Constructed: 3.25 (not sure if he’s perfect for red aggro, but he’s interesting enough to maybe be worth a try)
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