The more Modern that I play post-Modern Horizons 2, the more it becomes clear that one of the best ways to find tournament success is to master familiarize yourself with the various Ragavan decks of the format and deciding which one gives you the best chance to win on any given weekend. The card Ragavan itself may be weak to some cards and strategies, but the formula of cheap threats plus premium interaction is always going to be a reasonable strategy. Recently, a new and interesting Ragavan variant entered the fray, Jund Reclaimer Saga.
Reclaimer, like Dragon’s Rage Channeler, is a one-mana threat that quickly grows into a three-power creature and can provide incremental advantage as the game goes longer. Being so similar, it’s important to understand the Idea of playing one over the other. Here’s the case for Elvish Reclaimer:
- Reclaimer can provide actual card advantage by grabbing Urza’s Saga while Channeler only ever provides card selection. Remember that you can sacrifice your Urza’s Saga with its third chapter trigger on the stack for a little bit of added value!
- Reclaimer makes the deck more resilient to graveyard hate. While Channeler is quite weak to cards like Rest in Peace, Reclaimer gives you access to a steady stream of Urza’s Sagas.
- Reclaimer becomes a really versatile card post-board, allowing you to fetch cards like Bojuka Bog, Blast Zone and Ghost Quarter.
On the other side of the coin, here’s the argument for Dragon’s Rage Channeler:
- Channeler is a more aggressive card, helping you race linear decks like Tron and Belcher.
- Channeler provides card selection for zero mana, while Reclaimer’s ability is very mana intensive.
- Channeler flies, which can help you race decks like Rhinos, Yawgmoth and Hammer Time while Reclaimer can get stuck on the ground.
I know that the big question is which card is better: Channeler or Reclaimer? The truth is that it’s really hard to say for sure. Both cards are incredibly close in power level and are totally reasonable to play. That being said, I personally think that the versatility and resilience to graveyard hate makes me think that Reclaimer is the better option, but it could come down to personal preference or a metagame call.
Those thoughts in mind, here’s the list that I would recommend. I think that this deck is great versus other Ragavan decks, Hammer Time, and graveyard-based decks like Reanimator and Living End.